Read Red Cell by Mark E. Henshaw Online


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 pairedFrom 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....

Title : Red Cell
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781451661934
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Red Cell Reviews

  • Jackie
    2019-04-21 19:10

    Another one of those almost 4 star (but not quite) books. Although I should, by all rights, give this an extra star just for being clean and devoid of foul language. Thank you, Mr. Henshaw for providing an entertaining read without offending those sensibilities.Aside from the over-use of acronyms (which is probably an occupational hazard given Mr. Henshaw's background) I was surprised this was a first novel. The characters were pretty interesting, although at times I found myself thinking they were taking a back-seat to the plot. The plot kept my interest enough to keep reading to see all the pieces come together for a satisfying conclusion. And... the door was left ajar (not quite wide open) for a sequel. Which I will read when/if it is published. Several times I noted page numbers so I could go back and re-read the little aphorism gems I found. I even read a few aloud to my husband. I liked the patriotism that was evident in the pages of this book.I expect to see Mr. Henshaw's writing evolve as he hones his trade. And I wish him luck. I enjoyed this book.

  • Samuel
    2019-05-01 19:11

    RED DAWN FALLING Ah, the "invade Taiwan" scenario. When it comes to spy/geopolitical thrillers focusing on China, this is the most common plot. Due to changing geopolitics and the PLA getting their hands on some new kit, the plausibility of a scenario can be debated. Problem with it however is that since it's been done so many times, authors have to work hard at coming up with new methods in order to differentiate themselves from others. In "Red Cell" the first book in the Kyra Stryker series, a former CIA analyst uses his experience to portray a realistic worst case scenario and what the PRC would have to do if it wished to conduct a "rough wooing" for Taiwan. Now to the review. How far would Asia's most powerful nation go to get what it believes it's historically entitled too? The book begins on a miserable night in Caracas, Venezuela. Case officer Kyra Stryker has been press-ganged into conducting a rendezvous with an asset who has the station chief hook, line and sinker. Despite protesting about how it's too good to be true and breaks every rule of tradecraft, her idiot boss says otherwise. She's proven right as some gentlemen from SEBIN try get the jump on her when she holds back to draw them out. Surviving and returning to Langley, she's met by the DCI who takes pity on her but decides to reassign her to "Red Cell", a think-tank which the company uses to predict asymmetric threats. She meets Jonathan Burke, the man who runs Red Cell and slowly gets used to her new work. Meanwhile in Beijing, a series of events begin to suggest something big. The Ministry Of State Security suddenly intensifies its activities, a address by the Chinese Premier has hostile overtones and the top asset run by the company suspects he's been rumbled and requests extraction. All these threads come together in duel for supremacy in East Asia. In terms of plot, "Red Cell" is excellent. I recently read a book which was claimed to be written by "the next Tom Clancy" but read like the script of a Roger Moore James Bond film. Mr Henshaw in contrast really does look like he could be the next Clancy. His narrative is well researched and manages to explain geopolitics and other technical details (what Case officers actually do and the work done by the Science Technology Directorate) accurately, without being overbearing and his writing style is crisp and is paced nicely. Plot twists are also excellent. From a run through the narrow apartment blocks of Beijing to a epic air duel over the Taiwan strait, the action is well executed like a seasoned pro, and his astoundingly good for a first book. Characters? So many standouts. But I'll focus on three. Kyra Stryker. There haven't been many strong fictional characters in the post 9/11 spy thriller genre until recently. A CIA case officer, she's not one of the assassins/soldiers who run around blowing away threats to freedom and democracy. But she is just as badass as them in her own way. Despite this only being the early stage of her career, she's cool under pressure, does not panic or have an emotional breakdown like female characters of the past (although she does make one error she shouldn't have in the book) and is competent at her job, namely gathering intelligence in hostile environments. Mr Henshaw did well with her characterization. You will come to like her as she survives through her wits rather than a gun as she does fieldwork. In her partnership with Mr Burke, she's the muscle while he's the brains. Speaking of Mr Burke, he's also a good character. While he gets the opportunity to avoid fieldwork (although in book 2, he takes a bigger role) he was characterized well done but not quite as developed as his partner. Then, there's the DCI Cooke. In the vein of Vince Flynn's Irene Kennedy, she's basically the dream boss most intelligence officers would hope to work for. Competent, not a micro-manager and when it comes to inter-service rivalry, she does the smart thing and let her man opponent make the first mistake. Overall, Red Cell is a solid first novel. The scenario it uses has forced me to take off one star (been done to death so many times), but it is a well executed, realistic, spy thriller. It reads like Tom Clancy in the days before his books turned into paperback bricks. Great pacing, excellent characterization, insider technical details which don't take over the narrative and a relevant issue at the heart of the book. What more can you ask for? QUITE RECOMMENDED.

