MAKE ME CLEAN
She will leave your surfaces sparkling. But she may well leave you dead...
Maria is a good woman and a good cleaner. She cleans for Elsie, the funny old bird who's losing her marbles, with the terrible husband. She cleans for Brian, the sweet man with the terrible boss. She cleans for the mysterious Mr Balogan, with the terrible neighbours.
If you're thinking of hiring her, you should probably know that Maria might have killed the terrible husband, the terrible boss and the terrible neighbours. She may also have murdered the man she loved. She didn't set out to kill anyone, of course, but her clients have hired her to clean up their lives, and she takes her job seriously - not to mention how much happier they all are now. The trouble is, murder can't be washed out. You can only sweep it under the carpet, and pray no one looks too closely...
Make Me Clean gave me vibes of Nita Prose’s ‘The Maid’ and Ella King’s ‘Bad Fruit’ from its blurb - both books I adored in 2022 so I was excited to start reading.
In the book we follow Maria, a cleaner who always tries to do the best for her clients, whether that’s elderly Elsie - struggling with dementia, Brian whose boss is giving him anxiety or the mysterious Mr Balogen. However, the more we learn about Maria, either by her present deeds trying to help her friends or from her past slowly revealed in flash-back, we start to realise that not all is as it seems…
Make Me Clean is very much a character-led drama and Maria is a brilliant character to focus on. We learn a lot about her, and we empathise with her every step in the way, even with some decisions that may seem dubious. The supporting characters are also very well rounded and detailed which made everything feel more realistic. The portrayal of elderly Elsie, suffering with dementia and struggling to live at home was particularly heart-breaking and added another aspect to this book which I did not expect.
The stakes increase slowly throughout the plot and even when the chapters go into flash-back of Maria’s past, I still found myself absorbed in the story rather than rushing it to get back to the present-day narrative. There were some things that seemed a little too convenient in places and I’m not sure about the ending, but it was still an enjoyable read which kept me hooked throughout.
Overall Make Me Clean is an absorbing read which kept me hooked. Thank you to NetGalley & Serpent’s Tail, Viper and Profile Books for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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