The Iranians are doing something shady in Venezuela, and it's up to the CIA's Burke and Stryker to put a stop to it.
It's clear the dead Somali pirate that the crew of the USS Vicksburg pulled out of a lifeboat had been tortured. But why? By whom? And where did he come from? It doesn't take long before Jon Burke and Kyra Stryker, of the agency's Red Cell, come up with a possible answer: the Markarid, an Iranian freighter which satellite imagery suggests is headed for Puerto Cabello in Venezuela—and it’s missing a lifeboat. Worried that the Markarid might be smuggling something unsavory into the Western Hemisphere, the agency sends Stryker and Burke to keep an eye on the cargo, despite some previous trouble Stryker had in Venezuela. While there, she captures video of Venezuelan soldiers in the presence of a known Iranian nuclear proliferator murdering a cargo container full of dock workers, who seem to have gotten sick from handling whatever they pulled off the Markarid. This causes the president himself to start demanding some solid answers, and since Stryker is the only agent anywhere nearby, it's up to her to infiltrate the facility where the mystery cargo is being held. But, of course, things don't go exactly as planned, and before long, an anxious world is watching earth-shaking events unfold in Venezuela, while Stryker and Burke try to make it out of an increasingly hostile country. Henshaw (Red Cell, 2012) is a former Red Cell analyst himself, and he's well-equipped to provide a behind-the-curtain look at the agency. He provides a Clancy-esque level of detail but without dragging the story down. His lead characters are fleshed out and interesting, especially the decidedly Sherlock-ian Burke.
Tense, suspenseful and loaded with immersive detail.