OK, I’ll admit it. I know Brett Battles personally. In fact, Brett and I met years ago, when we were both freshmen in high school, during auditions for the school play The Pajama Game. (He got a part, I didn’t.) Since then, we’ve gone our separate ways, lost touch and gotten back in touch again more than once, helped each other through personal crises, and celebrated milestones and triumphs together. Most recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading Brett’s manuscripts before they were published and helped out with editing and proofreading. I was there when Brett was struggling to get his first novel published and felt pride when he finally achieved that goal.
So you can see that we’ve got somewhat of a history. When Brett needed people to review Becoming Quinn to help get the word out and promote it, I was happy to do so. I mention all this because even though we’re friends, I am not giving Becoming Quinn a good review because of that. I’m giving it a good review because the book deserves one.
Becoming Quinn is a short, tautly written story with a suspenseful edge that ramps up gradually and doesn’t stop. Jake Oliver, a twenty-two-year-old rookie cop with an eye on becoming a detective someday, is called to investigate gunshots in a remote area of Phoenix. He and his partner arrive at the scene and find a barn on fire. Through alternating points of view, we learn that the fire is the responsibility of a man named Durrie and his team. Anyone familiar with Brett’s other novels will know who Durrie is.
Our rookie Jake, it turns out, has extraordinary powers of observation, and he proceeds to notice that things at the crime scene, where a body has been found in the fire, are not what they seem. What follows is a rollicking, breathless story that brings Jake closer and closer to the truth, and closer to danger as well.
In about half the space of a typical novel, Brett has created a novel-sized story and fully developed characters. It’s definitely what I would call a “page turner,” although I’m not sure we can use that phrase when talking about a digital book, can we? In any case, Becoming Quinn accomplishes very neatly what it has set out to do: it gives the reader an engaging back story and some insight into the Quinn of the future. And if you haven’t met the future Quinn yet, luckily for you his stories have already been written.
Read more Quinn here: