BOOK REVIEW: Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
Scrappymags 3-word review: Shady Marriage Problems
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Genre: Mystery/CIA-government thriller
Shortest summary ever: CIA counterintelligence analyst and mom of four Vivian Miller works on busting Russian cells in the U.S. until a cell hits a little too close to home. Now her family is threatened as she is sucked into a dangerous world of espionage. Who can she trust? Anyone?
What’s good under the hood: This is my first Cleveland book and I was pleasantly surprised. I’m a fan of bad-ass women in powerful, intelligent positions and thought that a woman with a family working as a counterintelligence analyst was a nice swing for me. Most of my love is reserved for “lone wolf” types, but I was in the mood for some good old Russians-spying-in-the-U.S. FICTION for once, so I turned off the news and engrossed myself in this novel. Glad that I did. It’s escapist, fast-paced and intriguing, a perfect blend of the three. I’m not married nor a mother so I didn’t connect with some decisions Vivian made for her family, but when I asked my mom she said she’d do “anything for my kids.” Thanks Ma! That told me that my criticism – that Vivian seemed a bit dumb initially in her decision-making is merely a matter of perspective. Throw kids into the mix, and mama bears everywhere will understand the compulsion to protect their cubs.
What’s bad or made me mad: It was a bit predictable, but I was surprised in a few places. My 4/5 is mostly because I’m not a damsel-in-distress fan and felt too much weakness in Vivian so it wasn’t PERFECT, but a complete B+, worth the read and would recommend.  BUT again, I admit I am single and child-free, so having kids would change my perspective vastly and likely boost that up to a perfect 5.
Recommend to:
  • From the buzz I hear, Cleveland fans will give this an easy 5
  • Those in the mood for fast and furious espionage/spy/who-is-the-bad-guy/girl fun?
Thanks to NetGalley Random House Publishing Ballantine and the author for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review and being happy yet again to be single. 

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