Cover Image: The Silent Sisters

The Silent Sisters

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Member Reviews

I’m not a fan of spy thrillers, with the exception of this series.  I find Charles Jenkins an engaging spy, with a strong moral compass.  In this, the third and final book in the series, Jenkins is tasked with bringing the final two of the Seven Sisters sleeper cell out of Russia.  
As a 6’5” black man, Jenkins stands out in Washington State, let alone Russia.  But off he goes, with a few disguises.  On his first night in Moscow, he gets involved trying to help a young prostitute and the son of a Russian Mafiya leader gets killed.  Before you know it, he’s got everyone and their brother looking for him.  
Dugoni knows how to tell a fascinating tale.  I loved learning about the Russian Mafiya.  And unlike other authors who invent characters based on Putin, he calls out Putin as the bad guy he is.  The characters, both good and bad, come across as realistic.   And as before, what side of the political divide you’re on doesn’t make you a good or bad guy.  I also enjoyed that there were several characters that were over 60, all dealing with how they might handle retirement.  
The book will work best if you have read the prior two.  And I highly recommend the whole series.  
My thanks to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for an advance copy of this book.  

Woohoo! I just read that this series has been sold as a tv series.
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4.5 Stars 🌟

I was thrilled to be able to read this ARC for the third and final book (at least, I think it's the final book) in the Charles Jenkins trilogy. I have enjoyed pretty much everything by this author and have been especially intrigued by the Silent Sisters series. I am going to admit though, to doing something I NEVER do. And when I say never, I truly mean it. I can honestly say that in the thousands of books that I have read, I can count on one hand (with leftovers) the amount of times that I have done this. What did I do you ask? Well, I am going to try not to give away any spoilers as I explain, so let's see.

Well, the book starts off in a way that is not unique. It starts from the end, and then we go back to the beginning to see how we got to that moment. What was different is that from the very first paragraph, we realize that Mr. Jenkins is in a LOT of trouble. And I do mean serious trouble. It was enough trouble that I got halfway through the book and I couldn't stand it anymore. My stomach was in knots waiting for the story to catch up with what I knew was going to happen and it got worse (the anxiousness) the longer I read. So...at about 60% in...... I flipped to the back of the book and read the ending. (pretend like I spurted that out in one breath because I certainly typed it that way) 

I HAD to know that...well, that does get into spoilers, so let's just say that my tension level was sky high and I needed to know....something. What I take away from that is that Mr. Dugoni did such a fantastic job with the story that I was COMPLETELY invested. So much so that I reacted in a very unusual way. Am I sorry? Not in the slightest! Did it ruin anything for me? Absolutely not. It kind of gave me comfort, but that's enough of that. 

About the rest of the story. This book is different from book 2. In that book Charles is on the run non-stop and it is one disaster and fire after another as he tries to escape Russia. It was non-stop action. This book also has non-stop action, it is just done in a slightly different way.

Bottom line - did I enjoy the book? Absolutely. I would recommend though, that if you are going to read it, to start from book one in the trilogy and go from there. You could probably read this as a stand-alone, but I wouldn't recommend it. There are too many nuances to understand and too many relationships that might not make sense. But either way, you will not be disappointed.

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC. The opinions above are mine and mine alone.
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Well written with good character development but very predictable to me. I just couldn’t get into it.  I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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This is book 3 in the Charles Jenkins trilogy. After a harrowing escape from Russian agents on his last mission, Charles Jenkins thinks he’s finally done with the spy game. But then the final two of the seven sisters—American assets who have been deep undercover in Russia for decades—cut off all communication with their handlers. Have they turned or gone rogue? Are they in danger? This is what Jenkins must determine as he heads back to Russia to complete his mission.
This was a great spy thriller with strong female characters complete with duplicitous characters and a cross country chase.
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Excellent spy novel, well written, with great characters and a very good pace. The book is so good that I will disregard that everything starts with the main character making several stupid mistakes.
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I started reading the book a month ago, I was moving through it very slowly, there were a lot of things in it that annoyed me, so now I’m giving up at 30% and no longer reading.  Yet Dugoni is a good writer, as he has proven in several books that were not about spies.

This book is the third in a series.  Unfortunately, or maybe luckily, I didn’t read the first two.

