June 7th, 2022
Red Warning by Matthew Quirk is a modern take on the Cold War and how World War III hangs in the balance. It is a spy thriller with a lot of action. The way the Russians are acting in the book should remind readers of how they are acting in the Ukrainian-Russian War. A bonus is learning about deep cover operations and how a covert operative can be pursued and tracked.
“I got the idea for the story because of my fascination for deep cover CIA officers. I read some memoirs about this. There is an intimate relationship between the CIA officer and the source, who literally puts their life in the case officers’ hands. Another piece of the novel came about after I read a book about a soviet defector’s testimony. The Soviet Union had laid out sabotage plots surrounding the US. I also talked to people who did the work. This story holds up and is timely because it is asking ‘what if the Russian aggression seen now in Eastern Europe was set loose in the US.’”
The hero, deep cover CIA agent Sam Hudson, has spent most of his career trying to track down his nemesis, a Russian deep cover operative, codenamed Konstantin. The Russian is responsible for killing many American operatives abroad. But something goes terribly wrong when an asset who knows about Konstantin is killed along with Sam’s partner. After returning to the US, he is placed on paid leave for being obsessed with the Russian. After there are numerous bombings and the killing of a US Senator Sam believes Konstantin is responsible.
Sam is cool, capable, and talented. He is a legendary CIA officer. He can be driven, determined, courageous, confident, angry, and a risk taker. Even though most of the time he has correct assumptions he gets angry because people doubt him. I contrast him with the villain Konstantin. He is a larger-than-life figure although he is based on Soviet Union sleeper agents. He is focused and disciplined, who does evil things. I got into his motivations and why he wanted revenge.”
What makes the plot interesting is that Sam eventually teams up with Emily Pierce, who works inside the Russian House at the CIA. The hero and heroine do not know who to trust and who is good or bad. What they do know is that they must find these sleeper spy cells before more American citizens are killed.
“Emily is dedicated, intense, and courageous. Through her I tried to capture the real world of intelligence. It is a big bureaucracy filled with very driven and hard-working people. She is super conscientious and made major sacrifices in her life. She seeks justice.”
The way the book is plotted allows for readers to be on the edge of their seats with the intensity of the hunt. The nail-biting suspense never lets up as this thriller brings into focus a possible new Cold War.