Reviews for Need to know : a novel

Publishers Weekly
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Former CIA analyst Cleveland's assured if thinly plotted debut is an unusual mix of family drama and spy thriller. The narrator, CIA analyst Vivian, is part of a team in the Counterintelligence Center, Russia Division, that's searching for agents running sleeper cells in the U.S. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her four young children and doting husband. Flashbacks chart the couple's courtship, then their lives as hyperbusy young parents, delving deeply into maternal and marital love. When Vivian isn't fretting about her family, she's trying to extricate herself from a colossal treasonous mess that results from a startling discovery that she makes in the course of her research. The deep backstory may attract readers not usually drawn to espionage novels, but thriller fans who like tradecraft and action will have to look elsewhere. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company. (Jan.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* What would you do if you found out that your entire life, including your husband, your children, and your career, might be part of an orchestrated effort on the part of the Russian government to infiltrate the CIA? Vivian Miller, a dedicated agent within the Company, is about to face that dilemma. She has developed a system to identify Russian operatives who control sleeper agents in the U.S., those seemingly normal people who live among us in plain sight, much like the Jennings family team in the TV series The Americans. Call me paranoid, she says, or just call me a CIA counterintelligence analyst. While accessing the computer of a suspected Russian handler, Vivian opens a folder named Friends, and what she finds there will change everything. Between alternating waves of panic and resolve, her patriotism and devotion are put to the test when she realizes that she has placed the Agency, her family, and herself in immediate danger. This is a compelling debut about a timely issue Russian threats to our security loom large in every news cycle from a writer with a background in CIA counterterrorism. Perfect for fans of Shari Lapena's thrillers and Chris Pavone's The Expats (2012), and for just about everyone who loves the thrill of finding themselves in a book that can't be put down. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: One of the buzziest thrillers of the season, Cleveland's debut comes with AAA-list blurbs from Louise Penny and Lee Child, among others, and with film rights sold to Universal for a Charlize Theron movie.--Murphy, Jane Copyright 2017 Booklist

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

DEBUT This pulse-hammering first novel plays fiendishly with interagency cooperation between the CIA and the FBI. CIA analyst Vivian Miller is also a mother of four, including a special-needs child. With her loving husband, she is deeply committed to the happiness and health of their nuclear family. While at work, she seeks well-hidden moles long believed to threaten American security. Vivian is startled to see her husband's photo turn up in the computer of a known Russian agent. In a flood of panic she deletes the image. When Matt learns what she has done, he is straightforward. Yep, he's been in Russia's service for 23 years. VERDICT Having worked for the FBI and CIA, debut author Cleveland peppers her book with apparently impeccable tradecraft details. Flashing back to the events that led to the couple's predicament and then onward as they act to stem the tidal wave of prosecutorial woes that await them, this suspenseful espionage tale is a rousing Act 2 to the excitement of TV's The Americans and the novels of Chris Pavone. [See Prepub Alert, 7/24/17; film rights sold to Universal Pictures; Charlize Theron will star.]-Barbara -Conaty, Falls Church, VA Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.