Sunday, November 12, 2017

Review: Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

Need to Know
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Hardcover, 304 pages, Ballantine
Genres: Adult, Spy Thriller

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

In this book, one CIA analyst and mother of four finds out her family is in trouble after she identifies Russian spies living in America. I have to warn you, this book is a quick-paced thriller that will have you flipping pages too fast to comprehend.

The quick-paced aspect of the storyline is helped along by the main character of the story. Vivian Miller is a strong female character in terms of balancing her family and work life. She’s the typical woman, except for the fact that she works for the CIA. Vivian wants to have it all, a steady career and time to spend with her family, but her job always seems to get in the way of family time. It was hard to watch Vivian’s struggle and realize that millions of women go through this every day.

Despite my love of Vivian’s dilemma, I was a little irked at her. She often brushed issues aside or didn’t delve in deep enough to the situation. Her emotions just felt nonexistent sometimes. She also made some odd decisions for a CIA agent.

Her emotional situation probably had to do with the pacing and length of the book. While it was very fast-paced, it was also very short. I think another 100 pages could have contributed greatly to Vivian, her family, and her coworkers’ character development. As it stands, the other characters read pretty flat, even Vivian’s husband who is a major character in the book.

However, I can’t lie, after getting sucked in in chapter by chapter, none of these issues really mattered. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop.

All in all, this book is a fun, quick read. If you’re looking for something that you’ll devour in one or two sittings, I’d say go for it. It’s also the perfect read for fans of Ashton Kutcher’s Killers film or even the television show Bones.

*Note: I received an ARC of this book to review from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

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