Need to Know

Need to Know

In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a dangerous secret that will test her loyalty to the agency—and to her family.What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-nee...

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Title:Need to Know
Author:Karen Cleveland
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Need to Know Reviews

  • Marialyce

    5 extremely suspenseful on the edge of your seat stars!

    This one was so good, so very, very good!

    "I've always wanted to be a spy because it is the ultimate acting exercise. You are never what you seem."

    Vivian is a trusted, loyal CIA analyst. She has a harried life with four children, one of who is ill with a heart ailment. She has a loving but also harried husband, Matt. Vivian is looking for a promotion since the money is desperately needed for her family. It seems to be a guarantee for her as

    5 extremely suspenseful on the edge of your seat stars!

    This one was so good, so very, very good!

    "I've always wanted to be a spy because it is the ultimate acting exercise. You are never what you seem."

    Vivian is a trusted, loyal CIA analyst. She has a harried life with four children, one of who is ill with a heart ailment. She has a loving but also harried husband, Matt. Vivian is looking for a promotion since the money is desperately needed for her family. It seems to be a guarantee for her as she has developed a way in which to find Russian sleeper agents. All looks well until she stumbles upon a secret, one that threatens to uproot her and her family and puts her at odds with the country she has sworn to protect and defend against all enemies both foreign and domestic.

    This was a tense novel that keeps the reader totally engaged in the intrigue and cunning that goes on in the spy business. Ms Cleveland keeps the action, suspense, and intrigue going all the way up to the end with lots of twists and turns. This was one of those novels that kept me up to 2am reading just one more chapter to see where Ms Cleveland would take us next. The author also presented us with the ultimate dilemma that perhaps many of those working to ferret out spies go through. The spy system of our country and others is extremely sophisticated and these agencies know our deepest secrets and use them to their advantage. Who can Vivian trust? Does she have a chance to overcome the constant obstacles put in her path? Can she save herself, her children, her husband? And that ending will blow your mind! I highly recommend this book if you are a lover of spy, suspense, and the biting of nails type reader.

    Special thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read this thriller for an unbiased review.

  • Jan

    Holy guacamole, this 📚 is off the charts!

    ***Woot! Just read that this is being made into a movie, with Charlize Theron playing the lead, Vivian. This will play out well on the silver screen!***

    Whether you are into political thrillers or not, I highly recommend you grab this book, as it is so much more than that! I typically shy away from this genre, unless it comes highly recommended or has high ratings, which this absolutely does. This has to be one of my top 5 fav books for this year.

    It reads

    Holy guacamole, this 📚 is off the charts!

    ***Woot! Just read that this is being made into a movie, with Charlize Theron playing the lead, Vivian. This will play out well on the silver screen!***

    Whether you are into political thrillers or not, I highly recommend you grab this book, as it is so much more than that! I typically shy away from this genre, unless it comes highly recommended or has high ratings, which this absolutely does. This has to be one of my top 5 fav books for this year.

    It reads quick like a novella, (my ebook came in at 219 pages) and there isn't a wasted word in these pages. The subject matter is so relevant to our world today, and being able to take a peek into what goes on in the CIA felt very real. And a bit scary, to be honest.

    That's the nuts and bolts of the story. What really got me hooked was how the author was able to create such suspense, tension and paranoia. I was right there with Vivian, questioning everything I was reading. What is the truth? Who can you believe? Who can you go to for help? Do you listen to your heart, or do you rely on your gut?

    The plot is intricately woven, every possible scenario well thought out and executed perfectly. Every time I thought I found a loop hole, that door was quickly shut and another opened, taking me down a new path of possibilities. And the ending? Absolutely brilliant!!

    I can't believe this is a debut novel. Coming this strong out of the gate, she has big shoes to fill for book #2, which I will be eagerly anticipating!

    ARC provided by NetGalley

  • Maureen

    * Thank you to Random House UK for my 'wish for it copy' for which I have given an honest review in exchange*

    Vivian Miller is a CIA counterintelligence analyst - she's good at what she does, and has developed an algorithm which will enable her department to identify Russian sleepers ( seemingly ordinary people leading everyday lives ), however, their lives are lived within the United States, and they are naturally a threat to national security. When Vivian manages to access the computer of a Rus

    * Thank you to Random House UK for my 'wish for it copy' for which I have given an honest review in exchange*

    Vivian Miller is a CIA counterintelligence analyst - she's good at what she does, and has developed an algorithm which will enable her department to identify Russian sleepers ( seemingly ordinary people leading everyday lives ), however, their lives are lived within the United States, and they are naturally a threat to national security. When Vivian manages to access the computer of a Russian operative, it should be cause for celebration, but the discovery will threaten everything that she holds dear, and will put not only her own life in danger, but also those of her husband and four children!

