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The Cleaner (Jonathan Quinn #1)

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,673 Ratings  ·  235 Reviews
Meet Jonathan Quinn: a freelance operative with a take-no-prisoners style and the heart of a loner. His job? Professional “cleaner.” Nothing too violent, just disposing of bodies, doing a little cleanup if necessary.But in Brett Battles’s electrifying debut novel, Quinn’s latest assignment will change everything, igniting a harrowing journey of violence, betrayal, and reve ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published June 24th 2008 by Dell (first published June 26th 2007)
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From the summary of this book, I thought it’d be about a guy kind of like Harvey Kietel’s character Winston “The Wolf” Wolfe from Pulp Fiction. You know, a slick guy who shows up and gets rid of all the evidence after some criminal shennigans. But instead of getting The Wolf, this book featured a low-rent Jason Bourne wannabe named Jonathan Quinn.

In fact, I’m not even sure why Quinn is called a ‘cleaner’. He’s a freelance operative who works for intelligence agencies following up after covert a
Apr 26, 2016 Dipanjan rated it really liked it
Shelves: facebook-reviews
This was my first tryst with Mr. Battle's Jonathan Quinn. And I must say, I am absolutely thrilled to have discovered him. "The Cleaner" starts of at an amazing pace and builds up momentum as we go further into the book.

You keep reading and suddenly you find yourself turning the midway point and the only thing to make you stop is the thought "Hey, let me savor this a bit".

The spy-craft is pretty exciting and extremely intelligent. The charatcers are endearing and you feel for the relationships a
Mike (the Paladin)
This isn't a bad book, my 3 star rating rule is that I don't dislike the book, but I can't really say I liked it a's okay but I think could have been better.

We're introduced to "Jonathan Quinn" here. He's a Cleaner. When wet work takes place and those pesky bodies, blood pools and viscera are left lying around "They" call John.

Who are "They"? Why, "The Office".

I liked the idea of this one and it touched on what I think is one of the more frightening possibilities of modern "terrorism" (
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
The Cleaner was a slow read for me, but ultimately I enjoyed it. I appreciated the attention to detail evident in this novel. It felt authentic (although I could hardly say yay or nay since I am not a spy and I don't know any). I feel that the world-building lends a credibility to the concept of Quinn as a Cleaner, at any rate.

As far as characterization, Quinn remains a mystery, but I felt that I got to walk inside of his skin and get a feel for how he processed things. He clearly knows his stuf
Scott E
I gave 3-stars as this was a debut and one could only hope that Battles can get better with future books. For a near perfect debut in a similar style/subject-matter, read Barry Eisler's Rain Fall.

The Cleaner is nicely paced for the most part, although I found there were parts of this book where Battles over-described a scene. The first two scenes in the sphere took forever and cried for a quicker pace. And, as this book was written in 2007, there was really no need to detail (really detail!!!) h
Shelley aka Gizmo's Reviews
Synopsis: Ex-cop Jonathan Quinn now works for a shadowy U.S. intelligence agency known merely as the Office, erasing all traces of violence and mayhem when an operation goes south. During an apparently routine assignment to look into a fatal fire that claimed the life of Robert Taggart, a viral biologist, in his Colorado home, Quinn finds evidence that Taggart was murdered, and that discovery is followed by an attempt on Quinn's own life. While Quinn survives, he learns that the Office's top ope ...more
Tom Tischler
Oct 09, 2015 Tom Tischler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jonathan Quinn is a freelance operative with a take no prisoners
style. His job is a professional cleaner with nothing too violent,
just disposing of bodies and a little clean up if necessary. His latest
assignment is going to change all this with a journey of violence, betrayal
and revenge. The job seems simple enough a simple case of arson but when
a body turns up where it doesn't belong and Quinn's handlers turn suddenly
silent he knows that he's in over his head and it's all linked to a plan
to eli
Aug 19, 2013 Radu rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually have time to make a worth wile review so I don't bother, but I just can't keep quiet this time.

I thought this book will be an action one through and through. Assassin agency, spy activities and an attractive hostage for a little Stockholm syndrome romance. It made me think of the John Rain series.

Now don't get me wrong, it has all of the above but in such a twisted unrealistic story that at first I thought I was drunk. It wasn't me, but the author that was inebriated. At least I
Jun 09, 2009 KarenC rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ludlum fans

Globe trotting thriller, similar in style to the new "Robert Ludlum" titles (Ludlum story outlines written by other authors). A bit flat in places, while in others very engaging and suspenseful; enough to keep the pages turning. Quinn's contacts, alertness, powers of observation, reactions to events, and fast-paced travel itinerary reminded me of Jason Bourne.

