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The Red Room (A Risk Agent Novel series Book 3) [Kindle Edition]

Ridley Pearson
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $26.95
Kindle Price: $10.99
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

“This installment is all about impossible escapes and elusive spycraft….Another hit in this knockout thriller series featuring nonstop danger, casually clever descriptions of exotic locales, evolving characterization, and evenhanded sociopolitical commentary. Recommended for every beach bag.” —Booklist

In the newest international thrill ride from New York Times-bestselling author Ridley Pearson, John Knox and Grace Chu, the incomparable and often incompatible duo, team up again, this time in the exotic “city between two worlds,” Istanbul.

What’s it like to see yourself in a picture you never knew was taken? 

John Knox is an expert at surveillance and delicate, international dealings. So he is understandably thrown when David “Sarge” Dulwich, his contact at Rutherford Risk, hands him a photo of a transaction he recently facilitated in the Middle East. More curious to him, he’s shown that photo while in the Red Room, the private security company’s highly secure underground bunker, where eavesdropping is impossible and privacy ensured. Why all the cloak-and-dagger?

Knox is pressured into accepting a job as an art broker in the mysterious Istanbul, a city situated on two continents where East meets West and Islam meets Christianity. It is a melting pot of spies, terrorists, and conflicting interests.

Teamed with smart, quick, and fearless Grace Chu, Knox must navigate a murky operation, the only goal of which is to spend five minutes in the proximity of a man they’ve never met. Why? What can it possibly matter? And why are so many others bound and determined to see it never happens—at any cost? 

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Previous Risk Agent ops in Shanghai (The Risk Agent, 2012) and Amsterdam (Choke Point, 2013) featured Rutherford Risk operatives John Knox and Grace Chu on the hunt, but this installment is all about impossible escapes and elusive spycraft. The plan is for Knox and Chu to travel to Istanbul, broker the sale of a long-buried antiquity to one of Knox’s current import/export clients, and finagle five minutes in the room with their mark, the client’s brother. Despite pitching the mission as “in and out, no action,” chief operative David Dulwich claims the client’s identity and the significance of their contact with the mark is “need to know” intel. And, according to him, they don’t. But when Knox and Chu arrive in Istanbul, they spot operatives following their every move. Dissatisfied with Dulwich’s unresponsiveness, technology-maven Grace does some unsanctioned digging and identifies the mark as an Iranian nuclear scientist, but she can’t figure out the operation’s objective. Then Grace is kidnapped, and the operatives who have been shadowing Knox start shooting to kill. Knox is caught in a catch-22: complete the mission blind, or bail on the op and burn his reputation in the import/export business. Another hit in this knockout thriller series featuring nonstop danger, casually clever descriptions of exotic locales, evolving characterization, and evenhanded sociopolitical commentary. Recommended for every beach bag. --Christine Tran


Praise for the Chu-Knox Series
“Brainy … [a] Rubik’s cube of a thriller.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review on The Red Room

“Pearson offers readers a rainbow of Istanbul’s local color.” — St.  Louis Post-Dispatch

“Pearson's third book in the Risk Agent series is an E-ticket adventure of lies, betrayal and violence… Pearson leaves no doubt that he can handle the espionage trade. The writing style is tense, breathless. The plot, a thick maze of questions.”
The Arizona Republic

“Istanbul comes alive in Pearson’s prose, capturing its multiple flavors and presenting its fascinating conglomeration of East and West blended through thousands of years of history. Yet he keeps the plot racing along to the climax. This book will keep you turning the pages until the very end.”
Suspense Magazine on The Red Room
“Pearson has crafted a great series with characters and settings the reader will enjoy, and demand will be heavy owing to his growing fanbase.”
Library Journal on The Red Room

“Exciting…Pearson peels away the various layers of deception before the satisfying denouement.”
Publishers Weekly on The Red Room

"It's obvious why Pearson has earned praise as thriller grand master; the pacing is flawlessly anxiety ridden, and the investigative elements are richly layered."
Booklist on Choke Point