The biggest problem with the book is that it is full of stereotypes.  In Western countries, every Russian is thought to be stupid, violent, and the mafia is everywhere.  Except for those who are spying for Americans for some reason.  They are the good, the heroes.  The leaders of Russian counter-espionage are fat, lazy, idiots, alcoholics and sex addicts.  The American protagonist, on the other hand, defends the oppressed,  he is black, tall, handsome.  I do not understand why a black agent should be sent to Russia?  Wouldn’t it be more logical for a mid-tall white who could fit in better with the locals and not have to paint himself white?  But really, what's the logic of sending a black there?  And why does he automatically accept the assignment?  He is not young, has a family, and his physical characteristics make him unfit for this mission!  Or are there so few agents in America that even he is the most suitable?

What he does at the bar the first night in Russia is simply incomprehensible.  A spy can't be such an idiot!  I don’t hook up with the locals while I know the room is being cameraed!  And while he has all sorts of disguises, he forgets to put on his gloves while drinking his beer!  Why did he go to the bar at all?  If I were a spy, I would definitely not go out for a beer in an enemy country.  After all, the goal would be not to draw attention to myself.

But the biggest problem with the book is that I felt like the writer hadn’t gotten information about what Russia is like, how spies, anti-spies work.

Nor did I understand why the Russian text had to be written phonetically and then translated into English.  Maybe it would have been enough to write only English or the Russian text in Cyrillic letters.  So, writing the text twice is pretty confusing.  Especially that phonetic writing is confusing and often flawed as well.

But the previous ones are just highlights of what I think are the flaws in the story.  I could have written much more than that.  And because of these, the book is more of a fantasy than a spy thriller.  Because it has little to do with reality.
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4.5 STARS

Code name "Red Gate"

The third installment in Dugoni's Charles Jenkins espionage series (a trilogy). Dugoni's website says that this series has been acquired by Roadside Attractions for a television series. I'd love to cast it!

He is a favorite author and this series has been impressive and fast-paced. The characters are complex and always evoke strong emotions, whether good or bad, often blurring the line of good vs. evil. Here we have the exfiltration plan, code name is "Red Gate". Jenkins returns to Russia to complete the mission - 2 of the remaining eight sister spies need to get out. These were women trained from birth to spy on the Soviet Union.This is Jenkins third mission and he is on the Russian kill list so he must beware of the many facial recognition cameras that line the streets.

I was immersed from page one and it was impossible to put down. I was all wrapped up in the heated chases, baddies looking for retribution, lots of action, and some fun moments that added humor. There is a beauty shop named Do or Dye Salon, and a husband who acts like Inspector Clouseau.

If you enjoy a good espionage story, with a strong femme fatale with a story to tell, lots of edge of your seat moments, this one is fantastic! Recommend starting with #1 to follow the whole nail biting adventure. Enjoyed the entire series!
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"The CIA operation had been named "the seven sisters" ... taking a page from the KGB playbook, seven Russian women had been raised from birth to be American spies, what the KGB referred to as "illegals" -- deep-cover agents who blended in seamlessly with the target country's citizenry."

These moles are now women in their 60s who have attained positions which have allowed them unprecedented access. Three of the seven sisters have met terrible fates, and now the CIA is scrambling to ex-filtrate the remaining four. As the FSB's original source of intel to expose the seven sisters is no longer available, the FSB prepares to launch Operation Herod to find the remaining four. Some of the sisters have gone silent; ie. they're unwilling to meet with their CIA handlers to pass along information. They know that they're close to facing the consequences of betraying Putin's government - interrogation under torture and then death. Time is running out.

Charles Jenkins, also in his mid-60s, is very interested in following the CIA's progress since he had unwittingly become involved nearly two years ago.

"Jenkins fought his emotions. Every time he had left, he asked himself why he had done so. He had everything he needed on his little farm--a woman he loved and who loved him, two beautiful children, a home, a place to call his own. And yet he had that longing. That need to be needed, to help those who asked for help."

In The Silent Sisters, Jenkins is willing to risk his life once more on behalf of the seven sisters even though his multiple prior visits to Russia have earned him a spot on Putin's kill list. And because of an error in judgment, Jenkins inadvertently catches the attention of both the violent Russian mafiya and the police, in particular an appealing Hercule Poirot-like figure. Both parties possess compelling motivation as the former lost a family member and the latter - Senior Investigator Arkhip Mishkin - wants to retire with his impeccable case resolution rate.

