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Reviews

'Most people come back from New Zealand talking about the the breathtaking scenery and the amazing experiences. I came back raving about Paul Cleave. These are stories that you won’t forget in a while: relentlessly gripping, deliciously twisted and shot through with a vein of humour that’s as dark as hell. Cleave creates fictional monsters as chilling and as charming as any I’ve ever come across. Anyone who likes their crime fiction on the black and bloody side should move Paul Cleave straight to the top of their must-read list.'
Mark Billingham
- www.markbillingham.com

'Dark, bloody, and gripping, Blood Men is classic noir fiction. In Paul Cleave, Jim Thompson has another worthy heir to his throne.'
John Connolly
- www.johnconnollybooks.com
 
'Compelling, dark, and perfectly paced, New Zealand writer Cleave’s psychological thriller explores the evil lurking in us all, working relentless magic until the very last page.'
Booklist

'Blood Men may very well be Cleave’s best book yet; filled with his recognizable mix of dark crime peppered with sly humour, compelling characters, and exciting storylines with enough tension and interesting twists and turns to keep the pages whirring.
Go
od Reading Magazine

'Cleave writes like the fine-tuned punches of a middleweight boxer - with short sharp jabs to the solar plexus that make you gasp. The Kiwi crime writer scores another knock-out punch with his latest novel... The pace and the carnage accelerate toward a climax lasting for several pages and leaving you breathless.'
The Courier Mail, Brisbane

'Cleave... should not be read without another human being in breathing distance, and not at night. This is the most accomplished of Cleave's works, not for the writing or the story, which is always strong and original, but because Blood Men has a new edge of complexity. Blood Men is not for the faint-hearted. Cleave does brutality well, full-frontal, and it keeps coming, in Christchurch.'
Nelson Mail

'Cleave takes readers on a chilling ride through a city gone bad and men gone mad. Can't wait to read the next one... Fantastic.'
Hawkes Bay Today

'The violence is hard and frequent... Fortunately the bleakness is undercut by Cleave's dry sense of humour... Blood Men is likely to stay in the mind long after it is finished.'
The Canberra Times

'Well constructed and gripping.'
Sun Herald - Sydney

'Cleave’s real genius is in the way he plays with the dark and light in his characters. He shows us Edward’s twisted side and yet still convinces us to like him; we see why his wife fell for him; we want him to hurt those bad guys; we sympathise even when we’re repulsed by what he does. Cleave knows exactly how to manipulate, how to hook in readers and keep them turning the pages.
The plot of Blood Men is unpredictable, shockingly so at times, and the writing fresh, fast and creepy. If what turns you off some New Zealand fiction is the sacrifice of story to wordplay then here’s the good news – Cleave manages both brilliantly. And Christchurch with its famously evil underbelly provides him with a ideal setting for a story about the darkness that lies just beneath the surface of our lives.
This is a beautifully rounded story and a real triumph of disturbing, bleak, bloody, compelling crime writing'
Herald on Sunday, New Zealand

'The book is a real page turner and the week that the story covers, from the back robbery to the surprising finale, with all the suspense, brutality, murder and mayhem is suddenly over and one is left stunned and speechless ... if he can crack the US market ... and keep producing books of this calibre then his future is assured.'
Graham 'Bookman' Beattie - Radio NZ National

‘Cleave has the rare ability to craft a story of such technical expertise his quality of suspense overturns psychology: what we learn of his characters is superseded by the reader's assumption that the next set piece has the power to reverse our expectations. Cleave knows how to keep scenes moving. He defines action without giving anything away and deletes that which doesn't advance his plot. The strongest images are those of a doom-laden harsh-shadowed world, the atmosphere always chilly, grey and cellar-like damp’
The Australian

'If you are after a relaxing weekend read, this is not the one to pick. It is a tense and intriguing novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat.'
Euro Crime

'The pace of this novel is impressive, enhancing the gruesome content as the reader is taken from one dark act to another through numerous plot turns. A tense, intriguing read with a skillfully twisted ending.'
The Ensign

'Cemetery Lake is an impressive novel from a talented writer. We can understand the worst acts, because we see we might consider the same choice, in the same circumstance. Cleave makes you want to turn the page, and when you get to the end, you want to go out and immediately find another of his books.'
New Zealand Lawyer Magazine

‘a gripping story that should keep crime fans entertained’
Adelaide Independent Weekly

‘Cleave's thriller has a roaring pace’
Melbourne Age

‘A deft thriller from a rising star of the genre’
Gold Coast Bulletin

‘The next Stephen King’
NDR, Germany

‘A riveting and all too realistic thriller. Cleave is a writer to watch’
Tess Gerritsen

‘It might be proper to issue a warning here: this isn’t a gentle, nice, fairies-at-the-bottom-of-the-garden novel. People die. Cleave is a talent to watch’
Courier Mail, Brisbane

‘Cleave has an excellent ability to keep the surprises coming, and at the same time has carefully and cleverly mapped out the journey of a criminally insane mind unravelling . . . there’s something disquietingly addictive about Cleave’s murderer’s narrative’
Sunday Telegraph, Sydney

‘When it comes to this genre, Cleave knows how to hook a reader’
Sunday Herald

‘Cleave masterfully builds up a picture’
North & South

‘427 pages of prose as neat, precise and enjoyably Grand Guignol – Cleave displays a certain adroitness in insistently plucking the imagination with icy fingers of fear’
Christchurch Press

‘Crisply written and neatly plotted’
Dominion Post

‘An eccentric, intriguing and rather gory story’
Good Reading magazine, Australia

‘It’s an exceptional debut by young New Zealand writer Paul Cleave whose concept of telling a story from a mass murderer’s viewpoint is compelling’
The Daily Telegraph, Sydney

‘Drags you in – your eyes keep moving over the page, and you mind draws appalling pictures. This is not what I expected from a New Zealand crime novel. I must banish those stereotypes. After reading The Cleaner I doubt I’ll think of New Zealand and Christchurch specifically in the same way again. The Cleaner is strangely compelling and definitely not for the squeamish’
Manly Daily

‘Cleave’s writing is uncompromising, unpredictable, and enthralling . . . Made me vomit – seriously, it’s that good’
Jack Heath, author of The Lab

‘A funny novel from the perspective of the serial killer might sound impossible, or impossibly sick, or both. But debut novelist Paul Cleave has pulled it off successfully’
mX magazine, Melbourne

‘New Zealand can produce top murder mysteries’
New Zealand Listener, best books of 2006

‘We have come a fair distance as a literary nation when people like Paul Cleave - and isn't that an excellent surname for a writer whose characters get dismembered on a regular basis ? - can deliver his second internationally contracted novel and find himself with huge audience for his work.’
Dominion Post

‘Cleave ... has an energy that conventional crime novels lack.’
The Listener