A "cleaner" who surely exceeds his commission in terms of follow up. Won't stop following the trail despite more than one warning to give

Wayne Fielding
Feb 03, 2015 Wayne Fielding rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this book no end. Another series of books to get stuck into.
Feb 01, 2014 TJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Admittedly, I've started this series late. That's actually a good thing, considering the prequel to "The Cleaner", which gives us valuable insight into Quinn, wasn't penned until the 4th or 5th installment. It's also a bit of a drawback because in that time, Battles has come a long way in tightening his stories.

"The Cleaner" is a great suspense/thriller with a refreshingly unique take - that being the POV of the person who covertly "cleans up" the messes after assassinations and such. The autho
Joe Newell
Oct 24, 2013 Joe Newell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book had pretty good ratings, and it's the kind of book (meaning the genre) that I usually like. However, it was just a snoozefest. The author was never able to get me interested in the characters or the story.

I didn't finish it.
Mar 22, 2015 Zora rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
implausible, cliched when it isn't, and not very well written.
Mar 16, 2014 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, shoot. I had really hoped to like this book. Brett Battles, as far as I can tell, is an independent author who sells his books for a few bucks a pop. I had enjoyed one I got for free on Kindle called "Sick", although it was a bit derivative. I figured "The Cleaner" was a good next choice. Unfortunately, not so much.

The premise of the book is that Jonathan Quinn is a guy who usually cleans up crime scenes - I guess sort of based on "The Wolf" from Pulp Fiction. Suddenly, he is brought into
Nov 08, 2008 Gina rated it it was amazing
A compelling, page-turning debut novel!

Jonathan Quinn, a professional ‘cleaner’ for a covert government known as ‘The Office’ is contracted to go to Colorado to ‘investigate’ the death of a man named Taggert. However, to Quinn, the whole thing smells fishy. With the help of his apprentice, they look for any clues that need to be ‘cleaned’. Discovering the body of another female ‘agent’, Quinn knows everything isn’t as it seems. He knows he should be minding his own business, that he’s hired to g
Following my discovery of Lee Child's hero, I began scouring the genre landscape for similar heroes: alone, powerful, possessing principles (even in professions that refute that notion). One evening, during such research I stumbled across the author Brett Battles and his unlikely hero: Jonathan Quinn.

What we have here is a principled cleaner: you know, the guy that cleans up after grissly killings. (Well, I did say it is an unlikely hero). He reminds us of Eisler's John Rain. The man has a stric
Alan Williams
Sep 04, 2011 Alan Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Jonathan Quinn is an espionage agent, but he doesn't work for MI6 or the CIA, he's freelance.

Quinn is asked to investigate a suspicious arson and death, and soon someone is trying to kill him. Quinn needs to find out what's going on and stop those who are after him before they put a stop to his investigation permanently. The trail will take Quinn to Vietnam, Germany and Brussels, and put Quinn in some tight spots where his death is one likely outcome.

This is the first in the Jonathan Quinn serie
Sean Wylie
Boring. I do my best to avoid the 'modern detective' story, you know the ones where the description starts; "Former CIA operative", "Disgraced FBI agent", or "Suspended ATF officer" takes no prisoners to save the day. I took a chance on this one as the main character seemed to be a bad guy (Quinn is The Cleaner and shows up after crimes to clean the scene and prepare it for the local cops to get the wrong idea of what happened), and that sounded fun.

Nope. Despite the slightly different angle th
I really can't believe a thriller novel bored me to tears. I've read loads of them before, but I've never come across one as unimaginative as this one. The pacing puts you to sleep, and the action scenes are so cliche that by the time anything interesting happens, you'll most likely not even care. But the characters are what bothered me the most. The protagonist can be best described as a bag of bricks - as in, he's just as interesting as one. He has no quirks, no distinguishing features, no ver ...more
Mary JL
Aug 31, 2010 Mary JL rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery & suspense fans who want a quick, easy read
Recommended to Mary JL by: Received as a gift
Shelves: mystery-horror
This book was well-written, fast paced and had a good concept. It is well worth a read, especially if you like spy thrillers.

However, three stars is all I can give. There are some convenient co-incidences that imho weaken the plot; also one fairly large plot hole, and the ending seems not to fit to me.

