The Risk Agent (Risk Agent Series #1)

( 47 )

Overview

 A Chinese National working for an American-owned construction company is grabbed off the streets of Shanghai in broad daylight.  His one-man security detail goes missing as well.  

Rutherford Risk, the company's international security contractor, is a firm specializing in extraction: the negotiation for, and the recovery of hostages. Private investigation is illegal in today's China. Operating within her borders will be difficult at best: complex political situations and corrupt individuals ...

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The Risk Agent (Risk Agent Series #1)

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Overview

 A Chinese National working for an American-owned construction company is grabbed off the streets of Shanghai in broad daylight.  His one-man security detail goes missing as well.  

Rutherford Risk, the company's international security contractor, is a firm specializing in extraction: the negotiation for, and the recovery of hostages. Private investigation is illegal in today's China. Operating within her borders will be difficult at best: complex political situations and corrupt individuals combined with the intricacies of Chinese culture make such work anything but straightforward.

The security company recruits two unique outsiders to do their bidding. Grace Chu is a forensic accountant hired to follow the money; John Knox is a civilian with unparalleled training in both combat and culture brought in to support Chu. Grace’s top-notch American education, as well as her Chinese military service, make her an unassuming, but effective, operative, while Knox’s take-no-prisoners attitude brings them perilously close to harm. Following the money leads to more complex – and dangerous – consequences than either anticipated. Who is actually behind the kidnapping? And more importantly, can Knox and Grace locate the two hostages ahead of the deadline?

Rich with the atmosphere of Shanghai in all its contradictory beauty and crackling with tension-filled suspense, Extraction introduces us to two brilliant and compelling new characters—and heralds in the start of a brilliant new series.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In his debut fiction assignment, security agent John Knox tackles the gnarly case of a double kidnapping in Shanghai. Knox and his forensic accountant partner Grace Chu face additional problems because private investigation is illegal in China. Authentic atmosphere; gathering suspense; a series starter now in mass-market paperback and NOOK Book.

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Pearson (In Harm’s Way) introduces John Knox, an importer and highly trained security agent based in Shanghai, in this entertaining first in a new action series. Rutherford Risk, a security contracting firm working for the Berthold Group, a construction industry giant, hires Knox to rescue two employees who have been kidnapped. Knox takes the job because he needs the money to support his epileptic, learning-disabled brother, Tommy, and because one of the employees, Clete Danner, is an old pal. He teams with Chinese national Grace Chu, a forensic accountant and former Chinese army intelligence agent, who’s a friend of the other missing man, Lu Hao. As Pearson makes abundantly clear, China is a land of great mystery, so the motives of everyone concerned, including other operatives who are searching for Danner and Lu, are tangled into interlocking webs of deceit and crime on both national and international levels. Thriller fans will look forward to seeing more of Knox. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (June)
The Boston Sunday Globe

 “Ridley Pearson writes thrillers, the kind that try to yank you to the edge of your seat and keep you there.”

Library Journal
Rich with the atmosphere of Shanghai, where best-selling author Pearson (In Harms Way) lived with his family during 2008–09, and filled with breathtaking suspense, this international thriller series opener begins with the disappearance of Lu Hao—along with his financial records of bribes he'd been paying out for a U.S. construction company operating in Shanghai. The woman who helped him get the job, Grace Chu, who was educated in America and also has military training, currently contracts out as a forensic accountant for an international security firm. Because of her connections and involvement, Grace is given the task of finding Lu and his missing records. John Knox, an import/export entrepreneur with friends in the same security company, is recruited as a Shanghai insider to deliver the ransom and/or extract the hostage. It complicates matters that private investigations are illegal in today's China, so they must work outside the police. VERDICT Famous for his plotting and attention to details, Pearson is off to a great start with his compelling and multilayered new protagonists. His many fans as well as readers who love international thrillers won't be disappointed. Buy multiple copies. [See Prepub Alert, 12/5/11.]—Vicki L. Gregory, Sch. of Information, Univ. of South Florida, Tampa
Kirkus Reviews
If you have the right incentives, dollars in the billions can be made in Shanghai, where capitalism wrestles with communism. So says Pearson (In Harm's Way, 2010, etc.) in this first in a new series of thrillers. Of course, "incentives" means bribery and overpayment. And that means more business for Rutherford Risk, specializing in corporate security. Now Rutherford has only days to free Lu Hao and Clete Danner, an American who had been surveilling Lu for Rutherford. The ransom is meager, but stakes are high. Lu delivered and accounted for incentives paid by The Bethold Group, an American company building Shanghai's Xuan Tower, the world's tallest building. Suspects are plentiful, especially considering entrepreneurs like Yang Cheng were resentful of the American company's success. With private investigation illegal in China, Rutherford reaches out for John Knox, an import/exporter with a long history as a military contractor, and Grace Chu, an American-educated, Chinese army intelligence veteran who's currently a Hong Kong forensic accountant. With subplots involving Grace's muddied love affair with Lu's brother, Knox's need to protect his brother and partner, Tommy, who is autistic, and Danner's shadowy connections, Pearson's narrative grabs readers and rockets through hundreds of pages of nonstop action laced by violence, double-dealing and shady characters. First, there are the Mongolians, exiles working for a chimerical Bejing bigwig. There's Shen Deshi, an inspector for the People's Armed Police, "the Gestapo of China." Most mysterious is mainland China itself, "an anything-goes market economy layered over a police state." Knox knows China, but he's a waiguoren (foreigner), never to be completely familiar with "the complexities of the interwoven social and professional etiquette involving the Chinese." And then there is guanxi (connections), and that untranslatable matter of "face." A cunning thriller worthy of the promised series, especially if the fascinating Grace Chu reappears regularly. Exotic locale. Credible heroics. Vicarious thrills. Fans will want more, and soon.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399158834
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/19/2012
  • Series: Risk Agent Series , #1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 1,362,985
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Ridley Pearson

