Sarah's Reviews > Tiger Trap: America's Secret Spy War with China

Tiger Trap by David Wise
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's review
Nov 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, spies

The best thing about this book is that it reads like a spy thriller. The prose is easy to understand (even when discussing technical specifications of nuclear secrets) and at less than 250 pages, it reads very quickly. The characters in the book are well fleshed out, with enough background given that you actually care about what's happening with/to/around them.

The issue I had with this book was the organization. The prologue starts by bringing up the two most important (?) cases of Chinese espionage, and then these two cases are threaded throughout the book. However, between chapters dealing with these two cases (Katrina Leung, Gwo-bao Min), there are many other chapters dealing with other cases of suspected espionage by the People's Republic of China -- often cases that happened years before, or years after -- and the only thing that tied (some of) them to the two main cases was a name that came up during the course of the cases' investigation.

For me, I would have enjoyed a more linear approach, tracing from the beginning to the more recent events, so we weren't jumping from an FBI agent on the verge of being arrested for exceedingly bad judgement with regards to his source, to before he knew the source at all, to well after he had left his job, to a story about someone mentioned for a paragraph in an early chapter, then back to the middle of the FBI agent's story, then to another random story a few decades before, to... etc. If there was a danger of the reader losing interest when reading about stories other than the 'main' story, I might understand the organization of the book, but... it's an interesting subject and a fast read. I certainly wasn't going to lose interest!

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