Saturday, July 12, 2008

"The Deceived"

Brett Battles is the author of The Cleaner.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Deceived, and reported the following:
The Deceived is the second book in my Jonathan Quinn series. Quinn works as a hire-by-the-job cleaner specializing mainly in the world of espionage. His focus is to remove bodies and make them disappear. In The Deceived he is hired to get rid of a body that has shown up at the Port of Los Angeles in a shipping container. The only thing is the body is a friend of his. He decides it's his responsibility to find out what happened and to break the news to his friend's girlfriend. But then he finds out she's missing.

Page 69 of The Deceived is mainly taken up with a conversation between Quinn and his main client Peter. Quinn has asked Peter if he could find out any news about Quinn's now dead friend, Markoff. Peter has used the opportunity to extract a promise from Quinn for future work. The underlining tension of the conversation is pretty indicative of the relationship between Quinn and Peter. At the end of the page there is also the first paragraph or so of the next scene, as Quinn goes to check out the last known address he has for Markoff's missing girlfriend.

Does this give the reader a good sense of The Deceived? To a certain extent, I guess. It's hard to put so much pressure on a single page. And this one certainly does not highlight any of the action that is throughout the book. At most it does what I mentioned above...give insight into the relationship between Quinn and Peter. But I think you'd be hard pressed to judge the full novel on this single set of 250 words.

Page 69:

had not been part of his plan. He frowned in self-annoyance as he walked back into the bedroom and picked up the phone.

"I'm back."

"You all right?" Peter asked.

"I'm fine," Quinn said. "You have something for me?"

"Something, yes. But not an answer."

Quinn nodded to himself. He'd figured as much. His request of Peter was to see if he could find out what Markoff had been up to. Since Markoff had once been CIA, it was possible Peter could pull a few strings and see if anyone at the agency knew anything about their former employee's recent activities. What he hadn't told Peter was that Markoff was dead. No sense setting that alarm off yet. "What did you get?"

"Word is no one's talked to Markoff in weeks. He just kind of disappeared. No one seems worried, though. He's retired. Maybe he went on a vacation."

Quinn frowned. "Disappeared and no one's knows where?"

"Maybe he has other friends he's told."

With the exception of Jenny, Quinn didn't think Markoff had any other friends outside of the business. "You think he's taken a freelance job?"

"Perhaps, but I couldn't turn anything up," Peter said. "What makes you think he's not sitting on a beach somewhere relaxing?"

"Okay," Quinn said, making no attempt to answer the question. "Thanks."

"Don't forget our deal," Peter said.

Quinn hung up.

The taxi followed the Potomac River north, staying on the Virginia side until the Key Bridge took them into Georgetown. The address Steiner had given Quinn for Jenny's D.C. home was on one of the numbered streets that ran north and south throughout the city. Quinn had the driver drop him off two blocks away on M Street.

The night was pleasant, no real need for a jacket, but Quinn wore
Read an excerpt from The Deceived, and learn more about the author and his books at Brett Battles' website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Cleaner.

--Marshal Zeringue