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The Cleaner - John Milton #1 (John Milton Series) [Kindle Edition]

Mark Dawson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (358 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $11.48
Kindle Price: $2.99
You Save: $8.49 (74%)
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Book Description

To get the full Mark Dawson Starter Library (four books, for free), visit the offer page by cutting and pasting the following into your browser:


John Milton considers himself an artisan. A master of killing. Milton is the man the British government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst: the enemies of the state that MI5 and even the military can't stop.

Years of state-sanctioned murder have taken their 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.

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Mark Dawson

'A brilliant debut novel from a very promising writer.' Subject

'Ultra-addictive, super-stylish - a viciously good novel.' Toby Litt.

'A talent to be watched.' Birmingham Post

'This is far and above the best small/independently published book I have ever had the pleasure of reading.' The Kindle Book Review

Praise for The Cleaner

'The perfect summer thriller.' Select

'James Bond with a social conscience... Milton is a gripping new hero.' Later

'Strong, relevant and very cinematic.' James Erwin

From the Author

Hola, thriller fans!

I'm one of the inaugural Kindle All Stars, and, to celebrate and say thanks to anyone who has bought one of my Milton or Rose bestsellers, you can get my Amazon Starter Library - four books, for free, over 350 5-star reviews - by cutting and pasting this into your browser:

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Bond with a troubled conscience? July 18, 2013
By SteveT
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first full novel in the John Milton series but it's fair to say that I'll be back for more. Milton is an interesting character, lethally dangerous but conflicted, and the events that he precipitates in this novel - although done for the right reasons, as he sees them - are not likely to give him any relief for the crimes that he feels he needs to atone for.

The book is superbly written, moving along at a fast pace and with set piece scenes that unfold cinematically. That's doubly impressive given the restricted scope - this is no rambling action story with dozens of bad guys conveniently throwing themselves in front of the hero's gun - this is closed in, constricted, and oppressive, set in a superbly realized contemporary London estate with all the attitude, language and ambition that you would expect. Setting the climax amidst the riots of 2011 is another clever move, and we can see as Milton's quest reached its conclusion just as the temperature reaches boiling point. The final shoot-out coincides with the worst of the violence in a nice touch.

The characters are well put together, the dialogue is authentic, the plotting is great. I'm as impressed with this as I was with Dawson's Black Mile, with this book showing that he has the range to tackle something completely different to that 40's set police procedural. A really good read, I could hardly put it down.
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected September 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a decent book that is definitely worth reading. With that said, it was not what I expected. I was hoping for a story about an assassin. Instead, I just read a book about a "former" assassin trying to find himself.

I'm not sorry I read this book, and I will read the next in the series because I do like the John Milton character. But, "The Cleaner" was not the action packed thriller that I was expecting. There is some action and the book is well written.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book July 22, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I like thrillers, spy stories etc. This is an interesting, fast paced, exciting book. The writer is someone to be watched! I look forward to more of his novels.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars sadly wasted talent April 12, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This author should rewrite this book and clean up the terrible drafting mistakes. In one scene his hero has a breech loading shot gun at the opening and then the author has him using a pump shot gun later in the same sequence. In the book's opening segment, there is a couple driving in a car- a driver and a passenger -the author carelessly mixes up their names during a significant scene. Later, the assassin's "Control" is in his office which is described in detail as having no office files, and then a dozen pages later, Control goes to a file cabinet and retrieves a file. I tried to pick examples that did not give away the story, but the book is riddled with errors. The entire opening sequence is terribly implausible---and the lack of "trade-craft" is a sign the author has no idea what he is writing about.
Frankly, it looks to me like a well written short story in the middle, with an intro and ending tacked on to try and make it a novel. Both the writing and the story line in the opening is utterly bad I almost gave up. On the positive side, I enjoyed middle segment of the story, (which is not logically linked to the opening) and especially the author's strong usage of lingo of the British slums. The middle sections of the novel, while totally improbable, were reasonably interesting and written in a more polished manner.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read September 7, 2013
By Spadger
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great story and wonderful hero. Fast paced and very moving. Loved it and can't wait for the third book about John Milton. I also read the first novella "1000 Yards" however you can read each book in any order. Also the author has two books subtitled Soho Noir Thrillers book 1 & 2. These are also very very good. Great descriptions of London just after The Second World War. You'll find them on your Kindle under the books by Mark Dawson. Just found the titles of these two books..The Black Mile (#1) and The Imposter (#2)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over Reacher and Bond! July 11, 2013
By Ian
Format:Kindle Edition
John Milton and Control, the head of the mysterious Group 15, disagree about the former's wish to leave the service of his country. Milton, the most dangerous assassin in the government's pay, feels that he has too much blood on his hands and wants out. Thus begins the start of a real rollercoaster ride of excitement and intrigue. And that's only the backstory. The narrative is propelled forwards by Milton's increasingly desperate attempts to wrest a young boy from the control of the East End gang that has seized him, and threatens to end his life or his future, one or the other. Milton is a lethal but flawed weapon and he finds himself struggling in the vicious clashes of the London Postcode Wars between young gang members. There's a thrilling climax which is then topped by a second, and then a deliciously open ending which promises more adventures for this modern Bond. You can't put the book down until you have reached the last page.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Tammy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very disappointing. It was more of a social commentary on gang-life than a snyper novel. Plus I'm not sure I'm confident in his snyper skills since he left so many good people hurt or dead in the wake of his "saving the black people" spree. Sorry, very disappointing & corny. I am obsessed with snyper/action novels so I will try one more Milton novel to see if he is redeemed and I can eat my words.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Agent remorse story
this book was a great read. I found myself anxious to return to it. Anyone who enjoys government agent "Lone Wolf" novels should give this a look.
Published 17 hours ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
I really enjoyed this book, a tight, well paced thriller with some interesting twists. I look forward to reading more of Mark Dawson's books.
Published 3 days ago by greg
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good pacing, great story
Published 4 days ago by RWomble
Published 5 days ago by Patrick
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 6 days ago by MARK STAUTZENBACH
4.0 out of 5 stars Try it--you'll like it!
Trite story of a super hero saving a young lad from gangster life.You can see right through this story but it was still an interesting read. I will read more from this author.
Published 7 days ago by William S. Lis
3.0 out of 5 stars Average
It's just that. O.K. Nothing particularly note worthy about it, lust an average spy thriller.
Published 7 days ago by Deacon Pete
5.0 out of 5 stars A look inside the mind of an assassin...
There is a lot going on here with this multifaceted anti-hero. He is not perfect but that just makes him a more realistic character. Read more
Published 9 days ago by C. Hambrock
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
kept my interest andseems like a series stylenovel may not continue myself
Published 9 days ago by R. hudson
4.0 out of 5 stars As someone wrote, it was not what I expected ...
As someone wrote, it was not what I expected. However, it was a positive surprise. You can find many novels in which ex-Special Forces operatives saving the world behind the... Read more
Published 11 days ago by toltec01
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More About the Author

Mark Dawson has worked as a DJ and lawyer and currently works in the London film industry. He lives in Wiltshire with his family.

He is currently writing two series. The John Milton series features a disgruntled assassin who aims to help people to make amends for the blood on his hands. The Soho Noir books are set in the West End of London between 1940 and 1970. It has been compared to The Sopranos in austerity London.

You can find him at or

You can get a free copy of one of his books by signing up for his mailing list at:

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