Jack of Spies by David Downing

Jack McColl is a Scottish car salesman traveling the world selling a luxury car. He has always wanted to be a spy and is counting on his proficiency with foreign languages to help him. Jack, his brother Jed, and a colleague, Mac are in Shanghai when a British Naval officer named Cumming asks Jack to do him a favor. Cumming wants Jack to use his knowledge of the German language to eavesdrop on some German businessmen. Jack is more than willing to help as it gives him more time in the city to try to meet up with Caitlin Hanley, a young American who styles herself as a modern woman.

So begins Jack's journey as a spy. He travels from China to San Francisco to New York ostensibly selling cars. What he is really doing is wooing Caitlin and doing odd jobs for Cumming. In Europe war is brewing - Germany is stirring up the continent, Ireland is having trouble with separatists and the United States is trying to stay out of everything. Jack thinks this is finally his time to realize his dreams of becoming a spy especially since he has been offered an assignment involving Caitlin's brother and his political Irish friends. 

This is a new series for Downing. Set at the beginning of World War I, the story line moves quickly. Jack is a truly human character, especially after he becomes entangled with Caitlin's brother. Jed and Mac head off to war in this book and the book ends with jack in England trying to stop Irish and American bombers who were trained by Germans. A perfect lead-in to a sequel!

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