Monday, December 3, 2012

Brett Battles: The Cleaner

In his debut novel Brett Battles introduces the reader a cleaner, nothing too violent, just cleaning up a body or two if necessary, but even a cleaner has to get his hands dirty every once in awhile

Jonathan Quinn, does not have a violent career, but it often does involve dead bodies and a little clean up when needed. So when he is requested by "the Office" to make sure that everything cleans up nicely when a body is discovered in a fire, Quinn believes it is just another regular case. But Quinn would not be good at his job if he was not thorough and ask the right questions. When his handler at the Office, suddenly won’t answer his questions, he knows that this is more than just a simple cleaning job. Quinn knows he must have been asking the right questions, as he is suddenly on someone's death list and his only hope is to get some help from the past but this will put even more people in danger. It may have started out as a simple cleaning job, but now Quinn is going to need to get his hands really dirty in order to keep himself and others around him alive.

I was surprised to find out that this was Battles’ debut novel; this book had all the aspects I would expect from a seasoned writer. I really enjoyed this book. It had an interesting story, that was able to keep me entertained throughout and never let me down with being too cliché or predictable. Battles did a really good job of keeping me on my toes as you were never really sure what was going to happen next. Battles does a good job in keeping his novel fast pace as there was very little down time for Quinn, therefore, it was the same for the reader. This also causes you not to want to put the book down as there never seems to be a right time for that, which is I think is quite a complement for any writer, you just want to get through the next few pages or chapter and all of sudden you have not gotten anything done that day except read a book (sounds like a good day to me though).

The book is centered around Quinn when he is already well versed in the cleaning business.  I like that Battles took some time for backstory of other jobs that Quinn has done as well as show some of the relationships that he has been forced to call on in this novel. He also takes the time to explain how and why Quinn got into the cleaning business. I appreciate the backstory as it lets the reader get to know Quinn better. I know that some readers do not like flash backs within novels as they can distract from the story that is currently happening, however, I think that the back flashes that Battles chose to show in The Cleaner were needed and well placed within the book, that they did not disrupt the flow of the book and actually enhanced the story.

I really like Quinn as a character. He is strong, likes to stay in the background and as a cleaner but is not afraid to get his hands dirty. He is cool under pressure, but I think that Battles did a good job in balancing his tough guy persona with his personal feeling for Orlando. He was also able to counteract the seriousness of Quinn’s personality with his interaction with his apprentice Nate. I think Quinn's character has the ability to appeal to lots of different individuals as you are able to see both sides of him

Fans of action adventure novels with a "government agency" twist will enjoy this book by Battles. I found this book fast paced, well written and an interesting plot that will keep you from putting this book down. I look forward to reading another book by Battles.

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