A Quinn novel, from the Sam Jameson universe. Over 1,000,000 fans in 17 countries.
The runaway #1 Bestseller from USA Today Bestselling Author Lars Emmerich.
This is a standalone novel, but Quinn first appears in Books One and Two of the Sam Jameson series. Get them both on sale here.
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”This might be the best thriller I've ever read!”
Quinn does bad things to bad people, but he does them for good reasons. It's a common refrain in the national security game.
But Quinn is anything but common.
He has chased and caught rogue spies, brought vengeance to those who deserved it, survived incredible odds, and thrived in one of the world's deadliest jobs.
Yet nothing has prepared him for Cathrijne.
She is otherworldly, ethereal, beautiful, brilliant...
And now Catherijne is missing, an apparent casualty of an operation gone bad.
That same failed operation has left Quinn in the crosshairs of some of the world's most ruthless players -- Russians for sure, Islamists as a matter of course, maybe also Mossad... and most disconcerting of all, his own clandestine service seems hellbent on his demise.
And yet, though he's under attack from all quarters, Quinn is concerned with only one thing: saving Catherijne.
Will he piece together the cryptic clues in time to save her from an unspeakable end?
Does he have the strength and skill to avoid the same end himself?
MONARCH is the first Quinn novel from USA Today Bestselling Author Lars Emmerich, and is part of the Sam Jameson universe that has thrilled over 1,000,000 readers in seventeen countries.
"Lars is my all-time favorite author."
"Quinn is an absolute knockout. This has to be made into a movie!"
"Lars just keeps getting better."
"I devoured this book in one sitting. I couldn't make myself stop reading LOL"
"Quinn is destined for the big screen!"
"SO DAMN GOOD!"
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Enjoy a sample from MONARCH
I’m a Cancer and a cancer. My favorite inventions are chocolate and copulation. I have one green eye and one gray one, and a tough-looking scar on my cheek. I have freakishly high pain tolerance. I’m taller and more muscular than I have a right to be, and tonight I am wearing a pretentious suit with a silk tie and a sterling silver tie bar and a pair of overpriced shoes that squeeze my feet. Size fourteen, if you must know. Tonight, I am a banker.
I was a doctor once. Not the kind who went to medical school or got an advanced degree in something obscure. I was just the kind of doctor who could wear scrubs and fake a bedside manner for a short period of time. That gig lasted long enough to teach me that, like patients, doctors are merely supplicants to insurance companies. Bummer.
But tonight I’m not a supplicant or a patient or a doctor, not even a fake one. Tonight, as I said, I am a banker. On my arm is a tall blonde woman in a form-fitting power suit. Jacket and button-down blouse up top, tight skirt down below. Her name is Catharijne, with an extra j right there near the end of it to let you know she’s exotic and fantastic in bed and nobody to trifle with. Her form inspires longing, lustful stares. She tastes like honey with a dash of spice. She too loves chocolate. She has an advanced degree and a day job and is smarter and funnier and tougher and sexier than most people I’ve met. She speaks with a sophisticated accent that isn’t quite Continental but isn’t Eastern, either. We’re a match made in heaven and I am in love with her, which is one reason why I don’t mind her price tag. Another reason is that I’m not paying.
That honor belongs to a man named Fredericks.
Fredericks is not his name.
If you were to paint a walrus pink and give it a combover and a foul mouth and a federal paycheck, you’d have something indistinguishable from Fredericks. Also, Fredericks likes underage prostitutes, preferably from foreign countries, which is a fact that Fredericks knows I know and have pictures to prove, which really makes me Fredericks’s boss and not the other way around. But we both still play the parts we were assigned at the beginning of our little melodrama.
I dial Fredericks’s telephone number while my other hand moves down to that magical spot on Catharijne’s backside that isn’t quite her back but isn’t yet her derrière. It’s a fantastical part of her body, full of promise and possibility and the giddy tingle of things yet to come, and I get lost in the whole experience. So it jars me when Fredericks’s dental-drill of a voice pierces my ear.
