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The Catalan Gambit
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  An action packed thriller about a father’s quest to save his children.

Title: The Catalan Gambit
Author: Douglas Quinn

Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.; (June 2004)

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

ISBN: 0595319874

Paperback: 244 pages



Rating: Highly Recommended


September 10, 2004


Ever since Henry Ellis lost his wife, his twins have been the focal point of his life. He still felt the pain of being a widower, and he has realized that he could not control the events that took his wife from him. However, when the plane carrying his children to Spain was hijacked, Henry Ellis vowed to do anything possible to save them. Henry was aware of the President’s refusal to negotiate with terrorists; therefore he has rested the responsibility for liberating the twins squarely on his own shoulders.


He arrives in Spain where he makes contact with the “underground” through a priest and “old men” from his family’s past. He makes some startling realizations about the “old men” that his mother advised him to be wary of and realizes that they may be behind the bloody hijacking that has been orchestrated. Ellis exists now in a world about which he was uncertain and learns to trust no one. He learns about his father, a “hero” who died for the cause many decades ago and now questions if he really was a hero or just a terrorist similar to the ones who were now holding his children and killing the passengers one at a time.


Douglas Quinn delivers a truly captivating and gritty story. His writing style is very honest and frank. His use of imagery and bloody, vivid descriptions are not to frighten us – they are to enlighten us. It’s an emotional roller coaster ride as you shift between the events that involve Henry Ellis, the U.S. Government and the terrorists. Scenes are written and at the last word a major event unfolds and the reader will draw his or her own conclusions, only to have them rebuffed at the beginning or middle of the next scene.


This book has it all – love, action, drama, mystery, suspense and a small dose of horror. All of these key elements reside between the pages of “The Catalan Gambit” and you will enjoy this book. It is an adult read that chronicles the Post 9-11 society that we live in and it will frighten you and then relieve you in some ways. This cycle of emotions will repeat throughout this work and captivate you in the process. 


Prepare yourself for the ultimate action movie when you read “The Catalan Gambit” by Douglas Quinn. This book has it all, so, give it a read!


Reviewed by Tyrone Vincent Banks


Purchase a copy today!

An Interview with Douglas Quinn

Betsie: To start this off, why don't you give an idea of what the book is about?

Doug Quinn: The hijacking of an Spanish Air Iberia charter jet full of American students is at the center of his suspense thriller, but there is more than what it originally seems, where the plans of the “good guys” are just as disturbing of those of the evildoers. Henry Ellis, the father of hijacked twin son and daughter, does not want to rely on those in
power whom he mistrusts, and takes action on his own to secure their safe return.  The novel begs the question, “What would you do to save your children?” The setting runs from Washington, D.C. to Montreal, Canada to Madrid and Barcelona, with a side trip to Basque country in northern Spain.

Betsie: Where did you grow up and was reading and writing a part of your life?

Douglas Quinn: I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and was weaned on the fantastic tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I’ve always been a voracious reader, but really didn’t begin writing until the early 1990s.

Betsie: Who were your earliest influences and why?

Douglas Quinn: Again, ERB. I read all 69 of his novels (and I hope that number is correct, or I’m sure I’ll hear about it) at least 3 times. When you’re a kid, a fast-paced fantastic story is everything. Later, I became more interested in the characters and their interaction with each other.

Betsie: What would a typical day be like for a writer?

Douglas Quinn: This one tickles me.  Recently, I had a fan say how thrilling it must be to be a glamorous writer. Here’s a typical glamorous day:
Get up, stagger into the kitchen, make and pour a cup of coffee, go into my office and check and answer emails, then write some more, then remember I have to do laundry. Put in the laundry. Write some more. I’m hungry, but there are no clean dishes, so I have to empty the sink and start a load in the dishwasher, hoping that between the dishes and the clothes I don’t use up all the hot water so I can take a shower before lunch. Sit down to write but all of a sudden can’t visualize the scene. Shower time. Has to be quick because of all the stuff running at once. The shower clears my brain and I can see the next scene. I don’t bother getting dressed and rush to the computer to write the next scene (use your imagination for that one or don’t). Lunch!  Out of bread and nothing around I can make quickly. More coffee and back to the computer. Get a call from my grandson’s school. He’s not feeling well. Mom’s working in the operating room at a local hospital and can’t be reached. School’s out in an hour I tell them. He’s 9. He can suck it up and make it. Don’t know whether to feel
guilty or decisive. Get up and switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer. Write a little more, but the guilty feeling is taking over. I hop in the car and make it to the school just as the final bell rings. I retrieve the boy and take him home. No fever, no broken bones, no throwing up. Damn!  I leave him with a cup of chicken noodle soup and some ginger ale. Big brother will be home in 30 minutes,
so I leave. By the time I’m back home the dishes and clothes are done. I hang the writing up for the day and wonder what I can make for dinner. At least I have a clean plate to eat it on.