  • Larry
    2019-04-24 00:57

    Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Henshaw's Cold Shot which is the follow up in this series of spy novels featuring Kyra Stryker & Jonathan Burke I went back for the series opening book. I'm not sorry for the experience but was mostly underwhelmed. Those who enjoy Tom Clancy styled highly technical spy novels will enjoy it but I found some portions much of a snooze. Cold shot was much more of an action oriented thriller.

  • Ray Palen
    2019-05-14 20:15

    He has already been called the ‘Tom Clancy of a new generation’. Such is the high acclaim that debut author, Mark Henshaw, must live up to. He has set the bar incredibly high with his first novel, RED CELL. This is because he himself was a decorated CIA analyst and charter member of the think tank known as Red Cell.Created on September 13, 2001 in direct response to the infamous terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, the Red Cell team was set up to tell the CIA Director what no one else is telling him. With this sort of insight at play, readers should prepare themselves for a novel that will inundate them with the inner-workings of one of the world’s most covert and vital counter-terrorist groups.RED CELL lives up to these expectations. In this novel that is so eerily close to actual world events that it is difficult to refer to it as a work of fiction, the Red Cell group is tasked with intervening in a potential military skirmish between China and Taiwan. Protecting Taiwan is not the only concern of the group but, more importantly, they are tasked with uncovering a rumored super weapon that the Chinese army may be in possession of and neutralizing it.The weapon in question, referred to as the Assassin’s Mace is alleged to be the great equalizer and one that gives China more than a slight competitive advantage in their step towards becoming the mightiest world power on the planet. A raid on a band of Chinese spies in Taiwan results in the release of a deadly chemical that takes many lives. It is at this point that the U.S. President (or POTUS, to use his military handle) turns to CIA Director Kathy Cooke requesting that she and Red Cell get more information and infiltrate. What could China really be up to?Two of the most important parts of the Red Cell team are rookie case officer, Kyra Stryker and veteran analyst, Jonathan Burke. They are polar opposites in personality and do not always see eye-to-eye. As a team, however, they are in sync with this mission that starts with their attempts to extricate a top Chinese CIA asset who has spent his life working and living in China. The asset, known simply as Pioneer, has knowledge that China cannot let out to the CIA and they will stop at nothing to silence him before he can be snuck out of the country. The scenes involving this great escape are nothing short of breathtaking.Nothing will prepare the reader for the final act of this novel that involves a U.S. naval battle in the South China Sea as the U.S. military, led by intel from the Red Cell group in the form of Stryker and Burke are set to defend a strategic Taiwanese island from hostile takeover by the Chinese military. It is during this battle that the secret weapon --- the Assassin’s Mace --- is revealed --- and I will keep that spoiler a secret in this review. The action is nerve-wracking and intense and incredibly authentic.The biggest wonder of this novel is how Mark Henshaw can reveal so much behind-the-scenes details. You would think there would have been some sort of gag order when he left his detail as a member of Red Cell. The scary part is if this is what he is ‘allowed’ to reveal I can only imagine the deep, dark secrets he is keeping under wraps. All hail the new Tom Clancy!Reviewed by Ray Palen for New Mystery Reader