Dugoni deftly juggles the multiple plot strands as Jenkins once again throws himself into CIA intrigue in Moscow. Readers get to see some of the sisters in action and how they've survived for decades. Internal politics within the FSB hierarchy are portrayed as well as the corruption within the government of a society run by oligarchs and mafiya. The Silent Sisters is the best installment of the trilogy as both humor, unexpected loyalty, and suspense conclude the tale of the seven sisters. It can be read as a standalone but it would be best to read the entire trilogy in order to fully appreciate Jenkins' role and character arc.

In addition to these deadly games of wits among spies, Dugoni has emphasized one other theme in this trilogy -- age is just a number. Jenkins isn't the only hero who is at the age in which retirement is the usual occupational status. This has been true in the preceding installments but this theme is supported by a larger cast of characters in this novel.

Thank you to the author, Thomas and Mercer, and Netgalley for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotations in this review are from an uncorrected proof (ISBN 13-9781542029919) and may differ from the final version. Publication date is February 22, 2022.
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The Silent Sisters (2022) marks the completion of Robert Dugoni’s Charles Jenkins trilogy, following The Eighth Sister (2019) and The Last Agent (2020). For the uninitiated, Charles Jenkins is a six foot, five inch black man who in his sixties has been called back into CIA service so that he can extract several women who were trained to spy for the US since birth. You read that right: a huge, black American spy is expected to go undetected inside Russia long enough to help US spies escape the only country they have known their entire lives. Rather surprisingly, Dugoni makes it all seem very possible…if not likely…to work.

Originally, there were seven women working in critical Russian positions who were providing key intelligence information to American counterintelligence officers. Each of the women had been groomed and trained by their Russian parents from birth to believe in what they were doing, and to do it well. But now, things are starting to fall apart, and time is running out on the Seven Sisters because an American traitor has revealed their existence to the Russians. Russian intelligence officers do not know their names, but do know that seven women were planted —  and that some of them are still on the job. Now, the Russians are ruthlessly looking at all women in their early sixties who are working in jobs that would allow them to pass critical intelligence to the US. In biblical fashion, all of these women are going to be eliminated in order to make sure that no spies survive the purge; they will be tortured and killed, one-by-one, until that possibility is eliminated.

The CIA knows that two of the women are still active, but each has gone silent in recent weeks, meaning that the women realize the end is near for them. They need to get out of Russia, and if they are to survive, they need to do it now. Charles Jenkins, who has already gotten one of the seven women out, is going back again to rescue the surviving pair before they meet the fate of those who have already been arrested, tortured, and killed. That the odds are stacked against Jenkins is an understatement. Before this one is over, Jenkins and the women will simultaneously be chased by Russian intelligence agencies, the Russian police, and the Russian mafia, all of whom want to capture Jenkins for reasons of their own. But is being chased by three such powerful groups at the same time necessarily a bad thing?

Bottom Line: Robert Dugoni writes a heck of a thriller, the kind of story involving long, potentially deadly chases where the hero must run for his life even though survival seems a long shot at best. But what Dugoni does better than most thriller writers, is create characters that the reader truly cares about because they become so easy to identify with. We learn about their spouses and children, their hopes and their fears…what makes them tick. And Dugoni does it for both the good guys and the bad guys. The world is not as black or white as we used to believe it was; it’s a hundred shades of grey, instead. There are good guys, and there are bad guys, on both sides. The beauty of The Silent Sisters is watching the good guys find,  recognize, and help each other. 

