The novel “Killing West” by Lee Gimenez was published for the first time in 2014. It’s part of the Rachel West series.
Rachel West is a CIA operative investigating Chinese billionaire Zhao Deng’s acquisitions of American technology companies. However, her mission to China ends with the man’s death at the hands of one of his bodyguards, an event that indicates that someone else must be behind him.
The information she gathered brings Rachel West far from China in search of the person, or persons behind acquisitions whose purposes are still obscure. Investigating becomes even more difficult when strong suspicions emerge that someone in the CIA is working against her.
This spy thriller has Rachel West as its protagonist, a CIA agent who works in the field, in this case, to find out what is behind the acquisitions of American companies in the technological field. It’s a story that takes its inspiration from the highly interconnected world in which there are clashes between nations or between factions that transcend national borders that can be fought using economic power and other sophisticated means employed in secret.
International technological interconnections have become crucial in our society. They brought progress with lightning-fast communications at a global level but also new threats. The various devices that are now widespread and secure those communications can hide security flaws that ill-intentioned people can exploit in various ways.
There are often talks about hacker threats and cyber warfare but they are only part of the problems associated with modern technologies. For example, there’s the possibility that someone in a company that manufactures routers break into their customers’ networks using so-called backdoors to obtain hidden connections. In recent years, Chinese companies have come under fire from US authorities precisely because they are considered threats to the security of devices used by Americans.
Lee Gimenez took such ideas to build a story where a mysterious organization is trying to buy American companies in the technological field. The author used foundations that over the years have become even more realistic to build a story of remarkable fantasy in which the threat reveals levels upon levels of secrecy.
The protagonist Rachel West is assigned to the “Factory”, a section of the CIA that does dirty work which in some cases can lead to the physical elimination of those who are considered enemies. The Factory operations are often unofficial, but interference from someone within the CIA threatens the secrecy of the work of Rachel’s team.
The fact that the operation becomes increasingly dangerous isn’t a problem for Rachel West, as she’s definitely a daredevil ready to take big risks to get the results that are required of her. In a very fast-paced action-packed story, she continually finds herself in dangerous situations but she’s a sort of adrenaline junky, so she embraces the risks. She’s a person who loves working in the field even if she risks her life in every operation, leaving the intelligence work based on the use of technological tools and the analysis of the collected data to others.
Told in a dry style that makes the story ready for a movie adaptation, “Killing West” is a perfect novel for fans of action-packed thrillers and spy stories. It’s part of the Rachel West series but tells a fully self-contained story with a real ending, so you can read it and then decide if and when to continue with the novels in this series that Lee Gimenez wrote in the following years.