Cover Image: The Silent Sisters

The Silent Sisters

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Wow this fast paced book just sucks the reader into the story from the get go and then it is off and running flipping pages to just further engross yourself in to the plot.  This is the 3rd in the Charles Jenkins series although it can be a stand alone book but warning once you read it the reader will seek out the rest of the series.  The silent sisters are Russian women who have dedicated their lives to passing on secrets to the U.S. After two of them have not been heard from for an unrealistic length of time, Charles Jenkins is dispatched to Russia to find out what happened to the women and, if possible, bring them to America in order for them to begin a safe new life. Charles is on a death list in Russia and will be in grave danger while there. And then the action heats up. This is a well-paced cat-and-mouse thriller. What I found especially fascinating are the varied Russian settings. The characters are convincingly well-drawn and the plot moves at a break-neck pace. It keeps the reader on the edge of their seat until the conclusion. 

Thank you to the author, Thomas and Mercer, and Netgalley for providing me with a digital ARC.
Was this review helpful?
In the third book of Robert Dugoni's Charles Jenkins series, Russia is on a witch hunt for the remaining "sisters" who were raised from birth to spy on Russia. It's up to Charles Jenkins to make contact and coordinate the extraction of the two remaining sisters. However, there is a kill order for Jenkins in Russia. He has narrowly escaped during his last two trips to Russia. Can he rescue the two women and safely return home himself?

I listened to the first book in the series when it was offered through Amazon Prime Reading. I enjoyed it but didn't love it. It was a so-so book for me and I didn't even notice when book 2 came out in 2020. Book 3 caught my attention before I realized it was part of the series. I'm so glad I picked it up.

My complaint about book 1 was that there wasn't much tension, even in scenes that should have been tension-filled. Perhaps that was just an issue of an author finding the right tone for a new book as The Silent Sisters has plenty of tension. As it is the third book and I wasn't sure if this series was meant to be a trilogy or not, the prologue has you wondering if this is the end for Charles Jenkins. I don't always care for prologues, but this one really set the tone for the whole novel.

This book can be read on its own. It has been a few years since I read book 1 and I remembered very little about it. Pretty much the only thing I did remember was that it was about women spying on Russia - kind of a reverse of the television show The Americans. I totally enjoyed this book and now I want to read book 2 to find out what he was doing in Russian then.

If you love spy novels, then you definitely need to check out this book.

My review will be published at Girl Who Reads on Wednesday - https://www.girl-who-reads.com/2022/09/the-silent-sisters-by-robert-dugoni.html
Was this review helpful?
In this third book in the series, Charles Jenkins returns illegally to Russia to free the final two sisters who are have been deep undercover for decades.  While this is a series, the book could be read alone without reading the other two.  If you have read the prior ones, it will only make this read more interesting as Dugoni’s characterization of Russia and the characters in the book make you wanting more.  The plot is filled with action and espionage and will hook you in so you don’t put the book down until you finish reading it.  I highly recommend this book and the author.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book! I enjoyed reading about the characters and the subject matter. I definitely plan to read more books by this author!
Was this review helpful?
The following review appears in multiple newspapers including The Cullman Times, The News Aegis and The News Courier in Alabama; and the Mountain Times news group centered on Boone, N.C. URL for Cullman attached: https://www.cullmantimes.com/opinion/columns/books-in-review-15-picks-to-pack-your-beach-bag/article_31c49918-092e-11ed-a76b-6b9ca34d423b.html

International Standard Book Numbers, or ISBNs — those ubiquitous barcodes responsible for making books one of the earliest online commodities (and gifting Amazon an auspicious beginning) — are also useful in quantifying how many books a particular country the publishing world releases each year.

Recent statistics indicate that that number was nearly 3.5 million in the United States alone, and about 3.3 million more than its nearest competitor, the United Kingdom, which issued less than 200,000 ISBNs during a comparable time frame.

However you page through that data, that’s a lot of books — and enough that you might have missed some of the best from the past few months.

From Alabamian nonfiction to North Carolinian poetry; from thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy and old-fashioned storytelling, the following is a curated and publication-dated list of 15 books — including a notable work of poetry from the High Country — that might have missed your literary calendar. Now, as we move into high summer, it’s worth noting that any of these would be a welcome addition to your beach bag — ISBN, sand and all, which is timely, since a few have a next installment blooming this season, or as soon as fireplace weather begins to kick in.

‘When Light Waits For Us’ (Main Street Rag Publishing Company) by Hilda Downer, $14, softcover, 69 pages, May 6, 2021

Hilda Downer, a member of the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative, completed her master’s work at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., and earned a MFA in poetry from Vermont College — all factors she weaves into deeply interior vignettes in “When Light Waits For Us.”