I recommend the Charles Jenkins trilogy to spy novel fans, and personally I’m happy to see that Dugoni has at least left the door cracked open enough to allow for the possibility of a fourth Jenkins book. So here’s hoping this is not the last time I’ll be reading about the man.
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The Charles Jenkins series is one of my favorites among the books of Robert Dugoni. This third (and final is my solid guess!) installation keeps up with the high pace set in the past two books. The CIA needs Jenkins' help once again to go back to Russia, from which he has only very narrowly escaped before, and get not one but two additional "sisters" - female sleeper agents high up in the Russian intelligence ranks - out and in safety as the Russian counterintelligence service is doing all it can to identify them.
As in his equally excellent series about police detective Tracy Crosswhite and trial lawyer David Sloane, Dugoni knows his way around plot development, falls leads, credible twists and turns etc. However, the mere notion of having an unusually tall African American as a covert asset in Russia is just pure nonsense and one that Dugoni's editors should have talked him out of already in book one. The problem probably was that Jenkins was an existing character from the David Sloane series, and therefore his characteristics were somewhat hard to change. My second objection to the work of Dugoni and the editors is that male Russians are given female Russian last names (e.g. -ova) and vice versa (-ov) - probably in order not wanting to confuse readers unfamiliar with Russian names. This is bordering the unprofessional and much beneath an excellent writer as Dugoni. In my reviews of the past two books in the series, I furthermore question Dugoni's insistence on writing transcribed Russian sentences with its English translation right after it. It adds absolutely no value to the story, and non-Russian speakers most likely think that it is annoying to read - hell, I know Russian and I think it is annoying to read.
Well, these editorial blunders aside, the book is a very exciting conclusion to the trilogy. Newcomers to the Charles Jenkins series should save this book for last as there are numerous references to the events of the first two book in the series and much needed background in those two books to get the full enjoyment out of this third book. 
Solid four stars!
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I have absolutely adored this Trilogy! Robert Dugoni is one of my favorite authors. He has a way of telling a story that is so immersive and engaging that you cannot put the book down once you start it... I am also a huge fan of classic Cold War spy novels, and really love the way he has taken that sensibility and brought it into the modern era. 

This was a fantastic way to wrap up the story of the Seven Sisters - and I love how his acknowledgments include an intimation that he might not be done with Charles Jenkins just yet... I for one hope he is not - he is a fantastic character and I would love to see his Adventures continue!
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Loved this third book in the trilogy!  WOW!  Could not put it down.  Lots of action, some mystery, and many connecting stories. 
Charles Jenkins is called back to Russia to help the last two of the "Seven Sisters" to escape.  But, Charlie is on the kill list in Russia, and escaping is not going to be easy.  
Great story, love the characters, and the flow from one scene to the next.  Even if you haven't read the other two books, you will have no problem following along.
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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This is an espionage thriller which leaves the reader breathless. Robert Dugoni has sent Charlie Jenkins back to Russia in the third installment of the series. The plot centers around the last two (and silent) of the so-called seven sisters. These women were CIA operatives raised from childhood in Russia during the Cold War. Four of the women (now in their sixties) have already been uncovered, tortured and eliminated. Charlie, a CIA operative has already successfully exfiltrated one of the three remaining and is enjoying his quiet life on his farm in the Pacific Northwest. Despite being on a "kill list' in Russia, he is asked to exfiltrate the remaining two sisters who are now asking for help and no longer silent. Charlie accepts the job but finds it will be more complex and dangerous than anticipated. High echelon Russian bureaucrats, the Russian mafiya, double agents and local police officers stand in the way of Charlie successfully saving the two silent sisters. Robert Dugoni's research and writing skills provide a very satisfying conclusion to the Charlie Jenkins trilogy. And the best part is that you need not have read the books in order though you will want to go back and read the others in case you missed them!
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Robert Dugoni’s  “Silent Sisters”  takes us on a wild game of “Cat and Mouse” with Charles Jenkins, again(is this REALLY the end of the series?), as the CIA agent, on a mission in Russia, to extricate two female operatives, Russians who had worked as spies for the US, since childhood.  The two women have gone “silent” and it is unclear if they have “turned”, or are in trouble. Jenkins is sent in to discover the their whereabouts. 

