Blog Tour – A Game for Assassins by James Quinn

Title: A Game for Assassins
Series: The Redaction Chronicles, Book 1
Author: James Quinn
Length: novel (528 pages)
Genre: mystery, thriller, spy thriller, espionage


The assassination of a Caribbean dictator….The “hit” on a traitor in Beirut……The brutal murder of a young CIA officer behind the Iron Curtain…..So begins the game……

It is 1964, the height of the Cold War, and British Intelligence is riding high with its top double agent network: Constellation.

But in the secret war fought across Europe the enemy is never far away and soon the agents of Constellation are targeted by an unknown team of assassins. In desperation British Intelligence sends in their best agent to protect the network and hunt down the killers.

Jack “Gorilla” Grant isn’t your typical Cold War secret agent. Short, tough, uncompromising, rough edged. He doesn’t fit in with the elitist spies and debonair intelligence agents. He prefers working at the rough end of British covert operations.

But “Gorilla” is one of the best “Redactors” in the business. He’s an expert at close quarter shooting: quick to the draw and deadly accurate when it comes to the elimination of traitors and extremists on behalf of the British Secret Service (SIS). He is soon drawn into a game of cross and double cross where nothing is as it seems and even the most perfect spy can die in a wilderness of mirrors.
“A Game for Assassins” is an action packed edge of your seat thrill ride played out across the global stage of the Cold War.A Game for Assassins

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Interview with James Quinn

Where you always drawn to writing, or was this a passion that emerged later on?

Writing and being an avid reader have always been there, lurking, looking for an outlet.  It was only when I had reached the ripe old age of forty that I decided to put pen to paper.  That final push that took me from being a want-to-be-a-writer to someone that did it.  It wasn’t easy, in fact in many ways it was a giant leap of faith.  But I’m glad I took that leap.  It’s been a great experience so far.

What authors would you say influenced your style?

Gosh – so many.  In my teens it was a bit of a mad scramble to seek EVERYTHING out and read it.  Over the years that has been tempered and now I have several that I keep coming back to constantly.  Stephen King, I love the scale of his work.  John Le Carre gives that human factor to his characters making them more than just one dimensional spies and villains.  Elmore Leonard for me is the King of the American crime novel and I love the way he uses his dialogue – it’s almost like a weapon.  If I can write dialogue half as good as him by the end of my career I’ll be a happy man.

Are you a fan of spy stories? What do you think they lack and what do you think is their best trait?

Espionage stories have been a part of my life for many, many years.  There is something so elemental about a good spy story.  In many ways the intelligence agent or service is a microcosm of the society that it represents, which is great fun for both the reader and the writer as we get to delve into the murky world of espionage from a variety of perspectives.

 The flip side is that some spy stories, while lots of good fun, aren’t always the reality of how it works on the street. For example most Intelligence Officers have never carried a firearm in the course of their duties; it would probably be more of a hindrance to them if they did.  The best tool in a spy’s arsenal is his/her ability to talk to and listen to people.  A good spy is there to recruit and to get people on his side – not fill them full of lead!

Of course there are always exceptions……

What inspires you to write? Are there people and events in your life that inspire your characters’ journey?

My first thought when I started to write A Game for Assassins was that I wanted to write a good espionage story that I would like to read myself! Selfish I know. I had this idea of two spies pitted against each other across the backdrop of Europe.  I wanted the scale of the book to be huge – almost as if Cold War Europe was their private battlefield as they tracked each other to the death.  That was how it started.  Then once the book starts to come to life, you as a writer take on a responsibility to the people that actually may end up reading it.  Things have to change, especially if you want to keep the reader interested.  I hope the global scale of the book has remained throughout though.

My main characters – Gorilla Grant and his boss Colonel Masterman are based upon real people.  Gorilla is a composite of several people that I have known or worked with.  I snatched a piece of each of them to make Gorilla.  Some have his skills with weapons, some his physical characteristics and some his background.  As for Masterman, he is based upon a remarkable man that spent many years in the secret world.  He’s the kind of man that inspires others and you would be happy to follow into battle. I am proud to say that we are friends.  A Game for Assassins is dedicated to the “real” Masterman.

What other books do you have planned after A Game for Assassins?

A Game for Assassins is (hopefully) the first of a five book series charting Gorilla’s career in the world of espionage and mercenary operations.  The follow up book – Sentinel Five – takes place three years after the events of AGFA and will be set in Asia.  If I class AGFA as my “Cold War” book, then Sentinel Five would be my “bloody revenge” novel.  Hopefully readers will enjoy more of Gorilla’s adventures.

What was the hardest part about writing this first novel? What about publishing it?

Getting the time to do it!

The ideas were there and how I wanted the story to pan out was easy, it was having the discipline in place to get them down on paper.  Once that was in place the work was fine……then came the thorny subject of getting it published!  I’d always wanted the project to be something that I wanted to do by myself; from the writing to the producing to the promotional work.  People might not believe that but it’s true.  It was a personal challenge without publishers or agents – just me.  It was hard, without a doubt and I’d be telling a lie if I told you that I didn’t make any mistakes along the way.  I made LOADS of mistakes along the way, some real howlers.  But I’ve been lucky in that I’ve had some good people around me to keep me on the road to where I wanted the book to go.

The author Tony Parson’s said that writing and publishing a book is like running a marathon only to have someone kick you in the face as soon as you cross the finishing line!  I can relate to that……it can be a brutal process.  Thankfully I’ve learned a lot over the past few months and made some fantastic contacts and friends across the author and publishing communities.

Do you plan on writing in other genres as well?

They do say to write what you know, and for me this genre is what I know.  I would never say that I wouldn’t dabble, but it would have to be a subject that interests me.

Quite recently, as an experiment more than anything else, I sat down one afternoon and began to write a short story.  The subject; time travel.  Who knew, eh! Maybe that will see the light of day in the near future.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

When I’m not writing its normal life the same as everybody else.  I love to travel, I’ve been lucky enough to have seen some amazing places over the years.  I train in various unarmed combat and weapons systems (I’ve had some good teachers), I shoot, I run, I enjoy life.  I have fantastic friends and family – much better than I deserve – and when the mood takes me I do like to indulge in a good Malt Whisky or Kentucky Bourbon.

About the author

James Quinn spent 15 years in the secret world of covert operations, undercover investigations and international security before turning his hand to writing.

He is trained in hand to hand combat and in the use of a variety of weaponry including small edged weapons, Japanese Swords and Hunting Bows. He is also a crack pistol shot for CQB (Close Quarter Battle) and many of his experiences he has incorporated into his works of fiction.

He lives in the United Kingdom and travels extensively around the globe.




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A pleasure to meet you! I’m Alina Popescu, an author, traveler, and hopeless coffee addict. I write urban fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and sometimes even contemporary stories. A significant number of my books are LGBTQ fiction and romance.

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