Saturday, August 1, 2009

"Shadow of Betrayal"

Brett Battles is the author of three acclaimed novels in the Jonathan Quinn series: The Cleaner, which was nominated for a Barry Award for Best Thriller and a Shamus Award for Best First Novel, The Deceived, and the newly released Shadow of Betrayal.

He applied the “Page 69 Test” to Shadow of Betrayal and reported the following:
Shadow of Betrayal is the third book in the Jonathan Quinn thriller series. Quinn is a cleaner, the guy you call when you think you’re going to have a body you need to get rid of, and that no one will find. In Shadow, Quinn is confronted with a situation of his own making. Earlier he had made a promise to his biggest client, an organization called the Office, that in exchange for some help they gave him on a personal matter, he would do three jobs for them no questions asked. Now the job markers are being called in, and each assignment takes Quinn and his team deeper and deeper in a conspiracy that threatens not only the U.S. government, but also the government of its closest allies.

Page 69 finds Quinn and his partner/girlfriend Orlando in the middle of doing the first job, an investigation in an abandoned New York apartment building. This isn’t a high action scene, but it’s leading up to some. In many ways, it’s very representative of the series, not just the book, in the sense it shows how Quinn and Orlando work together. Kind of a peek into their relationship.

Here it is:

And, for the most part, all were also open. This door was different. It was metal, though it had been painted to look older than it really was.

“Look familiar?” Orlando asked.

Quinn nodded. It looked nearly identical in both texture and color to the metal remains of the door that had been torn and twisted by the explosion.

“I haven’t seen any others like it,” Orlando said. “Peter’s instructions were to look for anything unusual. Thought this might qualify.”


Quinn touched the knob, then attempted to turn it. It moved a fraction of an inch before stopping.

“So?” she said. “Do we try to get in?”

Though Quinn thought it might be better to just walk away, that would be neglecting the assignment. And as much as he was annoyed to be here in the first place, that was just not something he would do.

“Not through here,” he said.

He took a few steps down the hall away from the door. As he did, he let his fingers brush against the wall, tapping the surface every few inches. After ten feet he stopped, returned to the door, then did the same thing along the other side.

“Think this is rigged like the staircase?” Orlando asked when he finished.

Quinn looked back at the door, then frowned. “What’s your gut?”

“I think we’d be stupid to think it wasn’t.”

Quinn smiled in agreement.

He took a few paces forward, then stopped at a spot four feet to the right of the door. He touched the wall again. Like elsewhere, it was plaster, probably supported by ancient wooden slats underneath. Only the wall had given in a little at this spot as he pressed against it.

He moved his light through the hallway. Like elsewhere in the building, random junk was scattered along the floor: an old shoe, dozens of empty food containers, newspapers, cardboard boxes, and several pieces of wood in varying shapes and conditions. He wished he’d brought along one of the crowbars Peter had gotten for them, but that would mean a trip back to the car.
Read an excerpt from Shadow of Betrayal, and learn more about the book and author at Brett Battles' website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Cleaner.

The Page 69 Test: The Deceived.

--Marshal Zeringue