When war erupts on December 7, 1941, Roberto Neil Quinn is only 17, about to graduate early, with honors, from San Francisco’s Mission High School. Within two months, Quinn enlists in the US Navy. His mother dead, his ever-absent merchant seaman father on convoy duty in the North Atlantic, he pays a local wino $5 to forge a signature on his enlistment papers, which also misstates his age.
This was no act of blind patriotism; Roberto, a virtual orphan with few prospects for the future, just wants to run away. He turns his back on the troubled past of his family and sets in motion a restless life of adventure.
The Beatnik Spy series spans the years 1954 to 1963, a period remembered in America as an era of conformity and prosperity. Outside of the land of Eisenhower, the world is swept with revolution, reels from the crumbling of empires, and sits balanced on the deadly knife edge of the Cold War. This is the world of Roberto “Gunner” Quinn.
Inspired by Ian Fleming’s delicious Bond books and post-war hard boiled Men’s Adventure, The Beatnik Spy series blends hard-hitting action, sex, colorful villains, and otherworldly mystery. Gunner wanders through the era battling ex-Nazis, Russian spies, sinister cults, dangerous yet desirable women, and even his own corrupt government. Cynical and hedonistic, Gunner somehow manages to find himself combating the forces of evil – despite his preference to spend his days playing jazz and bedding beautiful women.
Written for adult audiences, The Beatnik Spy series offers readers a window into an era that still exists in living memory, yet lives again boldly in fantastical adventure. Gunner shoots, screws, and fights across the globe – from the jungles of Central America, the nightclubs of Old Havana, the decadent capitals of postwar Europe, the dark peaks of the Carpathians, the blistering deserts of North Africa, the remote and chilly Arctic, and to the mysterious Pacific island where it all began for him.
I can’t promise that authentic history will come alive in these books – unless voodoo, vampirism, extra-dimensional evil, and UFOs really existed. But I do promise a damn good read, free of teen-aged angst, neutered heroes, misunderstood villains, and all the other literary ills that plague the 21st Century. Enjoy!
- Patrick Baird