  • Kevin Kazokas
    2019-04-27 00:57

    Mark Henshaw uniquely melds the detail-driven aspects of spy tradecraft with spine-rattling battle action and technical warfare in his debut thriller "Red Cell."Although the book follows the oft-used Clancy paradigm of mixing clandestine tactics with a little military might, Henshaw lends a credibility not usually observed in this genre -- perhaps due to his insider background as a CIA analyst, or perhaps because he carefully avoids the political tropes and military-bent narrative styles that besiege his spy-thriller-writing forebears. Instead, Henshaw's voice sounds authentic and reasonable, not preachy, boastful or overly masculine. In fact, he draws on his authenticity to create believable, likable dual protagonists in Kyra Stryker and Jonathan Burke. Both CIA employees have fallen out of favor with their agency and must put past mistakes, predilections and biases aside in working together to exfiltrate a valuable and loyal asset from the treacherous Beijing streets. Not everything gets magically resolved by the end of this one, which typically would be a detriment in a novel, but in this case works to stoke the reader's yearning to continue with the series. Stryker and Burke's characterizations are rendered so vividly and without bias that it only seems fitting and real for each to have some unresolved demons. For example, will Stryker subsume into alcoholism -- certainly not an ideal trait for a CIA operative, and a personality underpinning which Henshaw alludes to but skillfully keeps at the margins of this debut novel. Similarly, will Burke's apathy and sometimes overt antipathy toward bureaucracy, even the organization he works for, torpedo his career as a skilled analyst?The dye is expertly cast by Henshaw, but the reader can leave this one after 326 pages feeling that he will auspiciously deliver compelling answers in future installments. In the meantime, simply enjoy this thrill ride. Several of the spy-driven parts become so pulse-pounding with suspense you may need to take your blood pressure medicine -- or something to calm your nerves. Henshaw renders these moments in minute-by-minute cinematic detail.The battle scenes at the book's culmination feel ratcheted up to just the right intensity -- though the author may lose readers in some places by not fully explaining weapons terminology or military jargon. Acronyms went undefined in several places.Despite those minor drawbacks, "Red Cell" has plenty on which it could boast: a compelling narrative, characters who drew the reader's curiosity and empathy, and a clearly focused flow where even non-action sequences carry a dramatic, almost cinematic, air. Henshaw could boast about this work, but after consuming it, the reader may feel that Henshaw would choose no such aggrandizement. This book can rest on its merits alone and needs no vociferous platitudes, nor will the series need to bill itself as offering high-stakes action. The understated qualities are what separate this book (and hopefully series) from the rest of the genre.

  • Michael Martz
    2019-05-12 21:51

    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!

  • Tom Tischler
    2019-04-24 19:03

    After an assignment in Venezuela goes wrong agent Kyra Stryker is brought back toLangley and placed in the Red Cell. It's the CIA's think box tank. She is placed with Jonathan Burke a straight laced agent analyst who alienates his colleagues with his unorthodox methods. A raid on Chinese spies in Taiwan ends in a shootout and CIADirector Kathy Cooke turns to the Red Cell to find out why China is ready to invade Taiwan without any fear of Navy reprisal. Burkes only lead is the top Chinese asset code name Pioneer. But when Pioneer checks in he says that he is under surveillanceso Stryker is offered a chance for redemption by extracting him before he is arrested and executed. The answers he holds could mean the difference between peace in the Pacific or a global conflict. This is book one in the Red Cell series. It's a slow starter but hang in there. It will be a whirlwind race against time as Stryker works to save Pioneer and discover the threat to Americas power. I gave it a 4

  • Barbara
    2019-05-05 20:09

    RED CELLMark HenshawIf you like stories of our intelligence service and its possible interaction with the intelligence agencies of other countries, in this case, China and Taiwan, you will enjoy Red Cell. The suspense is somewhat uneven, going from a tense walk into a trap and a run for her life, to the several pages of unnecessary detailed explanation. At the heart of the novel is a possible war with China, and how the intelligence communities, despite their shortcomings, save us. Since this is not straightforward, there are references to other countries with unfriendly countries. Lockheed Martin is mentioned often too.As a previous CIA agent himself, Henshaw adds a lot of details he thinks the reader needs, but the story would have been more exciting without the details and more emphasis on action. The characters are not developed enough to feel real or sympathetic. This is a debut, and Henshaw will no doubt strengthen his weak spots and get better with practice.

  • Jonathan Tomes
    2019-05-16 19:06

    Having a little background in HUMINT—human intelligence—I enjoy reading espionage novels, and having spent 20 years in the Army, I also love military fiction. Mark Henshaw, a former CIA analyst, brilliantly combined both genres in his first thriller, Red Cell. I wouldn’t have thought that an analyst would be as up as he is on tradecraft—clandestine HUMINT operational techniques, such as secret writing, brush contacts, and dead drops. The novel, concerning a brewing conflict based on China’s desire to reunify Taiwan and the need for a Chinese source to obtain critical information to prevent a major war, doesn’t hit a single false note and is a real page-turner. I can’t think of a better thriller that I have read for several years. An easy five of five stars.

