China Coaster by Don Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An early adventure novel from Don Smith who went on to write the popular Secret Mission series. CHINA COASTER tells the story of Mike O’Connor, an American expatriate working as a ships captain in post-war China, a tumultuous time when emergent Communism and Chinese nationalism clashed. Adding to the complications are the infiltration of Soviet NKVD (precursor to KGB) agents, one of whom kills O’Connor’s lover which sparks an overarching revenge plot. O’Connor’s goal is to get out of the country before being detained by the Communists but is instead kidnapped and forced to work with Nationalist mobsters. After escaping he realizes that he can’t abide leaving until he avenges his lover’s murder setting up some extended hide and seek action. Well written with many fascinating details about China and the post-war time period. I though that it might be a little too ambitious and overly-detailed with a mind boggling rush of Chinese locations and characters which made following the story a bit of a chore. Still a fine book well worth seeking out and reading.