Friday, March 23, 2012

Red Cell-Mark Henshaw

Red Cell

Mark Henshaw

Simon & Schuster /Touchstone, May 1 2012, $24.99

ISBN 9781451661934

When the CIA mission in Venezuela turned ugly, field agent Kyra Stryker is reassigned to a desk job at Langley in the Red Cell unit. Her transfer doubles the number of agents working there. Kyra finds her new associate Jonathan Burke an unwelcoming acrimonious visionary strategic thinker. His record is impeccable when it comes to analysis as his suggested outcomes are always correct; but his gruff lack of political correctness alienates the politicians running the agency, the White House and the Congress.

In Taiwan, a raid on mainland spies turns ugly, angering the Chinese government and people. China prepares to retaliate with an all-out invasion without any trepidation that the American navy will do anything even though The USS Lincoln aircraft carrier is in the Taiwan Strait. CIA Director Kathy Cooke assigns her Red Cell duo to uncover out why the China leaders feel immune from any American retaliation. To do so they need information from in Beijing, Chinese CIA spy Pioneer who cannot help as he under vigilant watch. Stryker and Burke know they need to get him out of China safely in order to prevent a war.

The key to this great espionage thriller is the three governments (politicians, military officers, spies and analysts) make the escalating hostilities seem genuine. Fast-paced from the opening scene in Venezuela followed by nineteen days of super action, fans will enjoy the confrontation over Taiwan. Red Cell will be on most lists as one of the best espionage thrillers of the year.

Harriet Klausner

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