Saturday, 27 January 2018

"Need to know" by Karen Cleveland

I was lucky to get access to this book for free courtesy of Pigeonhole. Pigeonhole is new to me and different way to read books. In this case a section (usually 2 chapters) was released each day which both heightens the tension (there are some real cliffhanger chapter endings) but also stems the flow. My full review below is taken from my Goodreads account.

The real novelty of Pigeonhole is that it's an online book club. As you read you can comment alongside the text and reply to the comments of others. In fact, you are encouraged to comment - that's the point of doing it this way. In this instance we were informed the author was reading along with us and not to hold back - a great new development.

Joining doesn't give you free access to all the books you want, this was a draw to be one of many people, but the chances of getting involved seem good. Definitely worth a try.

Need to KnowNeed to Know by Karen Cleveland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received an e-copy of this book free of charge from The Pigeonhole.

Viv Miller is a CIA agent working on Russian counter intelligence. She's a spy, but drives a desk rather than an Aston Martin. When she finally decrypts a laptop known to belong to a Russian spy she uncovers evidence that tests her loyalties and emotions beyond the limit.

The Pigeonhole released this book in daily sections which does work well with cliffhangers. I do think, though, that those that say they have sat and read it in one sitting are the best judges. It is a relatively short book for a thriller of this type and flows freely. The style isn't challenging and there are multiple twists and turns. It's quite a clean book, not too graphic in language, violence or sexuality.

The core theme of the book is really about love and trust, not politics or espionage. Written in the first person we hear how Viv's trust of colleagues and her husband change throughout the book, and the deep love she feels for her children.

In plot alone, it's a great read. A single day of a holiday or a long train journey would be all the better for this. For the more discerning thriller fan I would suggest it lacks depth. Viv's feelings change quickly and her actions are unnatural - often we wonder why she took a turn when we should be either with her, or at least understanding her rationale. During the central part of the book we really would have benefited from a deeper understanding of the relationship with her children and how they are affected by events.

The story also lacks a killer turning scene towards the end - a big action piece that grips. There is a scene which could fill this plot but it seems too brief and too easily cleared up. I wouldn't expect lots of actions pieces - this is a psychological work and not an action one, but I would have enjoyed a few more key big moments rather than lots of little ones.

But I'm being picky. 3 stars is good and there is enough here to fill a very pleasant gap in your reading time. You may not remember it all months later but that just leaves space for more doesn't it?

View all my reviews