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The Cleanup

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  263 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Matthew Worth is a mess. Somewhere between a good cop and a bad screwup, he botched a marriage and a career. His fellow officers think he’s a joke. His commanders are tired of cutting him breaks. Even his wife has left him for a flashy homicide detective. Busted to night patrol at a robbery-prone Omaha supermarket, Worth is doing time, wearing his uniform and asking shoppe ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 2006 by Dell (first published 2006)
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Shadow Roll by Ki LongfellowGood Dog, Bad Dog by Ki LongfellowAmerican Tabloid by James EllroyThe Girl in the Next Room by Ki LongfellowCaught Stealing by Charlie Huston
Best Noir of the 21st Century
148th out of 167 books — 295 voters
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86th out of 108 books — 17 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 572)
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Rob Kitchin
May 07, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it really liked it
The Cleanup is a very competent screwball noir that is very tightly plotted. The story rattles along with plenty of twists and turns. Worth and Gwen are nicely penned, surrounded by a set of somewhat stereotypical characters. The book has all the ingredients to be a five star read, but for some reason it just didn’t quite click that way for me. I think part of the problem was it all felt a little bit done by numbers – everything fitted together too neatly and slickly – and it lacked some darkly ...more
Dec 13, 2010 Josh rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 14, 2011 Toni rated it really liked it
This novel from a fellow Nebraskan is entertaining, and full of some surprisingly likable characters, set in the freezing cold of a holiday blizzard I could almost visualize. In some ways, it’s reminiscent of Evan Hunter’s Every Little Crook and Nanny, where the majority of the cast of characters are neither totally good or bad, even when they have the most nefarious deed in mind. The hero doubts his own self-worth, the officer who stole John’s wife turns out to be more than expected, John’s ex- ...more
Aug 11, 2010 Johnny rated it really liked it
It's a little unfair to have read this right after finishing an Elmore Leonard novel (52 PICK-UP). The influence is apparent, but ultimately the book holds up on its own and is a solid, fast-paced read.

While some of the characters' motivations could have been handled a little more fluidly (sometimes characters make choices for the sake of the story that feel a little forced), the strength, like Leonard, is in the pacing.

This book hits the ground running and never lets up. An author that more pe
Mike Kazmierczak
Jun 14, 2015 Mike Kazmierczak rated it really liked it
Doolittle has written another awesome novel that is full of rich characters and complicated events out of simple situations. He is really good at capturing the chaos that can arise out of a small start.

In this case Officer Matthew Worth is finishing up a divorce and working probationary duty at a local supermarket. Worth's flirtations with Gwen, the checkout clerk at the supermarket, complicate his life when she turns to him for help with her dead boyfriend. Like a lie that must be defended with
May 10, 2012 Lee rated it really liked it
If Sean Doolittle is a writer of midwestern (Omaha, NE) noir, that's OK by me. Matthew and Gwen were characters I cared/felt for. With its other cast of good & bad cops, throw in the mob and drug money for good measure...and you have a well written,entertaing crime novel.
Will look for his other novels.
Esther Somorai
Aug 19, 2015 Esther Somorai rated it really liked it
Sometimes people do things that they never would think of doing. This is a story that held my interest to the very end. Didn't care for the bad words, that was heavy at times throughout. Otherwise, a very good read.
Brett Starr
Jan 27, 2013 Brett Starr rated it it was amazing
No one gets away clean.

I came across Sean Doolittle after finding his story (Mr. Big Deal) in the super hero anthology Who Can Save Us Now?. Based off how much I liked that story, I decided to read one of his novels.

All I can say is, I've been missing out. "The Cleanup" seems like such a simple premise, yet the characters and writing take the story much deeper.

Matthew Worth just wants to do what is right, stand up for Gwen when she needs some help. What he doesn't know about Gwen's situation is
Feb 09, 2016 Matt rated it it was ok
Shelves: noir-2016
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 28, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, action, thriller
"Finalist 2007 Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original; 2007 Barry Award for Best Paperback"

Thriller - Matt Worth, an Omaha cop, is assigned as a night guard at a supermarket. Gwen, one of the cashiers kills her boyfriend after he brutally beats her and shows Matt the body. Matt takes her to the hospital and disposes of the body and the boyfriend's car. The car had $264K in drug money in it and two bad cops want it and assume that Matt and Gwen have it.

