by Bruce TierneyJuly, 2007
Taking readers to the cleaner
We'll start off this month with a debut novel, Brett Battles' tension-laden tale of espionage and betrayal, The Cleaner. In his clandestine line of endeavor, Jonathan Quinn is known to a select few as a cleaner. He surreptitiously enters a crime scene after the fact and removes any indication that a crime has taken place, or rearranges evidence to point to an alternative truth. Wetwork, the spilling of blood in the line of duty, is not typical of his duties, although sometimes it cannot be helped. Quinn works for a secretive quasi-governmental agency (known only as The Office ), although clearly his work is not entirely above board. He is enjoying the balmy tranquility of Maui when he is summoned to Colorado to investigate a case of suspected arson/murder. Things turn sour quickly, as Quinn discovers a second dead body, that of an Office operative. He immediately seeks guidance, but everyone seems to have gone to ground, leaving Quinn twisting in the wind. In short order, he finds out why: A massacre has taken place, decimating the home office and leaving Quinn in the unenviable position of being the prime remaining target of the perps. The Cleaner is full to the brim with clever plot twists, with a final bolt from the blue that will catch even the veteran thriller aficionado unawares.