In my industry. there is literally only one recruiter who connects top employers with top candidates Last year I was placed by said recruiter with a very tough employer, but both she (recruiter) and I agreed with my experience and thick skin it would be a good fit. Unfortunately, it was a terrible pairing and after 2 months I committed the cardinal sin - I quit my position with no notice.
I find it extremely difficult to believe that an entire industry is dictated by one recruiter. The only reason I can think that would explain a negative in your history would be quitting without notice, this is something that people remember. Whenever a person applies to a position, it would be reasonable to think that the company would ask internally if anyone has worked with you before. If the person was present when you quit without notice, then it might lead to a negative opinion but certainly not fatal.
Since then I have been working freelance, but have been planning to relocate to another city for the last 6 months. Low and behold, my recruiter has branched out to this city and has the monopoly on all the jobs I want there too.
Again unlikely, but at the same time a 'monopoly' entails that there is a recruiter market in the first place. If the recruiter in question was able to capitalize so quickly, then it must mean that he or she has an edge on the 'older' recruiters; given this, contact the 'older' recruiters.
Question - how do I get around this? I once tried to go directly through the employer that was represented by my recruiter, had 2 phone calls with them, had a final interview lined up only to find out "it was filled last minute" a day before the interview. I know that these employers are going to cross reference everything with the recruiter as they are busy, typically independent, small business owners. Unfortunately for me, the recruiter also has a solid reputation and fantastic client list. What should I do? I have a great resume otherwise and am highly qualified, but I can't seem to get past this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I know I could go to her and somehow makes plea, but I know she is going to respond with no matter how badly the situation was it was unprofessional and she could not trust me not to do the same with another.
The notion that this recruiter has a personal vendetta against you seems... unlikely. Like you said, people are busy, what would motivate someone to go out of their way to ruin you? If you really want to clear things up, why don't you offer an olive branch and see if there is in fact - bad blood between the two of you rather than an imagined feud?
Read about a psychological (and I argue philosophical) concept called The Locus of Control, more reading, it seems that instead of addressing your possible shortcomings (quit without notice, potential mismatch of technological skills to job requirements, poor company culture 'fit') you are externalizing it to a largely neutral entity that has become the boogeyman in your job hunt.