    Wow! Just wow! What a brilliant, nerve jangling, tension filled read this was! How easy it was for Vivian's life to turn completely upside down with just a couple of clicks on her computer. I don't want to give anything away with this one, as it's taken me on a journey that deserves to be experienced by each and every one of you readers in your own individual way, and I'd hate to spoil that journey for you. Just be prepared to share in Vivian's sheer terror as events increasingly overtake her life. And that ending! Well, it just floored me, took me completely by surprise. Do yourself a favour and don't miss out on this one - fantastic!

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    Need to Know came highly recommended from several of my Goodreads friends. I read the blurb and wasn’t sure. To be honest, it sounded a little dry, based on my typical reading preferences, but this is not my typical genre. That said, I trusted my friends. Wow, were they ever right!

    I thought several times while I was reading that the CIA angle felt authentic, and when I looked up the author’s bio, it clicked. She had been a CIA

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    Need to Know came highly recommended from several of my Goodreads friends. I read the blurb and wasn’t sure. To be honest, it sounded a little dry, based on my typical reading preferences, but this is not my typical genre. That said, I trusted my friends. Wow, were they ever right!

    I thought several times while I was reading that the CIA angle felt authentic, and when I looked up the author’s bio, it clicked. She had been a CIA analyst! I also think this went beyond the typical spy story because Need to Know was family-driven. Vivian and Matt’s children were adorable and very much in the forefront of the story.

    I’m walking a tightrope on what I want to tell you so I don’t spoil anything. I will say I was on the edge of my seat and completely paranoid worrying about what would happen to this family! Who was trustworthy? The suspense builds and builds, and I was reading chapters in that “oh just one more” way that we avid readers do. There was such an intricately woven web in this story that I second guessed myself throughout.

    Even if you don’t typically enjoy spy or political thrillers, this is a fantastic read! I flew through the pages and wish I could do it all over again! Well-done, Karen Cleveland! I’m hoping there was enough of an opening that there’s room for a sequel or even a series. I loved Vivian as a strong female character and would love to see more from her!

    Huge thanks to Karen Cleveland, Random House Ballantine, and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC.

  • Berit☀️✨

    A thrilling breath of fresh air! Just like many of you I am a thriller junkie.... and with the market so saturated with so many thrillers, this book stands apart and strong!

    Vivian is a CIA operative focusing on Russia and in particular finding sleeper cells..... but even more importantly she is a mother of four young children..... so when a few clicks of the computer leads to putting her family in jeopardy... you definitely see Vivian’s mama bear come out.....

    A thrilling breath of fresh air! Just like many of you I am a thriller junkie.... and with the market so saturated with so many thrillers, this book stands apart and strong!

    Vivian is a CIA operative focusing on Russia and in particular finding sleeper cells..... but even more importantly she is a mother of four young children..... so when a few clicks of the computer leads to putting her family in jeopardy... you definitely see Vivian’s mama bear come out..... Vivian and I probably have very little in common however we are both mothers and I could just relate so well to her need to protect her children at all costs.....

    Truthfully when I first read the blurb to this book I wasn’t all that interested, just The idea of the CIA was a turn off..... fortunately I read some very favorable reviews from people that I trust the opinions of and decided I’d take a chance on this book..... I am so grateful that I did! This is a thriller with all those twists and turns that we all love, but with a brand new fresh approach.... I even found the spy stuff super intriguing and very authentic.....

    I believe the plan is to turn this book into a movie? And if so I think it will make a fantastic movie..... very fast-paced, action-packed, definitely kept me on pins and needles......

    Strongly recommend this! I realize I didn’t say much about the plot, but I want you to enjoy the journey as much as I did!

    PS: DasVindaniya.... pardon me if my Russian is incorrect, but this is my way of giving major props to the stellar epilog of this book! And doesn’t that sound prettier than goodbye? Seriously say it out loud!

    *** i’d like to thank Net Galley and the publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review ***

  • Liz

    4.5 stars, rounded up

    I’m not a big fan of thrillers. But I saw a lot of positive reviews on GR about this book and decided to take a chance. And I’m so glad I did!

    Vivian Miller is a CIA counterintelligence agent searching for Russian sleeper spies in the US. She finally manages to infiltrate the computer of a suspected handler and whose picture pops up in his files? Her husband’s. Boom.

    In truth, this book isn’t so much a spy thriller. It’s much more about how much you know about the one you lo

    4.5 stars, rounded up

    I’m not a big fan of thrillers. But I saw a lot of positive reviews on GR about this book and decided to take a chance. And I’m so glad I did!

    Vivian Miller is a CIA counterintelligence agent searching for Russian sleeper spies in the US. She finally manages to infiltrate the computer of a suspected handler and whose picture pops up in his files? Her husband’s. Boom.

    In truth, this book isn’t so much a spy thriller. It’s much more about how much you know about the one you love. How your world can just change in a second. And if your whole life has been based on a lie, can you ever learn to trust again?

