The Cleaner by Brett Battles is an international espionage thriller that will be released on June 26, 2007. At first I was a little nervous reading a book by my friend, Brett. What if I didn't like it? And if anyone knows me they know I'm not a good liar, quite the contrary I'm very blunt and possibly more honest than people would like.
Getting into the book was a little slow for me. Part of that I know is because I don't read many espionage/thriller books and so I got really wrapped up in being suspicious of everybody (trying to figure out the mystery before it was really set up, rookie mistake I'm sure!) and getting the hang of the different genre. Also, since it took a little bit for the stakes to be raised it was difficult for me to see where the plot was going. However, Brett picked up the pace real quick as we delved into my favorite part of the novel... the International settings!
Brett takes the readers from the US to Vietnam and then finally to Germany. Brett writes about these locations with authority, given enough detail to make the reader fell like they are literally there. One of my favorite scenes that still sticks with me is when the hero, Quinn, and his apprentice, Nate, walk out of the airport and Nate is literally accosted by a boy trying to carry his luggage for him (for a small fee of course). The details of Vietnam and Germany are very naturally and convincingly written and for a person who has been to neither I felt rather intimate and knowledgeable about both places by the end of the book.
The other aspect of the book that picks up in Vietnam is the relationship part of the book, not necessarily just the romantic relationships, but Quinn's relationship with his apprentice, his past relationships are reminisced about and brought up in various ways and you get a more fuller picture of Quinn. Once the novel gets taken to Germany though is when the real mystery/thriller part of the book explodes. Germany was a full ride of suspense and action and I can say honestly that I flew through the last part of the book, dying to know what was going on, thinking I had it all figured out, only to find out that I had no idea. So let me just clear it up for you all, the Mastermind behind the whole thing is... Ha! Did you really think I'd make it that easy for you?
I'm not really sure what I should or should not say about the plot since information is revealed to you bit by bit, and I don't want to accidentally ruin that for anybody, except that at the beginning of the novel I was baffled by all the seemingly random clues and pieces of information that didn't seem to fit together and then by the end it all impossibly and yet perfectly and yet not at all implausibly fit together!
And possibly the best show of restraint and honesty an author can show, Brett ended the book in a realistic and yet satisfying manner in which not everything was tied up with a red bow with smiley faces all over it, and yet it was realistic and what you'd figure would happen in real life, but also it was a good ending.
The Cleaner is a satisfying, education and fun read. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it thoroughly and am looking forward to reading more of Jonathan Quinn's adventures. And before I forget, let me just mention that it's so cool that the main character is not the cop, the detective or anything else so glamorous, but the guy who cleans up the dead bodies. What a creative idea! Though at first when I read the title I thought the main character was some janitor by day, detective by night guy and I thought that that would be really cool, but that's just because I really like janitors.
I definitely recommend this book when it is released, hell, you can pre-order it now if you want!
I apologize for the delay in getting this review out, I usually like to get the reviews out within days of finishing the book so that it's still fresh in my mind, but due to my computer difficulties I was unable to. Just to keep you updated, I'm still not sure if I can get the data off of my fried laptop, but Hubby and I decided to buy a new desktop either way since my laptop was slow as heck with all the stuff we had on it and obviously not very reliable since it liked to overheat, so we'd been planning on buying a desktop for a while. Yes, we went to the dark side, much to the detriment of my brother and some of my friends! We got an iMac. I've heard nothing but good things about Macs through my research (virus free for 7 years now, runs multiple applications flawlessly) and it's definitely been an adventure for me to learn the new operating system, although the rumor is that Vista, Microsoft's new operating system, is modeled after the Mac's operating system so if I were to buy a new PC I'd probably have to learn a new operating system anyways. Well, yeah, so I'll stop justifying my crossover to the dark side for now and I'll let you know how it goes... so far I can honestly say I like it. It runs more smoothly than any PC I've ever had and seems actually simpler to navigate around.