The Deceived by Brett Battles
|The Deceived by Brett Battles|
|Reviewer: Lesley Mason|
|Summary: A reasonably fast and involved crime thriller moving from the corridors of power in Washington to the backstreet markets of Singapore. Good escapist entertainment.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: March 2009|
|Publisher: Preface Publishing|
Jonathan Quinn has a commission. He is called to a dockside where a shipping container is opened for him. The container is empty but for the bloated body in the corner. The stench is what you might expect for a metal container that's been sat in the sun for a few days with a decomposing body inside.
Not too decomposed though.
Jonathan Quinn recognises his friend.
Quinn is a Cleaner. His job is to dispose of inconvenient evidence. Specifically, his job is to dispose of inconvenient corpses, and whatever trail they might have left behind them. He has undergone a long and rigorous apprenticeship to achieve this position, and now has an apprentice of his own. It might be an ignoble calling, but don't for a second assume that it is entirely without the law.
Ah, well, yes. Scrap that. It might always be, technically, outside of the acknowledged legal framework, but that doesn't mean that the forces of law and order and the defenders of the free world don't call upon his services. For what he might consider his probationary period before he went freelance, Quinn was directly employed by one such agency, and he had to fight to get taken off their 'active' list.
Now he works purely for money. And for the right to call his decisions his own.
When he's called to the dockside it is on behalf of a private client. Mr Albina is based in San Francisco doing what if it were legal would be called import/export. On seeing the body, Quinn's instinct is to walk away.
Training goes deep however and walking away from a friend, even a dead friend, doesn't come easy.
Quinn owes the late Stephen Markoff his life. That is enough for him to need to know why Markoff has turned up bloated and stinking in a shipping container. Markoff was in the business… and he was good. This shouldn't have happened.
It's only when Quinn remembers that he ought to tell Jenny, Markoff's girlfriend, that he discovers that the mystery goes deeper and wider. Jenny – a Congressman's very able and public assistant – has gone missing. As the Congressman is gearing up for a shot at the White House, this is not a likely thing for her to have done. Quinn is now very worried indeed.
His search for Jenny leads him from Washington to Singapore… and deeper into the murkier sides of Singaporean trade and American politics.
The Deceived is a fairly straightforward action thriller. It has all of the right ingredients. It starts with a body, a bad guy and a good guy. The good guy isn't strictly legal. The bad guy isn't strictly the point.
It has the young protégé: a counterpoint to the expertise of the older hand – needed to ask the dumb questions the reader needs to be asked, but smart in ways that the leader isn't in order to justify his existence.
It has the gorgeous street-smart exotic, intelligent, fast-fighting, comms-whizz female side-kick, who might or might not provide the love interest if called upon to fall into a cliché clinch.
Exotic locations and fast-paced action.
The story doesn't twist as much as it might have done under the hand of, say, Harlan Coben, but it throws up a few surprises at the appropriate intervals…all of them workable if you accept the basic premise of the tale.
There is absolutely nothing deep and thought-provoking about The Deceived.
The only questions to be answered are: who killed Markoff and why, and can Quinn get to Jenny to save her, before the suits who are shooting at him and tracking her do so? And what is the Congressman's role in all this?
It is pure escapist nonsense and none the worse for it. If you like your heroes on the shady side, your action non-stop, a good dose of technological wizardry, but the battles to be won by the man who can wield his gun the quickest…or the smartest. You'll like this.
Simple. Well-crafted. And fun to read. A proper beach book.
Our thanks to FMcM on behalf of Preface/Random House for sending a copy to Bookbag.
The Deceived by Brett Battles is in the Top Ten Beach Reads For Boys.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Deceived by Brett Battles at Amazon.com.
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