“Quinn,” he says. Quinn is not my name.
“Martinson,” I say. Martinson is also not Fredericks’s name. I don’t know Fredericks’s name. I suspect he doesn’t know mine, but I’ve never asked him, mostly because I would truly hate it if he did know what was on my driver’s license. My real one, I mean. Which is not to say that my fake ones aren’t real too, because they are.
“I hope you’re feeling lucky,” Fredericks says.
“I’m feeling something,” I say, which is a great opportunity for me to move my hand lower on Catharijne’s delicious anatomy. It’s the kind of anatomy that I would start and win a war over. My flirtatious overtures are not wasted on Catharijne, who smiles a little and touches me with a rough tenderness that makes me wonder whether all of the Fredericks nonsense can’t wait until some other fiscal year.
“I can see that,” Fredericks says, and even though I fully expect to be within his line of sight, hearing confirmation that he is watching us is still somehow a small violation. I think it’s because there’s no relationship in Fredericks’s life that doesn’t involve violation of one form or another. He’s a violating kind of guy. Truly despicable down to his mitochondrial DNA.
It’s one of the reasons I still work with him. Apart from being bewildering and occasionally amusing, his unadulterated rottenness means I always know how to handle Fredericks.
“I’m just calling to tell you that you should really bathe yourself more frequently,” I say. “You’re upwind and it’s making my eyes water.”
“I’m airing myself out just for you, Nancy.”
I push the red button on the cell phone—not mine, not anyone’s I know, and not protected by a difficult password—and toss the sleek, elegant, pocket-sized supercomputer into the river.
River might be underselling it. The name of it is the Nieuwe Maas, and it’s really a greedy tendril of frigid North Sea water licking its chops and thinking that when the levy finally breaks, it’s going to gobble up Rotterdam like crudités.
Rotterdam, Holland. Or Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It’s hard to keep it all straight, but imagine a Venn diagram. All of Holland is inside the Netherlands, but all of the Netherlands is not Holland. And to add to everyone’s general confusion, there’s a North Holland and a South Holland. Both are the size of one of my feet. Big for feet, small for provinces, especially ones inhabited by unusually tall blonde people.
Like Catharijne. She distracts me with a kiss. Apparently I’ve made a positive impression over the past couple of days, because it’s a beautiful and powerful kiss, and I wonder what would happen if, instead of doing the thing Fredericks is paying me to do, I were to just disappear with Catharijne.
It’s an idle thought. I know what would happen. I’ve seen it happen to guys like me before.
I’ve made it happen to guys like me before.
I shoo the thought away. I haven’t worked in six months, and maybe my lengthy recuperation is to blame for my momentary loss of focus. Despite the sailboats and beachside cabanas and tropical drinks and long mornings in bed that were all so clearly on offer in Catharijne’s electric kiss, I tighten down and get to work.
Which is to say that Catharijne and I hail a cab. “Hotel Van Walsum,” I say to the cabbie, happy for the rarity of doing business in a hotel not named Hilton or Marriott.
I see that our cabbie is Persian. A Persian is someone who comes from Iran. Prepare for another Venn diagram: Persia is an ancient kingdom entirely bounded by modern day Iran, which used to be a terrific place, but thanks to the influence of strange men in black robes preaching hocus-pocus and horseshit, is now merely a terrific place to avoid.
“You want to pay in Bitcoin?” the cabbie asks, and I’m confused. Nobody has said anything about paying, and anyway he hasn’t yet driven us far enough to have earned any money.
“Hotel Van Walsum,” he says by way of explanation, evidently noticing my confusion, evidently assuming that what he just said would clear things up. It doesn’t.
“That’s where we’re going,” I say, wondering why we’re covering old territory.
“Bitcoins, I mean,” he says, and I can tell by his accent that he’s first-generation. “It’s the first hotel in the Netherlands to accept Bitcoin.”
Aha. My new Persian friend is talking trivia.
