The Cleaner

Judith Kepler has seen it all. She is a crime scene specialist. She turns crime scenes back into habitable spaces. She is a cleaner. It is at the home of a woman who has been brutally murdered that she is suddenly confronted with her own past. The murder victim knew Judith’s secret: as a child Judith was sent to an orphanage under mysterious circumstances—parentage unknown. And the East German secret police were always there, in the background. When Judith begins to ask questions, she becomes the target of some powerful enemies. And nothing will ever be the same again.

This is the first German crime novel I’ve read and it made me feel like I was watching one of those old espionage films. It’s definitely for fans of spy driven novels – think German version of Jack Reacher without as much action or a cute spy you could picture your favorite action star stepping into the role.

 The plot line is a clever thriller full of twists you don’t see coming as Elisabeth Hermann did a good job with the mystery and backstory as her research skills showed through quite well. She has a good writing style that flows and keeps you intrigued along with, at times, a bit scared for your safety as it seriously makes you consider how far governments will stretch their reach and resources in the name of justice. A bit of the ends justifies the means kind of thing.

 She has a detailed sense in her writing of characters and scenes that are illustrated to just this side of overkill in some areas but stops short of being long-winded. She really pulls you into all of her characters whether they are minor or a major part of moving the story along. She did a good job on characterization as the emotions, motivations and actions of the main character, Judith, seemed credible and reality based but she was also able to do that for the rest as well which was surprising for a spy novel.

 If you like some history thrown into your novels then you should enjoy the Cold War aspects with spies, agents, and double agents all waiting to thrill you.

 Thank you to Netgalley and Bonnier Zaffre for allowing me to review this book.

 Buy at Amazon:

*synopsis and pic from

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s