Betsie: I believe this is the best response we've had yet! ^_^

Betsie: How long have you been writing and in what capacities?

Douglas Quinn: Began writing in the early 1990s. I wrote dark fantasy under a pen name. Mostly short fiction with one novelette and one novella length published work. Also did some columns in small press mags and published some interviews with mid-list authors.

Betsie: Which is more difficult to write - Fiction or nonfiction and why?

Douglas Quinn: I’ve written both. As a daydreamer, I find fiction easier to write. Conversely, non-fiction for me was a chore and I was probably never really any good at it.    

Betsie: Has there ever been a time when you wanted to throw in the towel and give up? And if so, how did you defeat those instincts?

Douglas Quinn: I did throw in the towel for about 5 years from about 1997-2002, but then got back on the horse and wrote The Catalan Gambit. I knew I wanted to change genres, but during that time wasn’t quite sure what I really wanted to write. A lady friend
kept nudging me to get back to writing and finally, one day, I just sat down at the computer and began with an idea that had been gelling for a couple of years.  

Betsie: What is the hardest part about being a writer?

Douglas Quinn: Not being distracted by everyday

Betsie: Do you have any hobbies? What are they? How do they enhance your writing?

Douglas Quinn: I play chess, swim and play iron course (par 3) golf. I use the ideas behind the tactics and strategies of chess to develop my plot lines. The exercise of swimming and golf relax me so I can think clearly.

Betsie: Articles and media alike make it sound as though the only way to rise to the top is to
sacrifice. What do you find to be good sacrifices?

Douglas Quinn: I don’t think in terms of writing equals sacrifice. If I had to give up writing to do something else, that would be a sacrifice. Good, and sometimes risky, sacrifices would be the King’s Gambit, the Queen’s Gambit and, of course, The Catalan
Gambit. Chess players will understand.

Betsie: What question do you get asked more than any other?

Douglas Quinn: Where do you get your ideas?  I tell them they just come to me, like magic.

Betsie: What’s the coolest thing a reader has said to you?

Douglas Quinn: How proud they were of a character I created, as if the character was a real person and what they did was a real thing. I mean, what more could a writer ask for?

Betsie: What has been your feedback from readers? What do they say to you about their interpretations of your book?

Douglas Quinn: So far so good. I have written an intricate plot with (I think) interesting and diverse characters with complicated interactions between them, and when someone says, I really understand why she/he did that, or thinks that way, - I know I’ve connected
with the reader.

Betsie: Do you think that as a writer you are more prone to watching what goes on around you and observing behaviors than most people are?

Douglas Quinn: Absolutely. Coffee shops are great places to observe. I observe people wherever I go and file away the interesting conversations, twitches and mannerisms for future use. You know what else I like?
Certain reality shows. It’s a great way to
understand the complicated relationships people have with themselves, with the groups and with each other. My favorites are Starting Over House and The Apprentice.

Betsie: Who are some of the authors you consider to be "don't miss"?

Douglas Quinn: I really like James Lee Burke, John Sandford, Stephen White, Jonathan Kellerman, Carl Hiaasen, and Kathy Reichs. However, I think the most underrated writer (by the mass media) is Randy Wayne White and his Doc Ford novels.  Totally different writing style than mind, but I love his work.

Betsie: If one were looking to start his/her own career as a writer, what would you suggest his/her first step to be?

Douglas Quinn: Put a piece of paper on the table, pick up a pen and start writing.

Betsie: What kind of movies do you enjoy?

Douglas Quinn: I like Sci/Fi: Alien Series, Predator I, 2001 A Space Odyssy; Quirky Horror: Rocky Horror Picture Show and Little Shop of Horrors; and Artsy stuff like Pollock, Frida, and others like that.

Betsie: What is your favorite city to visit, but one that you wouldn’t want to live in?

Douglas Quinn: Rome, Italy

Betsie: What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked in an interview?

Douglas Quinn: “This one.” he says as he smiles and moves to the next question.

Betsie: I keep saying I'll toss this question out, but the curiosity is too great lol


Betsie: What’s the best part of being a writer?

Douglas Quinn: The freedom to escape into other

Betsie: What's next?

Douglas Quinn: Am working on the sequel to The Catalan Gambit. Several of the secondary characters in TCG have major roles in the next one. Also, just for the fun of it, I am working on a screenplay version of a novelette I had published back in 1992.

For reviews or interviews feel free to contact Douglas Quinn’s publicist, Mr. Stan Colson at: aasofobx@yahoo.com


Betsie's Literary Page gives thanks to Mr. Quinn for indulging us in this interview and hope to hear more of his works in the future, until then we wish him the very best success!