The Shanghai Factor

( 6 )

Overview

An unnamed spy is dispatched to Shanghai to aid a shadowy U.S. agency known only as HQ. There he meets a mysterious woman named Mei and begins a torrid affair that threatens to expose him to Chinese intelligence, the notorious Guoanbu. As danger waits for him around every corner, and the enigmatic Mei moves into and out of his life, he finds himself drawn further into a deadly cat-and-mouse game between Guoanbu and HQ that threatens not only to end his life but to also ...

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The Shanghai Factor

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Overview

An unnamed spy is dispatched to Shanghai to aid a shadowy U.S. agency known only as HQ. There he meets a mysterious woman named Mei and begins a torrid affair that threatens to expose him to Chinese intelligence, the notorious Guoanbu. As danger waits for him around every corner, and the enigmatic Mei moves into and out of his life, he finds himself drawn further into a deadly cat-and-mouse game between Guoanbu and HQ that threatens not only to end his life but to also dangerously destabilize East/West relations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
09/02/2013
A nameless American who lives in Shanghai is recruited by a secret U.S. agency known as “HQ” to infiltrate a Chinese business conglomerate, the CEO of which may have ties to Chinese intelligence. But as he settles into his life undercover, he comes to learn that nothing is what it seems, and any wrong move could cost him everything. Stephen Bowlby adopts the perfect tone in this audio edition. His dry, laconic delivery of the unidentified hero’s tale conveys the world-weariness of a man who has seen it all and, in the retelling of his story, is not surprised by the perfidiousness of the men and women of his past. Bowlby’s characters are distinct and he differentiates between each of them subtly, never going over the top into caricature. Fans of McCarry will be as pleased, both with this latest outing and with Bowlby’s smooth, professional reading. A Head of Zeus hardcover. (June)
BookPage
“Stephen Bowlby adopts the perfect tone in this audio edition. . . . [His] characters are distinct and he differentiates between each of them subtly, never going over the top into caricature. Fans of McCarry will be as pleased, both with this latest outing and with Bowlby’s smooth, professional reading.”
Publishers Weekly
Booklist
“Bowlby’s low-key performance mirrors McCarry’s carefully imagined, mundane world, but one permeated with an undercurrent of danger, source unknown, a fact that heightens the sense of menace. . . . . Bowlby portrays the large cast of Chinese characters . . . in authentic-sounding accents. A strong sense of place effectively adds to the impact of this cerebral, interior thriller.”
Booklist
The Washington Post - Patrick Anderson
…highly entertaining…McCarry's plot moves along nicely, but the novel's real pleasure comes in his asides on human nature and the spy game…The Shanghai Factor [is] the autumnal work of a master, looking back with no regrets.
Publishers Weekly
Meticulous, intelligent prose is the real star of this excellent espionage thriller from former CIA operations officer McCarry (Christopher’s Ghosts), who focuses more on the psychological challenges faced by street-level agents and those running the operations than on physical action. One day on a Shanghai road, the unnamed 29-year-old narrator is riding his bicycle when a beautiful young Chinese woman, Mei, runs into him on her bike. Is it an accident? Our hero, “a rookie spook” working as a sleeper for the agency he calls Headquarters, immediately pegs Mei as an agent for the Chinese Ministry of State Security, but that doesn’t stop him from becoming her lover for the next two years. Eventually, his boss, the head of his agency’s counterintelligence division, calls him back to Washington, D.C., and gives him the assignment of building a network of Chinese spies drawn from the privileged class of party leaders’ children. Back in China, the narrator takes a job with a mysterious, imperious industrialist, Chen Qi, until he’s fired and assigned to Headquarters in Washington. While not much happens by the standard of your average spy novel and events get wrapped up quickly at the end, this book is a must-read for genre aficionados and McCarry’s many fans. (June)
From the Publisher
A Barry Award Finalist for Best Thriller

"Thanks to Mr. McCarry's seamless style, The Shanghai Factor unfolds with compelling speed, propelled by intriguing incidents, well-drawn characters and authentic-ringing spy world aphorisms.”—Wall Street Journal

“McCarry manages to lend nearly every line, scene and chapter in this beautifully paced novel with a force and energy that makes for the very best fiction about espionage—plenty of sex, deception, travel and some murder in these pages...you'll want to read Charles McCarry's smart and utterly diverting spy trade masterwork.”—Alan Cheuse, NPR

“A modern day spy novel, with the feel of a Cold War era thriller, from a veteran writer who is considered by many to be the best in his field.”—Deadly Pleasures

"An engrossing, droll tale of double- and triple-crosses, highlighting at times the more bizarrely funny aspects of spy bureaucracy."—Seattle Times

“Charles McCarry is better than John le Carré. Which makes him perhaps the best ever. And this is his first long-form fiction in years. Excited yet? You should be. The Shanghai Factor is hypnotic, engaging, subtle, and deeply, deeply satisfying.”—Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series, most recently A Wanted Man

“Charles McCarry has been compared to John le Carré—but maybe le Carré should be compared to McCarry. The Shanghai Factor is certainly the best-written spy thriller you will read this year. A perfect blend of sex, intrigue, exotic locales, and deadly danger.”—Nelson DeMille, bestselling author of The Lion’s Game and The Panther

"A highly entertaining tale. . . . The autumnal work of a master, looking back with no regrets."—Washington Post