Sep 22, 2013 Rachael rated it really liked it
After 14 on and off again years as a resident of Omaha, I finally call this place home. I was extremely eager to pick up a book by an Omaha author, hoping to be able to understand some of the references. I was blown away at how many there were, especially so close to my home. A scene in the book takes place at the Homey Inn, the home of champagne on tap. Too many fun references.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit and was happy it is available through the library's eBook Kindle program. The multiple
Oct 22, 2008 Tom rated it it was amazing
Here's my review system--I score on four categories and average them together for the number of stars. The four categories are: character development (are the characters deep and complex, plot (is it interesting), voice (is the narration smooth and e...more Here's my review system--I score on four categories and average them together for the number of stars. The four categories are: character development (are the characters deep and complex, plot (is it interesting), voice (is the narration smoo ...more
Jun 11, 2016 John rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, hardboiled
Matt Worth is barely there and hardly trying which makes him a very bad noir hero. The two bad cops are cardboard and all the names are a bit too similar. The story is very slow moving for nearly 100 pages, and then zips along nicely with a lot of near misses, great double backs, and a few plausible twists. Can't say I didn't enjoy it, just probably not going to remember much about it. Doolittle punishes the females a bit too much for my liking as well. And it seems that the whole Uncle Eddie ba ...more
Jul 10, 2010 Julie rated it liked it
Aw, I wish I could give this book more stars! I am not a HUGE fan of this genre, but I wanted to read something of Doolittle's because we live in the same area. Yes, it was fun reading about places I knew, but the improbability of the story and the characters meant I nearly gave up on the whole story several times! I know that the main character is a doesn't-have-the-heart-for-it cop, but still - the actions he takes given the circumstances he's in just did not feel believable to me. The author ...more
Rory Costello
Aug 03, 2016 Rory Costello rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very satisfying thriller in all respects: characters, plot, action, and setting. I've spent very little time in Omaha, so it was fun to see it used as a location. The number of Hispanic characters struck me too -- one thinks of Nebraska as being very white-bread, but there's more to it than that.
Jan 04, 2015 Martha rated it really liked it
If I was an actual journalist, I'd probably say something like "a little gem," but since I'm not I'll just say that it's good.

Doolittle has an unusual ability to create an uncontrived dark tone infused with a bit of humor, and his plotting is unrelenting. The Cleanup resembles nothing more than a classic 50s noir in which a regular guy makes one bad decision and finds his life absolutely collapsing around him, and it hurtles toward its conclusion without Doolittle losing control or allowing him
Mar 01, 2014 Angie rated it liked it
Fast-moving & clever whodunit - and even more fun because it's written by an Omaha author & takes place in Omaha!
Tim Niland
Aug 25, 2007 Tim Niland rated it really liked it
The Cleanup is an interesting tale about what happens when good intentions go awry and spin out of control. Policeman Matt Worth works the security detail in a local supermarket after being demoted for striking a superior officer. When he develops a crush on the checkout girl only to find out she's in an abusive relationship with a smalltime hood, things go from bad to worse. The book switches perspective from the cops to the crooks and back with aplomb, making the narrative hard to follow at ti ...more
The Cleanup by Sean Doolittle The Cleanup by Sean Doolittle - This was a really cool book. I thought it was very original and not so predictable like with so many other mysteries I've read. I found the protagonist quite easy to like. And the antagonists are the kind you definitely love to hate. there is just something about a story with dirty cops that really appeals to me. I can't wait to read another Sean Doolittle book.
Robert Grant
Not bad. Took me a bit to get into it and I slowly made it through. I did like some parts but all in all-it was just okay for me.
Nov 02, 2010 R KD rated it did not like it
I was super excited to read this book after reading the blurb on the back. But...What a Letdown! The story could have been good if the characters had been more defined. I had a hard time keeping them straight just because they weren't really developed. This is one of the rare times when I think it would have been better to have seen the movie (not that there is one) instead of reading the book.
Sep 17, 2012 1864 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim McWhorter
Nov 28, 2011 Tim McWhorter rated it really liked it
I found the first half of the book to be slow and for lack of better terms, uninteresting. At times, the author tried to be too sparse with description and detail and the story suffered for it. I saw myself giving this one only 2 or 3 stars. But then, it seemed to find its groove and the second half was fast paced and intriguing.
Jul 20, 2009 Ben rated it liked it
I liked the premise of this book a lot but there was no follow through. The book should have been from the sole perspective of the main character Matthew Worth, but the author jumped around to multiple viewpoints of other minor characters. Overall, the book is worth reading but definitely not the best in the noir genre.
Chi Dubinski
Nov 12, 2013 Chi Dubinski rated it really liked it
A disgraced cop, Matthew Worth, is assigned a security detail in a grocery store and becomes involved with a checker and her abusive boyfriend. When Gwen kills her boyfriend and claims it was self-defense, she turns to Worth for help. A character driven story, not a police procedural, with plenty of suspense.
Carolyn Rose
Aug 06, 2013 Carolyn Rose rated it really liked it
It took me a few dozen pages to really connect with Matt Worth. He's a hapless kind of guy who doesn't seem to excel at anything. But he keeps slogging along, he gets up more than he's knocked down, and he achieves his own kind of justice.
Amber Jones
Oct 22, 2012 Amber Jones rated it liked it
I liked the fact the setting was in Omaha, NE.

I heard someone say something about the Homey Inn just a few days ago. Kind of weird that I then read about it in this book.

I enjoyed this story, it went very quickly.
Feb 25, 2015 Ryan rated it it was ok
Just ok. I would have liked a few more dark twists and turns. Some of the characters, like Uncle Eddie, were too formulaic. I enjoyed the read, but it wasn't gripping as the genre usually is for me.
John Sheridan
Dec 22, 2011 John Sheridan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Entertaining, not a standout but well constructed and with enough twists and turns to keep you interested as well as characters that you did actually care about so worth my while reading more from this author.
Jul 28, 2009 Camille rated it liked it
Whenever I want a good story with many twists and threads, I go to someone like Sean Doolittle. He doesn't tackle major themes, or try to be pretentious with language, but he keeps me turning pages.

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