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July 22, 2008 / C.T. Henry

Review of the Week: THE CLEANER

The Cleaner – Brett Battles – 2007

This is one rip-roaring thriller, and a great debut for author Brett Battles. I read the first chapter in the bookstore, and I was compelled to buy it and read on.  So far, The Cleaner is the most entertaining story that I’ve read this summer.

The engaging protagonist, Jonathan Quinn, really makes the story work.  Known as a professional “cleaner,” Quinn disposes bodies and erases evidence for a secret government agency known as ‘The Office’.  However, after a fairly routine job in Colorado, an assassin tries to take him out at his Los Angeles home.  From his employers at the ‘The Office,’ he learns that he wasn’t the only intended victim: all of their top operatives had been targeted on the same night.  On the run for his life, while also trying to discover the mastermind behind the killings, Quinn’s investigations take him to exotic locations, much like the globetrotting adventures of James Bond.  Along for the ride is his apprentice, Nate, and through their interactions, readers learn the tricks of the trade from Quinn. Battles’ pacing is flawless.  The action is non-stop and intense.  In the end, I was completely fooled by the obligatory twist.

I haven’t read a debut this gripping since Barry Eisler’s Rain Fall in 2002.  The Cleaner is a brilliant spy novel that you won’t be able to put down until the very last page.  If you enjoyed the Bourne books or films, Jonathan Quinn is the new Jason Bourne. Battles’ new sequel, The Deceived, is now available in hardback, and I can’t wait to read the next adventure.



Leave a Comment
  1. Kara / Jul 24 2008 7:55 am

    Your well written review convinced me to read The Cleaner the next time I take a break from my normal sci fi and historical fiction novels.


  1. Books I’ve Read in 2008 « The Mystery Bookshelf

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