The meeting place was carefully chosen: an abandoned church in rural Ireland just after dark. For Jonathan Quinn--a freelance operative and professional “cleaner”--the job was only to observe. If his cleanup skills were needed, it would mean things had gone horribly wrong. But an assassin hidden in a tree assured just that. And suddenly Quinn had four dead bodies to dispose of and one astounding clue--to a mystery that is about to spin wildly out of control.
Three jobs, no questions. That was the deal Quinn had struck with his client at the Office. Unfortunately for him, Ireland was just the first. Now Quinn, along with his colleague and girlfriend--the lethal Orlando--has a new assignment touched off by the killings in Ireland. Their quarry is a U.N. aide worker named Marion Dupuis who has suddenly disappeared from her assignment in war-torn Africa. When Quinn finally catches a glimpse of her, she quickly flees, frantic and scared. And not alone.
For Quinn the assignment has now changed. Find Marion Dupuis, and the child she is protecting, and keep them from harm. If it were only that easy.
Soon Quinn and Orlando find themselves in a bunker in the California hills, where Quinn will unearth a horrifying plot that is about to reach stage critical for a gathering of world leaders--and an act of terror more cunning, and more insidious, than anyone can guess.
Fast, smart, sleek, and stunning, Shadow of Betrayal is vintage Brett Battles: a gritty, gripping masterpiece of suspense, a thriller that makes the pulse pound--and stirs the heart as well.
Amazon Exclusive: Brett Battles on Shadow of Betrayal
When I wrote my first Jonathan Quinn novel, The Cleaner
, I had no idea I was writing what would become the first of a series. It was just the book that was in me at the time. I had this idea about a character who was a freelance operative with the specialty of making bodies disappear. Most times his assignments would go off smoothly, but it was the times they didn’t that I would write about.
Then a friend suggested this wasn’t just one book; it was a series. As soon as he said it, I realized he was right. Creating a Quinn series immediately appealed to my sense of story. I’ve always loved the idea of following characters over several novels. I love to see them grow and change, and to see the turns their lives take.
I don’t know about you, but along with a deep love of reading, I also grew up watching television. There were a lot of shows I would watch faithfully, such as Emergency, MASH, and The Rockford Files.
But the thing that used to frustrate me, and by frustrate I mean drive me crazy, was seeing things happen to the main characters in one episode, and in the next episode it was like those things had never happened. The characters didn’t learn anything from the past. It was like they reset to zero and started over every week. And what about those cool guest characters that sometimes showed up? Why did they have to be there for only one episode?
I wanted more. I wanted story arcs that were longer than just a single episode. I wanted things that happened one week to affect what happened the next. And I wanted minor characters to last for more than one episode, and even when they were gone, I didn’t want them forgotten.
This experience, this desire, influenced my writing without me even realizing it. When I looked back at even early drafts of The Cleaner, I realized that I had set up different storylines that I could carry forward into the next book and beyond. So when I started to write The Deceived the second Quinn book, I already had a rich history to draw on and expand.
And when I wrote the latest Quinn novel, Shadow of Betrayal, it was even easier. Quinn’s world has, in many ways, become second nature to me. I don’t even have to think about what he’s going to do in any given situation, I just know. But even all that said, there are times when Quinn surprises me.
In Shadow of Betrayal we see Quinn go up against perhaps his greatest foe. And we also begin to get a glimpse of Quinn’s life before he became a cleaner, a life he has tried hard to hide.
But there is another aspect of writing a series that an author must pay close attention to, one that is as important as the continuing evolution of the characters. A series writer must create novels that also stand on their own. A new reader should be able to come to a series at any book--the first, the fourth, the sixth, or even the last--and still have a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. It can’t be a prerequisite that the reader reads from the first book to the most recent.
It’s a challenge, yes. But an enjoyable one. Just another part of the puzzle in building the world that--in my case--Quinn calls home. --Brett Battles
(Photo © Moses Sparks)
Ludlum fans will enjoy Battles's third thriller to feature Jonathan Quinn, though it falls short of the standard set by The Cleaner (2007) and The Deceived (2008). A botched information exchange near Cork, Ireland, results in a number of dead bodies, but Quinn, an operative-for-hire who specializes in resolving messy situations, manages to retrieve an envelope with the vital data for his client, Peter, head of a shadowy agency known simply as "the Office." Peter dispatches Quinn to deal with another botched operation, this time in New York City, where Quinn stumbles on the murdered corpse of Christopher Jackson, the deputy director of National Intelligence. Predictably, Quinn ends up framed for Jackson's murder. In his effort to clear his name and track down the true culprits, he encounters a sinister group called LP, which was behind the market manipulations that led to the recent worldwide financial meltdown. LP aims not only to control the U.S. "but also nearly twenty percent of the rest of the world." Action junkies not expecting surprises will be satisfied.
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