The Shanghai Factor by Charles McCarry

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The Shanghai Factor - book cover

An American spy in China.
Status: Sleeper.
Name: Unknown

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Act 1 : Deep Cover

Best Mystery -  The Shanghai Factor 1

A spy has to be prepared to live a complete lie. This one is put in deep cover in China… become one of the locals, be un-noticed, be ready and keep ‘controller’ informed. Every detail, no matter how trivial or seemingly inconsequential, helps build a picture of the ‘enemy’.

So when he is ‘bumped into’ by a girl on a bicycle, Mei, who demands compensation and ultimately offers consolation, he is alert.

Best Mystery -  The Shanghai Factor 2

Has he been rumbled or are the Chinese security folk – his counterparts – wanting to rule him either in or out as a player in the ‘great game’? Actually that is not his concern.

He enjoys his life in Shanghai, the company of Mei, the mutual tutelage in each other’s language, and the bonding that comes from gratifying sex. He even manages to make contact with his minder in Shanghai, who grumbles about the price he had paid in compensation to Mei for a new bike. As he explains, it was either that or Mei’s  threatened encounter for him with the local police. Better for a sleeper to stay well off the radar of any officialdom.

But his easy existence comes to an end one night, as all good things often do, with a severe reminder of the extreme penalty he might pay for what he is.