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Saturday, October 20, 2018

REVIEW: Need to Know by Karen Cleveland @randomhouse #ballantinebooks #karencleveland #allthebookreviews

Need to Know
by Karen Cleveland

Jessica and I both agree this is a 5 star read - if you haven't read it yet, put it on your TBR - continue below to see why.

Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Publish Date: January 23, 2018
304 Pages
Genres: Spy Thriller, Suspense

In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a dangerous secret that will test her loyalty to the agency—and to her family.What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?

Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—are threatened.

Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?

My Review:

It's like the show The Americans came to me in book form... but BETTER!  Addictive from page one, this is nonstop and had I not started it late last night, would've been a one sit read.  Cleveland does such an impressive job of building the angst, paranoia, loyalty, disloyalty, the fine line in between it all and just how far you'd go for your family in only 304 pages.  

I've had this on my backlog shelf for MONTHS.  Not one typically in for political or spy type thrillers, I had set this aside even though I had heard nothing but good things.  When my book club decided this would be our October/November read, I was so happy!  One, it's always nice to get a book chosen that you already have on your shelf... but to then knock out a backlog book in the process??? WIN WIN!  I am now KICKING myself for waiting so long.  I was hooked only 5 pages in and half way through the book before I even knew it.

I mean, what would you do if you found out the person you trusted the most wasn't the person you thought he was.... or is he?  They say you never really know how far you'd go for someone until you have children and Vivian is one woman you definitely do not want to mess with.  She may not go all Red Sparrow on you or kill ten men with only her tiny fists, but she's smart...  we'll just have to hope she's smart enough. **wink**

An absolutely addictive read that I highly recommend.  For those who have reached out to say you have this on your shelf, I recommend you drop whatever you're reading right now and pick this one up ASAP!


Jessica's Review:

If you've followed my reviews before, you'll know that I love a great political or espionage thriller. So when I read the synopsis for Karen Cleveland's debut NEED TO KNOW, I needed it! Russian sleeper cell in the US and a CIA agent uncovering a conspiracy - what more could I ask for in an espionage thriller?

Vivian Miller works in the CIA counterintelligence as an analyst, her job is to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells within the United States. She's developed an incredible system for identifying and uncovering different Russian agents - they're always living in plain sight and leading seemingly normal lives. Vivian is working hard for a promotion, and in her work she stumbles upon a secret dossier including deep undercover agents within the US. As she continues searching through the dossier, she quickly finds herself and her family in grave danger.

As a devoted CIA agent, Vivian finds herself in a place she never wanted to be. She has vowed to protect the United States at all costs against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But with her family on the line, she must make the impossible choice between allegiance and treason, loyalty and betrayal - who and what can she trust?

Being a political science and international relations major in college, this is the kind of thing I love. My senior project was on espionage (Cuban Missile Crisis) so this is a topic that I have some knowledge on and every new story I hear just fascinates me. Cleveland's background as a CIA analyst and from working in counterterrorism shines through in this novel. I would love to see more suspense novels like this from her in the future.

Overall, if you want a gripping thriller with a CIA conspiracy woven in, then you'll love this! If you aren't a big fan of anything with a political flair, then this might not be for you. That being said, it's not too technical or overly political - so it doesn't read as heavy as some political thrillers can.

I give this 5/5 stars!

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