Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Deceived, Brett Battles

I'm not sure how I learned about Brett Battles' The Cleaner, his first Jonathan Quinn novel. It might actually be one of the few that I got from a newspaper review. In any case, I'm glad it happened.

If you haven't read The Cleaner, you should start there. I wrote about it here. Here is a bit of background. Quinn is a cleaner. His job is to clean-up messes. It might be disposing of a body or sussing out a situation to see if anything needs to be covered up. He sometimes works for a black ops intelligence organization called simply The Office.

The Deceived picks up after the events in The Cleaner. Quinn continues to train his apprentice Nate in his craft. Quinn takes a job to dispose of a body in a shipping container. Quinn recognizes the body as Steven Markoff, a CIA agent and friend who saved his life. Quinn completes the job because he is a professional but he wants to know who killed his friend. Quinn tries to contact Markoff's girlfriend Jenny who works for a high profile senator but she's "not available" and the senator's office is less than helpful. What's going on? Conspiracy?

Quinn launches his off the books investigation in earnest. Soon, while crisscrossing the country he finds himself trying to figure out what to do with Tasha, Jenny's friend, who wants to help find her. Orlando, his beautiful, brilliant, computer genius friend joins the team and they head to Singapore where all the clues lead.

They discover that something much, much larger than they suspect is going on and the truth is staggering.

The Deceived is a straight-up action thriller and very entertaining. I admit to being a sucker for conspiracy stories and a hero that doesn't have to worry about money and identification, who can acquire weapons anywhere, and who has incredible tools that could have come from Q himself. Think of Quinn as a freelance James bond Quinn's assistants, Nate and Orlando, provide a good balance.

The book ends with a nice setup to future books and a plot line that Battles can return to as needed.

Excellent escapist novel - I liked it very much and recommend it if you like this genre.