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Intelligence: A Novel of the CIA Audiobook

Intelligence: A Novel of the CIA

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Publisher's Summary

A team of intelligence agents tries to prevent an impending terrorist attack, but is thwarted by bureaucratic hurdles in this darkly humorous debut by former CIA agent Susan Hasler.

Maddie James and her colleagues are terrorism experts working in a crumbling intelligence agency. They are certain another big terrorist attack is coming, but in a post-9/11 election year, the administration is stressing its victories in the War on Terror, and few want to hear the team's warnings.

Maddie is given a team of five analysts to focus on the impending threat. The crew labors through bureaucratic obstacles, personal problems, and a blossoming romance between its senior members, Doc and Fran. They come heartbreakingly close to stopping the attack, but fail to predict a surprising twist in the terrorists’ plot.

In the wake of tragedy, the administration pins blame on Iran, despite a lack of evidence—so Maddie and her team try to investigate. With dark humor and a razor-sharp tone, they fight back against office politics, government cover-ups, and blackmail in order to set the record straight. A keenly crafted debut that could only be written by an ex-CIA agent, Intelligence will please fans of Wag the Dog and Primary Colors.

The excellent cast of narrators includes Joe Barrett, Dina Perlman, Suzanne Toren, Marc Vietor, Peter Ganim, Elisabeth Rodgers, L J Ganser, Caitlin Davies, Rachel Butera, Ken Kilban, Terry Donnolly, Eileen Stevens, Gabra Zackman, Kevin Pariseau, Joshua Swanson, Gayle Hendrix, Anthony Salerno, and Bryan Kennedy.

BONUS AUDIO: Includes an introduction written and read by author Susan Hasler.

©2010 Susan Hasler (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A biting satire of the agency [Hasler] once called home….It’s a very funny book about a deeply unfunny slice of recent history. Read it and weep – but you’ll be laughing, too." (The Washington Post)

"Often laugh-out-loud funny, Intelligence even manages to squeeze in a genuinely sweet romance. Susan Hasler does for the folks at the CIA what Joseph Wambaugh accomplishes with cops: she gives them human dimension. Sometimes sad, sometimes stupid, sometimes scary and at other times heroic, Hasler’s characters always seem achingly real." (January magazine, Best Crime Fiction of 2010)

"There have been many books written about the CIA, some of them by ex-agents of the clandestine organization. But none of them have been anything like Susan Hasler’s Intelligence. For one thing, it’s refreshing to get a female point of view. For another, Hasler’s mordant wit makes reading this novel an unalloyed delight. Not since Catch-22 has a novel with such trenchantly mordant wit illuminated the inherent insanity of institutionalized war. Intelligence is funny, sad, and frightening. It’s a book to keep you up at night, one you won’t soon forget." (Eric Van Lustbader)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Pam F Forest, VA, United States 02-11-12
    Pam F Forest, VA, United States 02-11-12 Member Since 2014
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    ""A must read""
    Any additional comments?

    Written by one of the key figures in the CIA prior to 9/11. Susan Hasler quit the CIA after 9/11. She'd tried unsuccessfully to get the government to act on information her agency had discovered about the plot before it happened.

    This is a suspense novel, plain and simple; Read it with a mind to how the scenario would have played out prior to 9/11 and it will send shivers down your spine.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 11-26-11
    David 11-26-11 Member Since 2012

    Indiscriminate Reader

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    "An ex-employee takes an axe to her former bosses"

    Susan Hasler is a very bitter ex-CIA employee. She lays out her agenda in the foreword of this novel: she felt the Bush Administration ignored intelligence, concocted their own story, and turned the CIA into political apparatchiks in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in order to engineer an unnecessary war with Iraq.

    Whether you agree with her assessment or not, Intelligence is a sharp, sometimes funny book but one in which the author doesn't even try to be subtle about her axe-grinding. As a veteran CIA agent, she writes about the "fictional" CIA and intelligence community with enough verisimilitude that those who are not actually familiar with how the military-intelligence complex works will be horrified and hope that she's exaggerating things, while those of us who are will groan and nod knowingly. Okay, Hasler does exaggerate a few things, but honest, folks, this is pretty much what life as a fed is like.

    The plot is straightforward: terrorists plan and execute another attack, this time at a baseball stadium. Their plan is clever and fairly low-tech, something any organized, intelligent group could engineer with a little practice and preparation and not a lot of money or special equipment. In the wake of a second terrorist attack inflicting mass casualties on American soil, the Administration (not named in the book) proceeds to pin the blame on Iran and begins dismissing or destroying any evidence that suggests otherwise.

    The protagonists of the novel are a group of intelligence analysts who almost, but not quite, figured out what the terrorists were planning before they did it, and are now desperately trying to get the truth out before the country goes to war with Iran.

    Although Hasler's purpose in writing this book was explicitly to exercise her own demons over 9/11, she actually put out a fairly tense political thriller. In the days leading up to the attack, we wait to see whether or not it will actually go off, and after it does, we see the main characters battling their bosses, the intelligence agency, and Congress, all of whom are against them.

    The writing is only average, as is the plot, but the characters were quite human and exactly the sort of people you'd meet working career fedgov jobs. You want to believe CIA analysts are these super-sharp geniuses with supercomputers at their command, like you see on TV, but really they're just normal folks with kids and mortgages and tons of baggage, and going in to work to stop terrorists tends to become just like any other office job... except when things go wrong.

