This is what Amazon lists as the book blurb:
Sure (although sometimes the only "modifying" was changing a character's name, right?), but that would hardly provide one with a viable plot, either.
I seems like a mish-mash of a couple of ideas. I can see Fleming's SMERSH in "Zero Directorate", and the protagonist's ulterior motive feels like Lt. Jon Smith in Robert Ludlum's ghostwritten Covert-One series. And the blurb itself is unclear about the actual plot, providing two different ideas: "an elite spy risks his biggest asset to defeat an insidious international organization hell-bent on selling the most sensitive state secrets to the highest bidder" and "the Zero Directorate, a cabal of rogue assassins who have embarked on a campaign to systematically interrogate and kill seasoned secret agents from across the globe". So I wouldn't be too surprised if Rowan pulled plot threads from various novels and crudely spliced them together. It sounds like B-movie fare.
An elite spy risks his biggest asset to defeat an insidious international organization hell-bent on selling the most sensitive state secrets to the highest bidder.
Jonathan Chase, the CIA's top field agent, is sworn to protect and serve the United States at all costs. But after a brutal period of captivity during the Korean War, Chase developed an agenda of his own: to use his mastery of war to create peace.
His new target: the Zero Directorate, a cabal of rogue assassins who have embarked on a campaign to systematically interrogate and kill seasoned secret agents from across the globe.
But the Directorate has set an elaborate trap, and for Chase the whole mission involves an inescapable paradox. As the world's preeminent operative, the closer he gets to the cabal, the closer the cabal gets to their primary target.
Even the author's photo looks like it's trying way too hard - the half-tinted Wayfarer glasses, the black and white filter, the out-of-focus building in the background - to make it look like he's a genuine spy novellist:
But perhaps most telling is his biography:
That's more than a little suspect, wouldn't you say?
Q.R. Markham has been a parks department employee, laundry-truck driver, door-to-door knife salesman, telemarketer, rock 'n' roll bassist, literary scout, book-reviewer, small business owner, and consultant. At age 19, his first published poem appeared in The Best American Poetry of 1996 under the name 'Quentin Rowan.' Two years later, he sold his first short story to The Paris Review. Since then, his writing has appeared in the Best American Poetry anthology, The Paris Review, Bomb Magazine, Witness, The New York Post, and more.
Markham was signed up for a two-book deal. That has now been cancelled.
I wonder what action they take against an author - recall any advances, sue for costs incurred printing a now-unsellable book...?