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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Need to Know by Karen Cleveland, read by Mia Barron.

Perfect Husband. Perfect Father. Perfect Liar?

Vivian Miller is a CIA analyst assigned to uncover Russian sleeper cells in the USA. After accessing the computer of a potential Russian spy, she stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents living in her own country. Five seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

A few clicks later, everything that matters to Vivian is threatened - her job, her husband, even her four children. Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she's facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, whom can she trust?

Will her next move be the right one?

©2018 Karen Cleveland (P)2018 Random House AudioBooks

Critic reviews

"You'll devour this terrific debut like the rest of us, skipping lunch, losing sleep, turning pages until the end." (John Grisham)
"Karen Cleveland is the real deal - an exciting new voice in thrillers." (Patricia Cornwell)
"Prediction: if you read chapter one, you'll read chapter two. If you read chapter two, you'll miss dinner, stay up far too late, and feel tired at work tomorrow. This is that kind of book. Superb." (Lee Child)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Not Just One But Two Great Discoveries!

Taut, tense and tantalising, Need To Know is an extremely impressive debut thriller from Karen Cleveland. Mixing international intrigue with domestic drama it is deftly paced and interspersed with clever plot twists. It actually wasn't quite the book I imagined. Cleveland is an ex-CIA analyst and mother writing about a CIA analyst who is also a mother . . . I had imagined that the selling point would be that it would contain significant CIA procedural detail. Instead Cleveland has demonstrated a true writer's craft and the story is insightful without being in any way overburdened by procedural or technical detail. Her knowledge is used to provide authenticity but is never allowed to cloud the plot or get in the way of her well formed characters.

To add to that the narration by Mia Barron, who is also someone new to me, is excellent. She brings the lead Vivian to life, carries the narrative and is not at all phased by a varied cast of supporting characters. Mixing these ingredients together delivers an extremely smooth and tasty dish of a thriller.

So a new author and a new narrator I'll be looking out for more from!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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You really don’t

A woman with the intuition of a telepathic psychoanalyst and a perfect memory for past events has her brain scrambled by repeated doses of pregnancy hormones and never makes a sensible decision again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A highly unlikely thriller

This story is curiously unsophisticated . The heroine is extremely gullible yet she is a senior operative on the Russian desk at the FBI. If you can accept this you will have a hard time swallowing the twists and turns in the plot which continue right up to the last page.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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The need to manipulate readers

This could have been such a good book; It has good characters, a plot that should have been a joy to develop and thrilling. Instead, we get a plot so convoluted it requires many explanations and characters that are marionettes of the writer who continually frustrate the reader by pointing one way but never delivering a logical or satisfactory change, plus it is insulting to women that are professionals by describing a character with so many doubts and weaknesses that she would be in psychiatric care not in the CIA, every decision she makes is the opposite of any person with some training, her husband is described in a very obvious way but then we are told he really is not that way and that is that.

As a thriller it fails, as a feminist story, it is a travesty, as a spy story, it is laughable.

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Sent this one back

The narrator was so irritating and nothing gripped me enough to put up with it so I have up in chapter 2.

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Initially / Enthralled - Ultimately/Disappointed

A couple of chapters into the book and I was stimulated by the storyline; the concept of discovering something earthshaking about your spouse. I am afraid my ardour began to wilter as I suffered the constant repetion of concern for the children and the inadequacy of properly interrogating the husband about his activities and behaviour. The relationship flashbacks not only demonstrated the husband's guile but the lack of suspicion and doubt that a high-flyer in the intelligence service would undoubtedly have if presented with the circumstances. There was a section in the middle of the novel which was intriguing and gripping but it petered out into a very unsatisfactory ending which did not seem credible and not one, but two superiors (the only ones mentioned) who must have almost bumped into each other whilst displaying their enforced or true loyalties. The ending, although predictable, really did not hold water for me.
If I were the teacher, six out of ten. Good idea but needed more thought and work before publishing.
The narration was undoubtedly good but suffered from having to say too many times 'All I care about are the children' or similar.

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  • Cs
  • Cumbria UK
  • 19-04-18

Ridiculous

Absolutely ridiculous returned it I simply couldn’t be bothered to plough on stopped listening and deleted it

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Boring and predictable.

Ok, so this is just my opinion and I’m sure lots of people will disagree but I thought it was meh. I ended up feeling zero empathy with the main characters. As soon as a leading authority figure makes an utterly bizarre and unbelievable decision not to arrest the protagonists towards the end of the book it’s becomes obvious whats happening and the ending in the epilogue is totally predictable.

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Fantastic listen

Great, right from the start. Well written and the perfect balance between believable and fantasy.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Cliché

Enough in the story to keep you engaged and more interesting as it’s told from a family perspective rather than a work one. But it reads more like screen writing, you can’t help imagine it as a film, which shouldn’t be the case. So a bit clichéd and formulaic. Narration to my English ears was continually irritating but it’s an American story for an American audience.