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Red Cell: A Novel

Red Cell: A Novel

Written by Mark Henshaw

Narrated by Rob Patterson


Red Cell: A Novel

Written by Mark Henshaw

Narrated by Rob Patterson

ratings:
4.5/5 (36 ratings)
Length:
10 hours
Released:
May 1, 2012
ISBN:
9781442352858
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

From the Tom Clancy of a new generation, a debut thriller following two CIA outcasts who must race to stop a secret Chinese weapon that threatens to provoke a world war.

After her first assignment in Venezuela goes disastrously awry, rookie case officer Kyra Stryker is brought back to Langley to work in the Red Cell, the CIA's out-of-the-box think tank. There she's paired with Jonathan Burke, a straight-laced analyst who's alienated his colleagues with his unorthodox methods and a knack for always being right, political consequences be damned.

When a raid on Chinese spies in Taiwan ends in a shootout, CIA Director Kathy Cooke turns to the Red Cell to figure out why China is ready to invade the island nation without any fear of reprisal from the U.S. Navy. Stryker and Burke's only lead is the top CIA asset in China, codenamed Pioneer. But when Pioneer reports that Chinese security has him under surveillance, Stryker is offered a chance for redemption by extracting him before he's arrested and executed. The answers he holds could mean the difference between peace in the Pacific or an escalating global conflict.

From CIA headquarters to the White House to a Navy carrier in the South China Sea, Red Cell takes readers on a whirlwind race against time as Stryker and Burke work to save Pioneer and discover the hidden threat to America's power: China's top secret weapon. CIA analyst and Brigham Young University graduate Mark Henshaw infuses expert knowledge of the intelligence world into his novel to create a fascinating and pulse-pounding read.
Released:
May 1, 2012
ISBN:
9781442352858
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Mark Henshaw is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a decorated CIA analyst with more than sixteen years of service. In 2007, Henshaw was awarded the Director of National Intelligence Galileo Award for innovation in intelligence analysis. A former member of the Red Cell think tank, Henshaw is the author of Red Cell, Cold Shot, The Fall of Moscow Station, and The Last Man in Tehran, and lives with his family in Leesburg, Virginia. Visit him at MarkHenshaw.com.

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What people think about Red Cell

4.3
36 ratings / 9 Reviews
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Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    The author definitely knows what he is writing about and that makes it very interesting read. Started a little slow but picked up the speed later. Loved the description of covert work in China.
  • (4/5)
    A fast paced thriller, The author seems to know the CIA from the "inside". Packed full of technical information. The plot is going full tilt from the beginning with twists and turns that keep you tuning the page. An impressive first novel and I look forward to more.
  • (5/5)
    Kyra, an interesting name for a natural clandestine operative, albeit a rookie and a frustrated one at that. But she gets her chance. Red Cell takes us from South America through CIA Hq then to the PRC (China) and Taiwan. I thoughly enjoyed Mr. Henshaw's debut novel and look forward to many more. He is gifted with his prose, able to design an enjoyable plot and execute the story in an interesting fashion.
  • (3/5)
    Nothing too outstanding here. Kyra Stryker is a CIA agent whose failed mission,in Venezuela has left her wounded and transferred back to the US. She's been placed in Intelligence and is working with Jonathon Burke, a brilliant analyst who rubs people the wrong way for always being right. Trouble is brewing between Taiwan and China which could cause another war the US doesn't want to be in. It's up to the intelligence to determine what is going on and to stop it before things escalate.
  • (4/5)
    I read a lot of CIA thrillers, but "Red Cell" was vastly different than most. Here, we don't have a field agent like Mitch Rapp (Vince Flynn) who kicks ass all over the place to get the answers he needs by any means necessary. No, in "Red Cell," we follow a couple of analysts who work out the answers in a non-violent (sort of) way. So you can see, it's different than most books in the genre.We follow Kyra Stryker, a rookie field agent who had a very bad introductory case, as she gets paired up with Jonathan Burke, a high-level analyst who runs Red Cell, the CIA's think-outside-the box analysis group. Their task is to determine why Chinese security agents have taken down some people in Taiwan. This attack also included the release of a deadly chemical.Meanwhile, we are introduced to Chinese native, but American spy Pioneer, who's high up in the Communist regime. Pioneer feels like he's been identified by his peers as a spy, and is desperately hoping the Americans can help him escape. Stryker and Burke are sent in to do just that.Finally, we see China invade a small Taiwanese island and military vessel in a curious manner, leading Burke and Stryker to believe China has some technology that the Americans are not aware of."Red Cell" is very well written with pretty well-rounded characters. I do think it was a little odd that a rookie field agent would almost immediately catch the eye of CIA Director Kathy Cooke, who assigns her to help Burke in the Red Cell. The spycraft was done well, but I think some of the scenes were a little too coincidental and not realistic.My assumption is that author Mark Henshaw is looking to create a series out of Stryker and Burke and I think he can succeed once Stryker, especially, gets a little more experience under her belt.
  • (4/5)
    I 'discovered' Mark Henshaw with his 'Fall of Moscow Station' novel, which was actually his third in the 'Red Cell' CIA series. That one was pretty good and I liked his approach and subject matter, so I thought I'd cycle back and begin at the beginning. Glad I did!

