Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews *** (of 4)
An American CIA agent, Nathaniel Nash, is sent to Russia to manage a key asset at the same time a Russian intelligence agent, Dominika Egerova, is tasked with spying on Nate. While each attempts to seduce the other into becoming a double agent, without, of course, giving up their real identities, they also fight not to commit the cardinal error of falling truly in love. The author, Jason Matthews, is a former CIA operative himself so the tradecraft described in great detail rings uncannily true. Likewise, his description of CIA personalities and Vladimir Putin’s Soviet style directives of Russian secret services feels like a peek into world that must be going on all the time without our ever knowing. Matthews won an Edgar award for best first novel and his second book starring the same two spies, Palace of Treason, has just been published.
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