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Need to Know

Narrated by: Mia Barron
Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's 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, who 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)

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for M. M. Makki
  • M. M. Makki
  • 03-14-18

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 01-26-18

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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  • Wras
  • 09-10-18

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for R. Lee
  • R. Lee
  • 03-15-18

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • AmazonAddict
  • 04-14-19

A middling effort...

Just as it got going, it very suddenly ended, with 50% obvious, 50% intriguing ending, that begs for a sequel. I enjoyed it, albeit I didn't warm to the protagonist who I repeatedly wanted to shake with frustration, nor the husband whose deep cover I can't begin to believe would be possible over such a long term.

Would I read the sequel? Probably, but with lower expectations than I had of this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • KarenRC
  • 07-15-19

Need To Know

This was a good read. From the synopsis, I thought it was going to be slightly different to what it was. I was hoping for an all action spy thriller, but it was more of a family drama with a bit of espionage thrown in.
Good, but could have been great.

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Profile Image for Faraja T.
  • Faraja T.
  • 10-26-18

Plot is too predictable

The amount of times I screamed in my head ARE YOU BLODDY KIDDING ME?!?! Vivian is infuriating and unbelievably stupid especially for a CIA analyst.
Every question to Vivian's inner monologues can be answered with BECAUSE HE'S BEEN A RUSSIAN SPY FOR 22 YEARS!! OMG!! And just when you think there's hope for Vivian.... nope, that's quickly taken away.
The initial plot of the book & the beginning was promising but that's where it ends and everything becomes slow and way too predictable. Save yourself time, money, energy & sanity. And faith in the intelligence agencies that they are not all as naive & easily manipulated as this one.

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  • MAXINE PARK
  • 08-09-18

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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-12-18

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
  • 04-19-18

Ridiculous

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

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  • @GlobalCrimeFict
  • 05-12-19

I knew from the start

The reader was great but the material let her down. What an annoying protagonists. Naive and hesitant. She had to be for the plot to work, but no normal person would react as she did. The reader is always ten steps ahead of her. Too contrived to be satisfying.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-09-18

Riveting

I loved this book, a well written story with a sting in the tail. I’m off to see if she has any more stories I can read