Monday, July 28, 2014

I Can't Wait to Read: FIVE MINUTES ALONE

Anticipation can be quite delicious. The feeling of looking forward to something we hope will be great, looming on the horizon.

While it is great to stay present and 'in the moment' as much as possible in our lives, it's also nice to glance down the road now and then too, particularly at things that put a smile on our faces. Upcoming book releases, whether from authors we love or a promising newcomer, can certainly do that, creating a hopeful mix of expectation and uncertainty.

As part of a revamp of Crime Watch, I'm looking at launching a new semi-regular series, "I Can't Wait To Read", not just listing or noting upcoming titles that might be of interest, but delving a little deeper into why I, or any guest bloggers, are interested in or excited about that book. We'll look at the book itself, the author, why we can't wait to read it, and when it will be available. As this is something new, feedback would be welcome, on the concept, and what you'd like to see or not see moving forward.

To kickstart things, I'm taking a closer look the next release from 2011 Ngaio Marsh Award winner Paul Cleave, an international bestseller who has become the dark prince of antipodean crime writing.


The book blurb:
In the latest thriller by the Edgar-nominated author of Joe Victim, someone is helping rape victims exact revenge on their attackers, prompting an edge-of-your-seat, cat-and-mouse chase between old friends, detectives Theodore Tate and Carl Schroder.

Carl Schroder and Theodore Tate, labeled “The Coma Cops” by the media, are finally getting their lives back into shape. Tate has returned to the police force and is grateful to be back at home with his wife, Bridget. For Schroder, things are neither good nor bad. The bullet lodged in his head from a shooting six months ago hasn’t killed him, but - almost as deadly - it’s switched off his emotions.

When the body of a convicted rapist is found, obliterated by an oncoming train, Tate works the case, trying to determine if this is murder or suicide. The following night, the bodies of two more rapists surface. It’s hard to investigate when everyone on the police force seems to be rooting for the killer.

There’s a common plea detectives get from the loved ones of victims: When you find the man who did this, give me five minutes alone with him. And that’s exactly what someone is doing. Someone is helping these victims get their five minutes alone. But when innocent people start to die, Tate and Schroder find themselves with different objectives, and soon they’re battling something they never would’ve expected—each other.

The author:
Paul Cleave has become the dark prince of antipodean crime writing. He shot to international fame with the publication of THE CLEANER, which was a smash-hit in Germany, topping's annual sales charts alongside Lee Child and Stieg Larsson. The rest of the world took a wee while to catch up, but now as his eighth book looms, Cleave is a critically acclaimed international bestseller published in a dozen languages, around 20 countries, and has won or been a finalist for awards in Europe, Australasia, and the United States. He won the Ngaio Marsh Award in 2011, and was a finalist for the Edgar Award this year for JOE VICTIM, the sequel to the THE CLEANER. You can read more about Paul Cleave at his website.

Why I can't wait:
Every since I read CEMETERY LAKE, my first taste of Cleave back in October 2008, I've really enjoyed Cleave's writing, and particularly his character of Theo Tate. While "Joe" of THE CLEANER and JOE VICTIM fascinates many readers around the world, and it was Cleave's excellent standalone BLOOD MEN that won the Ngaio Marsh Award, for me it's always been Cleave's Tate tales that I've most enjoyed, and looked forward to. As I said in a review, Tate is "a truly fascinating protagonist whose resume includes cop, private eye, and prison inmate... There's a bleak nobility to Tate's smudged shades of grey and stumble towards redemption." I found Tate really fascinating back in 2008, and was very pleased when Cleave brought the character back in COLLECTING COOPER then THE LAUGHTERHOUSE.

Another particularly cool aspect about Cleave's crime writing is he has built this world, a fictionalised version of Christchurch, in which his characters operate. Major characters in some novels turn up as minor characters in others, even the standalone stories have some links in time and space. Along with Tate, the most growth and evolution over all the books is seen in Detective Carl Schroder, who begins as the straight-arrow, but becomes more and more affected by the things he sees and experiences. The relationship between Tate and Schroder, and how it has changed over the books, veering between allies, rivals, enemies and frenemies, adds even more layers to intriguing storylines written in cracking prose.

From talking to Cleave last year about Joe Victim, I know he is quite excited about FIVE MINUTES ALONE, the premise behind the novel and the ongoing relationships between and evolution of his characters. So there is much to look forward to, and I can't wait to read it.

When it's available:
21 October 2014 in the United States and on


You can read more about Cleave and his novels here:


Are you looking forward to FIVE MINUTES ALONE? What are some of the books or authors that you eagerly look forward to? What do you think of this new series? Feedback and comments appreciated.


  1. Based on your review and previous reading of Cleave's work ( 'Collecting Cooper'stands out), I've pre orderd '5 Minutes Alone'. October, so near, yet so far!