Book Review | Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

need to know

A classy spy novel with intrigue, doubt, and fierce loyalties.  This debut novel by former CIA analyst, Karen Cleveland, grips and doesn’t let go.  The main character, Vivian, tracks Russian sleeper agents for her career, and at the end of chapter one, realizes they are much closer to home than she thinks!  Hacking into a recovered laptop from a known Russian source, she uncovers five covert agents who are sleepers and she is about to expose them.  But what must she do when one of them is related to her?  The book immediately gets the reader thinking ethically and to what extent we might bend the rules.

By chapter six, she makes a decision that affects everyone in her family, her four children and husband included, and the story takes off.  Can she protect her family from those who really wish harm, or is she trapped?  And will she be able to move on when lies are built on lies?

If you love spy stories, or possible real life fiction, this book is for you.  I will admit at some points, I struggled with some of Vivian’s decisions, but her motherly ways influence her in ways I might not have chosen. However, the end is satisfying, and some of the conversations throughout the book aren’t predictable, but flow as if characters are actually having a conversation, which is rather refreshing.  For a debut novel, I would definitely read more by this author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Random House Publishing through NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Movie Update: http://deadline.com/2017/02/charlize-theron-need-to-know-cia-spy-novel-universal-pictures-karen-cleveland-1201924366/

 

Book Review | The Switch by Joseph Finder

the switch

This was a fun and fast-paced novel! Michael Tanner went through LAX airport and unfortunately after the TSA check, picked up the wrong laptop.  No big deal, right?  Just switch back with the original owner.  However, the original owner is Susan Robbins, a US Senator with some very confidential information on her laptop, with password protection, encryption… oh, and a sticky note with the password written on it inside of the laptop case!  When Will Abbott realizes his mistake, he is frantic to get it back!

Abbott, the chief of staff, is in charge of retrieving the laptop, and there is definitely an intense need to get the laptop back. What exactly is on it that people will die to protect? You’ll have to read to find out.

Tanner’s life turns upside down as Abbott sends people after him and he goes on the run. I thought the story was easy to follow, I loved the suspense and Tanner is a likable character. There are some extreme moments and I love how the author kept the pace fast. If you like government fiction, grab this!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Penguin Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”