The Cleaner and The Silenced by Brett Battles.
I read a lot of thrillers and suspense novels, mostly because I like the action. I had not heard of Brett Battles before Michelle suggested them for review but I am glad I know him now. The two I read were the first and fourth in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed his books and especially his character, Jonathan Quinn. Quinn is a professional “cleaner,” which is “Nothing too violent, just disposing of bodies, doing a little cleanup if necessary.” He’s an independent contractor so he doesn’t work for just one person but accepts jobs from many. He travels the world, and understands many languages and cultures.
From the website:
The job seemed simple enough: investigating a suspicious case of arson. But when a dead body turns up where it doesn't belong—and Quinn's handlers at "the Office" turn strangely silent—he knows he's in over his head.
With only a handful of clues, Quinn scrambles for cover, struggling to find out why someone wants him dead . . . and if it's linked to a larger attempt to wipe out the Office.
His only hope may be Orlando, a woman from his past who's reluctant to help but who may hold the key to solving the case. Suddenly the two are prying into old crimes, crisscrossing continents, struggling to stay alive long enough to unbury the truth. But as the hunt intensifies, Quinn is stunned by what he uncovers: a chilling secret . . . and a brilliantly orchestrated conspiracy—with an almost unimaginable goal.
Quinn has a new client and an odd job: find and remove the remains of a body hidden twenty-five years ago inside a London building now scheduled for demolition.
But Quinn, his deadly and beautiful girlfriend Orlando, and their uniquely talented colleague Nate are being watched. Suddenly caught in the crossfire between two dangerous rivals who demand the remains, Quinn and his team must learn who the dead man was and why he's still so important. Because a plot stretching from London to Hong Kong to the former Soviet Union is rapidly unraveling. And Quinn hasn't just been hired to tie up loose ends—he is one.
The books are fast-paced and action-filled, just like a thriller should be. Battles creates great characters with Quinn and his companions, Nate and Orlando. What I like best is that the books center around a character with a unique profession. Though he hints at the possibility of a secret government entity, that has little to do with the story. Instead, he creates a new group of spies with gadgets, high intelligence, and quick wits to solve the conspiratorial situations in which they enmesh themselves.
Battles’ books are quick reads, intricate and unique, with lots of twists and turns along the way. Once I picked them up I did not want to put them down and I read both books within about a week. I missed a few developments by not reading the second and third books, but because he is a good mystery writer it did not take away from the story. I plan to go back and read those two and to read more of his books as he writes them. Brett Battles has made it to my list of favorite thriller writers.