    This book really grabbed me. I felt all the tension and angst that Vivian felt. I agonized over every choice she was faced with. What takes priority, family or country? This is a book that you just want to keep reading. I had to know how it was going to play out. The whole time I was reading this, this old adage kept going through my brain... Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

    My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.

  • Taryn

    Fun and fast-paced!

    CIA counterintelligence analyst Vivian is close to a big breakthrough at work. Her department is trying to find Russian sleeper agents living in the United States and she's developed an algorithm to identify likely handlers. Her eagerness to break the case dissipates when she gains access to a suspected handler’s computer and finds a file that makes her question every decision that she's made for the last decade. When forced to choose between her oath to the U.S. Constitution

    Fun and fast-paced!

    CIA counterintelligence analyst Vivian is close to a big breakthrough at work. Her department is trying to find Russian sleeper agents living in the United States and she's developed an algorithm to identify likely handlers. Her eagerness to break the case dissipates when she gains access to a suspected handler’s computer and finds a file that makes her question every decision that she's made for the last decade. When forced to choose between her oath to the U.S. Constitution and keeping her family together, what will she do?

    I was interested in this book because of the recent investigations into

    . I also chose it because I thought it might be similar to my favorite TV show 

    , but the

    comparisons are much closer. There's a new development in almost every chapter, so it's really hard to put down! The author Karen Cleveland was an actual CIA analyst, which made the professional aspects much more intriguing for me.

    • ↑ That was basically me the entire time I was reading this book! Vivian feels cornered and acts irrationally. She makes increasingly terrible decisions as the story goes on. Of course, people act in ways that don't make sense all the time. It can be hard to see the big picture when you're in the thick of things, especially when your family is at risk! I ended up accepting it and actually started cheering on her bad choices, because I wanted to see what the consequences would be!

    • Vivian feels guilty about all the time she's missed out on with her four young kids. The kids run to their dad for comfort, not her. She has always wanted to leave her job and stay home with them but never had the opportunity. The domestic angle makes Vivian relatable, but it also slowed the story down a little. I felt like skimming when child pick-up and evening routines interrupted the spy stuff!

    I love when an author presents me with a difficult situation and makes me see how hard it can be to make the "right" choice. This book was exactly what I needed at the time and I had fun with it. It was an easy-breezy reading experience. I'd put it into my

    pile as far as entertainment value: !PLOT!, fast-paced, and it elicited a wicked grin from me at the end. (The characters are better in this one though.) If you're looking to turn your brain off and get consumed by a wild story,

    is a good choice. It's total book candy! The movie is already in the planning stages and will be staring Charlize Theron.

  • Carol (Bookaria)

    This is an excellent political thriller!

    Vivian Miller works for the CIA and is assigned to the Russian division trying to uncover sleeper cells. One day, she is analyzing the computer of a known Russian operative and finds a folder named "Friends", when she opens it up her life is turned upside down and her family is immediately in danger.

    This story is a suspense-filled journey. The story is told from the point of view of Vivian and it gives you a glimpse into the everyday life of a CIA analyst.

    This is an excellent political thriller!

    Vivian Miller works for the CIA and is assigned to the Russian division trying to uncover sleeper cells. One day, she is analyzing the computer of a known Russian operative and finds a folder named "Friends", when she opens it up her life is turned upside down and her family is immediately in danger.

    This story is a suspense-filled journey. The story is told from the point of view of Vivian and it gives you a glimpse into the everyday life of a CIA analyst. The author worked for the CIA for a few years and the novel is being adapted into a movie.

    Overall, I enjoyed the story and highly recommend the novel to readers of thrillers and contemporary fiction.

  • Diane S ☔

    3.5 Vivian has been married to Tom for many years, they have four children together, the last two a set of twins, one that has medical problems. She also works for the CIA, as an analyst, working on the Russian problem of sleeper cells, trying to uncover agents embedded in the States. One day, while working, she masnages to infiltrate the computer of a suspected handler. What she sees will change her life, and those of her family.

    I enjoyed this, liked Vivian, she struggles so hard to keep things

    3.5 Vivian has been married to Tom for many years, they have four children together, the last two a set of twins, one that has medical problems. She also works for the CIA, as an analyst, working on the Russian problem of sleeper cells, trying to uncover agents embedded in the States. One day, while working, she masnages to infiltrate the computer of a suspected handler. What she sees will change her life, and those of her family.

    I enjoyed this, liked Vivian, she struggles so hard to keep things together, find a way out and keep her family intasct and safe. I liked this but also found it somewhat predictable. A few years back I watched the first two seasons of the Black list, one of the few series I became attached to, was a big Spader fan. This could have been taken right out of the plot of that show. Maybe that was why I wasn't too surprised by some of the revelations. The ending though was surprising, and a nice touch. Definitely leaves the reader wondering. So a mixed read for this reader.

    ARC from Edelweiss.

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