A decade-plus and an additional ten books since the release of The Cleaner – the first title in the compelling Jonathan Quinn series – has seen a lot of changes for Brett Battles’ signature character and his eclectic group of specialists that live and work in the shadowy and often messy world of international intrigue.
Nate began as the clueless apprentice. He would later become an equal partner and a compelling character in his own right. Orlando was the estranged colleague and lost love. She would become Quinn’s wife, partner, and the mother of his child.
The Office and its enigmatic leader Peter have been dead and gone for a few books now. There is a scene in The Aggrieved, however, that gives readers hope that The Office might return in the near future. Perhaps Quinn will lead it, and Nate will be its go-to Cleaner?
One can always hope.
And for all these changes and character development that readers have witnessed in the past decade of reading about Jonathan Quinn – there’s one theme that has always been central, has never wavered, and that we clearly see front and center as events unfold in The Aggrieved: for all the evil he’s witnessed and the many terrible things he’s had to do, Quinn is the good guy.
That fact allows author Battles to play harshly with readers’ emotions in The Aggrieved.
Quinn has to deliver the worst possible news to his own mother – and endures words no son should ever have to live with.
Quinn has to go against Helen, who is more or less one of the good guys, when he attempts to track down Dima, a character central to the last book (which set in motion the events that unfold in The Aggrieved – first-time readers, however, no worries; the author brilliantly begins the story so that you’re pulled right in and up to speed even if you haven’t read the previous book).
After finding Dima, Quinn asks for her help – even though doing so will once again put Dima at risk.
And then the conflict between Quinn and Nate, who is suffering as bad as Quinn from the act of violence in Jakarta that set this story in motion …
Yet, despite all this, what I truly loved about this book is that Quinn, at the absolute lowest we’ve ever seen him in the past decade of reading about his exploits, is proven to have been right in maintaining his “good guy” integrity throughout all the books. Countless people that live in the same shadowy world aid his pursuit of a killer – but it is their respect for him, rather than money or favors or anything else, that brings them to his aid.
I think it’s a profound message for an author to be able to make in any book – but especially while writing a thriller that literally carries readers breathlessly on an edge-of-your-seat around the world journey.
In The Aggrieved, Orlando asks Quinn repeatedly, “What are you going to do?”
About his mom, Dima, Nate, and the killer they’re pursuing … and Quinn doesn’t have the answers. But in the end his true character compels him to act in a way that validates who he has been for the previous ten books, and I absolutely loved it. There were so many ways that Battles could have gone with this story – and while most of them would have been satisfying, I’m sure, he chose to push us right to the edge of Quinn’s breaking point … and then he brought us back.
This is the best Quinn book since the original title in the series.
It is fast-paced, unpredictable, filled with action, meticulously plotted, and boasts some of the most original characters in the thriller genre.
This is an emphatic 5 stars. I highly recommend it to thriller/espionage fans. If you’ve never read Brett Battles, well, it is ridiculous how many awards he has won and it all started with this series… so get busy reading the Jonathan Quinn series.
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I received a free digital edition of this book for review purposes. The review reflects my own unbiased opinion of the book’s content. I use affiliate links for Amazon.