Choke Point

( 10 )

Overview

The new Risk Agent novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author

Private security firm Rutherford Risk’s new client is a philanthropist with a headline-making cause: to locate and shut down an Amsterdam-based sweatshop that uses enslaved girls as forced labor. Enter import/export entrepreneur John Knox, with his former combat experience—and forensic accountant Grace Chu, who can trap and trace even the most sensitive financial ...

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Choke Point

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Overview

The new Risk Agent novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author

Private security firm Rutherford Risk’s new client is a philanthropist with a headline-making cause: to locate and shut down an Amsterdam-based sweatshop that uses enslaved girls as forced labor. Enter import/export entrepreneur John Knox, with his former combat experience—and forensic accountant Grace Chu, who can trap and trace even the most sensitive financial information.

Working through the picturesque streets and canals of Amsterdam, Knox and Grace face Middle Eastern mobsters, the owner of a local brothel and police officers they don’t trust. Pursuing one young girl who holds the key to their investigation, but is either too afraid or in too deep to help them, they encounter the dark side of a secret world where would-be allies are enemies, and the victims themselves don’t want to be saved.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In bestseller Pearson’s fine sequel to 2012’s The Risk Agent, philanthropist Graham Winston—who’s famous for supporting causes like Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, and Doctors Without Borders—hires Rutherford Risk, a private security firm, to shut down an illegal Amsterdam rug factory that uses kidnapped girls as forced labor. Risk’s field operations manager, David Dulwich, puts security agent John Knox, who supports “Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch, Victoria’s Secret and Apple,” and Knox’s partner, former forensic accountant and computer expert Grace Chu, on the case. Knox, who’s big and tough, is attracted to Grace, who wants to prove herself as an able field agent, but he’s unsure how she feels about him. They make a good team, with his brawn and her brains, as they fight and kill their way to the top of the child-abuse cabal. Plenty of action and some steamy sex help make the pages fly by. Author tour. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (June)
Library Journal
John Knox and Grace Chu (The Risk Agent) return in another high-stakes international thriller set this time in Amsterdam. Their boss has an assignment that drops the duo into the world of child slave labor. Knox and Chu's usual methods of obtaining information are thrown out the window because potential sources know they will die if they talk. Knox teams up with a reporter who cares more about the story than about safety, and everyone is seeking a little girl who holds the key to stopping the abuse. VERDICT Drawing on the horrors of the international trade in child slaves, Pearson has written another compelling thriller. Knox and Chu are protagonists who engage the reader. Although the book sometimes seems like a prolonged ad for Apple products, it is still a winner for the author's many fans. [See Prepub Alert, 12/14/12.]—Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.
Kirkus Reviews
Now that they've established their credentials in Shanghai (The Risk Agent, 2012, etc.), John Knox and Grace Chu, of Rutherford Risk, go up against a coldblooded sweatshop owner in Amsterdam. When you have as much money as philanthropist Graham Winston, and maybe political aspirations as well, you can direct your millions at any injustice you see, and what Winston sees, thanks to a blistering newspaper exposé by Sonia Pangarkar, is little girls knotting handmade rugs. Some of the pathetically underage workers, like Maja Sehovic, lead relatively normal second lives as schoolchildren; others, like Berna Ranatunga, are literally chained to their jobs. Winston hires private security firm Rutherford to shut down the knot shop Sonia profiled, and David Dulwich assigns the job to his friend John Knox and forensic accountant Grace Chu. It's a lucky thing that Winston's expense account is generous, since pretty much everything that could possibly go wrong does. Sonia would rather sleep with Knox than open up to him or introduce him to her sources, even when those sources ominously begin to disappear. The girls' parents are no more eager to say anything that might endanger their daughters or compromise themselves. Gerhardt Kreiger, the middleman Knox contacts to put together a fictional purchasing deal that will give Knox more information about where the rugs are made, turns out to be playing a deeper game of his own. So is Chief Inspector Joshua Brower, who Dulwich assured Knox would be a reliable police contact. And whoever is behind the knot shop is cunning, determined and willing to use violence against Knox and Grace and anyone else who gets close to him. Pearson plots resourcefully, and the complications are intelligently varied. The action is so nonstop, however, that long before the end, many readers will feel as exhausted, if nowhere near as battered, as Grace and Knox.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455854721
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 6/28/2013
  • Series: Risk Agent Series , #2
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Ridley Pearson

Ridley Pearson is the author of more than two dozen crime novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Killer Summer, Killer View, and Probable Cause. He is also the author of the bestselling Lou Boldt crime series, and the young reader series The Kingdom Keepers. In 1990, Pearson was awarded the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship at Wadam College, Oxford. In 2009, he was a visiting professor at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Biography

Crime may not always pay, but crime fiction always sells, and Ridley Pearson is one of the stars of the genre, the kind of writer whose royalties keep his family fed and cover a few extras as well (like, say, his own airplane). Yet Pearson didn't spend his youth dreaming of bestsellerdom. His first ambition was to be a musician, and he spent most of his twenties writing and performing folk-rock songs. The idea that he might become a novelist came later. As he explained in a Barnes and Noble interview, he was reading a Robert Ludlum novel when "a voice spoke up from inside me and said, 'I can do this.'" (Once he began writing and discovered firsthand the skill involved in crafting a cohesive thriller, he realized how much he had presumed!)

Pearson is renowned for fast-paced, thrill-a-minute suspense novels that include "a rare humanism and attention to detail" (Publishers Weekly). In a Greenwich Magazine interview he called his work "aerobic fiction, because I hope to get your heart pounding and get you turning pages." Entertainment Weekly dubbed him "the thinking person's Robert Ludlum."

