Red Cell marks the evolution of the spy novel from Soviet / cold war era through terrorism to now China as the major threat. "Red" teams are typically structured as sparing partners for war gaming. Here, the "red cell" consists of a CIA intellectual renegade and a rookie covert operative on the losing end of poorly planned (but not executed) mission. Together they piece together a series of disparate clues that point to a far more organized and complex Chinese attempt to takeover Taiwan with geopolitical ramifications.
The pacing is excellent with a back and forth between covert operations and analytic breakthroughs. Both main characters also get opportunities to perform beyond their assigned roles. There are no real surprises, but the action is nonstop, especially in the second half. Perhaps the only criticism is the scene shifting within chapters that comes off as a cinematic attempt at parallel editing, but results mostly in a disjointed delivery.
The narration is excellent with a quite respectable range of voices, especially for the Chinese characters.
BE has supplied another installment of the eminently readable Rain series. Rain is again pulled out of semi-retirement to prevent what is billed as a coup attempt that will result in major restrictions in American liberties. As the assignment progresses, Rain question which side he is working for. At the same time Rain is in the unique position of running a team of operators (including his pal, Dox) that includes some unknowns. The story is well paced with multiple twists and turns.
Barry also does an excellent job of reading the tale with a superb range of voices that adds to his detailed descriptions. For spy/assassins aficionados, this is a devilishly rich dessert.
The John Corey series by Nelson DeMille has been a dependable listen. While The Panther is classic DeMille/Corey and the story is very good, this one lacks anything new and different to really engage the listener (at least to those familiar with other Corey tales). In this plot, John and Kate venture to Yemen to hunt down the latest feline terrorist that is believed to have planned the Cole bombing. As usual, John suspects there is more than meets the eye (or at least more than what he has been told). As is typical, John follows his own hunches and salvages what would have been a huge US disaster while cracking Corey jokes along the way.
So what's the problem? Basically, the story is too formulaic for those familiar with the series. In spite of all the past investigative success in the past, John is still regarded as a simpleton by his boss, there's a new CIA agent that appears to be just a resurrected Ted Nash, another cocky feline themed terrorist, all around general ineptitude by everyone around John, and a familiar denouement. At the same time, the story drags for the initial two thirds with little actions and too much emphasis of repeating polysyllabic terrorist names. There's a bit of time disequilibrium with a close relationship to the Cole bombing that is now over a decade old, but appears more proximal.
Don't misinterpret these comments; the story is still good, just not fresh anymore. John needs a change of pace, another friendly nemesis rather than the CIA, a different boss who recognizes that he can't fool this guy, and perhaps different enemies, like North Koreans.
Scott Brick as usual is superb with range and tone that sets the mood and makes the listening easy and enjoyable.
This book marks the return from the Mitch Rapp of his 20’s back to his early 40’s. The last two books focused on Mitch’s recruitment and the beginning of his CIA career, but now Vince has returned to modern times with this book. The book follows pretty much the same formula as all the other Vince Flynn books. Something happens things look really bleak. Then someone in Congress gets wind of these happens and threatens to bring a heap of trouble on the CIA, but just in time the plot is foiled and Mitch and his compatriots tie up all the loose ends in a nice neat orderly fashion. It is a formula that has served Mr. Flynn for quite a while and I keep coming back as well as millions of others.
Overall the story is well thought out and well written. My only complaint is that there are a couple of characters that are introduced some time is spent developing them but then they kind of fall off the radar and nothing more than a sentence or two is dedicated to them after that. I am not sure if these characters are going to resurface in future books of if this was just to throw the reader off the trail.
Mr. Guidall delivers yet another amazing performance. And it serves to remind me that Mr. Flynn really should just pony up the money and have George Guidall narrate the two previous books of his that he chose to have other narrators read.
I myself finished the book in about three days. And as always I now find myself in a book hang over not knowing where to go to next. Maybe I will re-listen to a couple of the older Mitch Rapp books……but Mr. Flynn if you are reading this I think you should start a new series with Stan Hurley and explore some of his exploits. Or even some of the corporate espionage that Scott Coleman was involved in. I know I would pay for those books!