As the first book in a series that was to go on to become very popular, it is an interesting point that the first release of The Cleaner was in 2013, self-published by Mark Dawson. As a first, it has, by its nature, to create a character, then to give the character substance and reason to become the protagonist that will develop over future books.
The Cleaner is such that is appears at times to be somewhat disjointed but with a strong story-line, that of a former British Government assassin who is particularly good at what he does. He is elite, a perfectionist and that earns him the reputation of being number one, not number twelve, the number he was given when he joined Group Fifteen. John Milton is feared by the bad and in high demand from those who need protection.
Eventually his particular line of work begins to eat away at him, haunting his sleep and disturbing his peace. His final job for the Government is flawed, but he vows to make amends for his past by doing his best to help others. He is walking away from his recent past, but the reality is can he and will he be allowed to simply remain alive, with the knowledge has about clandestine Government operations?
He helps a single mother, Sharron Warriner find her son, who has managed to get involved with a charismatic charmer of a gang leader and his followers, who are none to happy about Milton interfering with their lives and that of Elijah, who is high on the adrenaline rush of stand-over tactics and gang power.
As Milton become more involved in the dark side of the East-End of London he finds that in spite of the life he has led, he is way, way, way out of this depth. The situation only gets worse as he begins to realise that now he is the hunted, not the hunter and the Government want him dead!
Put in context of the first in a series, the storyline is solid although the style of writing seems to be a bit disjointed at times. A good read, worth hanging in with if you want to enjoy further books. The appeal is there, but needs a little perseverance to get to the final page.
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|