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Publisher's Summary

Lies run thicker than blood.

When Blake Salinger went to work that day, everything seemed normal. His life was structured, routine. Boring, even. All he wanted was a little excitement - he just never expected to be arrested for his own father's murder. 

Caught between the lies of corrupt cops and a silver-haired stranger, Blake flees across Los Angeles to learn the truth of his father's mysterious past. The deeper he goes, the bigger the lies become. The only certain thing is that he can't run forever. 

The secrets come thick and fast in a new relentless spy novel. Full of lies and conspiracies, this rocket-paced thriller follows a man pitted against his own family, the LAPD, and a corrupt government agency.

©2018 Adam Nicholls (P)2018 Adam Nicholls

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A solid spy thriller

Good read and listen, a bit all over the place. Looking forward to further installments.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Psymin1
  • Morgantown, WV, USA
  • 08-29-18

B-Movie Action Flick in Novel Form

Clean Kill started off with a surprising amount of promise. The first few chapters had me engaged, genuinely curious about how things would play out. As the story progressed, though, it became more and more convoluted, and it seemed to lose its grip on reality. The whole thing felt like one of those direct-to-video action flicks starring a former A-list celebrity that really just needed the paycheck, so they signed on for the film. That may sound more disparaging than I intended because I usually enjoy those types of movies, and, for the most part, I had a fun enough time with Clean Kill.

The main protagonist of Clean Kill is Blake, who, up until today, was just a salesman that was excellent at his job. Then the cops show up and inform him he’s being arrested for the murder of his estranged father that he didn’t even know was dead. If that wasn’t crazy enough for one day, while he’s being interrogated at the police station, a silver-haired man that looks vaguely familiar helps break him out, sending him on a wild goose chase through Los Angeles, revealing secrets about his family that he wouldn’t have believed just 24-hours prior.

The biggest issue I had with Clean Kill was the shocking lack of motivation for most of the main players. The author, Adam Nicholls, makes it a point to discuss how distant Blake and his father were, yet we’re still asked to buy that this weak relationship is the motivation for the entire story. Then there’s the love story - which, admittedly, is not a focus of the novel, but more of a B-plot - and Nicholls gives Blake’s best friend a boyfriend for virtually no reason. It doesn’t add to the drama at all, and I’d even argue that it weakens it. If this character was a girlfriend or wife, I might have felt more attached to her safety. As written, though, it felt like a waste of time, and made her a completely pointless character.

The vast majority of the story was action, which made the short book fly by. Nicholls didn’t waste much time on character development, which was definitely one of the problems, but also kept the pace constantly moving forward. So it’s a double-edged sword. I feel like the best books manage to find a better balance between the two.

I listed to the audiobook version, and at just over five hours in length, Clean Kill managed to keep my attention the entire time. The narration by Paul Gewuerz is good, but I didn’t like the fact that he gave the main character one voice, and then almost all the other male characters a guttural, deep voice that all sounded similar. He seemed to have a hard time keeping the voices consistent, outside of Blake. There is a chapter late in the book that has two of these male characters speaking to each other, and I had a hard time keeping straight which one was which. It would’ve been nice if the narrator played with tone and speed of speech as well, instead of just giving the majority of the characters deep voices. Overall, though, Gewuerz does a nice job delivering the emotion of the story, which is what is most important to me.

Clean Kill isn’t a great book, but it isn’t terrible either. Unfortunately, this means that it falls into the mediocre, forgettable middle. I’m sure there are better options out there for action thrillers like this, but if you’re looking for that mindless, B-movie fun in novel form, Clean Kill fits the bill well enough.

Full disclosure: I received this audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Short and interesting

Short book that kept me interested in who dun it all the way to the end.

Wasn’t the most complex book though