The reader is plunged into the action almost immediately and the action does not stop. Jonathan Quinn, not his real name he explains, is a “cleaner” for the Office,seemingly a cross between the CIA and the NSA. As a cleaner, Jonathan
does not kill people; he disposes of the bodies, takes care of the details, and then moves on.
We meet Jonathan as he arrives in Colorado to clean up the aftermath of a fire that has killed two people, one a man about whom Jonathan knows nothing and the other a person with ties to the Office. Once in Colorado, Quinn meets his new apprentice, Nate (not his real name) and, with their job done, they go to Quinn’s home in California. Despite an extremely high level security system, someone enters the property to kill Quinn. He kills the killer but when he contacts the Office, Peter, his boss, tells him that Quinn in on his own, there
has been a “disruption.” The disruption explains how someone breached his security; there is a traitor in the Office.
Quinn needs to disappear so he and Nate travel to Vietnam where Quinn seeks out a former colleague, Orlando, a woman with whom he has shared a mentor. Orlando is happy in Vietnam, living with her young son, but when Quinn receives a message that he is needed in Germany immediately, Orlando opts to go with Jonathan and Nate. Once in Berlin, Quinn realizes that the problem he faces is tied to the deaths in Colorado.
There is a certain irony in that Quinn is a “cleaner” but he repeatedly has to kill people. The period in Berlin reminiscent of the ODESSA FILE, cold and snowy and sinister. But as the book moves along, the plot becomes decidedly 21st century. Quinn, Orlando, and Nate have very little time to put an end to a terrorist plot to implement ethnic cleansing.
Battles writes espionage and thriller more than mystery so THE CLEANER is not
like most of the books I read. I will, however, read the next two books in
the series. Anyone who likes non-stop action will really like THE CLEANER.
Jonathan Quinn is a man dedicated to the protection of his country; he is an
appealing character and an honorable man. A revelation at the end of the story
pretty much guarantees that Orlando will remain part of Quinn’s team as will
Nate. I look forward to watching the characters develop.