Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The Cleaner

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The Cleaner is a new Scandinavian crime novel by Inger Gammelgaard Madsen. Originally published in Danish, this English language translation released 5th Feb 2021 by Saga Egmont is 154 pages and is available in ebook format. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free.

This is part of a longer series featuring a hired killer (the titular "Cleaner") as well as one of the main characters in this book, Rolando Benito, who is an inspector in the author's longer series. Despite its shorter length, the author does quite well providing clearly delineated characters who are three dimensional and believable and despite the somewhat outlandish nature of plots which revolve around assassins, it works well. The narrative arc is tense and tightly written and the denouement is satisfying. There were some surprises at the resolution which I hadn't anticipated. 

Despite being part of a longer series, it was fine as a standalone and I had no trouble keeping the characters straight. The author seems quite adept at providing the necessary backstory without info-dumping or spoon feeding.There are some places in the book where I felt the rhythm of the language was a trifle choppy, but I believe that's a result of the translation work which hasn't compensated for the differences in scansion between Danish and English.

The language is moderately rough; I would say R-rated for cursing and violence. It's an engaging, quick read and I would recommend it for fans of Scandi-crime. 

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.  

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