Book Review: Make Me Clean

She will leave your surfaces sparkling.
But she may well leave you dead…

Tina Baker ~ Make Me Clean


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…


Another excellent concept from Tina Baker who takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.

This time her subject is Maria, a London cleaner just trying to make ends meet. She doesn’t draw attention to herself, is all but invisible and is praised by her employers. The only issue is her temper.

As a character there is much to like about Maria. She’s flawed, scarred and trying hard to help people. But she doesn’t like injustice. We can all relate to her in some way, although most of us haven’t accidentally on purpose killed someone.

Despite Maria sounding like a good character, there was something missing. Somehow, she seemed a bit flat and lacked personality. Even Elsie, who had a lot of gumption, fell short for me (although I did like her relationship with Maria) and the others just weren’t memorable.

The book’s idea is great, yet the execution sadly missed the mark for me. Maria’s past is a sad tale, but there were elements that I couldn’t quite buy into, so I didn’t root for her as much I was expecting.

Tina handles the subject matter well, drawing on her own childhood to share insight into the traveller community and this was interesting and very well-written.

Unfortunately the rest of it just didn’t capture my attention; I wasn’t invested in the story or its characters and overall it seemed a bit rushed.

Perhaps I had high expectations after thoroughly enjoying Tina’s last two books, but it just didn’t work for me.

However, I am already looking forward to her next one!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Thanks to Viper Books for my proof copy. Opinions my own.

Other books by Tina Baker:

Call Me Mummy

Nasty Little Cuts

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