Need to Know by Karen Cleveland (Mini Review)

Vivian has been working counterintelligence for the CIA for several years. Her home life is hectic with her husband also working full time. They have four active kids, and the youngest has a very scary heart defect. At work, she has been assigned to the Russian desk and is currently working with her FBI counterparts to hunt down any of the handlers of Russian agents on US soil. After months of work, she has finally cracked open an enemy laptop. She finds a file with pictures. Headshots of people she suspects are agents. One of them is her husband, Matt.

Need to Know is book that relies not so much on the machinations of spy craft and international intrigue, but the weight of what one could lose. Many of the chapters are cut with flashbacks of Matt and Vivian meeting, falling in love, having their children. This creates a tension purely on the shoulders of this one-time strong relationship. How can the family survive if Matt is a possible Russian operative?

I found this book to be quite a page-turner and much different than the normal spy novels I read. Yes, it was predictable at times and I wanted a little more information to be relayed about the ins and outs of the job. But, as I said, this is different in that it focuses on double agent within the family rather than the gadgets and stealth of my usual novels. And I rather liked that.

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