Book Review: Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

Need to Know

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 5 Stars

Publish Date: January 23, 2018

This story introduces the reader to the world of CIA counterintelligence and Russian sleeper cells.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Random House – Ballatine, and Karen Cleveland for allowing me to preview this book.

Sleeper 1

When I picture a sleeper cell, I think of a container where a baby take a nap. Or a sleeping bag for a child’s sleepover. And maybe counterintelligence means anti-smart?

As you can see, I am ignorant new to these terms, so I had to look it up. Wikipedia defines counterintelligence as “information gathered and activities conducted to protect against espionage, other intelligence activities, sabotage, or assassinations conducted for or on behalf of foreign powers, organizations or persons or international terrorist activities.”

And a sleeper cell is a secretive group of spies or terrorist agents that remain inactive within a target population until ordered to act.

Now you know. Fascinating!Sleeper 2

Need to Know’s main character is Vivian Miller, a tired, hardworking mother of 4 small children. She is trying to balance the daily grind of work and raising children. Her loving husband Matt is a wonderful father that covers many of the child-rearing activities.

Vivian’s job at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia uncovers a secret about her husband that blows away everything that she ever knew about her world. And now she is facing impossible choices that test her loyalty to her country, her marriage to her husband, and bring huge risks to her young family.

What would you do if you discovered a life-changing secret about your husband? One that would break apart your family, send your children into foster homes, with your spouse jailed for treason facing spy charges? Would you expose your spouse’s secret to the world, or keep it to yourself for self-preservation?

Sleeper 3

I started this book at 11:45PM and read it until the early hours of the morning. It’s an easy, fast read, has a very unique plot, an inside look into the CIA, likable characters, a speedy pace, and it has a smart, savvy, strong female heroine.

What makes this book so enjoyable is the way that the author is able to engage the reader by making the reader feel like they are experiencing the situation rather than reading about it.

I was able to strongly identify with Vivian Miller, a married mother of 4 children. I felt her pressures of being a working mom trying to balance family obligations with the pressures of work. I felt her surprise, denial, and hurt in discovering her husband’s true identity, and the quandary that she found herself in. I felt the fear, guilt, and maternal instinct that motivated her to protect her family. This is what made this story so different from other books.

The story is like a roller coaster ride, constructed with sharp curves and steep inclines and then after the peak, a fast drop with maximum speed until the very end of the book. The ending is AMAZING!

I can see why this book has a lot of buzz, and rights have been optioned for the movie even before the book is officially released. Charlize Theron has signed up to play Vivian Miller. I hope that the movie stays close to the book.  Here is more information about the movie.

Need to Know 7

9 thoughts

  1. I have been seeing this title around. I really like the sleeper cell and CIA angles and I am glad to hear that it was such an addictive read for you. Definitely one for my TBR. Great review.


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