    Regardless of your political views, you'll probably find much of the book disconcerting, and you may want to project your politics onto the author's message in terms of who's to blame, but the fact is, these games play out this way regardless of which party is in power.

    The multi-cast audio performance worked very well for this book, which shifts POV frequently. Each character had a distinctive voice and personality which helped a lot in keeping straight who was talking.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emma Navigators, Australia 04-30-11
    Emma Navigators, Australia 04-30-11
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    "Lots of insight"

    I really enjoyed this book. It's not an action thriller but has plenty of intrigue and cerebral action. The book gave me a lot of insight into the workings of US intelligence, and there were some caper-style laughs towards the end of the book. All in all - a very entertaining read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard COCOA, FL, United States 10-19-10
    Richard COCOA, FL, United States 10-19-10
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    "Comical, light-hearted, perspective of the CIA."

    Fans of Vince Flynn would be well advised to be in touch with the feminine side if they are to enjoy this book. Popping a Premarin, or two, before reading or listening to Ms. Hasler’s novel might help, too.


    The audio production is outstanding with the readers conveying the essence of the characters in natural voices that enhance the storyline.


    My only criticism is that the author’s political views vis a vis Iraq were thinly veiled and repeated ad nauseum, but perhaps that was her primary objective when she put pen to paper. Despite my differing political views with the author, I still found “Intelligence” an entertaining listen. If prospective listeners have strong political views in support of the justification for the Iraq War, they should consider whether these would prevent them from appreciating this novel before purchasing it.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elle (AKA PlantCrone) in the great NorthWest OREGON 09-24-12

    ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance

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    "A great listen-worth the credit."

    I love to read/listen to spy novels. Stories of the FBI or CIA or Navy Seals keep me up at night because they are so full of excitement.

    This book takes place in an office environment, a dour miserable underground place where researchers are crowded together, harassed by their bosses to work 20 hour days and have their work shipped back to their desk because the leaders don't like it.

    It's a fascinating inside view of the CIA from the grunt labor researchers point of view...and has a bit of excitement too.

    The author was a member of the kind of team she writes about and has a lot to say-you can tell she is venting a bit. There is humor too, there has to be humor when you work in a place like this.

    My only complaint is the wretched job the audio editor did merging the different narrators together....The acoustics were poorly handled and it got to bother me after listening to what was supposed to be a conversation face-to-face and hearing totally different acoustics from the two characters....it was very poorly handled and detracts from the otherwise great listen.

    Kudos to Susan Hasler for her work....I hope she has another book in her.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Katherine Georgetown, Ontario, Canada 09-11-12
    Katherine Georgetown, Ontario, Canada 09-11-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Get This Book!"

    Bridget Jones Diary meets The China Syndrome. Very funny book and perfect for anyone who is frustrated by what the 'higher ups' do to the frontline workers everywhere. I thought the ending was a tad weak, but hey...it's her first book! Hope she writes more!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Austin, TX, United States 03-13-12
    Susan Austin, TX, United States 03-13-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Ughh... painful"

    I listen to all types of thrillers, but this one has to be about the most poky, boring and pointless of all the novels I've listened to. The narration isn't bad but the story line is just plain uninteresting and has plenty of the author's political opinions included. I listened to the complete first part and part of the second part but just couldn't bring myself to finish it. Glad I got it for $4.95!

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Austin, TX, United States 03-13-12
    Susan Austin, TX, United States 03-13-12 Member Since 2015

    AmazonBookLover

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    "Ughh... painful"

    I listen to all types of thrillers, but this one has to be about the most poky, boring and pointless of all the novels I've listened to. The narration isn't bad but the story line is just plain uninteresting and has plenty of the author's political opinions included. I listened to the complete first part and part of the second part but just couldn't bring myself to finish it. Glad I got it for $4.95!

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LINDA BOISE, ID, United States 09-11-12
    LINDA BOISE, ID, United States 09-11-12 Member Since 2007

    “Favorite authors- Nevada Barr, Craig Johnson, Louise Penny. Narrators, Marguerite Gavin, , George Guidall.”

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    "Not your usual spy story."
    Any additional comments?

    Well written and well narrated by a full cast. This is an author to keep an eye on because she's going places. An inside look at the CIA by a former employee written in the guise of fiction, full of black humor and satire. Some readers will think it's over the top but If you've ever worked for the government you will recognize your department in these pages.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony L. Dewitt Jefferson City, MO United States 01-10-12
    Anthony L. Dewitt Jefferson City, MO United States 01-10-12 Member Since 2011

    Missouri Veteran

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    "A Whiny Woman"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. I learned way too much about the main character's personal life. It was devoid of action and whiney. The basic story was a good one, and well thought out, but the characterizations were not as rich as I would have liked.


    Would you recommend Intelligence: A Novel of the CIA to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would recommend Mark Greaney or David Baldacci. This was a woman who hated George Bush and wanted to write a novel to ping him. I am no fan of Bush, but I don't buy books based on politics.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Narrators were terrific


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Only if Fran Drescher played the lead character.


    Any additional comments?

    There are better books about the CIA, but this one is still okay and worth your time.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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