Ridley Pearson is the author of more than two dozen novels, including the New York Times-bestsellers In Harm’s Way, Killer Summer, Killer View and Killer Weekend, the bestselling Lou Boldt crime series, and many books for young readers. He lives with his wife and two daughters, dividing his time between St. Louis, Missouri, and Hailey, Idaho.

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 3.5
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I agree with KenCady's review. Too convoluted, and I too was re

    I agree with KenCady's review. Too convoluted, and I too was really taken aback by the Chinese corruption portrayed...did not realize China was so awful. Had a rough time keeping the various bad guys separated. I have always liked and have all of Pearson's books, but I doubt if I'll follow this series.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Risk Agent is a convoluted story taking place in Shanghai. I

    The Risk Agent is a convoluted story taking place in Shanghai. I had a strong desire to visit Shanghai until I read this. Are the Chinese really so totally corrupted? The book introduces a multitude of players and it is hard to keep track of them. I think it would have been helpful if the author used a flow chart to keep the reader more in tune with the action. As it is, we bounce from one fight to the next, never quite sure if this is the Mongolian bad guy, the Yang bad guy, or one of their employer's deceitful tactics. The Shen character is a hard one to accept. I did like Grace, and a sequel with her and John Knox where the action was a little clearer could be fun.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    For this reader, Ridley Pearson is an author whose books I pick

    For this reader, Ridley Pearson is an author whose books I pick up without even glancing at the flyleaf. I enjoy his writing and just know I'm in for a good read.
    The Risk Agent is Pearson's latest release.

    The American firm of Rutherford Risk specializes in 'extraction' - the recovery of kidnap victions and hostages. Chinese national Lu Hao is kidnapped, as is Cletus Danner - the American who was keeping an eye on Lu Hao. This operation is going to require some finesse.......and some unique operatives. Civilian John Knox is approached - he has an intimate knowledge of the country and the language. And he has specialized military training as well. His counterpart? Grace Chu. On the surface she is simply a forensic accountant, hired to follow the money. But she too has military training.

    I found the background behind the Risk Agent interesting. Ridley Pearson spent a year in Shanghai with his family while teaching at a local university. This year's residence added much detail to The Risk Agent. The customs, culture, language and descriptions of the land and it's people were richly described and definitely added to the overall tone of the book.

    My favourite series of Pearson's have been the Lou Boldt novels. With The Risk Agent, Ridley takes us in a new direction - espionage instead of suspense. I felt a little lost in the beginning as there are many, many characters introduced very quickly. The book hits the ground running from the first chapter and never lets up. There are layers upon layers in the plot, with everyone having their own agenda hidden below the primary objective. You'll want to be on your toes to keep track of all the machinations going on.

    But the real draw are these new characters. Pearson has wisely created both a strong male and female protagonist, appealing to all readers. I enjoyed both characters, but was more drawn to John. I think his personal back story engaged me more. The Risk Agent is the first offering in a new series. I'll be looking forward to the next novel featuring this pair. Now that the stage has been set, I think there's lots of action ahead for this intrepid duo.

