Thursday, January 11, 2018

Need to Know (Book Review)

Title: Need to Know
Author: Karen Cleveland
Publication: Ballantine, Hardcover, January 2018
Genre: Suspense
Plot: Vivian is a dedicated CIA analyst who has been working on an algorithm to identify Russian agents in sleeper cells in the US. Anticipating a breakthrough, her blood runs cold when she sees her husband’s name on the list of five names. In an instant, she sees terrible choices before her – to turn in Matt, the beloved father of her four children, or to betray her job and country? Even worse, what if neither choice will keep her or her family safe?

Audience: Fans of psychological suspense; authors such as David Baldacci, Jodi Picoult, Nora Roberts

My Impressions: I loved this fast paced debut thriller about a working mother every reader will find appealing. Vivian is dedicated to her job but finds it stressful, and worries she is shortchanging her children by working long hours. When she sees her husband’s name in an encrypted file, she can’t believe it, yet cannot dismiss it, and is worried about how to bring it up in conversation when she has scrupulously avoided talking about her job and recognizes that accusing your husband of being a Russian spy is - at the very least - a relationship-changer.
Vivian and Matt, their children, and a cast of supporting characters are vividly depicted, making this book impossible to put down. Told alternatively in the terrifying present and in flashbacks recounting how Vivian’s and Matt’s lives came together, this thriller begins with a heart-stopping dilemma and does not slow down until the final page. It is plausible, convincing, and terrifying. It was so nerve-wracking I wished it would end, then wished there had been another hundred pages! It will be great to see how this CIA analyst-turned author develops.

Source: I was provided a pre-publication copy of this book by NetGalley and the publisher for review purposes. This was one of my Best Books of 2017 and will be published this month.

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