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How to Catch a Russian Spy Audiobook

How to Catch a Russian Spy: The True Story of an American Civilian Turned Self-Taught Double Agent

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Publisher's Summary

The fascinating story of a young American amateur who helped the FBI bust a Russian spy in New York - sold in 10 countries and in a major deal with 20th Century Fox.

For three nerve-wracking years, Naveed Jamali spied on America for the Russians, trading thumb drives of sensitive technical data for envelopes of cash, selling out his own beloved country across noisy restaurant tables and in quiet parking lots. Or so the Russians believed. In fact this young American civilian was a covert double agent working with the FBI. The Cold War wasn't really over. It had just gone high tech.

How to Catch a Russian Spy is the one-of-a-kind story of how one young man's post-college adventure became a real-life US counterintelligence coup. He had no previous counterespionage experience. Everything he knew about undercover work he'd learned from Miami Vice and Magnum PI reruns and movies like Ronin, Spy Game, and anything with Bond or Bourne in the title. And yet, hoping to gain experience to become a navy intelligence officer, he convinced the FBI and the Russians they could trust him. With charm, cunning, and a big load of naiveté, he matched wits with a veteran Russian military-intelligence officer who was recruiting spies on American soil, outmaneuvering the Russian spy and his secret-hungry superiors. Along the way Jamali and his FBI handlers cast a rare light on espionage activities at the Russian Mission to the United Nations in New York and earned a solid US win in the escalating hostilities between Moscow and Washington.

Now Jamali reveals the whole engaging story behind his double-agent adventure - from coded signals on Craigslist to the Russian spy's propensity for Hooters' Buffalo wings. Cinematic, news-breaking, and wildly entertaining, How to Catch a Russian Spy is an armchair spy fantasy brought to life.

Film rights sold to 20th Century Fox for director Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man, 500 Days of Summer).

©2015 Naveed Jamali (P)2015 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (86 )
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3.6 (78 )
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Performance
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  •  
    ar 07-01-15
    ar 07-01-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "The whole book is a humblebrag."
    What did you like best about How to Catch a Russian Spy? What did you like least?

    You know when your friend studies abroad in Spain for 1 semester and then they come back really adamant about pronouncing Barcelona as "Barthelona" ? That's just a tiny fraction of this guy. You can hardly get to the story without him dropping random Master's degree's that his family has, random references to graduate student beloved writers, and name drops of esoteric post-modern authors. Sure, I understood because this was, moronically, the type of stuff I chose to study in college. But Man, this guy is SO over the top. It's like a guy struggling to bench press as much as he can to show you that he can. The story is totally 2nd to you understanding how cool and hip and urbane he is. He's so well read and dreamy.... and what are we even talking about? Russian Spies?

    He waxes poetic for entire chapters about how cool he was in high school and college, making you sit around and relive his glory days with him, like he's Al Bundy from "Married with Children" talking about his four touchdowns that one game back at Polk High.

    What I liked best? I guess the few moments of 'fly on the wall' insight where a) it didn't feel like he wasn't embellishing, which was rare, and b) he wasn't flexing his 'I just got out of grad school, look at all these random esoteric names I can drop' muscles. But those moments were fleeting.


    What was most disappointing about Naveed Jamali and Ellis Henican ’s story?

    How insecure this guy must feel on a regular basis.


    What three words best describe Kirby Heyborne’s performance?

    Just Too Much


    Do you think How to Catch a Russian Spy needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Definitely not - the writer just needs to gain some confidence and focus on telling a gripping story. We're here for the russian spy stuff, not how cool it was that time you got sent to the principals office in school (I wish I was joking)


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator - He actually wasn't bad , but the accents were terrible and ill-advised in general. Really doesn't help add to the 'non-fiction' vice when he's doing goofy voices for every character.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 07-24-15
    David 07-24-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pretentious egotism"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A real plot not a narrative.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Naveed Jamali and Ellis Henican again?

    Never


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kirby Heyborne?

    Anyone. He made it sound like the author was a twelve year old.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    None


    Any additional comments?

