John Milton Books

John Milton is the lead protagonist in the John Milton series of novels by British mystery, thriller, and suspense author Mark Dawson. John Milton made his first appearance in the 2013 published title “The Cleaner”. The series of novels are best classified as mystery thrillers.

Order of John Milton Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Cleaner 2013 Description / Buy
2 Saint Death 2013 Description / Buy
3 1,000 Yards 2014 Description / Buy
4 The Driver 2014 Description / Buy
5 Ghosts 2014 Description / Buy
6 The Sword of God 2014 Description / Buy
7 Tarantula (Short Story) 2014 Description / Buy
8 Salvation Row 2014 Description / Buy
9 Headhunters 2015 Description / Buy
10 The Ninth Step 2016 Description / Buy
11 The Jungle 2016 Description / Buy
12 Blackout 2017 Description / Buy
13 The Alamo 2017 Description / Buy
14 Redeemer 2018 Description / Buy
15 Sleepers (Short Story) 2018 Description / Buy
16 Twelve Days 2018 Description / Buy
17 Bright Lights 2019 Description / Buy
18 The Man Who Never Was 2020 Description / Buy
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The John Milton series is books is a series of crime fiction novels and novellas written by the author Mark Dawson. They are based in the world of international espionage and assassination, with the lead character, John Milton, a clandestine operative for British Intelligence, in a group known as Group 15. However, by the time we are introduced to Milton in the first book, he is done with that life, and decides to leave Group 15, much to his employers chagrin. He must do what he can to stay under the radar, while also seeking redemption for the terrible things he believes he’s done in his life working for Group 15.

The first book in the John Milton series, The Cleaner, was published in 2013. We meet John Milton at a crossroads in his life, as he decides he wants to end his relationship with his employer, the clandestine Group 15, but leaving is not easy. In fact, no-one has ever left it alive. However, John Milton is not your ordinary assassin. In fact, he’s the best the British Government has. So when Milton decides to leave, his employers don’t take too kindly to this, and set a rival agent on his tail, hoping to take our hero down. Through all of this, Milton is seeking redemption, helping a single mother in London who is attempting to save her son during the riots of summer 2012. Milton goes into London’s gang world looking for this young man, hoping to save his life, but it’s not always easy, with the main players in the scene not giving him an ounce of cooperation.

The second book in the John Milton series, Saint Death, was also released in 2013. It was then followed up in 2014 by the novella 1,000 Yards. 1,000 Yards, although published third in the series, actually acts as a prequel to The Cleaner. It is set in North Korea, with John Milton on assignment for the British Government, where he must take down his target with no fuss and no trace of his existence. In such a dangerous environment, that stakes are high for Milton, and all he has is his sniper rifle to help him get the job done.

The next book to be released in the John Milton series was The Driver, which, like 1,000 Yards, was released in 2014. By now, Milton has found himself in San Francisco, where he has apparently found happiness as a taxi driver. He believes he has disappeared off the radar of his enemies, and now he can live out his days anonymously and in the solitude he so desperately craves. However, that solitude soon vanishes, when a girl who was a passenger in his taxi disappears after he drops her off, and he becomes the prime suspect in the police’s mind. When two corpses are found, things start to get worse for Milton, and he must do what he can to clear his name, without blowing his cover and altering his enemies to his whereabouts.

John Milton was a ruthless killer who was the man that the government sent to eliminate targets that proved too hard to track or kill. To Milton, killing was more of an art, and he considers himself a highly skilled craftsman. He is a lethal, anonymous, brilliant, and ruthless killer that is impossible to pick out from a crowd, which makes him one of the most effective killers. But after 10 years of killing he has had enough of it and wants out.

The first novel in the series The Cleaner opens to John Milton on the run from the government who would not let him retire from his job. He is seeking atonement for the people he has killed while trying to keep ahead of the people sent to track and kill him. Troubled by nightmares from a career of state sanctioned murder and having to get used to being the hunted rather than the hunter is one of the hardest things he will ever have to do.

Maneuvering through the unfamiliar streets of East End London, he confronts an unfamiliar foe who stacks the odds against him even higher. What follows is an extraordinary story of struggle and survival as Milton negotiates the rough streets, determined to survive at all costs.


The Cleaner: The first novel of the series, The Cleaner is one of the most highly regarded in the series. The lead character John Milton is an ex Special Forces man who became a government assassin, only to realize that such a career path would inevitably take its toll on the human psyche. Milton has done a good job in the character development and setting out a good back-story to the characters that help in understanding his motivations. Pitching headlong into gangs and inner city crime, it is an excellent exposition of the hopelessness, poverty, and rioting of the period in which it was set in.

Blackout: The 10th novel of the John Milton series is another gripping novel, which is best for anyone that loves perfectly paced suspense, globetrotting spies, and page turning action. John Milton’s life is changed forever when he lands in Manila on the trail of what he believes is an important contact. Things deteriorate when he wakes up in a strange motel room with a dead body beside him, with no recollection of what happened the night before. Thrown into a dingy Filipino prison, he has all the time to deconstruct the little clues that will lead him to the person that set him up. But with no one ever having escaped the maximum security prison, he has to put all his wits into action if he is to get out and get revenge on his detractors. If he fails, he will rot in prison forever.

Headhunters: The seventh novel is another outstanding novel in the John Milton series. The saying bury your enemies and bury them deep comes back to haunt Milton when he fails to fully incapacitate Avi Bachman his nemesis. Even as he had got him incarcerated in Angola where prisoners rarely left alive, he has underestimated the Mossad trained assassin. Now that Bachman has gotten out he will not rest, and wants revenge on John, who he believes was responsible for the death of his wife. From Croatia to Hong Kong, from Israel to Australia, the two headhunters track down each other with the knowledge that only one of them is getting out alive.


Many fans of the John Milton series of novels also love the “Greg McKenzie Mysteries” by Chester D. Campbell. The detective mystery series feature Greg and Jill McKenzie, an elderly couple who become very good amateur sleuths from having to investigate cases, in which they find themselves pawns. John Milton fans also like the “Victor the Assassin” series of novels by Tom Wood. Victor is a combination of Jack Bauer, Jason Bourne, and James Bond, a man with no surname or past who works as a hired gun for the CIA.

John Milton FAQs

Q: Who writes the John Milton series of books?

A: The John Milton series of books are written by the author Mark Dawson.

Q: What is the first book in the John Milton series?

A: The first book in the John Milton series is The Cleaner, which was published in 2013. However, in terms of storylines, the first book you should read is 1,000 Yards, as is introduces the character of John Milton while he is still working for Group 15.

Q: Where are the John Milton books set?

A: The John Milton books are set all over the world, from London, to San Francisco, to Juarez, and elsewhere.

What Is The Next Book in The John Milton Series?

There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The John Milton Series. The newest book is The Man Who Never Was and was released on September, 4th 2020.