“Fascinating,” I say, not knowing what might be a more appropriate response. I don’t plan to pay anyone at the Hotel Van Walsum for anything, using any currency under the sun. Fredericks the man-walrus may end up paying for repairs, but that depends on how the evening unfolds and it’s way too early to hazard a guess.
“I want you,” Catharijne whispers into my ear in a matter-of-fact way that tempts me to believe she’s not just saying it because she’s on the clock, but because my powers of seduction are so… powerful. You know that feeling when you don’t know if you’re experiencing real human connection or if you’re just being hustled? I love that feeling, and I have it right now. I resolve to subject myself to more of her hustle/connection. I rearrange myself in the backseat of the cab to afford my left hand an opportunity to verify her assertion.
“How long ago did you escape Iran?” I say to cover Catharijne’s involuntary vocalization. And damn if she hadn’t been telling me the truth.
“Escape?” he says. “That’s an interesting way to put it.”
I nod at him, wondering if he can see in the rearview mirror what’s happening between Catharijne’s exquisite legs.
“Yes,” I say, “but I bet you haven’t been back to the old country a single time since you left.”
“You’ve been to Iran,” he observes with a knowing smile.
I most certainly have.
I’m wondering when the driver is going to notice the movement of Catharijne’s hips. I hear the breath escape her beautiful mouth and it makes my heart pound and fully awakens my inner beast.
The driver takes a turn that I’m not expecting him to take.
“Construction up ahead,” he says. “Bad traffic this time of day.”
I have one of those moments when my mind quiets itself and my consciousness opens up and I get a third-person-type glimpse of my current experience. I’m half a globe away from my place of birth, a beautiful and brilliant woman sighing in pleasure next to me, a fake cabbie driving me toward a serious problem. There’s also a Seattle safe deposit box holding a kilogram of 24-karat gold for my troubles, and a brisk North Sea breeze sneaking in the taxi window, cold and stark and real and alive and delicious. It is maybe the most perfect moment of my life.
I have the most perfect moment of my life many times every day. Which is to say that I notice the perfection of my moments much more frequently than most people probably do.
“You know,” I say to the driver, “I think we’ll walk the rest of the way. You can just let us out here.”
He can’t hide the look of alarm on his face. It’s involuntary, and it confirms what I already know.
“We’re very close to the hotel, sir,” he says. “It’s no trouble.”
Catharijne sighs, elevates her delectable rump, and pulls her skirt down. “Such a beautiful evening,” I say, “and we have plenty of time. We’d love to walk.”
He doesn’t protest any further. We’re still in the part of the dance where he needs us to believe he’s just a cabbie, and while he fears we may already have the sense that he’s something very different, he doesn’t know this for sure. And as a result, instead of doing what he knows he probably should do, he stays in character. He stops at the curb.
I open the door, step out, offer Catharijne my hand, and help her out of the taxi. I notice a look pass between her and the man at the wheel and a deep sadness whistles through me like the first cold bite of winter.
I bring her hand to my lips and kiss the back of it, noting the sweet scent of her, honey with the tiniest dash of spice, already nostalgic at the loss of the beautiful perfection we had together but as certain now as death and taxes that it’s over, the evening having taken this sudden, hard turn.
Then I reach into my wallet for a few euros, which I fold in my right hand. Also in my wallet is a shiv.
I crawl back into the backseat of the cab as though I’m searching for a lost item, mutter a little “Ah, there it is” to make it seem all the more real, and then move my right hand full of cash toward the Persian fake-cabbie. I also wrap my left hand quickly around the driver’s headrest and shove the shiv deep into the man’s brain stem.
His eyes and mouth make O’s for a brief moment and then go slack. I reach past him to put the cab in park and then I remove the shiv from the back of his head. There’s very little blood, but I wipe the knife clean on his shirt. I do this as a courtesy to Catharijne, which makes very little sense. When the shiv enters her body, infection will be the least of her worries. But as I mentioned, I am smitten by her, and love makes us do strange things.
And as I climb out of the cab, I realize that love has just screwed me over once again, because in the time it took me to wipe the shiv clean of the Persian man’s blood, Catharijne has vanished into the ether.