Stuart Craigie
Espionage action thrillers
2016 Stuart Craigie. All Rights Reserved
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review.

The Chinese Shadow Game is Stuart Craigie's third espionage novel; all of which are centered on world terrorist networks and the secret efforts of the American CIA and British M16 forces against them. This latest is set in North Korea, where agent Roger Jones's discovery of an illicit and dangerous Chinese/North Korean military alliance has resulted in his capture and torture.

But this is only the opening to the story as Americans, British, and German forces combine efforts to learn what Jones was only able to hint at before he vanished.

With North Korea in the news with its latest nuclear detonation, the premises and action in The Chinese Shadow Game should prove especially realistic as the story follows a dangerous alliance and the efforts of global forces to stop it.

Stuart Craigie's ability to deftly portray the undercover efforts of spies and agents, the political masterminds and military forces at work on all sides, and most of all, the cat-and-mouse games that take place as attacks, counterattacks, and subterfuge remain under the radar contributes to a thriller that provides tense, gripping moments in every chapter.

Recurring nightmares from past experiences and future possibilities, illegal deals traced from China to America's Silicon Valley, a rescue mission involving a veteran traumatized agent's journey to the mysterious and threatening world of China, and informants, subterfuge, and a secret Chinese organization all create plots, subplots, and a diverse cast of characters who keep special interests and deep secrets close to their hearts.

Craigie takes the time to develop these characters, including a cast of agents and special interests, from MI6 agent Mike Sanders, who has trained recruits in Afghanistan, to Li Zhi-fu, the leader of a secret world wide Chinese clan who is overseeing a new border crossing detection system designed to catch North Korean refugees slipping over the Chinese border.

Yet, Craigie never lets their development get in the way of action and intrigue, which drives the story line and keeps readers immersed in a tale with no easy answers and many unpredictable moments. But Craigie's real talent lies in taking readers right up to the line of predictability, whether it is a spy operation or a firing squad, and turning the tables at the last second to turn events in a new direction.

Given that approach, The Chinese Shadow Game becomes more than just another military spy thriller. It's a powerful, highly recommended tale of a dangerous deadlocks, kidnapping, and impossible choices which even the most seasoned thriller reader will find satisfyingly unpredictable and engrossing.