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on December 12, 2012
I've read each and every Quinn novel and have enjoyed them all, mostly.

Quinn is a contract "cleaner"..that is, someone who mops up for shadowy government or other organizations after a targeted assassination. He and his team take care of body disposal to wrap up the operation. Through the various novels, we've seen Quinn's history and his growing team -- all the works have been meat and potatoes fare, easy to ready, reasonable character development, decent stories and plotlines. You have to overlook the sometimes bad writing and questionable technical details (Quinn has a computer hacker on his team that can beat any system seen so far!), but it's not for deep, thoughtful reading.

This installment is a typical Quinn story in many respects -- at this point, Quinn is semi-retired and his duties (and name/reputation) have been assumed by his protege, Nate. Quinn is off hanging out with his lover, Orlando, while Nate takes on a new assignment. This new assignment is nothing but a setup by a vengeful past target who wasn't killed in the operation). Thus, Nate disappears and Quinn returns to the scene to find him.

The action and plotlines are reasonably solid and it keeps the reader engaged. My main issue here is the last two pages: a semi-major player is killed and a major player is shot, but you are left completely hanging as to whether the character lives or dies. In fact, the last couple of paragraphs is essentially the character losing conciousness right in mid-sentence! Boom. Done. Really, Mr. Battles? I get cliffhangers but there is a much better way of managing this as an art form rather than "I'll figure it out later". This left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I will read the next one, no doubt. But it doesn't mean I'm impressed.
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on August 16, 2013
And adrenaline ride of a thriller, I read it on vacation in a day. The story set-up is good. Quinn's old apprentice, Nate, who's been working under Quinn's name, is set up by a mysterious bald man, along with a number of other operators in the black world of espionage. Nate is crafty and resourceful -- better than Quinn in many ways -- yet still he cannot elude his captors. Quinn and Orlando must follow the almost non-existent trail to learn what happened and if possible locate his whereabouts and save him. But Nate comes up with some clever strategies of his own as well.

I enjoyed this story. Like "The Destroyed," it contained frequent word-substitutions that a good copyeditor would have caught (e.g. when for went, thought for though). But the plotting was not sloppy, nor did it rely on Quinn and Company's magical abilities to pull off whatever they need to do without figuring out the details. The exception to this is Orlando, who has a quasi-mystical ability to hack into any computer system in record time to dig out whatever information is required. Ok, she's Super-Hacker. It's a device, but it doesn't get in the way (too much) of my willing suspension of disbelief. Unfortunately, the ending did.

Cliffhanger endings are a staple of many a series. But this one felt so contrived, so 'diablo-ex-machina' (so to speak), that it just wasn't credible. The main character fails to perform an action so basic to his profession that it's beyond inconceivable. Authors should not have to make their characters behave stupidly in order to create tension and advance a plot. Battles can do better.
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VINE VOICEon March 1, 2013
"The Collected" is the latest in Brett Battles' Jonathan Quinn series. Quinn is a professional "cleaner", an operative who disposes of the body in a contracted assasination and then eliminates all signs and evidence that it ever happened. Over the years, Quinn has assembled an interesting crew at his disposal including Orlando, Nate, and Daeng, among others, who have become fully fleshed intriguing characters in support roles. While the series has been fun to read and are usually excellent suspense thrillers, it has been a struggle to change the well worn routine found in each new adventure--until now. "The Collected" has changed the formula and found a clever and intriguing "hook" to grab the loyal reader's attention and not let it go until the story wraps in a most surprising manner.

While Quinn is still contemplating his future, his protege, Nate, has continued to utilize Quinn's name and reputation to keep business flowing; indeed, the student has developed into a master in his own right. Something seems "fishy" about Nate's newest job, but he pulls it off as professiionally as he knows how. But treachery from someone close to him results in his being kidnapped and disapearing from the grid. When Liz, Quinn's sister and Nate's girlfriend, cannot find Nate on her scheduled arrival, she phones Quinn who soon discovers a complex conspiracy involving the disappearance of a number of contract professionals with whom he has worked in the past. Who is behind the kidnappings and to what purpose? How can Quinn, Orlando, and Daeng even begin looking when the "mastermind" has seemingly left no obvious clues to follow? How much time does Quinn have to find his friend before it is too late?

Quinn and his crew methodically backtrack Nate's last case slowly revealing the horrible truth while, at the same time, Nate works to free himself in an atempt to save his life and hopefully those of the others who have been kidnapped. There are some startling developments affecting major characters in this series in a flash-bang climax that leaves some doubts about the future direction of the series. This is a must-read for Quinn fans and I recommend the entire series to readers who enjoy suspense/thrillers operating in a gray world rather than a black and white world. Jonathan Quinn is an intriguing and complex protagonist who has withstood the test of time.
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With Quinn on his spiritual sabbatical in Thailand, Nate had continued the cleaner business, using Quinn's name. Now he has been taken captive by a man seeking vengeance for (what he perceives to be) Quinn's (and others') past actions. Facing a violent and painful death, Nate struggles to escape, while Quinn, Daeng, Orlando and Liz (Quinn's sister) search for him.

