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The Cleaner Audiobook

The Cleaner: John Milton, Book 1

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Audible Editor Reviews

The heart-pounding action-packed audiobook thriller, The Cleaner, is written by highly-acclaimed crime thriller author Mark Dawson and is Book One in the phenomenal John Milton series narrated by professional voice artist David Thorpe. John Milton - the murderer hired by the government to do their dirty work. After 10 years in the game his conscience catches up with him and he wants out. His powerful boss isn't about to let him. So begins a thrilling three-part chase through London where he sits in the middle as both the hunter and the hunted. Available now on Audible.

Publisher's Summary

Meet John Milton. He considers himself an artisan. A craftsman. His trade is murder. Milton is the man the government sends after you when everything else has failed. Ruthless. Brilliant. Anonymous. Lethal. You wouldn't pick him out of a crowd but you wouldn't want to be on his list.

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.

©2013 Mark Dawson (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (448 )
5 star
 (167)
4 star
 (166)
3 star
 (82)
2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (16)
Overall
3.9 (408 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (79)
2 star
 (24)
1 star
 (15)
Story
4.3 (409 )
5 star
 (209)
4 star
 (134)
3 star
 (49)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (7)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    James Dog Lane, Kelsall, United Kingdom 02/10/2015
    James Dog Lane, Kelsall, United Kingdom 02/10/2015 Member Since 2016

    Anything action packed! My fav narrator, has to be Paul Thornley, awesome!.. Fav series Roy Grace & Dan Shepherd 10/10

    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    112
    34
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book, can't wait for number 2"
    If you could sum up The Cleaner in three words, what would they be?

    awesome, realistic, gripping


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    milton


    What does David Thorpe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    just great, never listened to any book read by him before


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    gripping & compelling


    16 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ray reid 02/12/2016
    ray reid 02/12/2016 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What just happened?"

    Slow build, inconsistencies in the story line. Improbable scenarios and a ridiculously fast closure. Almost as if the author was writing the story as homework, and he finished it on the bus on the way to school.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penny United Kingdom 17/11/2016
    Penny United Kingdom 17/11/2016 Member Since 2006

    It worries me that despite being unable to kill a fly I have a rather macabre love of mystery, murders and suspense.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    84
    12
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Wished for a better end"

    The first in the series, downloaded the next two, they are addictive, the ending was inconclusive and rather frustrating.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucia 05/11/2016
    Lucia 05/11/2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr 20/10/2016
    Mr 20/10/2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Stupid hero"

    I think the author was trying to make the story realistic, but unfortunately just made his hero behave rather stupidly.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arthur Firth Worthing west sussex 18/10/2016
    Arthur Firth Worthing west sussex 18/10/2016 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "London Gangs Story"

    After 15 chapters and listening to Jafaican accents I could not listen to this book any longer. I did not buy this book to listen to a story about London gangs which were almost unintelligible . If I could have returned the book I would have done.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Austen fan Yorkshire 16/09/2016
    Austen fan Yorkshire 16/09/2016 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "If you want to read this, buy the book"
    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of David Thorpe?

    Pretty much anyone else. Sean Barratt?


    Any additional comments?

    I hold my hands up, this might develop into a decent thriller but probably not. Unfortunately, either way, the storyline was not engaging enough to compensate for narration so poor that I couldn't bear to keep going for more than 2.5 hours. I'll never know what happens but frankly I can live with that.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    andy t 24/08/2016
    andy t 24/08/2016 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "2 in 1 First and Last"
    Any additional comments?

    I purchased the book as an alternative to the Jack Reacher series and it does not come close the narrator with his gangsta dialogue was irritating and only when I sped it up could I continue.
    As regards John Milton being a hero everything he touched fell to wreck and ruin and it was more a poor story about gang life than a thriller

    I will not be looking for a second helping

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jo Lunt 24/08/2016
    Jo Lunt 24/08/2016 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    58
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable listen"

    I have listened to Mark Dawson's short introductory novels, which I really enjoyed. Loved this first full John Milton book. Took me a while to get into, but couldn't stop listening once I did!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Farniboy Wirral, UK 14/08/2016
    Farniboy Wirral, UK 14/08/2016 Member Since 2014

    Farniboy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    73
    62
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Very, British Equaliser."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Cleaner to be better than the print version?

    I think they'd be the same. No fancy names or place names to get your tongue around.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Very fast moving and exciting if a little predictable. It takes elements of The Equaliser and The Wire, mixes in some contemporary social issues and (if some thing that happened 6 years ago could be described as historic) historical happenings and writes an exciting story


    What does David Thorpe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    A good solid reading.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made the pulse beat a little faster but it didn't make me laugh or cry.


    Any additional comments?

