The USS Vicksburg is returning home when the crew comes upon a lifeboat bearing a dead Somali pirate who shows signs of torture. Questions immediately arise: Who is this man, and which ship did he come from? Who tortured him? Soon Red Cell analysts Kyra Stryker and Jonathan Burke have traced the dead man back to an Iranian ship currently bound for Venezuela—and the ship appears to have dangerous, radioactive cargo on board.
The Iranians’ plan quickly becomes clear—they’re building a nuclear bomb in politically unstable Venezuela, away from the UN’s prying eyes. Stryker and Burke must tread carefully, though, because diplomacy in Venezuela is tricky at best. A civil war is at stake if word gets out. Can they stop the Iranians before it’s too late?
From current CIA analyst and Red Cell think tank veteran Mark Henshaw, Cold Shot is a fascinating, thrilling, and richly detailed journey into the intelligence world that only a true insider could create.
What I liked: I love the cast in this series. While Jon and Kyra are the focus, the other characters are all important to them and the story. I wasn't sure Mr. Henshaw would live up to my expectations after the first book, Red Cell, blew me away. He more than delivered.
Cold Shot begins not long after the ending of Red Cell. It started a little slowly for me but soon grabbed my complete attention. The action, the politics and characters kept me mesmerized. Just when you think things are settling down, Mr. Henshaw throws a curve and you realize how involved you are.
I really like that Mr. Henshaw didn't do an info dump in either book. He's slowly developing the characters and their different relationships. He does it so well, you don't feel lost but intrigued. Both Jon and Kyra have troubled histories. It gives their characters a depth and strength and you feel for and with them.
Mr Henshaw also writes about the politics of decisions in our government which seem totally believable. I wanted to think political decisions wouldn't have a place in our intelligence, but we all know that's probably not true. He made it all feel to plausible.
What I didn't like: I wanted more for Kyra personally. Jon has romantic links to at least two women in this series and I want the same for Kyra. Here's the caveat. I don't know where Mr. Henshaw is taking this series. The ending of Cold Shot, while not a cliffhanger, left a lot of questions. Maybe he has things in store for Kyra. I hope so!
At B & N, Cold Shot is $18.80 in hardcover and $12.99 in Nook book. The hardcover at Amazon is $18.62 and the Kindle version is $11.04