Also, I've noticed lately many mysteries now have the protagonits---I cannot say 'hero'--a criminal. Quinn is a cleaner--he disposes of bodies for a clandestine outfit known as "the Office". He see
Sep 29, 2011 apple rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perfect spy-thriller for long flight or lazy girls-night-in. Jonathan Quinn is the spy who came in from the cold then settled comfortably into his modern Scandinavian couch and read Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun. I’m not making this up. Here’s an espionage operative who prefers a quiet night reading Haruki Murakami over flirticating with leggy blonde Russian double agent. Admittedly compared to Bond, Bourne, Bauer and other Bs I might have missed..Quinn is just this side of bor ...more
Freelance spies filled with pseudo melodrama and odd happenings just for the sake of plot. It was good enough to finish but I kept questioning the kidnappings - the author repeated that the kidnappees were being used as hostages but the bad guys never took advantage of them as hostages. The good guys didn't even pretend to stop fighting the bad guys just because they had the hostages so they were just something else for the bad guys to have to take care of in aid of their terrible plot against h ...more
Christine Jones
Apr 13, 2016 Christine Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I picked up this book and just couldn't put it down. I was compelled at every twist to keep going because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. The cleaner is the story of a man named Jonathan Quinn as he is thrust into an increasingly confusing situation where people are trying to kill him. Despite his shadowy career, this is not normal for poor Quinn and as he races to get to the bottom of the mystery, more twists and turns are revealed. The story reveals aspects of Quinn's past ...more
Feb 12, 2015 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy, adventure, action
After reading the series prequel, "Becoming Quinn", I was expecting Jonathan Quinn to be the guy who cleans up spy crime scenes. Just like his former mentor Durrie, the man who makes bodies and blood disappear without a trace. A person who stages a different scenario for the sudden disappearance of a person that was just assassinated. Not an assassin himself but the clean up crew that makes sure no evidence of a crime is left behind.

Here, years later we have the former rookie cop Jake Oliver wh
Dec 07, 2014 Barry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have wavered between three and four stars in rating this book but, ultimately decided on a four because it is a good story. It is supposed to be the story of a "cleaner," one who cleans up after crimes, disposing of bodies, etc. and his apprentice. Irrespective of his somewhat non-violent job description, Jonathon Quinn, the cleaner, ends up killing people right, left and center. As you can see, this inconsistency between the description and the story bothered me.

The story involves an attack
Steevan Glover
May 20, 2009 Steevan Glover rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very poor almost painting by numbers thriller. "Spook based hero with a conscience - check. International locationsa - check. Suitable expert / love interest combined - check. Thin and transparent plot with little reasoning, common sense - check.

Thin characters follow an even thinner plot. Conveninece tortures logic to the point that it screams and finally fades away.

Oh - the writing is pretty ppor too. Cliched and clumsey.

Don't even waste your time with it on holiday.

Mar 17, 2015 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had I not read "Becoming Quinn," which is a prequel to how Jonathan Quinn became a "cleaner," I may not have been as confused by the time that had passed between that novel and this first of the Jonathan Quinn series. The problem with listing (and perhaps reading) books in the order of publication is that one may not necessarily follow the storyline in the chronological sequence that the author wrote the character, and I thought this might be the case with this book, as a lot of the storyline re ...more
Andrew Milne
Aug 26, 2011 Andrew Milne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a big surprise for me. I walked into a store in a small cottage town looking for a doc book.The Cleaner was on the new- release shelf. Looked James bond'ish so I bought it with no expectations..
I could not put if down. Had all spy stuff with a guy who has a boat load of human flaws. Makes for fun reading. Like of so much I bought the next book right away.
Apr 16, 2016 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the reason that people enjoy spy stories is because spies seem to have the clearance to do whatever it takes, without bounds, to get the job done. No red tape, no protocol, just what needs to happen? This is how I can make it happen. This novel is no exception.
Jonathan Quinn is smart, slightly unorthodox, and has a lot of loyalty and integrity. The rule that having someone to care about makes you more vulnerable doesn't seem to stack up when examining this case. It seems to only make hi
Mandy Tucker
I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. There were parts that seemed to drag on forever, as if the author was just trying to reach a specific word count. However, the ending had a great twist and I enjoyed the characters. I'll definitely give book 2 in the series a shot. However, I hope Battles doesn't keep referring to Quinn as a "cleaner". He didn't really clean anything. The title is a little misleading. Quinn is more and operative, or a spy; but definitely not a cleaner. It was the debut nov ...more
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Brett Battles is a Barry Award-winning author of over twenty-five novels, including Rewinder, the Jonathan Quinn series, the Logan Harper series, and the Project Eden series. He’s also the coauthor, with Robert Gregory Browne, of the Alexandra Poe series. You can learn more at his website:
More about Brett Battles...

Other Books in the Series

Jonathan Quinn (10 books)
  • The Deceived (Jonathan Quinn, #2)
  • Shadow of Betrayal (Jonathan Quinn, #3)
  • The Silenced (Jonathan Quinn, #4)
  • The Destroyed (Jonathan Quinn, #5)
  • The Collected (Jonathan Quinn, #6)
  • The Enraged (Jonathan Quinn, #7)
  • The Discarded (Jonathan Quinn #8)
  • The Buried (Jonathan Quinn #9)
  • The Unleashed (Jonathan Quinn #10)

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