Make Me Clean by Tina Baker

Today it’s over to Mandie who is sharing her thoughts on the brand new novel by Tina Baker, Make Me Clean. Thanks to publisher Viper who provided an early copy via Netgalley. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Netgalley
Release Date: 16 February 2023
Publisher: Viper

About the Book

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…

Darkly funny and completely gripping from the first page to the last, Make Me Clean is one thriller you won’t be able to scrub from your mind. Perfect for fans of Harriet Tyce, Fiona Cummins and My Sister the Serial Killer.

Mandie’s Thoughts

I read Tina Baker’s debut novel Call Me Mummy last year and although I still have to read the follow up Nasty Little Cuts there was something about the title Make Me Clean that intrigued me as it could have so many different meanings that I had to read it next.

Maria works for a cleaning service, the work is relentless and does not pay much but she still takes pride in what she does. One of her clients is Elsie, a woman in her 80’s who is starting to suffer the effects of dementia. Maria definitely has a soft spot for her, often rearranging her shifts to help Elsie’s nephew Del with her care.

We are introduced to Maria and Elsie quite dramatically with Maria burying the body of what turns out to be Elsie’s estranged husband Nick in the back garden in the dead of night. What we don’t know for a while is why and who was responsible for his death. The only thing we are certain of is that Maria is clearly wracked with guilt and she spends a lot of her time trying to ensure that Elsie does not remember or reveal anything to anyone during one of her “episodes”. 

During the book we also meet two of Maria’s other clients. Brian who works mainly from home so that he can avoid confrontations with his bully of a boss and Balogan who has moved to the UK from Sweden and works nights running nightclubs although you get the feeling this is not all that he does. Both clients treat her well and not just as the hired help so you get the feeling she puts in that little bit more effort for them. 

With the chapters going between Maria’s past and present we get to see how she ended up where she did and why she acts the way she does. Her past is not an easy one and it has made her independent, feisty and someone who does not trust easily. Although you would be hard pushed to condone some of her actions I still found that I liked her. Her affection for Elsie is genuine and she cares for her as if she was family and often better than her actual family do. I also loved Elsie and at times like Maria I was never sure if some of her actions were due to her illness or just out of a sense of devilment to wind people up that she didn’t like. 

This book was not what I thought it would be… it was so much better, I love how Tina Baker’s mind works and how she twists things just that little bit further. The only thing I will say is that a) I am never getting a cleaner and b) I will continue to be nice to the ones we have at work… After all you just never know.

About the Author

Tina Baker, the daughter of a window cleaner and fairground traveller, worked as a journalist and broadcaster for thirty years and is probably best known as a television critic for the BBC and GMTV. After so many hours watching soaps gave her a widescreen bum, she got off it and won Celebrity Fit Club. She now avoids writing-induced DVT by working as a Fitness Instructor.

Call Me Mummy is Tina’s first novel, inspired by her own unsuccessful attempts to become a mother. Despite the grief of that, she’s not stolen a child – so far. But she does rescue cats, whether they want to be rescued or not.

3 thoughts on “Make Me Clean by Tina Baker

  1. I just read another review, of this book Mandie and both of you loved it. I am very intrigued by this title. Wonderful review.


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