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?
Published 25th January 2018 by Bantam Press (UK)
I’m not going to lie, Spy Thrillers are not usually my thing. As a child, I had no interest in Bond whenever it was on the TV and since then have avoided stories of espionage like the plague. I don’t really know why – other than I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this kind of book. But something about Need To Know appealed to me – perhaps the promise of “psychological depth” on the cover or the fact that this book centred around a marriage built on lies. Anyway, with some glowing reviews from the blogging world, I thought I’d give it a go.
And yes! I’m so glad I did! Need To Know is such an incredibly gripping and catchy read right from the start. When Vivian, a CSI agent working on bringing down a Russian sleeper cell, discovers a picture of her husband of twenty years on the computer of a Russian agent everything she knows and trusts is suddenly up in smoke. How exactly is the man she knows and trusts involved? How can she have been living with someone all these years and not know them at all? And what does she do when faced with the dilemma between loyalty to her country and protecting her own family?
I wanted to know the answers to all these questions and sped through this book at break neck speed to find out! I thought the conflict between loyalties that Vivian feels was very well written and believable – her turmoil coming across as she struggled with the betrayal of her husband and fear of the complex and dangerous situation her whole family now faced. Along with Viv, her husband Matt kept me on edge as unease and doubt about him conflicted with some pity and optimism that he was a good guy. Karen Cleveland kept the momentum up right to the very last sentence, so that the reader never knows who exactly can be trusted in this twisty, tense thriller.
The book also mixes psychological elements as claimed on the front cover, with heart stopping danger meaning that as a reader who generally avoids the more physically action packed crime and spy genres, I found this incredibly accessible and satisfying. It turned out to be a breathtakingly quick read for me, which I couldn’t put down and read over a few hours. Would I read more from this author? YES! Definitely! Has it changed my feelings that all spy books aren’t for me? Absolutely! I’m glad I took a chance with this one, and would urge anyone else with an aversion to spy thrillers to give this one a go too. You won’t be disappointed!