Finding him somewhere on planet Earth would generally be a difficult task, but with Orlando's computer skills and Quinn's Washington connections the task is much reduced. Needless to say, it is not a good idea to take revenge on one of Quinn's friends when (a) he is innocent; and (b) the rest of Quinn's team is armed and available. The string-puller of the Washington operation, Peter, has also been captured, along with a number of individuals with whom Quinn has worked in the past. He has all of the motivation that he needs to save his friends and find some vengeance of his own.

Much of the novel takes place in Mexico and southern California with the climax coming at the scene of the operation that precipitated the antagonist's desire for revenge. This is (as always, with Brett Battles) a fast-moving race to a satisfying conclusion. And yes, the villains are villainous enough for us to wish Quinn well. The antagonist has chosen to employ some particularly nasty servants (who are unlikely to ever collect any social security checks). Warning: not all of Quinn's team may escape from this operation unscathed. We just may have a cliffhanger ending that preps us for the next novel in the series. I was ready for it anyway.

Bottom line: another excellent thriller from Brett Battles.
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on May 28, 2013
Wow, this series just gets better & better. Nate has turned out to be a wonderful character. Even if Jonathon ever does retire (which I don't see as a likely scenario) Nate will make a fantastic heir. His ingenuity & ability to remain calm no matter what the situation, is amazing! In The Collected I loved how all these different characters were brought together in such a unique way, (don't worry, no spoilers) and his leg, wow it's more an advantage than not. I wait with baited breath for the next book. Being in Australia though, trying to work out when the next in the series will be released is difficult with the different seasons here & in America as I find Americans tend to say this will be released round the end of fall etc. A month name would be great please :-)
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on July 2, 2014
A continuation of the J Quinn series, in order. Fast paced and more of a complex mystery in the plot this go around. Quinn's sister is very involved in this novel, Nate is pivotal in this book and impressive as his character evolves, Peter is not the ending expected, and Orlando....a CLIFFHANGER that has already caused me to buy the next book in the series. Battles Quinn series is addictive, draws the reader in and is undeniably one of the best writers of this genre. In this novel, you experience a myriad of emotions while rooting for the bad guys to get their due by Quinn and team. This is a must read, highly recommend, but do suggest reading this series in order to actually live the series. Should be considered for a movie or a tv series.
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on December 26, 2012
Jonathan Quinn, perhaps the best cleaner in the business, remains undecided about whether to retire comfortably or return to his shadowy career. However, Quinn's extended absence from risky jobs comes to a crashing halt with a phone call from his baby sister. Nate, Quinn's protégée turned business partner who has kept operations running during his mentor's absence, needs help. Just what has happened becomes clearer as Quinn and Orlando retrace the steps for that last job and discover why events went so uncharacteristically wrong.

In The Collected, Brett Battles has given us another suspenseful, page-turning installment of the Jonathan Quinn series. Don't miss it.
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on April 25, 2013
I found this book quite by accident in the Kindle store and I am SO glad I did!!! As an avid reader, it has been years since I found an author who developed their characters so well that I truly got to know them and cared about them! The best part of this book was that it set me on the edge of my seat right from the start and Mr. Battles didn't let me off of it until the end of the book! As soon as I finished this one, I made a list of every one of his books. I just finished the last of the Jonathan Quinn series (The Deceived is awesome and has more twists and turns than a roller coaster!) and began another of his books. I definitely will not read anything else until I have worked my way thru all of his books and then I will have to not so patiently wait for more books to come out. Brett Battles is the kind of author that I promise you will want to tell other people about!
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on January 7, 2013
Battles returns with Jonathan Quinn, a cleaner. Quinn's job is to make the body disappear when someone has been marked for a hit. He's freelance but did a lot of work for 'the Office' - a clearing house for these types of operations.

Quinn's associate, Nate has been running the business while Quinn recovers and assesses his own desire to continue in the life.

But Nate goes missing and Quinn and Orlando go looking for him. Nate is more than an associate - he is the significant other of Quinn's sister. Liz and Quinn have been estranged and Quinn doesn't want this latest episode to deepen the rift.

Orlando and Quinn trace Nate's disappearance to a job he had taken that went wrong. As they track his movements they realize it wasn't a random job and the outcome was preplanned for just the eventuality that went down. Why?

Battles' writing is crisp and each installment in the series is more than a mystery/thriller but also a episode in the ongoing story of Quinn, Orlando, Nate and the people who move within their orbit.

Great writing, interesting stories and another cliffhanger....

Not to be missed.
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on March 24, 2013
This book describes the adventures of some characters on the far outer edge of things, in a shadowy world where they murder people for profit, and then make the bodies disappear. There is some attempt to make the assassins into if not the good guys, into at least not really bad guys. In the end, they are paid killers, and you have to judge the moral aspects of what they do on what they do, and not just who they do it to.

Most of it is not really believable, but if you can get past that it is a fun read. The ending of this one was way out there, but the rest of the book was fun escapism.

It might be the kind of book that you will not like because it is far enough out there in the plausibility area that it is hard to appreciate. It came close to that for me.

In the end it was fun reading, I got it for free, and I enjoyed it. Four stars.

I read the prequel to the series as well Becoming Quinn (A Jonathan Quinn Novel) that I gave 5 stars to.
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