cover image The Red Room

The Red Room

Ridley Pearson. Putnam, $26.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-399-16374-6

Bestseller Pearson’s exciting if complicated third Risk Agent novel (after 2013’s Choke Point) takes security operative John Knox, who’s also an art trader, and his partner, former Chinese government spy Grace Chu, to Istanbul, where they are to perform a simple in-and-out delivery job for David Dulwich, Knox’s pal at the private contracting firm Rutherford Risk. Knox and Chu are to offer the bust of Harmodius, a piece of ancient artwork worth millions, to restaurant owner Akram Okle, who’s acting as middleman for a wealthy brother of his named Mashe. Since Knox needs the money for medicine for his autistic, mentally-challenged brother, he accepts the assignment. To no one’s surprise, the mission turns deadly in Istanbul and proves anything but simple. Readers may want to take notes to keep track of the many countries and secret agents involved as Pearson peels away the various layers of deception before the satisfying denouement. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (June)