The Shanghai Factorby Charles McCarry
A young, unnamed spy is living in Shanghai in order to observe and absorb the culture and language so as to aid a shadowy U.S.
Charles McCarry is widely considered one of the greatest espionage writers of the all-time, and in THE SHANGHAI FACTOR he returns to his roots with an absorbing tale of global skullduggery that leaves the reader guessing at every turn.
A young, unnamed spy is living in Shanghai in order to observe and absorb the culture and language so as to aid a shadowy U.S. agency known only as 'HQ'. However when he meets a sultry and mysterious woman named Mei, they begin a torrid affair that threatens to expose him to HQ's enemies.
Soon the head of HQ, Luther Burbank, gives the spy a task that will force him to risk everything: go undercover as the American ambassador for a massive Chinese multinational conglomerate, and learn the secrets of their powerful CEO Chen Qi, whom HQ believes to be a front man for the nearly uncrackable Chinese Intelligence, known as the Guoanbu.
Soon the spy finds that HQ isn't the only one tracking his every move, and the deadly Guoanbu may be aware of his true identity. Danger lies around every corner, as the enigmatic Mei flits in and ouf of his life, yet every time he thinks he's closer to the truth, he finds himself drawn further into a deadly cat-and-mouse game between HQ and the Guoanbu that might not only end his life, but could upend the East/West balance of power.
“This is an intricately plotted tale of believable espionage that, read by Stephen Bowlby, becomes an intriguing audio.”
- Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Meet the Author
Charles McCarry served under deep cover as a CIA operations officer in Europe, Asia, and Africa. He is the author of twelve previous critically acclaimed novels, as well as numerous works of non-fiction including Citizen Nader. He currently splits his time between Florida and the Berkshires.
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McCarry is the real deal in terms of experience at the Agency and his many uber-great novels prior to this one. But here he fails to get his setting right. Many of his takes on Shanghai just don't jive with reality.
I thought that the book had a good story line and was very suspensful. I was, however, disappointed in how abruptly the book was ended. The author had a great plot going and then suddenly wrapped up all of the complex storylines in the matter of a few paragraphs. I would have liked to see the ending unfold with more detail. A lot of issues were glossed over superficially. I don't think the book achieved its full potential.
Normally, I would rate this book 2-3 stars. However, as compared to Paul Christopher series, which were all at least 4, this is such a let down that I can not give more than 1 star rating.