    A good start to the series. If they were on offer again I would buy more but I probably wouldn't use a full credit as it was quite short.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Julius
    Knoxville, TN, United States
    28/09/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "High hopes but... I 'm disappointed"

    I hoped for a British Jonathan Quinn or maybe a little Victor the assassin. What I got was a lot of London teens from "the wrong side of the tracks" getting involved in crime with a little bit of "spy" on the DL thrown in for flavor. Very disappointing.
    **Note: I didn't care for the narrator. I normally just deal with what I consider "intrusive narration," but I found Mr. Thorpe's performance too distracting. This is my first book of his, but in this case I didn't care his work. I might sample another in the future**
    Overall I really wanted to like this book, but there is just too much "operative with a heart of gold" sitting on the side lines and not enough suspense / substance.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Sharon Goodwin
    United States
    29/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "left questions"

    I went back over several times to see what happened to the boy. never found an answer. That's disappointing!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Norma Miles
    30/04/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Meet John Milton"

    Meet John Milton, once a soldier, then for many years, a government assassin. But John is tired. Plagued by painful memories and fighting alcohol dependency, he wants out and a quiet, normal life. He isn't going to get it.
    In Milton, Mark Dawson has created a charismatic but troubled man trying to run away from a relentless past which will not let him go. And neither will his erstwhile employers. The book is exciting, well crafted and both the characters and places are fully developed with a light touch. I have to confess, I am a fan of this author, from his betrayed heroine of the Beatrix Rose series to the escalating drug chaos of the young lawyer in Subpoena Colada but , for me, Milton is his best creation yet.

    A book can be made or destroyed by it's narration and, because I had previously read the book, there was also the fear that the pictures in my head would not fit with those offered to me by the reader. But no problem here. David Thorpe narrates clearly with an even pace. But he really excels when putting voices to the characters in conversation. Excellent.

    I have no hesitation in recommending this audio book and I am most grateful to the author for gifting it to me in return for an honest review.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Taniqua Carter
    04/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No Jack Reacher...."

    This book was touted as the next Jack Reacher in a review. While there are similarities, the story wasn't compelling. I probably won't continue this series.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • brent
    22/04/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good listen"

    I wish the author would slowed down a little more in the beginning of th book. Other than that, it was an entertaining book.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • sq
    03/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not a book about an assassin but a book about a kid joining a gang"

    This was a disappointment. I expected a book about an assassin. Instead if was about a kid and the gang he hung with. The so called assassin is a washed up alcoholic who quits the secret service. He moves to the bad side of town and tries to help the boy. For a guy that has killed 136 people, john Milton the assassin is woefully inept. This supposed super assassin has a hard time taking out a street gang lord and two of his cronies. The assassin who's supposed to kill the main character is also inept. He has the guy in his sights. Instead of pulling the trigger, he listens to the guy talk then is distracted and loses the upper hand...

    This book is obviously written by someone who has very little knowledge of the trade. It was tedious. I listened to it at double speed just to get to the uninspired ending.

    Try the john rain series or the victor the assassin series instead. They are much better.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Arlen
    Placentia, CA, United States
    29/01/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "BORING"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Have Dick Hill read it. David Thorpe is horrible - I want my money back, it was that bad.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Mark Dawson again?

    Not if it is read by David Thorpe.


    What didn’t you like about David Thorpe’s performance?

    Absolutely nothing. He needs to find a new line of work.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The story could have been a good one except it went off the rails because the author mixed in too many traits that just don't happen in life with a character like John Milton. He made Milton go from a potential great good guy to an average dope that makes bad decisions.


    Any additional comments?

    The author could be on to something with his new character John Milton but if he ever hopes to compete for reader affection like we have for someone like Jack Reacher or Mitch Rapp, he needs to give John more backbone, more cunning, more committed to stopping evil. This first book just made John too passive even though he did accomplish a few necessary tasks, if you get my drift.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Meg E Dobson
    United States
    04/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "didn't hold my attention"

    started well, but sputtered out with all the black gang action... stopped listening around chapter 10 or 11.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew.quada
    13/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A little slow to get the stew prepared, but..."

    I found the story to be exciting but it took a little while to get warmed up before the action kicked in. Overall, this story took somewhat predictable turns but ended up rounding out to a solid finish. This was a good introductory novel to a series with a lot of promise. Looking forward to book number 2.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gail
    Tacoma, WA, USA
    20/08/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hard to listen to and I had to force myself to fin"
    What disappointed you about The Cleaner?

    The entire story line. No excitement and it was depressing and dark


    What could Mark Dawson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Don't know. It was just not up to my expectations.


    What didn’t you like about David Thorpe’s performance?

    British accent, and hard to listen to.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment in that I wasted a credit.


    Any additional comments?

    I would not recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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