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‘The Cleaner’ a real thrill

  If you’re a fan of Alistair MacLean or Jack Higgins or even Robert Ludlum, you’re going to enjoy "The Cleaner" by new author Brett Battles. In fact, I haven’t been so surprised by the quality and story-telling ability of a new author since reading Chris Mooney’s first book, "Deviant Ways," several years ago.
  "The Cleaner" deals with Jonathan Quinn, who literally cleans up the bodies and messes left by the operatives of the Office.  When the job’s too dirty for the CIA, they contract it out to the Office and its team of killers and specialists. This time around, however, everything goes to hell in a handbasket when Quinn and his new apprentice, Nate, check out a death-by-fire in Denver and discover that it was a murder, instead of a tragic accident.
  Once Quinn wraps things up and returns to his home in California, someone tries to kill him because of what he found out in Denver. If that isn’t enough, all the top operatives for the Office are suddenly assassinated over a 24-hour period, and Quinn, along with Nate, finds himself on the run, attempting to stay alive long enough to figure out what’s going on and who’s trying to kill him.
  This leads the two men to South Vietnam and a woman named Orlando who Quinn has secretly loved for years. She’s every bit as tough and lethal as any male operative and quickly decides to join him and Nate in their quest for answers with the trail leading them to Germany and to Borko, one of the deadliest and sadistic killers alive.
  Before the truth is found, a lot of people are going to die and Quinn will have his hands full trying to prevent a massive tragedy from happening and also stay one step ahead of Borko and the one person who orchestrated the entire scenario, including his death.
  It’s not often that a new author hits the scene with a running start and tramples all over his competition, demonstrating what a writer can do once he sets his mind to it. Battles clearly succeeds where many longtime authors have failed in creating a compelling novel that readers are simply unable to put down till the very last page. "The Cleaner" is just such a novel, and its protagonist, Quinn, is a man with his own strict code of honor and the true spirit of the samurai, ready to kill if necessary while never hesitating to push toward his goal, no matter what the cost.
  The novel is both complex and violent (the scene where Borko kills a woman with a screwdriver is one example), and it certainly raises the stakes for every author working in the thriller genre. From the opening paragraphs to the last, Battles knows his craft inside and out, and he may just be the man who replaces the late Robert Ludlum as the master of spy fiction.
  I’m already looking forward to reading his new hardcover, "The Deceived," when it comes out June 24th.

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