Book Review: The Silenced by Brett Battles

The Silenced
Brett Battles
Dell, April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-440-24567-4
Mass Market Paperback

Jonathan Quinn makes a welcome return in this, the fourth book in this terrific series.  Quinn is a freelancer known as a ‘cleaner’ whose job is to discreetly clean up crime scenes and the occasional body after the always possible bloodshed.  He is known to have an ethical streak.  On the other hand, we are told “It wasn’t Quinn’s job to stand in judgment.  He was only there to make the condemned disappear.  It wasn’t that he was amoral, but he’d learned over the years that it was often hard to tell where the line between right and wrong was drawn, and sometimes there didn’t seem to be a line at all.”

As always, the story is an international one, with settings as varied as New Jersey, Los Angeles, Maine, and London.  Working with him, as usual, is Nate, with whom he has an apprentice/mentor relationship, and his lover, Orlando, a beautiful Asian woman, about whom the author says:  “Orlando was not the name she’d been born with.  Like most in the secret world, she’d taken on a new identity, burying who she had been.”  That is no less true for Quinn, whose real identity, heretofore undisclosed, becomes a focal point, as both his actual name and those of his family members becoming known to the wrong people, to disastrous effect.

Quinn has been given multiple albeit similar tasks from a single client.  When Quinn et al arrive at the first location where the object of his ministrations awaits, he finds that he is not the only one on the scene; so also at the next location.   Is there more than one opposing team?  Then, oddly, he is asked to remove a body from a wall in a London building.  The odd thing about it is that the body was hidden in that wall over two decades earlier.  There is suspense aplenty, and twists and turns as Quinn tries to determine who exactly is friend and who foe.  One lesson is certain, however, as the author says: “For the right amount of cash, some people will give anything away.”

Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Gloria Feit, April 2011.