Title: Clean Kill (Bloodline, Book #1)
Author: Adam Nicholls
Published: January 22, 2018
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Audiobook Narrator: Paul Gewuerz
Clean Kill started off with a surprising amount of promise. The first few chapters had me engaged, genuinely curious about how things would play out. As the story progressed, though, it became more and more convoluted, and it seemed to lose its grip on reality. The whole thing felt like one of those direct-to-video action flicks starring a former A-list celebrity that really just needed the paycheck, so they signed on for the film. That may sound more disparaging than I intended because I usually enjoy those types of movies, and, for the most part, I had a fun enough time with Clean Kill.
The main protagonist of Clean Kill is Blake, who, up until today, was just a salesman that was excellent at his job. Then the cops show up and inform him he’s being arrested for the murder of his estranged father that he didn’t even know was dead. If that wasn’t crazy enough for one day, while he’s being interrogated at the police station, a silver-haired man that looks vaguely familiar helps break him out, sending him on a wild goose chase through Los Angeles, revealing secrets about his family that he wouldn’t have believed just 24-hours prior.
The biggest issue I had with Clean Kill was the shocking lack of motivation for most of the main players. The author, Adam Nicholls, makes it a point to discuss how distant Blake and his father were, yet we’re still asked to buy that this weak relationship is the motivation for the entire story. Then there’s the love story – which, admittedly, is not a focus of the novel, but more of a B-plot – and Nicholls gives Blake’s best friend a boyfriend for virtually no reason. It doesn’t add to the drama at all, and I’d even argue that it weakens it. If this character was a girlfriend or wife, I might have felt more attached to her safety. As written, though, it felt like a waste of time, and made her a completely pointless character.
The vast majority of the story was action, which made the short book fly by. Nicholls didn’t waste much time on character development, which was definitely one of the problems, but also kept the pace constantly moving forward. So it’s a double-edged sword. I feel like the best books manage to find a better balance between the two.
I listed to the audiobook version via Audible, and at just over five hours in length, Clean Kill managed to keep my attention the entire time. The narration by Paul Gewuerz is good, but I didn’t like the fact that he gave the main character one voice, and then almost all the other male characters a guttural, deep voice that all sounded similar. He seemed to have a hard time keeping the voices consistent, outside of Blake. There is a chapter late in the book that has two of these male characters speaking to each other, and I had a hard time keeping straight which one was which. It would’ve been nice if the narrator played with tone and speed of speech as well, instead of just giving the majority of the characters deep voices. Overall, though, Gewuerz does a nice job delivering the emotion of the story, which is what is most important to me.
Clean Kill isn’t a great book, but it isn’t terrible either. Unfortunately, this means that it falls into the mediocre, forgettable middle. I’m sure there are better options out there for action thrillers like this, but if you’re looking for that mindless, B-movie fun in novel form, Clean Kill fits the bill well enough.
Clean Kill (Bloodline, Book 1) by Adam Nicholls was released by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on January 22nd, 2018. It was released on Audible on July 2nd, 2018, narrated by Paul Gewuerz. The audiobook is 308 minutes in length, and is in English. Cinefessions was provided a digital copy of the audiobook for review from the narrator.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.