Friday, September 27, 2013
Review: The Shanghai Factor by Charles McCarry
Reviewed by Amanda Gillies.
(Read more of Amanda's reviews for Euro Crime here.)
This book is amazing! It is the first exposure I have had to McCarry’s work and I love him!! The tension and the mystery start off pretty ramped up and just get more and more exciting as you go. The ending is an absolute stonker as well! Well-written and completely absorbing, this is the type of book that is right up my street and I finished it in two days.
McCarry is a former undercover CIA operations officer and has worked in Europe, Asia and America, so his book has an extremely authentic ring to it. He is a well-known spy fiction author and I am only sorry that I’ve not read any of his material before. This one is high on my ‘Best of 2013’ list and I hope it stays there!
In brief, our unknown, and unnamed, hero is supposed to be keeping out of trouble in Shanghai, polishing up his Mandarin and awaiting further instructions. Things take a dramatic turn when a beautiful young woman ‘accidentally’ runs her bicycle into his and their lives become entwined. His language improves in leaps and bounds but people are starting to notice him and then he is followed.
After being kidnapped and unceremoniously chucked into the river, he returns to the USA for further instructions and what happens next leads him further and further into danger. Totally alone but also knowing that his every step is closely followed, he tries to do his job - infiltrate the Guoanbu - to the best of his ability. With no-one to turn to and being unable to trust anyone, he wonders just how far he will have to go in order to serve the country he loves.
This novel is the thirteenth by this highly skilled and successful spy writer. I am extremely keen to get my hands on a few more of his books in the not-too-distant future!
Extremely Highly Recommended.
Amanda Gillies, September 2013.