I met Jonathan Quinn in THE CLEANER when it was published in 2007. Quinn works for The Office, one of those federal bureaucracies that no one knows about or, if they do know, they never talk about. Quinn isn’t a killer; he cleans up after killers, disposing of bodies, erasing all signs of mayhem and murder. He is trained to kill but it isn’t part of his job description.
THE CLEANER was reviewed on this blog on August 19, 2010. Happily, this is one of the review that is easy to access from the list of books and authors. (I am embarrassed at how easily I put off doing the essential tidying up of the site).
THE CLEANER is a fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable book, as are the other books in the series (although I haven’t gotten to the newest yet). I was very pleased to discover a new story in SHAKEN – Stories For Japan. Rather than Quinn being the focus of the story, the job is given to Orlando who has THE ASSIGNMENT of driving a woman to meet her husband. Orlando is to meet her plane from Japan and to drive her to meet him, no questions asked. Orlando finds the “no questions asked” aspect uncovers a very unusual woman.
On Saturday’s edition of the blog Murder Is Everywhere (June 11), I explained at length why I don’t like short stories. In theory, I am not crazy about the Kindle either. But I have downloaded the free Kindle application for the PC which allowed me to read SHAKEN. That in turn led me to re-evaluate my opinion of short stories and the ease of reading SHAKEN led me to conclude that reading on the PC might not be such a bad thing. I have purchased e-books, I just let them sit there while I read paper. At any rate, those two epiphanies led to me download a short story by Brett called “Just Another Job”, a Quinn story. It is a short short-story but it sums up everything that is so very interesting about Jonathan Quinn.
Quinn is not supposed to be on the operations side of the business; Quinn isn’t supposed to be a killer. He is prepared to kill to save his own life or the lives of the people he loves, but that isn’t his job. His job is to clean up loose ends by whatever means necessary. “Just Another Job”, because it isn’t novel length, makes it easier to focus on the character of Quinn and to really think about why this man who, despite his denials, is in the business of killing people, is still an honorable character whom it is so easy to like. Quinn brings readers back to the series each time a new book is published and that is a testament to the skills of Brett Battles.
Try the series.