As his fans know, Pearson works hard at nailing the details of forensic investigation and police procedure. In Undercurrents (the first novel in his Seattle-based Lou Boldt mystery series) his research was so thorough—he consulted an expert in oceanography—that the book helped convict an actual murderer. A Washington state prosecuting attorney happened to be reading it while working on a case similar to Pearson's fictional one: A woman's body had been found in a bay, and at first it appeared that she had committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. The oceanographer mentioned in Pearson's acknowledgments was called in as an expert witness to help prove that, based on tidal currents, the woman must have been dead before the time her husband claimed to have last seen her. Due largely to the expert testimony, the victim's husband was convicted of second-degree murder.

Of course, there's more to a Pearson novel than research. "Just what is it about Ridley Pearson that makes him the best damn thriller writer on the planet?" mused Bill Ott in BookList. "We've celebrated the forensic detail, the taut plotting, the multidimensional characters, and the screw-tightening suspense, but lots of fiction writers do all that. Here's a theory: Pearson is a master at manipulating opposites. His stories are forever jumping from high concept to small scale, from positive to negative charges, manipulating our emotions and minds with their polar hip-hopping."

When he's not writing, Pearson still makes music—he's the bass guitarist for the Rock Bottom Remainders, an amateur rock band made up of professional writers including Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, and Mitch Albom (the group's motto, coined by Barry: "We play music as well as Metallica writes novels").

It was while Pearson was in Miami to play with the Rock Bottom Remainders that he told Barry about his idea (actually, daughter Paige's idea) for a prequel to Peter Pan. The two authors had such a good time hashing out possibilities over breakfast that Pearson asked Barry to write the book with him. Published in 2004, their clever collaboration Peter and the Starcatchers became a huge bestseller, spawning two sequels (Peter and the Shadow Thieves in 2006 and Peter and the Secret of Rundoon in 2007) and a series of spin-off children's chapter books.

Even though Pearson thoroughly enjoys crafting juvenile fiction, his adult fans need not worry that he's abandoned his high-voltage crime novels. Indeed, he has said that writing gives him the same "adrenaline rush," no matter which audience he is targeting: Readers of all ages appreciate the imagination, suspense, and an impeccable eye for detail he brings to all his fiction.

Good To Know

Pearson calls himself a workaholic, "not so much by desire as out of necessity," since he reserves a lot of time for his two young daughters. His hobbies, which he now defines as "something you once did and no longer have the time for," include recreational tree climbing, fly-fishing, backyard volleyball, snow boarding—and, of course, bass guitar in his rock band. An avid reviser, Pearson says, "I'm said to have a nervous, worrying disposition, but rarely feel I live up to that description—perhaps internal calm is expressed as external nervosa."

Pearson loves to travel, especially to southern France, with wife Marcelle and second child Storey, who is adopted from China. We're certain to do a good deal of international travel in the years to come. He also attends local symphony and theater. But his "favorite avocation is to spend an evening around our dining table with two or three other couples. This, I feel, is where many of the world's ills are solved, and many souls restored. Mine, especially."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Wendell McCall; Joyce Reardon
    2. Hometown:
      St. Louis, Missouri
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 13, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      Glen Cove, New York
    1. Education:
      Kansas University, B.A., Brown University
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    In the second novel in what is billed as an ¿international thril

    In the second novel in what is billed as an “international thriller series” (“Risk Agent” was the first entry), Ridley Pearson brings the return of John Knox, a man who has a useful ‘cover’ as a legitimate international exporter, and Grace Chu, a Chinese woman who was a former forensic accountant but has “recently proven herself a quick study of computer hacking.” She also holds a master’s degree in criminology from USC and, because of her former training with the Chinese Army, “is no slouch in field ops.” The fact that she speaks five or six languages is only a plus. They are both now occasionally employed by Rutherford Risk, a private security firm.

    The book takes place for the most part in Amsterdam, although it opens briefly in Tunisia, where John is plying his trade, that is, until his old buddy David “Sarge” Dulwich finds him and coaxes him to take on a job in Amsterdam. Their long-standing friendship goes back to the days when they were both working for a private contractor based out of Kuwait where John saved Sarge’s life, twice (once when the truck in which he was riding was hit by an IED). Both John and Grace find themselves becoming addicted to their new calling, their former professions seeming to have been a waste of their talents, and the adrenaline rush undeniable.

    Their new assignment deals with child exploitation. They are joined, in a somewhat ambivalent relationship, by Sonia Pangarkar, a gorgeous reporter working on a story about “the poorer neighborhoods of Amsterdam and the European struggle with immigrants.” More than that, it is about a ring of men “who kidnap ten-year-olds and chain them to posts and make them work 18-hour days” in what are called “knot shops,” i.e., sweatshops where intricately hand-knotted Oriental rug knockoffs are made, with quantity demanded. And that’s the least horrific part of it. Rutherford Risk was called in as the work is seen as “typically unwanted by, or too dangerous for, others.” But Knox and Grace thrive on just that.

    Thrillers are not, generally, my favorite sub-genre. But the author’s name beckoned to me. The book is undeniably exciting and suspenseful, densely plotted, and the three main characters very intriguing. It makes for enjoyable, good reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2013

    This series keeps getting better. The two protagonists play wel

    This series keeps getting better. The two protagonists play well off each other and have great chemistry. A great summer read! Hoping for more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    DO NOT BOTHER

    First, let me say that I have loved Ridley Pearson's books for years. I made it through the first book in this series and thought, okay, he has set the scene for the next one, and it will be more enjoyable. It is not. I cannot even bring myself to finish it, and that is saying something for me. I read and listen to several books a week, but I give up on this series. Please, please go back to the Lou Boldt and Walt Fleming series. They are far superior to this plodding series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2013

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    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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