But now, after 10 years, he's had enough - there's blood on his hands and he wants out. Trouble is, this job is not one you can just walk away from. He goes on the run, seeking atonement for his sins by helping the people he meets along the way.
But his past cannot be easily forgotten, and before long it is Milton who is hunted, and not the hunter. The Cleaner. A career of state-sanctioned murder has taken its toll. Milton is troubled by nightmares, a long line of ghosts who torment his dreams. He resolves to make his next job his last and, then, perhaps, he can start to make amends for everything that he has done.
Sharon Warriner is a single mother in the East End of London, suicidal with fear that she's lost her young son to a life in the gangs. After Milton saves her life, he promises to help. But the gang, and the charismatic rapper who leads it, is not about to cooperate with him.
As London burns through summer riots, Milton finds himself in unfamiliar territory, dealing with an unfamiliar foe. And when his employer sends another agent after him, the odds against him are stacked even higher.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Lucy on 05-11-16
Good but oddly unsatisfying
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
I purchased this book because I'd listened to a later one in the John Milton series and had enjoyed it, so it made sense to start at the beginning. However, if my first introduction to the series had been with "The Cleaner", I don't think I would have bothered reading the rest of them. Without giving away any spoilers, I thought the ending was quite unsatisfactory and it didn't feel as if it had a proper conclusion. Actually, it was all a bit of a downer.
So, on that basis, I'm not sure that I would recommend "The Cleaner", rather I would say to my friend to give it a go on the basis that they do get better and this first book does provide a reasonable introduction to the hero, but not to have any big expectations that this will blow anyone's mind.
Would you recommend The Cleaner to your friends? Why or why not?
Despite the downer ending, I will say that "The Cleaner" introduces an interesting and compelling character in the form of John Milton. He's a more damaged, less suave James Bond type, but just as lethal. Some of the things he does do defy logic and it's not entirely clear sometimes what his motivation is... but he is engaging and has a fascination. Like I said above, if it hadn't been for the ending I would be recommending this to friends.
Have you listened to any of David Thorpe’s other performances? How does this one compare?
When I first started listening to David Thorpe I almost turned off the audiobook because he reminded me so much of the narrator in TV's Big Brother. It was so irritating. However, I persevered and he began to grow on me. In "The Cleaner" he is less Big Brother-like, so less irritating, or perhaps I just got used to it. One thing I will say is that he is absolutely brilliant with his accents and voices. I actually had to check how many narrators were on this book because they all sounded so different. I was totally impressed. Also, the voice he does for John Milton is perfect - he seems to really capture the essence of the character in the way he speaks, it's quite a delight to listen to (and just a bit sexy). So, the Big Brother issue aside (for which I've deducted one star), I do think David Thorpe does a great job overall.
Was The Cleaner worth the listening time?
Yes, although had I known how it was going to end I'm not sure I would have invested the time and effort. Having said that, "The Cleaner" does set up the rest of the series and having already read one of the later books I do know they get better, so I'm glad I've got this background into the character.
Any additional comments?
It's clear a lot of work and research has gone into this book and some of the gang characters really stand out. John Milton is very believable as the assassin trying to go straight, the typical anti-hero - but sometimes I did find some of the things he did a bit hard to understand and his motivation wasn't always that convincing. But, all that aside, the book did keep me entertained and rooting for the hero - in fact, I binged listened to the last couple of hours as the book began to reach its climax, so that must say something.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful
By Yellow bookworm on 19-06-15
Mark Dawson cleans up with first John Milton novel
Mark Dawson's John Milton is an intriguing and captivating character, an assasin who has developed a conscience. I love tough guys and black ops units and this novel has the best. It is well-written, pacy and unexpected and also read beautifully. I thoroughly recommend it.
24 of 30 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Ted on 17-04-17
Sizzling Beginning: 15 Stars!
Okay; weed away the PC offenses of James Bond and swirl him into John LeCarre's world of ominous bureaucratic dread. Then charge the whole thing with seasoning from Tom Wood's 'Victor The Assassin' - add a big chunk of Ludlum's 'Jason Bourne' and finally swizzle-stick it into throb-mode with Mark Dawson's dystopian imagination. Finally, have David Thorpe create this ensemble at a talent level set on high-craft. And that's how much "The Cleaner" entertained me.
Warning... this is the first part of a 'John Milton' epic. I'm off to download "Saint Death" the second in this series. Usually I hate adventures that are not entirely stand-alone. But this one is so close to a single story, and it is so damned exciting... that I've transcended my normal crankiness.
Yep, I really liked "The Cleaner". 15 Stars!
16 of 18 people found this review helpful
By Charles Atkinson on 11-05-17
Really fast paced and good story
John Milton the assasin is retired. He has let it be known he is out. And then, on his way home he notices a crowd shouting down at the tracks where his train was seconds away from arriving. A 30 something black woman is laying across the tracks. So he saves her. As fate would have it, she and her son would save him as well.
Suddenly an ex special forces assasin finds himself living in the ghettos of London where street gangs rule. He is there to help this woman save her teenage son from a life on the streets. Now that is what makes this story so intriguing. Great characters, believable story and yet tragedy remains in the end.
Milton, in this novel anyway, is almost like a Jack Reacher or Mitch Rapp, but with more humanity than super powers. But the premise has me thinking. What if the Government dropped special forces teams to violently wipe out all the gangs in LA and Chicago. These novels with super ex seals more or less advocate that. Collateral damages aside, gangs could be obliterated in weeks and it would protect thousands of lives and billions of dollars. The answer is that we are a nation of laws.
17 of 20 people found this review helpful