  • Jelle
    2019-05-18 00:13

    Wow wat een briljante spionnen en intriges thriller. Duidelijk dat de schrijver er verstand van heeft. Kruising tussen Le Carre en Clancy. Als er ooit een oorlog tussen China en de VS komt.....

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2019-05-01 01:06

    Red Cell wasn't bad, though I think it was an exaggeration to say "the next Tom Clancy". It got too technical and detached for me on several occasions but it was still a gripping thriller.

  • Jared
    2019-04-23 21:08

    Very good CIA/military thriller. Not very gory, good plot and characterization, and a fun analysis of Chinese-American relations.

  • Judie
    2019-05-09 01:58

    There was a lot of technical jargon and not enough spy story, character development and coherence.

  • Jak60
    2019-04-29 23:14

    Red Cell is as much an espionage as a military-political thriller which offers a good insight into the world of contemporary intelligence. Fans of spy stories get mainly exposed to the heroic times of cold war espionage, while only a few books focus on current reality (David Ignatius is probably the best in this area); Red Cell offers a very interesting deep-dive in modern times CIA, a gigantic, bureaucratic monster where the tension between the "operatives", the case officers and clandestine agents doing the "real work" on the field, and the "analysts", pen pushers devoted to produce tons of reports, is well described here.The author is a former analyst and we all know analysts love details: it takes 8 pages to describe the protagonist running away from a trap-meeting with a double agent; it takes 3 pages to describe how the same protagonist enters the CIA office buildings, how she shows her badge to the guards, how she parks her car, got the idea, right.The prose as well is as dry as an analyst report, and the story u folds in a pretty linear way, without many twist and turns.Having stipulated this, I must recognise the book gets better as it goes, the second half is better than the first one and the last part really picks up with a good pace; so, to be fair, being this is a debut novel, it's not bad at all.

  • Larry Lange
    2019-04-26 01:12

    Most of this book was a very hard read. Too much back office type stuff and few of the characters were grabbing me. The last third of the book was action packed. Not sure if I would read another of his books.

  • Laszlo
    2019-05-14 21:06

    Clear thinking, straight line excellent narrative, was joyful reading thanks Laszlo2

  • David
    2019-05-16 21:11

    The first part reads like a modern day Red Storm Rising (with China instead of the USSR), and the second more of a spy thriller. Altogether a satisfying read

  • Kevin
    2019-04-22 01:53

    A strong and compelling debut novel, reads like a Clancy book.

  • Chris
    2019-05-17 02:53

    a pretty good spy story that comes across as more real than most

  • Jack Laschenski
    2019-05-04 19:54

    A great brand new adventure author.Lots of action, interesting "what if China attacked Taiwan" plot.Good characters.Immense military hardware detail.

  • Tekla
    2019-04-22 03:14

    Kind of dry.

  • Julie
    2019-05-10 19:17

    Good Spy Thriller. Loved that it had no profanity!

  • Lee
    2019-05-14 19:50

    Interesting first novel. Kyra stryker a new CIA agent is burned in Venezuela by a political appointee. Not leaving her out to dry she is transferred back to HQ and involved in a operation called Red Cell which tries off the wall scenarios. When China meddles with Taiwan putting them on the War with the US. Tasked with going in to meet a Chinese mole to find out their game plan they end up having to exfiltrate him. Good read

  • Karen
    2019-04-27 03:11

    Synopsis: 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. 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.

