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Full Name: Colt McShane
Series Name: Firewall Spies
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: Andrew Watts
Time Span: 2021 - 2023


Colt McShane is an agent with the CIA.

"As one of the CIA's elite non-official cover operatives, Colt McShane had been ushered away from any official US government business as soon as he finished his training at The Farm a decade earlier. Since then, Colt had been operating almost completely alone. Reporting only to his CIA handler, Ed Wilcox, now the agency's station chief in Vancouver.

"Everyone else who had graduated from Colt's CIA training class had gone on to become operations officers in the Clandestine Service. These men and women lived and worked in US embassies and consulates overseas. They held official government covers like Agricultural Advisor or Economic Attaché. The blander the better. If they got caught spying, countries like Russia or China would usually expel them back to the United States, who would repay the favor by expelling a proportionate number of "diplomats." The rules of the game were clear, and in a way, gentlemanly.

"But non-official cover operatives like Colt had no such protections. If he was identified by a foreign intelligence service, there were no rules. So it was crucially important he not get caught. His cover had to be airtight, and he had spent years working in the world of corporate finance, carefully cultivating a cover legend with minimal agency contact, choosing the time, location, and manner of his agent debriefs with painstaking attention to detail."

We meet McShane when he is both in his cover working for a major financial investment bank handling a new fundraising round for the latest tech giant and darling of the sector. In this capacity, he works out of New York City but has a ready-made, almost uncontestable excuse to fly off to anywhere in the world, all in the name of research or client meeting. Interestingly, his cover job is not just for show; "The work he did for the privately owned investment bank could be grueling. Eighty-hour weeks. Cutthroat competition, both inside and outside the firm."

"The only person at the firm who knew of Colt's attachment to the US government was the company's founder and CEO. After the CIA decided to place Colt on the non-official cover track, he had been sent to business school where he graduated near the top of his class. He then spent six months in a corporate internship, meeting with his handler on weekends to finish his training as an intelligence officer. Only then was he sent to his current job, where he began operational work for the CIA.

"The arrangement allowed the CIA to guide Colt's work portfolio. His work travel often included corporate visits in foreign nations where he would perform financial analyses. Colt was good at his job. The investment bank regularly used Colt's financial analyses to make major investment decisions. Pension funds and college endowment portfolio managers often hired Colt's firm to evaluate companies they wanted to invest in. Colt would tour business headquarters and meet CFOs by day, and then recruit potential agents over drinks at night. His occupation gave the CIA wide access to a variety of foreign corporations and investors."

Good Lines:
- Said by McShane, "Never underestimate a human being's ability to screw up technology".


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:2021
Last Appearance:2023

1 Firewall Firewall
Written by Andrew Watts
Copyright: 2021

"With its genius CEO and breakthrough technology, the Silicon Valley-based Pax AI Corporation is one of the hottest companies in the sector. But when one of their top scientists is murdered at a prestigious tech conference, company executives and foreign spies are all on the suspect list.
In the aftermath of the killing, CIA officer Colt McShane has been assigned to a joint counterintelligence unit based in San Francisco. The unit’s leadership believes that an international espionage ring has been stealing classified technology from Pax AI. Now they want Colt to use his past relationship with Pax AI executive Ava Klein to penetrate the company’s inner circle, and uncover the mole."
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2 Agent Of Influence Agent Of Influence
Written by Andrew Watts
Copyright: 2021

"When an undercover Mossad agent is killed on a private Caribbean island, the death sets off alarm bells in Washington, Tel Aviv, and Moscow. The island is owned by Guy Hawkinson, the controversial CEO of Hawk Enterprises, and member of one of America’s most powerful family dynasties. Within hours of the agent’s death, multiple agencies set new plans in motion.
Israeli Intelligence Officer Ava Klein is ordered to Washington, D.C. Tasked with salvaging their operation, she’ll need to infiltrate the Hawkinson’s inner circle. To beat Mossad to the punch, CIA officer Colt McShane must steer clear of Ava—a former love interest—and recruit a fresh face with no former ties to the intelligence community: a young female veteran who is just finishing up a masters degree in machine learning."
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3 A Future Spy A Future Spy
Written by Andrew Watts
Copyright: 2022

"Genius tech CEO Jeff Kim has just discovered that the ultrawealthy Hawkinson family stole his advanced AI prediction technology. This technology was his secret possession. A cornerstone in which he would rebuild his life’s work. But now he has serious competition. To solve his problem, Kim decides to reach out to a man he never thought he would speak to again. A Chinese intelligence officer named Liu.
When Liu investigates the Hawkinson’s operation, he discovers some shocking revelations. The Americans have placed a spy in the Hawkinson’s inner circle. As a series of seemingly unrelated incidents come together in Liu’s mind, he develops one of the most ambitious espionage operations the MSS has ever undertaken.
For it to work, he will have to activate China’s own mole. The crown jewel of Chinese intelligence. A sleeper-agent placed so high up in the US government, they will have access to all of America’s most classified information.
But CIA officers Colt McShane and Fred Ford have caught wind of China’s plan. And now they must find the sleeper agent before their own is identified and killed."
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4 Tournament Of Shadows Tournament Of Shadows
Written by Andrew Watts
Copyright: 2023

"When a series of dangerous cyberattacks is traced back to Russia, a team of elite CIA operatives must uncover the true aggressor—before the kindling tension between two nuclear powers ignites World War III.

The Firewall Spies are called into action to identify the source of the attacks before the entire country is thrown into chaos. The incursion is traced back to the Russian Federation. CIA Case Officer Colt McShane begins to suspect that someone else is behind the attacks—someone who wants to see America and Russia at war."
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When you have read two pretty terrific series by an author already and enjoyed the daylights out of them, seeing a new fellow by that same person enter the market is an exciting event. It is not surprising, then, that I grabbed at it immediately and gave new guy, Colt McShane, a chance to show what he had to offer. He has a lot! Writer Andrew Watts does not disappoint when it comes to near non-stop action and adventure. He certainly did not with his Max Fend and David Manning series and his record remains intact with McShane.


My Grade: A-


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