“Readers who like crime novels that teem with violence and provide more than a touch of sex will give Choke Point high ratings. So will readers who enjoy prose with a sharp edge.”
St. Louis Today on Choke Point 
 “Rich with the atmosphere of Shanghai…and filled with breathtaking suspense. …Famous for his plotting and attention to details, Pearson is off to a great start with his compelling and multilayered new protagonists.”
Library Journal (starred)  on The Risk Agent

“A cunning thriller worthy of the promised series… Exotic locale. Credible heroics. Vicarious thrills. Fans will want more, and soon.”
Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

  • File Size: 1522 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399163743
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (June 17, 2014)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G3L6LLW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,348 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Red Room May 2, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have always loved Ridley Pearson's books, however over the last few years I hadn't read any of his latest, so with this book I thought it would serve me well to read the first two books in this series before reading this one. So off to the library I went and got the two of them, Risk Agent and Choke Point. I read risk Agent and wasn't real impressed as I got tired of the following and the chasing and the beatings and the stalking and the chasing and the beatings, and oh yeah it took place in China - Shanghai to be more exact. So then I read Choke Point, more of the same only it took place in Amsterdam and for the first time ever with his books I couldn't finish it and stopped half-way through it. So then I read The Red Room. More of the same, stalking, chasing, beatings, high tech computer hacking, rinse, repeat and this time we are in Istanbul. I forced myself to finish the book and will not be in the least tempted to pick up any more books in this series. The location of the books never really mattered since the characters in the book spent more time running from the bad guys, being beaten up or beating others up or hacking on their computers that there was never enough time to get to know the city or country or look at scenery.

The main characters were John Knox and Grace Chu were basically one dimensional although we do get fleeting impressions that they have some sort of life other than being a Risk Agent. John having a brother, that unless you read the first book in the series, you don't really have a clue why John takes on these high paid dangerous jobs. He is apparently trying to earn enough to support his brother and his long term medical care and during this book he is on $10,000 a month medication.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Red red robin isn't bobbing along in this thriller April 21, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
John Knox is an art expert and operative for Rutherford Risk. The company's bread and butter comes from government contracts, guarding convoys and providing intelligence. The company president styles his business in the manner of the first president of the CIA. Knox questions this assignment but accepts it because his brother has medical issues and Knox needs the money to pay for his brother's medicine.

John and his partner, Grace Chu are sent to Istanbul to meet with a man John has dealt with in the past. Their mission is to make contact with the man and offer a priceless piece of art to him. The man's brother is someone John's superiors are suspicious about. Then Grace, who is an expert with computers, can follow the money and see what illegal activities the two brothers might be involved with.

Even though there is a great deal of action, the novel is slow and unexciting. John is shot, stabbed, tasered and hit with a rebar but still overcomes those pursuing him. Both John and Grace are captured and released more than once and we finally wish they would get on with it. At one point John mentions that the pieces don't fit and the reader feels exactly the same.

That is the problem with the story. Who are the villains? Various scenarios are introduced and then disguarded before the reader has a chance to digest them. Are the men using art as a payment mode for weapons? Is it the Israelis? Iranians? Turkish gangsters? The reader doesn't know and after a time, we no longer care.

I've enjoyed Ridley Pearson's writing and consider myself a fan but the writing and plotting in his novel just don't measure up to his past efforts.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have read everything Mr. Pearson has written --- from thriller to YA --- and thoroughly enjoyed all (particularly his Kingdom Keepers and Peter & the Starcatchers series).

THE RED ROOM is the third entry in the Risk Agent series that features John Knox and Grace Chu. Both protagonists work for an interesting organization that 'manages' insurance risk (but is actually a covert arm of a super-intelligence organization). This effort finds the pair working separately (initially) on an assignment in Istanbul, Turkey, where they are seeking to take down an arms trader via the world of fine art.