"A compelling trip."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Meticulous, intelligent prose is the real star of this excellent espionage thriller from former CIA operations officer McCarry... . This book is a must-read for genre aficionados and McCarry’s many fans."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[A] nuanced, devilishly intricate thriller.... Meticulous plotting, literate prose and mordant wit make this a thriller for connoisseurs of the genre."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"The Shanghai Factor is wildly entertaining and further proof that McCarry is a modern master of the genre on a par with le Carré and Robert Littell."—Booklist (starred review)

"A rattlingly good read. America's preeminent spy novelist...not only still has his mojo, he seems to have a lot of other people's, too. It's the personalities and the fascinating tradecraft that McCarry handles as well as, or better than, any other espionage writer, including Alan Furst and John LeCarré."—Berkshire Eagle

“Charles McCarry is a master of intelligent, literate spy fiction. And that is why I believe you will like, really like, The Shanghai Factor.”—Alan Furst, New York Times best-selling author of Mission to Paris and Spies of the Balkans

“Charles McCarry’s superb gift to readers, The Shanghai Factor, is a mesmerizing story of a young American agent in play between his own outfit and China's Guoanbu. Rich in lore, tradecraft, deceit, character, twists, and jukes, beautifully written, the book reminds us that the old lions know best.”—Stephen Hunter, bestselling author of Point of Impact and Third Bullet

The Shanghai Factor is a brilliant espionage novel by the master of the form. It is also terrifying and astonishingly timely, dealing with the ominous threat of an undeclared—and victorious—Chinese cyberwar with the U.S.”—Joseph Finder, New York Times best-selling author of Buried Secrets and The Moscow Club

“Only someone who has been a player can write about the Great Game of Espionage the way Charles McCarry does. In The Shanghai Factor, we are lured, page by page, paragraph by paragraph, into a fictional Heart of Darkness populated by a succubus straight out of the Gehenna of our nightmares. A great read by a master of the art and craft of espionage novels."—Robert Littell, author of The Company and The Stalin Epigram

“Charles McCarry, the reigning grand master of American spy thriller writers, delivers one of his best novels in years with The Shanghai Factor, a compelling page turner that propels its characters through McCarry’s complex plot and reveals our real world of shadow powers better than most factual’ reporting. McCarry captures the hearts and minds of the mere mortals we call spies.”—James Grady, author of Six Days of the Condor and Mad Dogs

“The lessons of old-fashioned spying in Charles McCarry’s latest work, lessons still in use, make for better reading than our front pages or online news flash. . . . [The Shanghai Factor] is written with literary mastery.—Washington Lawyer

"[A] smart and sexy thrilller. . . . The key to The Shanghai Factor is what makes McCarry's other books work: understatement. . . . There is an understanding of the drama of a spy's psychology as much as what weapon he carries."—Daily Caller

Kirkus Reviews
Nuanced, devilishly intricate thriller sends an enigmatic hero to China and far-flung ports to scope out agents, double agents and enticing women. That a semi-colon ("That archaic punctuation mark…") turns up here as a clue signals the level of subtlety that characterizes the plot of this latest from thriller and CIA veteran McCarry. Early on comes a harrowing action scene on the Yangtze, but otherwise, quiet and only occasionally violent moments drive the plot. In a tale in which characters are seldom what they seem, it's significant that the protagonist and narrator (hereafter "Spy") is never named. Known only to his handler, but not even to the U.S. intelligence agency he works for (also never named but located near Langley, VA., if you need a hint), Spy is a former football jock, a former fighter in Afghanistan and a man who may or may not care about his survival. He's also intensely hirsute, which prompts Mei, a woman with whom he's besotted, to call him "the chimpanzee." But when six thugs abduct Spy, tossing him to the rats in the Yangtze, a contact tells him to get out of China. Back in the States, and desperately missing Mei, he checks in with his handler, Burbank, who makes visitors feel insecure and, literally, unsteady by seating them in a chair with sawed off front legs. Burbank wants Spy to find out what he can about a Chinese conglomerate's ties to the Goanbu, the Chinese Intelligence Agency. Spy goes to work for the conglomerate. He's soon jumping continents, gathering data. Before long, he finds himself in mortal danger, shadowed, in chilling scenes, on planes, in restaurants and on city streets. The biggest twist of all comes, well-timed, in the narrative's final chapters, when McCarry's largely cerebral puzzle reaches a breathless, emotionally resonant denouement. Meticulous plotting, literate prose and mordant wit make this a thriller for connoisseurs of the genre.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781622310135
  • Publisher: HighBridge Company
  • Publication date: 6/4/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged; 9 hours
  • Pages: 555
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

STEPHEN BOWLBY earned his BA in Speech & Theater at Westminster College in Pennsylvania, a short trip from his native North Jersey. His career quickly moved from commercial radio into television and film production as a writer, editor, and director with voice work ever present. With more than 35 years’ experience he’s expanded into audiobook performance, studying with such industry greats as Pat Fraley, Scott Brick, and Stefan Rudnicki.

CHARLES MCCARRY served under deep cover as a CIA operations officer in Europe, Asia, and Africa. He is the author of several previous critically acclaimed novels, as well as numerous works of non-fiction.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 20, 2014

    McCarry is the real deal in terms of experience at the Agency an

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    I thought that the book had a good story line and was very suspe

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2013

    Normally, I would rate this book 2-3 stars. However, as compared

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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