Jenkins, in his first few days back in Russia, mistakenly leaves his fingerprint on a beer bottle in a seedy watering hole,  where a prominent member of the Russian mafia ended up dead.  Already hunted by the FSB, as a result of his last advenure in Russia, Jenkins finds himself as the prey of the Mafia family’s Matriarch,  as well.   Added to the mix is a detective on the verge of retirement, tunnels beneath the streets of Moscow, a Trans Siberian adventure, more than a few “villains”, and a pinch of romance, and, of course, plenty of subterfuge. This brings us to what Dugoni does best…keeps us on our toes! You cannot help but love Jenkins, who is conflicted with “the thrill of the hunt” and the ache to return to his young, growing family as he realizes the physical, and emotional, toll his career takes on his life. Please, don’t let this be the last of Charles Jenkins…maybe he just needs a new “venue”!
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In this third installment to author Robert Dugoni’s Charles Jenkins spy thriller trilogy, the reader is transported back to Russia where our favorite “former” CIA agent is tasked with the extraction of the final two of the “seven sisters.” As the story begins to unfold, it comes as no surprise that Jenkins finds himself—yet again—entangled in a complicated and potentially deadly situation from which he’s hard-pressed to escape. And along the way, readers are taken on one hell-uv-an exhilarating, suspenseful ride in this page-turner of a story! While “The Silent Sisters” is the final book in the Charles Jenkins series, I suspect this will not be the last we see of him! At least, that is my hope!!
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I am thriller and mystery nerd and this book was a ride , this is the first I have read by this author but it good the least to say , yes there were certain parts that bored me or maybe I didn't really pay attention but anyway it is a book any person who loves thriller should read
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I've read many books by Robert Dugoni and have enjoyed them all. I've read all of the "sisters" books. This one, like all of them was easy to read and fast paced. Good characters and pacing. I highly recommend this book.
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This is my favorite series. Charles Jenkins is a semi-retired CIA operative, semi being the key word.  There appears to be another assignment that only he can carry out.

Dugoni's writing is always intelligent and thoughtful, his characters always three-dimensional.  A nail bitter of a mystery set in Russia that could very well be a Bond thriller.

Thanks to #NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for an advance readers copy.
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This is the third book of a series, but the first I have read. I will quickly correct that and read the others. It is a typical spy v spy book with the Russian mafia thrown in,  it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. 

It starts with a prologue that is actually events that happen at the end of the book. So you know the hero gets badly beaten and is on the verge of being killed, but not why. 

The characters, especially Maria and Arkhip were especially enjoyable.
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The final(?) book in the Charles Jenkins series has Jenkins once again going to Russia for the Sisters.

The last two Sisters - sleeper agents for the American CIA - have gone radio silent. Jenkins is once again recruited to head to Russia. The mission this time: get the two remaining women exfiltrated and back to the US.

I've mentioned in previous reviews my major issue with this series. It's just fantastically difficult for me to see an over six foot tall, over 200 pound, black spy in Russia able to move around as he was, in a country that is predominantly white. That is (partially) solved, at least at the beginning here, by Jenkins assuming a disguise that involves making him white: mask on the face, long gloves on the hands, and so on. He also enters the country under an assumed ID of a British textile salesman (and hilariously, gets asked by a guard to give the uniform manufacturers something breathable, like cotton, as Moscow is in the throes of a late heat wave).

Jenkins checks in at an out of the way hotel, then goes to a really out of the way dive of a bar, where he does something monumentally stupid: he involves himself in the business of two locals and a woman who is obviously a prostitute. In the alley, he steps in when one of the guys is about to sexually assault the woman. One of the men accidentally shoots the other dead, then runs away, and the prostitute asks Jenkins, "What have you done?"

Good question. As it turns out,the dead guy is the son of the woman who runs one of the most powerful organized crime families in Moscow. Jenkins realizes he's left a fingerprint behind at the scene.

So now, Jenkins has the mob boss, a cop on the verge of retirement (who is a widower with a perfect record of closing cases, of course), and the head of a division who is looking for a promotion on his tail. But not, amazingly, the FSB, who has a kill order for Jenkins. It would be inconvenient for all these other parties if Jenkins was knocked off.

He manages to get away fro his hotel before anyone comes looking, and gets the first Sister passed on to the person who will then pass her on to another person, etc., until she's out of the country. There's very little about her, as the other Sister - Maria, assistant to the head of the division - is the more interesting one.

Quite a good chunk of the middle is taken up by narrative from Maria's POV, and it is absolutely fantastic. It's the best part of the entire book, in my opinion.

Eventually, Jenkins and Maria are on the run - there's an assassin working to eliminate her and capture him, the mob family, the cop, our old friend Federov who used to be FSB, and a heroin dealer whose nickname is The Fly involved and a nice comeuppance at the end for a particularly slimy party.

Overall: a solid four out of five stars, and a good closing to the series. Maybe. Dugoni puts in the afterward that he's heading to Egypt, so who knows what the future holds for Jenkins. I sense Jenkins might fit in a little better there, but still, 6'+ and 200+ pounds? I suppose we'll see.

Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the reading copy.
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