Regrettably, the novel is over-long and surprisingly dull. It takes nearly half of the novel for anything substantial to really happen that the reader should care about (the abduction of a curiously unwitting Ms. Chu). it is only when Knox is in revenge or retaliation mode that this novel works --- that does not happen nearly enough and the story could have been significantly trimmed down to make for a more taut and suspenseful thriller.

All great riders are bound to stumble and its a triumph its taken Ridley Pearson this long to put his name on a lack-luster effort. I'm sure he will bounce back as the final chapter in The Kingdom Keepers series is ironically being released at the same time as this novel.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Tech for Me April 28, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am a big Ridley Pearson fan. I have read all his Lou Boldt novels, and most of his Walt Fleming novels. I have always been impressed with Pearson's knack for coming up with some ungodly scheme before someone actually comes up with said ungodly scheme: shipping refugees in ship cargo holds, storing bodies in storage rental spaces, and other creepy pastimes.

I was looking forward to meeting his newer characters: John Knox and Grace Chu. And, as with all Pearson characters, they are interesting and driven and flawed and totally intriguing.

But Pearson went a bit too high tech for me this time, and I couldn't see the storyline for the technology. If you're an espionage fan, this could be perfect reading material for you. I guess I just need a brutal murder on a Seattle street corner.

Lou Bolt, do you hear me???
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Interminable. I kept pushing through but it wasn't a compelling read. I have two other titles by this author and now I feel I should drop them off at Goodwill. Read more
Published 3 days ago by E. B. MULLIGAN
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
The plot did not hold together well
Published 4 days ago by robert J rothstein
3.0 out of 5 stars Like the charactors but the story needed to open up ...
Not enough variation. Like the charactors but the story needed to open up more.
Published 4 days ago by Thomas Moffat
1.0 out of 5 stars Had to force myself to finish it
Words cannot express how disappointed I was by this book.

I've read several of Ridley Pearson's books, and this one was just not up to par. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Sharon E. Cathcart
4.0 out of 5 stars Brain and Braun
Knox and Grace team up again in The Red Room, a follow-up to The Risk Agent. Knox intuits spycraft on the fly, while Grace complements his style with analytics and brain power. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Benjamin Devey
4.0 out of 5 stars Action and espionage in Turkey
This is my first John Knox/Grace Chu novel, though it is the third in the series. I did not find that there was any appreciable problem with my not having read the two previous... Read more
Published 1 month ago by P. Mann
2.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't worth the time
Wow, where to start with this one. . .

The characters are shallow and we learn about them in short bursts, little information dumps that are clunky and don't build any... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Luckyclucker
5.0 out of 5 stars A Deadly Ballet, masterfully done.
Ridley Pearson is one of America's premier mystery writers. His Risk Agent series began when the author spent year living in China and the characters have moved on. Read more
Published 1 month ago by outlawyerjay
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Way too confusing of book.
Published 2 months ago by Fjm
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but not a hit...
I really like Ridley Pearson's books, particularly "Beyond Recognition," which I think is a classic in the thriller genre. Read more
Published 2 months ago by L. F. Smith
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More About the Author

Ridley Pearson (, the first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction at Wadham College, Oxford University, is the bestselling author of over 50 novels including, Peter And the Starcatchers (co-written with Dave Barry), The Kingdom Keepers series, and two dozen crime novels including: Probable Cause, Beyond Recognition, Killer Weekend, The Risk Agent, and The Red Room. His novel The Diary Of Ellen Rimbauer, a prequel to a Stephen King miniseries, was a New York Times #1 bestseller, and a ABC TV movie (2009).

Peter and the Starcatcher, a stage play adaptation written by Rick Elice (Jersey Boys) won 5 Tonys for its Broadway run and is currently touring the US.

Ridley is a founding member of, and plays bass guitar in, the all-author rock band, The Rockbottom Remainders (, with Dave Barry, Stephen King, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., James McBride, Amy Tan and Greg Iles. The band has raised over 2.5 million dollars for charities.

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