  • Dolly
    2019-04-27 19:14

    Review: Red Cell (Kyra Stryker & Jonathan Burke #1) by Mark Henshaw Mr. Henshaw will be added to my "must read" list.  I came across the second book in this series, Cold Shot, on NetGalley.  I didn't want to start with book two so ordered Red Cell.  Great decision on my part.What I liked:  I read thrillers for a couple of reasons.  They are usually about a subject which interest me the subject matter is something a bit familiar to me.  Red Cell ticked both boxes.  I spent 20 years in the Air Force along with my husband.  My first four years, I worked on jet engines.  I love airplanes.  The beauty and the technology of airplanes fascinates me.  My husband was privileged to work from almost the ground up on the F-117 (stealth fighter).  Basically, Red Cell had my imagination caught from the get go.Mr. Henshaw took an idea and turned it into an adventure for me.  I actually felt I was there in each scene.  My heart pounded right along with Kyra trying to escape hostiles.  I lost track in everything going on around me just to continue reading.  That's a mark of an excellent novelist.  The relationship between Jonathan and Kyra is complicated.  Analyst versus Ops.  They both got a look at the other side and it made them work well together.  To me, the storyline was believable and the plot came together with a clue here and there.  I liked the shifting between the characters and the scenes.  It wasn't all one point of view and I never knew where I was going next.  It added to the thrill.What I didn't like:  This is not so much what I didn't like but what I found might be implausible.  I'd like to think not, but history indicates the different security branches don't share as well as they did in Red Cell.  Admittedly, the sharing was forced thanks to couple of characters, but I'm not sure our services share as well as they did in this novel.Overall, I could not put Red Cell down.  It was unexpected.  I saw the ratings on Goodreads and was a bit puzzled.  Maybe I was just in the right mood to read it than some of the others and I had no expectations since I'd never read anything by Mr. Henshaw (this is his first novel).  Now I find myself wanting to put my other reads aside to read Cold Shot but I can't, dang it!!Amazon's Kindle edition is $8.54 and the paperback is $8.99.  Barnes & Noble's Nook book and paperback are $9.99.  Worth the money to me.Highly Recommend!!

  • Roslyn
    2019-05-19 21:56

    Red Cellby Mark HenshawFrom page one the reader is taken into the veiled world of the CIA. For 336 pages you become one with the CIA. From field agent to analyst, you get the inside on the workings of these people. The job of Agents at the Red Cell is to think outside the box- to find the possibilities that other analysts overlook or dismiss. Case officer Kyra Stryker is brought back to Langley to work in the Red Cell after her first assignment in Venezuela goes disastrously wrong. In charge of Red Cell is Jonathan Burke, disagreeable curmudgeon with a fantastic background and mind, who doesn’t handle boredom well. He has alienated his colleagues with his unorthodox methods and a knack for always being right. He believes occasional hostility is the acceptable price of doing this business. Kyra’s farm training was exceptional. She has near photographic memory and sharp surveillance detection abilities. Her high marks on her escape and evasion exercises fascinate CIA director Kathy Cooke.The two out- casts are encouraged to team up by CIA director Kathy Cooke to help her solve the mystery behind China’s latest actions. At this crucial time in fictional history, a raid on Chinese spies in Taiwan has ended in a shoot-out, provoking Mainland China to start an invasion of the island nation without any fear of reprisal from the US Navy. CIA director Kathy Cooke turns to the Red Cell to figure out why. When the top CIA asset in China, code named Pioneer, reports that Chinese security has him under surveillance, Stryker and Burke set out to save him and discover the facts about Assassin’s Mace, China’s top-secret weapon --do the Chinese have it and will they use it on one of the U.S. carriers and if they do will it work? Their research takes them from CIA headquarters to dark the alleyways of Beijing, and climaxes aboard a Navy carrier in the South China Sea about to be attacked.This debut thriller by Mark Henshaw is superb reading entertainment and ranks up there with the great thriller writers. His excellent writing skills bring to life his experiences and knowledge of world intelligence. The descriptions of the various military weapons, planes and ships, create a tense and plausible background for his well thought out plot. I look forward to reading a sequel with this odd couple, Jonathan Burke and Kyra Stryker.

  • minz
    2019-05-04 23:06

    This is a lot more James Patterson than Tom Clancy. He likes to explain weapons and capabilities like Clancy does, trying to go that route. I liked the book but had the audio version. Rob Patterson was just horrible as a voice actor so it must have been a good book to listen to the monotonic, too long of pauses between every work reading. Howe can you make a chase scene or a dog fight seem that slow and boring? I do see that the second in the series is by another reader so will probably give that a shot.

