Need to Know

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

Great suspense/thriller!  Very difficult to put down.  I can't wait to read more by this author.
Was this review helpful?

There is a part of me that loves this book. Viv feels deeply the helplessness that her situation creates, and there is an almost tangible quality of suffocation as you read the first two thirds of the novel. The flashbacks to coversations with Matt early in their marriage are disturbing and very effective. You never really know in this novel the extent to which Matt is a complete manipulator. I grew increasingly angry about Viv's naivete throughout the early parts of the novel, and I'm not convinced that the ending rescues her from the role of someone who has been exploited. The ending is very tidy, until you realize that who the real mole is. Ulimately, the novel makes the...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

I devoured this book, and then discovered afterwords that . . . it hadn't been lastingly satisfying. The plotting was strong, and the setting carried the touch of authenticity provided by the author's history with the CIA. But many of the characters acted in ways that were inexplicable to me ( I related to quite a few of the questions asked by other Goodreads members.) So I can agree with readers who called it "Homeland Lite" and who observed that the real arc of the story was within the marriage and family and not within the espionage community. The most lingering question for me was: why on earth would an intelligence professional be so freaked out by a gun. I know...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
Could not finish, I won this through a goodreads giveaway  and through NetGalley and publisher and it just did not do anything for me. I have tried for months to finally get through it but I just was not feeling it..
Was this review helpful?
Trust me. This is NOT your standard spy thriller. And in this case, that’s a very good thing. What would you do if you are a CIA agent investigating Russian sleeper agents and your own husband’s picture appears on your screen? This is the premise of Cleveland’s Need to Know and it was so unique and well done with twists and turns along the way that I never saw coming! And just when I thought I was turning the last page, BOOM, more twists! I am hoping this is just the beginning of a series from Cleveland because I would love to read more about Vivian, Matt and the whole gang! 

Thank you to Random House/Ballantine for an advance copy. All opinions are my own
Was this review helpful?
The definitive spy story ! What a exciting book. I loved it and was unable to put it down. 
Vivian is a counter intelligence CIA officer with a family. She seems to have the perfect life. Until a Russian sleeper cell infiltrates her peaceful existence and she finds herself in danger.  Soon she is answering to the CIA as well as her family who have lost trust in her.   Her life becomes a series of incidents that may put her on both sides of the law .  This was a great spy story with all the right elements. Its being made into a movie and I look forward to seeing what they create from this great story. 
Thank you for the ARC which does not influence my review.
Was this review helpful?
Saw some promising advance buzz about this but it just didn't measure up. Not believable at all.

This review is in exchange for a free e-galley from netgalley.com.
Was this review helpful?
Good fun-- read it in just a few hours--though one must suspend belief throughout. That's fine; it was just what I needed. I kept thinking, "This is so ridiculous (in a good way....) It would never happen" but having recently read the book about British spy Kim Philby, I suppose anything is possible. Can't wait for the movie and can't wait to see what Cleveland writes next.
Was this review helpful?

A classy spy novel with intrigue, doubt, and fierce loyalties. This debut novel by former CIA analyst, Karen Cleveland, grips and doesn’t let go. The main character, Vivian, tracks Russian sleeper agents for her career, and at the end of chapter one, realizes they are much closer to home than she thinks! Hacking into a recovered laptop from a known Russian source, she uncovers five covert agents who are sleepers and she is about to expose them. But what must she do when one of them is related to her? The book immediately gets the reader thinking ethically and to what extent we might bend the rules.

By chapter six, she makes a decision that affects everyone in her family, her four...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
Twisty turny spy thriller - recommended.  I didn't expect the ending - and I almost want a sequel, but don't want the perfection of the stand-alone to be ruined.
Was this review helpful?
What an engrossing ride!    We are introduced to Vivian, who works for the CIA as an analyst who identifies sleeper cells. Her job opens up a world of trouble for her family.   Each decision Viv makes seems to make the situation worse and finding someone to rust becomes a problem.
Was this review helpful?
Need to Know is the kind of book I love recommending to my friends. This book has kept me up all night. The NEED TO KNOW about the heroine's (Vivian) husband's (Matt) connection with the Russian left me on edge. Vivian as a CIA specializes in finding Russian sleeper cells in the US and for her to learn that somehow her husband was involve with the Russian left her in knots. To think that they have children and she really dotes on her husband, Vivian was left to wonder what to do with what she just learned. Was his husband really involved with the Russians or was she just mistaken?
Was this review helpful?

Holy Moly! (pun intended).
What a thrill ride, I've just finished the book and I'm still breathless, finishing the book in just a couple of days, having to deal with the inconvenience of having to go to work and wonder all day long what awaited me when I picked up the book again.
Vivian is a CIA analyst in the Russia section and while working on a target's laptop that the CIA has hacked their way into comes across a file that contains a file called "friends". In the file, there are five picture files, the first four no one remarkable, the fifth, however, is a picture of her husband. Immediately torn and confused, she confronts her husband when she gets home and...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Story Notes

Karen Cleveland jumps into the world of writing and lands on two solid feet with her debut novel. With superb writing that keeps you guessing, characters that are completely relatable and a mystery just begging to be solved, Ms. Cleveland leaves her readers in no doubt that she will be in this field for years to come.

I probably shouldn’t have tried to read this excellent book when I was fighting a severe cold but it was so good that I powered through and hope I didn’t overlook anything. When I looked the book information up...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
This book kept me glued to my chair, completely sucked in by the premise and the characters, unable to imagine how the plot would play out and unable to stop reading.  Look up the term "compulsively readable" in a dictionary and you will find the image of this book.  Not just a really good suspense novel, although it is that, this book challenges a lot of assumptions we all probably make.  Like the best novels, it not only made me read, it made me think.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book. So well written. I found this book unputdownable!!
Was this review helpful?

2.5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

CIA analyst Vivian Miller is assigned to uncover Russian sleeper cells. She is working on developing a system to identify the undercover agents that live as normal people in plain sight. After finding a dossier of sleeper agents living and operating in the USA, everything she cares about, including her family, is threatened.

The first few chapters of this book was promising, but the story quickly nose-dived into clichés and predictability. Considering Vivian is a freaking CIA agent, it's ridiculous how enormously stupid, naïve and annoying she is in this story. Her thought-process is...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

I love the mystery/thriller genre and especially when I get pulled in from the very first page. While I was pulled into Need to Know when it started, it quickly felt like it was going all over the place for me.

I really liked the main character Vivian Miller, but absolutely didn't buy into the fact that she would break so many laws and rules. I understood wanting to protect her children and her husband, but I just couldn't see a high level CIA counterintelligence agent not seeing signs along the way. Maybe because she was high level CIA, I expected more of her. I have to say that Matt played her like a fiddle to make it look like he was the wronged individual. I just never bought...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

Don't read this expecting a spy thriller. I'm sure that this book will be made into a movie, a cheesy Lifetime network movie. In fact, some of the plot points have already been used in the TV series The Blacklist. If CIA agents really behave this way then perhaps "draining the swamp" is actually called for. Vivian Miller is a CIA counterintelligence analyst searching for leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the US. Wouldn't it be nice if she spoke and could read Russian? I guess competence is too much to ask for. A woman who should be intelligent behaves like a dithering, easily manipulated idiot throughout the entire book. We get a lot of internal monologue about...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?