quinn_gunner1 quinn_gunner3 quinn_gunner2
Full Name: Roberto 'Gunner' Quinn
Series Name: Beatnik Spy
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Other - Smuggler

Creator: Patrick Baird
Time Span: 2012 - 2013


Gunner Quinn is a part-time agent for the CIA.

He would never think of himself as such. Roberto Quinn, aka Gunner, likes to think he is a professional jazz musician, a trumpet player. He has earned a living at it many times and truly enjoys it but he knows he will never reach any appreciable success for he is good - only good. At times he can make an almost decent living at it and sometimes it just helps keep the bar tab from getting too high.

For real money, albeit never very much, he has been known to do a bit of smuggling. He has handled a variety of items across borders surreptitiously but he specializes, he likes to think, in rare antiquities from the various ancient civilizations of Central and South America. Many of the things he has moved have been real and many have been impressive fakes but Quinn is smart enough, well enough read, and savvy enough to know the difference. If the people do the buying do not, it is not his problem.

Quinn has been described as a hedonist by more than one person and he would not argue. He likes his pleasures, whether they are in a bottle or a tight blouse, and he is clever and glib enough to get more than his share of both. Unlike others, he is never disrespectful or cruel, ever, but when it is time to move on, he does. Sometimes, it is the person in the tight blouse who 'suggests' the move.

He got his nickname of Gunner while serving as a Gunner's Mate in the Navy during WWII. He learned to take apart and put back together a wide assortment of armament and in the troubles that he has found since the War, that talent has been handy. When he and a couple of shipmates saw their ship blown out from under them and ended up on a supposedly deserted island in the South Pacific, he got a taste of hardship and learned the hard way that sometimes the sounds of bumps in the night really need listening to.

The stories take place in the early to mid 50s with Quinn being a willing expat in Mexico and Central America because that is where drinks are cheaper, the women lustier, and the goods-to-be-smuggled exist. He is friends with a motorcycle gang and rides with them places but it is for companionship, not hooliganism. He knows he is too old to be a rebel without a cause.

Quinn has no desire to be a pawn for the CIA. He just likes to get out of trouble and they are sometimes there to assist. Unfortunately for Quinn, the trouble he gets into with the Agency to get out of other trouble is usually far more dangerous than the first.


Number of Books:3
First Appearance:2012
Last Appearance:2013

1 The Red Jade Door The Red Jade Door
Written by Patrick Baird
Copyright: 2012

In Mexico in 1954, part-time smuggler Gunner Quinn is roped into a dangerous assignment by a CIA agent - head to the Mayan region and seek out an ancient codex. He finds instead a beautiful woman helping save villagers, a rebel/bandit band helping themselves, and a mad Nazi doctor out to help no one at all.
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2 The Godhead Formula The Godhead Formula
Written by Patrick Baird
Copyright: 2012

In South America, 1955, Gunner Quinn has joined his motorcycle gang friends for a ride on the Pan-American highway but he is really out to find the Nazi doctor and get revenge but the doctor is being helped by even more fanatics who are after something called the Godhead Formula.

3 Black Rum and Dynamite Black Rum and Dynamite
Written by Patrick Baird
Copyright: 2013

Having a great time in Cuba in 1956, Gunner Quinn's jazz trumpet playing has never been better until he runs afoul of an American gangster's crazy nephew. To get out of trouble, he agrees to assist the local CIA agent on a little, simple assignment where his smuggling skills will come in handy.


Boy was I surprised at how good this series is. I had judged, poorly, a series by its nickname and decided that the "beatnik spy" series was going to be lampooning or wildly satirical or irreverent or something a lot different that what it is. It is good old-fashioned writing, telling a tale well and making the reader enjoy following the character along the trail.

And a refresher look at the definition of beatnik made me give an apologetic nod to the author. Gunner Quinn might not be an all-black dressing anti-establishment young person saying he can dig it. He is a beatnik, though, if ever there was one. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg would have been pleased. Well, accepting at least.

Solid descriptions, decently described characters, interesting and believable plots. That is what the reader gets in these books and in a writing style that made me think of Donald Hamilton and his terrific Matt Helm series. That is a compliment, in case you have not read Mr. Hamilton. There is a touch of the outré in each book, a tad different than most spy series, but it makes the tales even better, especially since the author does not overdo it.

The first book was darned good, enough to make me follow up immediately with the second. That one was even better and I had to continue to the third, which was even better. According to his website, there is more on the way. I am glad. I liked the author and I liked that series. I think you will, too.


My Grade: A-

Your Average Grade:   A+


pbaird A+ 6/5/2014 8:08:42 AM

Hey thanks for the plug! So you were a Crypto Tech in the Navy. Ever serve on Diego Garcia? I spent a year there, working at the power plant. Cheers! Patrick Baird

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