  • Philip
    2019-04-26 01:52

    Really good book, greatly enhanced by the solid ring of authenticity throughout. Henshaw is no ex-insurance agent like Tom Clancy; he's a genuine CIA analyst who not only knows his own business but also has a solid understanding of the ops/tradecraft side of the house, (the only false notes being an unnecessary back alley fight in Beijing that would be a career-ender for any real case officer; and a final action scene that, while very well written, I'm pretty sure would have let to full scale war). And always nice to see these sort of international thrillers set in Asia rather than Europe (so '60s) or the Middle East (so '90s - 10s). If you take this story (published in 2012, but probably written at least 1-2 years early) and move it from the Taiwan Straits to the South China Sea, it would be even more relevant to one of the world's top hotspots today.HOWEVER: PLEASE READ THE BOOK - DO NOT LISTEN TO THE AUDIO VERSION! I started on the audiobook, but it was so bad on so many levels that I had to stop after two CDs and switch to the book. For ANY readers: narrator Rob Patterson makes no effort to distinguish between any of the many characters - a cardinal sin for anynarrator - and his overall phrasing is awkward and off-putting. For readers of spy novels: the narrator consistently and annoyingly spells out many of the acronyms that are commonly pronounced as words - SIGINT, STU, NIACT, SPO. And most grating of all, for any speakers of even basic Chinese:Patterson has NO idea how to pronounce Chinese - he mangles the most common Chinese names and places, and slaughters entire sentences of jumbled nonsense; just unlistenable. And so I didn't. (Meanwhile, the book actually does a fine job with almost all of the Chinese, having just a few misspellings - "Shoudou" instead of "Shoudu," etc - and [a personal pet peeve] improperly split words, like "Yuem-ing" instead of "Yue-ming".)

  • Stephen
    2019-05-03 20:52

    Starts slowly...but the pace picks up about a third of the way through. The author takes his time in setting the stage. The leader of Taiwan,Liang sets up a sting to provoke his large neighbor to the West.A raid in Taiwan catches some Chinese spies but also results in the death of an agent from another country. Now the leader of China, Tian is not going to stand idly by. He must show Taiwan that they really are no more than a part of China. The size of the ensuing maneuver is going to be very troubling to US Intelligence and the world at-large. China captures a tiny island lying between Taiwan and China. The United States has a valuable asset inside China , who has been feeding the CIA intelligence for years......his code name is 'Pioneer'. With the impending action by China, it may be necessary to extract 'Pioneer' from China. Kathryn Cooke, the head of the CIA brings together an eccentric analyst , Jonathan Burke and a rookie agent, Kyra Stryker to analyze the data and come up with a plan.It is a strange pairing, the 'newbie' and the maverick analyst but they quickly form a good team. They have little idea of what the director may ask of them. Now that all the players are in place, the real action is about to begin. Cooke determines that Burke & Stryker are to act as a team and fly to China and 'extract' ' Pioneer ' before the China Intelligence services find him and execute him. Also now the US Navy must move into position between China and Taiwan. The tension increases as China and the US set their governments for a possible military clash. Henshaw's book may well use too many acronyms but no one can deny the exciting pace of this modern day thriller. The action takes place in multiple venues, Washington, Taiwan, and China and it may well be a predictor of the future.

  • Helen
    2019-04-24 22:59

    Red Cell by Mark Henshaw is non-stop action, from the opening chapter to the final word. Rookie case officer, Kyra Stryker, after almost losing her life on an assignment in Venezuela, is brought back to Langley where she joins the CIA’s Red Cell and is paired up with analyst Jonathan Burke. That pairing takes Stryker and Burke from Langley to China to impending war in the South China Sea.Red Cell is an intense, fast moving read that’ll keep you turning pages. Lives are on the line and war is rumbling like a dark cloud overhead. What makes Red Cell even more intense is knowing that the author, Mark Henshaw, knows what he’s writing about. Henshaw is a decorated CIA analyst and was awarded the Director of National Intelligence Galileo Award. And he is a former member of the CIA’s Red Cell think tank. But as much as the book is about Henshaw and Stryker, it is also about Red Cell’s undercover operative, called Pioneer, in the People’s Republic of China. At constant risk of life, he passes on information to his handlers, knowing that at any time he could be found out and killed by his own countrymen. There’s a lot of action in Red Cell, with time to catch your breath along the way. As the intensity built, though, I found myself reading faster, wanting to find out if Pioneer would survive as the MSS close in on him and if the U.S. warships in the South China Sea can win the air war and stop an invasion of Taiwan. I give Red Cell by Mark Henshaw a rating of Hel-of-a-Story.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ FTC Disclaimer: Red Cell was sent to the Heart of Texas chapter of Sisters in Crime by Shida Carr with Simon & Schuster. HoTSinC then sent it on to me to review. Getting the book for free did not influence my review.