    Why the FBI would have put any credence in the author is alarming in the extreme. His motives for getting involved as he did were transparently pure egotism from the first to the last page and he did a poor job of disguising it. His bare all patriotism made him sound like an infatuated adolescence. How on earth did this book get published at all? The read, that I dutifully finished, was a complete waste of time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Retired Walpole, NH USA 07-18-15
    Retired Walpole, NH USA 07-18-15 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "Short story made into a long book"
    What would have made How to Catch a Russian Spy better?

    About half as long


    Would you ever listen to anything by Naveed Jamali and Ellis Henican again?

    Likely not


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kirby Heyborne?

    I thought Kirby did a fine job


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from How to Catch a Russian Spy?

    Too many to mention. That's the problem. There's just too many verbose scenes, i.e. saying a lot about nothing. Who cares about what kind or color of chair Naveed sits in? How overly dramatic can you make the scene where Naveed gives the Russian a copy of a linguistic file? How over done can you make Naveed's conversations with different Naval officers? The book was just too long w/simple scenes made far too wordy.


    Any additional comments?

    I expected a story much more interesting and engaging. Going back to it was a chore.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marilyn Keyes 12-10-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How an arrogant know-it-all mixed fact and fiction"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I suppose there are those who find this book funny, but I was mostly annoyed. I understand they are making a movie from it.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Naveed Jamali and Ellis Henican again?

    No.


    What three words best describe Kirby Heyborne’s performance?

    Professional.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Annoyance and disappiontment


    Any additional comments?

    The subject of the book comes across as spoiled and full of himself. The idea that such a young man could convince the FBI to work with him is nearly unbelievable and suggests that the agency is desperate, particularly when the subject took his plans and strategy from spy movies.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jeanne 10-22-15
    jeanne 10-22-15
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    "slow, so much so i didnt want to finish it"

    i was such a long slow trip look John le Carre takes a while to tell a story but this writer just seems to talk just to hear his own voice. could have been done much less time..
    Kirby Heyborne was exellent as usual just not much to work with.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jordan 09-12-16
    Jordan 09-12-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No historical significance. Nothing really happens"
    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    This book was rather irrelevant. There is no historical significance: the events lead to nothing and came from nothing. As we have no access to the Russian side of this, it looks as though their attempt to gain information was as half-hearted as our attempt to prevent it. And finally, the main character, our patriotic citizen, is rather unlikable.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Hegarty 08-08-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Horrible story, decent narration."

    BLUF: Did you love the Angelina Jolie spy thriller "Salt" for its stereotypical characters, distracting and irrelevant backstory, and Evil Empire Russian schemes? This is the book for you! However, if you know anything about the FBI, Russian culture, or the world of espionage, you will bemoan any time you waste listening to this book.

    The author goes to great lengths to describe his collection of expensive cars, privileged childhood, and overall self-importance, none of which contribute to the storyline. It's reminiscent of the 2007 film "Breach", which grossly exaggerated the role of a young hotshot agent to make the movie more popular with the Bond- and Bourne-crazed audiences. In fact, the author freely admits that his knowledge of espionage (and inspiration for his double agent's fictitious persona) come straight out of Hollywood.

    Have you ever had a friend who traveled to Spain, and upon their return they endlessly bragged about their adventure in 'Ethpanya' or the wondrous city of 'Barthelona'? Or a coworker who insists on giving investing advice because they watched "The Big Short"? Or how about one who complains loudly about having to work extra hours, when he himself volunteered for them? These types are reserved and humble compared to Naveed Jamali.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerry Mendiola 01-07-16 Member Since 2016
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    2
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    Story
    "How To Hear A Story Where Nothing Happens"

    Mostly the author trying to brag about how awesome and badass he is. Not entertaining

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, USA 10-09-15
    Stephen Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, USA 10-09-15 Member Since 2012

    History is my passion but I also love a good story

    ratings
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    27
    5
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    Story
    "Small Boring Story"
    What would have made How to Catch a Russian Spy better?

    This story is a minor tale padded with useless details. Couldn't finish it


    Would you ever listen to anything by Naveed Jamali and Ellis Henican again?

    The authors stretched a weak story into endless boredom.


    What didn’t you like about Kirby Heyborne’s performance?

    Narrator was not an issue, easy to listen to.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointed but Ii will get over it


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theatrical Costumer 09-23-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    15
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    "Autobiographical recount"

    Well written, authentic and charming
    I suppose I wanted more action. but it was an clue in to the world of espionage.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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