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, specializes in negotiation for and recovery of kidnapped hostages. Private investigation is illegal in today’s China. Operating within her borders is 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 its bidding. Grace Chu is a forensic accountant hired to follow the money; John Knox is a civilian with unparalleled training in both combat and the street culture of Shanghai, brought in to support her. Chu’s top-notch American education as well as her Chinese military service makes her an unassuming but effective operative, while Knox’s take-no-prisoners attitude provides the street smarts and arm-twisting necessary to pursue the location of the hostages. Following the money trail leads to more complex — and dangerous — consequences than either Chu or Knox anticipated. Who is actually behind the kidnapping? More important, can Knox and Chu locate the two hostages ahead of the ransom deadline? Rich with the atmosphere of today’s Shanghai in all its contradictory beauty, crackling with tension-filled suspense, The Risk Agent introduces us to two compelling new characters — and ushers in the start of a brilliant new series.
Mystery/thriller that takes you on a wild ride (review is based on an ARC)
The Risk Agent by Ridley Pearson is a complicated novel highlighting what it might be like to do business inside China. Set in Shanghai, China, the descriptions are exceptional and put you right in the middle of the story.
First, this is not a quick, easy read but it is an extremely well plotted novel that will take you on a great adventure. Grace Chu and John Knox work very well together as the stars of this novel. Their characters are fully developed with both good and questionable traits. It was very refreshing to see the female have the steady control and level head instead of the male lead, who is a bit more impetuous. Grace and John are contract agents for the Rutherford Risk firm. The job to involves trying to extract two individuals who have been kidnapped and a ransom demanded. Grace and John each know one of the individuals kidnapped and so the stakes are personal as well as professional.
Paying attention to the details is a must in reading The Risk Agent. There are numerous twists and turns. At some points, I didn’t even know who the good/bad guys were. It seems everyone has an agenda, even Grace and John.
I especially enjoyed the way Mr. Pearson went into detail about the surroundings in Shanghai. Having no idea what China is like, the descriptions painted a wonderful picture in my head. The way the chapters are set up helps the reader follow the timeline Grace and John are up against. This was an ARC and I sincerely hope the author retains that feature. It adds tension and suspense. The novel flows effortlessly based on the timeline supplied and the pacing is great.
I’ve never read anything by Ridley Pearson before but will now add him to my list. Based on the synopsis, The Risk Agent, is the first of a new series. I can’t wait for the next one!
My rating: 4.25 Stars