    Fans of the Ludlum novels and those of Vince Flynn would enjoy this new series.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2012

    good storyline

    Love,love Ridley Pearson and I did like the book but...if you aren't familiar with the Chinese culture it can be a bit confusing.I would recommend the book.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I meandered away from Ridley Pearson a few years ago. He has me

    I meandered away from Ridley Pearson a few years ago. He has me back with this super thriller. It looks to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship if this is a start of a new series.
    Grace Chu and John Knox are more than a mere forensic accountant (Chu) and a wandering procurer of folk art and treasures (Knox). Thrown together to make up a team to rescue two kidnap victims in China where nothing is as it seems, including the two main characters.
    Intrigue and action abound throughout, leaving the reader thoroughly exhausted, but definitely satisfied.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2012

    Ridley Pearson has done is again! He is truly amazing. The book

    Ridley Pearson has done is again! He is truly amazing. The book takes you on whipping turns and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Honestly, he has done it again! Ridley Pearson, please keep releasing books because we're all wanting to come back for more. Bravo.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2012

    Chu and Knox make a good team; amusing interpersonal relationshi

    Chu and Knox make a good team; amusing interpersonal relationship, exciting most of the time. I'm anticipating more adventures with them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Whirl­wind of a Ride

    The Risk Agent by Rid­ley Pear­son is a fic­tional mystery/thriller tak­ing place in China. The book is the first of a new series.

    The Ruther­ford Risk firm has a prob­lem. They are try­ing to nego­ti­ate for a hostage which was taken in Shang­hai, but are not allowed, by law, to inves­ti­gate. The firm recruits two out­siders to bypass the Chi­nese laws, a dan­ger­ous game even when play­ing by the rules.

    Amer­i­can Jon Knox, a civil­ian with mil­i­tary train­ing, and Grace Chu, an accoun­tant with mil­i­tary train­ing, are put on the job. There are many things which are dan­ger­ous in cor­po­rate China, but fol­low­ing the money is cer­tainly on top of the list.

    The Risk Agent by Rid­ley Pear­son is a whirl­wind of a ride through the busi­ness world of China. While I don’t know enough about the busi­ness world in that part of the world, that part of the novel cer­tainly seemed authen­tic to me and made for a fas­ci­nat­ing read.

    It seems that in China many com­pa­nies, espe­cially those who are not based in China, have a habit of giv­ing incen­tives to gov­ern­ment offi­cials in order to gain the upper hand in the bid­ding process, or sim­ply just flat out to get a job. Much like elec­tions “incen­tives” (cam­paign dona­tions), the act is frowned on offi­cially but it seems to be the stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure (SOP) with a large amount of recip­i­ents but only selec­tive victims.

    The Risk Agent is not a quick read by any means, the novel is plot­ted extremely well and takes time to digest and fol­low, but the reward of going on a great adven­ture is well worth the invest­ment in time.

    The two main char­ac­ters, John Knox and Grace Chu, are fully devel­oped and we get to know them before the final page is done. It is amaz­ing at how much char­ac­ter devel­op­ment goes into this novel while run­ning around the back­streets of Shanghai.

    I have said time and time again and one of the main rea­sons I like espi­onage nov­els is that they are mostly gray. The line dis­tin­guish­ing bad from good are often blurred and horse hair thin. The novel’s twists and turns had me guess­ing who is on whose side, what was most cer­tain is that every­one has their own agenda which made the story more compelling.

    An invig­o­rat­ing aspect of the book is the char­ac­ter of Grace Chu, a level headed accoun­tant (and an ex-Chinese mil­i­tary). Con­trast­ing Grace’s cool head and world view with John Knox’s impa­tience and impul­sive­ness added another inter­est­ing angle, as well as bal­ance, to the story. While every part­ners story has some fric­tion between the char­ac­ters, I believe that this relationship

    I believe that Mr. Pear­son has cre­ated two of the most com­plex and fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ters which had the dubi­ous plea­sure of becom­ing part­ners. I, for one, am look­ing for­ward to their next exploits.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2014

    Good

    Enjoyed getting to know the characters. Look forward to more books with these characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013

    .

    .

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  • Posted September 6, 2013

    I really enjoyed the writing and the suspense. The main characte

    I really enjoyed the writing and the suspense. The main character was believable, and the descriptions were good. A great mystery

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2013

    Sad Face

    Didn't like it. Didn't finish it.

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  • Posted August 30, 2013

    Excellent look at the newer China & the technical explosion that building it.

    The story it totally plausible and while the "China" that is emerging in the 21st century is ready, willing, and capable of absorbing "western" technology for its own uses, China is still the China of ages ago.
    The story is fast paced and the protagonists are all too human.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Read It Now

    Always exciting, another cannot-put-it-down book.

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  • Posted August 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The story involved many level of business dealing in China with

    The story involved many level of business dealing in China with many parties with different agendas; difficult to keep track in the beginning. Mr. Pearson had depicted the real situation in China with some effort but all he revealed is only the tip of the iceberg. To answer fellow reader KenCady's question, "are the Chinese really so totally corrupted?" The answer is yes and, in fact, it is much worse in real life. This is from personal experience in doing business in China. It is okay to visit Shanghai as a tourist; but making a living there is a different story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

    F

    Sssucks

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2013

    Jj

    Jt

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2013

    ?

    Ssaiwq nbbssaaam

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Need a friend

    Give me yor email and user name so we can be friends (user name means your first and last name) reply to zay

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Tjukgbh

    Jgg

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