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Publisher's Summary

Meet Jonathan Quinn: a freelance operative with a take-no-prisoners style and the heart of a loner. His job? Professional "cleaner". Nothing too violent, just disposing of bodies. But in Brett Battles' electrifying debut novel, Quinn's latest assignment will change everything.

The job seemed simple enough: investigating a suspicious case of arson. But when a dead body turns up, and Quinn's handlers at "the Office" turn strangely silent, he knows he's in over his head. With only a handful of clues, Quinn struggles to find out why someone wants him dead...and if it's linked to a larger attempt to wipe out the Office.

Quinn's only hope may be Orlando, a woman from his past who may hold the key to solving the case. Suddenly, the two are prying into old crimes, crisscrossing continents, and struggling to stay alive. But as the hunt intensifies, Quinn is stunned by a chilling secret...and a brilliantly orchestrated conspiracy.

Furiously paced, filled with superbly drawn characters and pitch-perfect dialogue, The Cleaner confirms Battles' place as one of the most exciting new talents in suspense fiction.

©2007 Brett Battles (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Displaying an enviable gift for pacing and action, Battles's debut novel is a page-turner that may remind some readers of the cult TV spy series Alias....Admirers of quality espionage fiction can look forward to a new series worth following." ( Publishers Weekly)

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  • Overall
  • Bernie
  • Brampton, ON, Canada
  • 07-11-07

excellent from start to finish

This book is excellent from start to finish. You will not want to break from the non-stop action. Its one the best book I've bought from Audible since I started this service 30 months ago.

148 of 155 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lisa
  • South River, NJ, United States
  • 06-08-08

Pay attention to the other reviews...

I wish I had and not wasted a credit on this book. I love intelligent, witty and suspenseful books. This looked as if it may fit the bill. It doesn't, not even close. The other reviews warned the characters are not interesting, the action is slow and the narraration (sorry Scott Brick) is tedious. I believe someone compared his reading to William Shatner....I wished I took the advice of others and skipped this clunker.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Carl
  • West Palm Beach, FL, United States
  • 02-28-08

Boring, Dumb

The reader Scott Brick is great as usual but he can't save a bad story. Simplistic thriller writing with almost no thrills. Wooden predictable characters that seemed to be copies some cheap detective stories from the 50's or 60's. Don't waste your time or money.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Charlie
  • Lethbridge, AB, Canada
  • 08-20-07

Par for the Genre

This story follows the adventures of Jonathan Quinn - a private espionage specialist with a jaded past. The plot is about average for thriller in this genre - lots of action, foreign settings, conspiracys, and even has a few interesting twists.

Personally I felt that the writer should have edited this work a little harder. As it is, there are all sort of useless parts where the main character checks his email, eats, makes casual conversation and does other hum-drum stuff that doesn't advance the plot. Hence the story has some good meat, but you have to chew around a lot of grizzle. A good editor would have cut a lot of this out, leaving the good stuff. Perhaps the abridged version would be better.

The narrator puts far too much emphasis on "performing" the story, rather than just reading it. His tone borders on annoying at times.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Well, huh.

This is a book about totally unlikeable people who kill a lot of other people and then kind of try to save the world-- but only because there's something in it for them. In the end they have good reasons for the people they kill in this story-- but this doesn't remedy the fact that nothing is done to make them likeable. The Sopranos made likeable and complex characters out of Tony, Silvio, and so many other people, but this book, IMO, does very little in that regard. On a more positive note, I did listen the whole way through, because I cared enough to see what happened in the end. If you're looking for action and danger and you're completely bored with character development, great... otherwise, keep shopping.

40 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not one of my favorites

I guess credit must be given since this is the writer's debut. Hopefully lessons have been learned and the next outing will be better. I found the book lacked a lot of character development, and plot credibility. I won't write a spoiler, but I will say there will be points when you wonder if the characters have even a shred of intelligence because they overlook the most obvious solutions.
Scott Brick does his usual excellent work as a narrator, and I was glad I hung on to the bitter end of the book if only to hear him attempt a monotone computer generated voice. It's simply not possible for him to remove all inflection. Made me chuckle for sure. In the end though, I'll be watching for the next outing by this author and hoping for improvement.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Seattle, WA, USA
  • 07-19-07

Good Grief

I should have known by the comparison to the TV. show "Alias" that I was going to dislike this book but it looked like fun. It wasn't.

It is, however, unoriginal; the Cleaner in Le Femme Nikita is far more interesting. And it is disappointingly predictable; the twists and turns were less like a roller coaster ride and more like an uncomfortable get-away in the back of a jalopy Ford on a pot-holed road.

I gave it a chance and listened to it through the end but I couldn't wait for it to be over. It was one eye-rolling-you've-got-to-be-kidding-me moment after another. I'm dousing myself with Le Carre as an antidote.

The production value, however, is excellent. Scott Brick is a reliable and consistent reader.

36 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bonnie
  • houston, TX, USA
  • 07-24-07

Needs some good help...

Who cares? None of the good guys are interesting. None of the bad guys are interesting. Never thought I'd applaud a reader for being melodramatic, but Scott B.'s read is the only thing that kept me listening to this endless tale. The ending reminds one of the kiss at the end of a sexless romance novel, but rather than embrace, the two just walk away. Won't be trying to find out if they ever meet again.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Zera
  • Minnetonka, MN, United States
  • 06-06-08

poorly done spy trash

I like spy trash (hit man/spy/international thriller stuff) if it is done well and this one is not. The characters are routinely asked to do stupid things that would not be what even a casual reader of the genre would do in the situation. A frustrating listen at best.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Complicated story that delivers...

STORY (espionage) - Quinn (main character), Nate and Orlando are caught up in a plot against their organization (The Office) that leads them across several continents. While trying to figure out who has killed multiple agents, they discover a bioterrorism plot. Are the two connected and, if so, how?

I liked this book. It takes place in the early 2000's, I suppose, as there were a couple references to phone booths. Cell phones are used but I don't believe they're smart phones, so some of the methods like transferring photos are somewhat dated. The story was still very good, however. Contrary to some other reviewers, I enjoyed the characters and everything about it. My only complaints are that there were a few times when I was unable to keep some of the minor characters straight as to who was who and there a couple times in the beginning where Quinn (a super badass) makes novice-type mistakes. For example, he has a state-of-the-art home security system but didn't install a monitor in his bedroom or keep a gun by his bed. I guess nobody's perfect!

PERFORMANCE - Scott Brick is awesome as always. Perfect voice for Quinn and great performance of the entire story.

OVERALL - There is only one non-explicit sex scene in the book. There are a few utterances of the F-word but not a lot. There is lots of action and killing and a bit of torture. The story stands alone, though there is character development that runs through the series (particularly a potential future romance between Quinn and Orlando). Recommended for anyone who enjoys espionage.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Emma
  • 07-23-09

good read

from start to the end I loved it. a real page turner

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • EmmyScotland
  • 05-02-13

Depressing and unable to listen to it!

This was a depressing book that was quite miserabe and further more the narrator was not that great which made it even harder to listen to...tried on several occasions to get in to the story but it was too much like hard work and gave in after a couple of chapters - not for me but who knows it might be right up your street!

0 of 3 people found this review helpful