    I loved 'Red Cell', his first in the series. The writing is decent, which was my only quibble with this book, but the plot was great, the pace was intense, and the characters on their way to being well-developed and very likable. The action sequences, particularly those in the conclusion, were exciting and extremely realistic. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of tradecraft as well as the reasoning used by the CIA personnel to interpret past events and predict future ones.

    The plot was tricky and involved the triangular relationship between China, Taiwan, and the US. An incident occurs on Taiwan, China decides to use it to escalate tensions, and the US needs to figure out what's going on and make the right choices. Without going into detail, it's quite believable.

    If you're into 'spy novels and thrillers', this is a good one..... highly recommended!

  • (4/5)
    A more serious espionage novel with less focus on action and more on analysis. That being said, the opening action sequence was extremely well done. The good news is that I really enjoyed the story and the characters, enough so that, as soon as I finished this book, I picked up the next title in the series.I do want to note a few quibbles (that seem to carry through each of the books): First, one of the main characters (Kyra) is quite the tomboy, action hero. That's fine. But many of her characteristics make it seem as if she could have easily been written as a man. I'm not suggesting that I don't enjoy a female protagonist; to the contrary. But I hope, at some point, that Henshaw gives readers a bit more understanding of just why Kyra is the way she is (beyond just "she grew up in the country"). Second, the other main character (Jon) is often described as annoying or dislikable without a sense of humor. But he comes off both as a likeable character who does seem to crack wise from time to time. We're told over and over that people don't like him but I'm not sure that we really see why this is. Third, the author has a bit of trouble with timelines (though not as bad as the Ben Coes books...). As the series progresses, I kept having to re-think when certain events happened (was it 1 year ago or 3? wait, when did the President's term end?). Not major problems, but distracting enough to be ... distracting. 
  • (1/5)
    Frankly a load of bunny rabbit would be the only polite way to sum up this book. It is a textbook for that combination of American patronising and patriotism. A book for little boys?
  • (5/5)
    Publisher's synopsis: From the Tom Clancy for a new generation, a debut thriller following two CIA outcasts who must race to stop a secret Chinese weapon that threatens to provoke a world war After her first assignment in Venezuela goes disastrously awry, rookie case officer Kyra Stryker is brought back to Langley to work in the Red Cell, the CIA’s out-of-the-box think tank. There she’s paired with Jonathan Burke, a straitlaced analyst who has alienated his colleagues with his unorthodox methods and a knack for always being right, political consequences be damned. When a raid on Chinese spies in Taiwan ends in a shoot-out and the release of a deadly chemical, CIA director Kathy Cooke turns to the Red Cell to figure out why China is ready to invade the island nation without any fear of reprisal from the US Navy. Stryker and Burke’s only lead is the top CIA asset in China, code named Pioneer. But when Pioneer reports that Chinese security has him under surveillance, Stryker is offered a chance for redemption with a highly dangerous mission: extract Pioneer from China before he’s arrested and executed. The answers he holds could mean the difference between peace in the Pacific or another world war. From CIA headquarters to the White House to a Navy carrier in the South China Sea and the dark alleyways of Beijing, Red Cell takes readers on a whirlwind race against time as Stryker and Burke work to save Pioneer and discover the hidden threat to America’s power: China’s top-secret weapon. CIA analyst Mark Henshaw infuses expert knowledge of the intelligence world into a pulse-pounding plot to create a fascinating, authentic, and unforgettable read.My thoughts: Let me ask a question...Mark Henshaw, did you write RED CELL just for me? Because you must have already known exactly what I love in a thriller and what types of characters I want to read about and that I love attention to plot details, and authors that allow their characters to think a bit outside of the usual "character box of tricks." So, I guess you don't have to answer my question, because I just did! THANK YOU MARK!!No kidding people, RED CELL opens with newbie officer Kyra Stryker along side the Guaire River in Venezuela, on a foot bridge, attempting to meet an asset. Then the worst thing that can happen to any agent happens. It's a trap and there's no one to help her. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT? Within the first five pages, to use a scary term, I became Mark Henshaw's biggest fan! RED CELL opens with action that keeps building as Kyra, severely wounded, makes her way to a "safe" house. Or is it?Page after page after page Henshaw builds the tension and then gives the reader a bit of a rest. But, don't be fooled. Within the pages where normal actions and interactions of agency people, on all sides, take place, don't be fooled, don't skim a paragraph or skip a page. You never know where Henshaw has buried a detail that you'll need to know later.Henshaw's written RED CELL rather like a ride on a great old roller coaster, he knows when to turn you on your side to bank a curve and when to let the action be calm for a bit, because you know you're about to dive head first on a free fall into a whole different arena.I loved this book! So much so that I don't want to tell you much more. Really, I don't need to tell you much more other than, go buy it. Download it. Whatever you like to do when you read. But a word of warning, don't start RED CELL thinking that you'll just read a few pages to get started...not gonna happen. Too late. You're already hooked.Boy howdy, I sure hope we see Stryker and her team again soon! Can you say "series"? I hope so!Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil has optioned this one, and I hope they've locked in Henshaw to work on the screenplay, he sure has the chops to produce a white-knuckle fantastic thriller of a screenplay. Ill be first in line at the box office to buy a ticket.* This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.