Mark Henshaw's debut novel, "Red Cell" (Touchstone, May 2012, $24.99, 326 pp.) is a fast-paced espionage thriller written by an insider. Henshaw, whom the publisher describes as a decorated CIA analyst, is in the know about the the CIA Red Cell - a top secret analysis unit. Our friends at Wikipedia say: "Red Teams or Red Cells are U.S. government parlance for the National Security Co-ordination Team (NSCT), these teams or units are designed to test the effectiveness of U.S. tactics or personnel."
But the way this book came about is not all so top secret as that. Henshaw, married with two children, wrote the book during a seven-year timespan (2003-2010), including two years during which he and his wife were accompanying his son Adam to chemotherapy treatments. Adam, who was battling Leukemia, survived. And so did Henshaw's story, after he battled for it.
"With a complete story finally in hand, I had a few running battles with the CIA Publication Review Board to get it cleared so I could shop it around to literary agents. PRB reviewer were convinced that some of the story details would reveal classified information about Agency tradecraft," he writes in press materials for the book.
It's hard enough to get published these days without having to get permission from a government agency! But Henshaw ultimately won the argument and even got a nod from Hollywood. This story may soon be adapted for the big screen. Per the publisher, the book has already been optioned by Johnny Depp's production company, Infinitum Nihil.
Want to win it?
Spy thriller lovers, this one's for you. If you would like to "win" my brand new paperback review copy of the book, simply comment on this post with your email address. If you're selected as winner (at random, of course), I'll contact you to find out where to mail the book. If no one comments or otherwise claims the book it will be donated to the Pottstown Regional Public Library.
Book description from the publisher:
From the Tom Clancy of a new generation, a debut thriller following two CIA outcasts who must race to stop a secret Chinese weapon that threatens to provoke a world war.
After her first assignment in Venezuela goes disastrously awry, rookie case officer Kyra Stryker is brought back to Langley to work in the Red Cell, the CIA’s out-of-the-box think tank. There she’s paired with Jonathan Burke, a straitlaced analyst who has alienated his colleagues with his unorthodox methods and a knack for always being right, political consequences be damned.
From CIA headquarters to the White House to a Navy carrier in the South China Sea and the dark alleyways of Beijing, Red Cell takes readers on a whirlwind race against time as Stryker and Burke work to save Pioneer and discover the hidden threat to America’s power: China’s top-secret weapon. CIA analyst Mark Henshaw infuses expert knowledge of the intelligence world into a pulse-pounding plot to create a fascinating, authentic, and unforgettable read.
Check out the publisher's book website, with access to audio excerpt from book.
About the author:
Mark Henshaw is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a decorated CIA analyst with mroe than 11 years of service. In 2007, Henshaw was awarded the Director of National Intelligence Galileo Award for innovation in intelligence analysis. A former member of the Red Cell think tank, Henshaw lives with his family in Leesburg, Va.