Like the best poetry, those scraps of life speak to each of us as individuals. “I know what it is / about the rain’s hard knuckles on the roof / before leaking down the chalky wall / that chills me more / than the risk of hypothermia: / It is the poverty of childhood,” she writes in “The Scamp.”

Accessible and touching, “When Light Waits For Us” began as a collaborative effort with a photographer — a relationship that fell into free verse. The aftermath, this solitary release, is better for that experience.

‘Miss Molly’s Final Mission,’ by Rick DeStefanis, $23.95, hardcover, 234 pages, Aug. 24, 2021

The subtitle of Rick DeStefanis’ most recent novel might read, “A Vietnam War veteran flies into Central American Revolution and finds love in the jungle” — and that puts it squarely in the writer's wheelhouse.

The author of three series — The Rawlins Trilogy, Southern Fiction Series and The Vietnam War Series — DeStefanis is a gifted storyteller who offers here a standalone military adventure, even as long-time readers will be rewarded with some familiar characters, such as Buddy Rider from the “Valley of the Purple Hearts.”

As always, the story is heavy on adventure and light on romance, as in this book, with echoes of DeStefanis’ “The Birdhouse Man.” As in that novel, Buddy is a lone Vietnam veteran and pilot who is pulled into a mercy mission to help save several Maryknoll Sister missionaries embroiled in revolution-torn El Salvador in the 1980s.

Meticulous research and credibility are hallmarks of "Miss Molly," and the author’s Vietnam series overall. A satisfying novel based on a war that reverberates through America today.

'Gated Prey (Eve Ronin Book 3)' (Thomas & Mercer) by Lee Goldberg, $9.99, paperback, 267 pages, Oct. 26, 2021

Lee Goldberg’s third Eve Ronin book almost didn’t make this list — but only because the fourth installment in the series, “Movie Land,” was recently released. Goldberg is a gifted television writer who knows how to keep the pages turning in his novels, and turn out bestsellers, which he does to myriad acclaims in his Eve Ronin series.

Ronin is a Los Angeles County sheriff’s detective who, in this third edition, is embroiled in high-dollar thefts and murder in gated communities with a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit hanging over her.

True to form, Goldberg neatly ties up multitudinous loose ends before setting up the next in the series. “Gated Prey” works as a series starter, but if you begin here, the recommendation is that you consume one and two before four. Continuity really isn’t the concern — Goldberg is fluent enough to drop enough details to make each a standalone — but series readers are rewarded with subtle Easter eggs as one novel builds into the next. "Movieland (Eve Ronin Book 4)," continues the suspense with a series of sniper attacks in California that echo real-life events from the past.

‘The Dangers of an Ordinary Night,’ (Crooked Lane Books) by Lynne Reeves, $17.49, hardcover, 288 pages, Nov. 9, 2021

Dark secrets propel the mystery of two 17-year-olds kidnapped and left to die. When one of the teens is found, dazed and disoriented, the story moves into a web of truth, half-truths and buried pasts that threaten family members and a detective scouring for clues in an affluent community. Personal redemption by that detective is possible, and needed on personally visceral levels, but only if all is revealed before the denouement.

Cinematic in scope, Reeves notes that “The Dangers of an Ordinary Night” is my love letter to the theater … (with a) setting central to both the way the story is conceived and in the dramatic themes the novel explores.” Those dramatic themes? Mental illness and addiction top the list — two dangers found in an “ordinary night.”

A self-assured novel, Reeves, a veteran school and family counselor, builds relationship upon relationship with a deft touch in constructing characters and story that will linger after the last page.

The author's next novel, “Dark Rivers to Cross” (Crooked Lane), is an origin story involving a mother and her two sheltered sons — and the past family connections she has sought to erase. “Dark Rivers” is scheduled to release Nov. 8, in plenty of time to first safeguard a bit of reading time for “Dangers.”

‘The Dark Hours: (A Renee Ballard and Harry Bosch novel, 4),’ (Little, Brown and Company) by Michael Connelly, $29, hardcover, 400 pages, Nov. 9, 2021

Another in a series on this list with a next installment in the works (“Desert Star,” Nov. 8), Connelly’s Ballard series are books that could be consumed alone, but most savored when read in order for the nuances of character development the author so ably constructs. Unlike his Bosch series, which runs now to more than two dozen books, now is a good time to get on the four-book and counting Ballard-Bosch bandwagon.

In “The Dark Hours,’ Connelly neatly twines a single bullet from a New Year’s Eve shooting-death case of LAPD Detective Ballard’s with an ancient case of Detective Harry Bosch’s. Tying in a pair of serial rapists, the Midnight Men, the story moves quickly toward plot connections only a master such as Connelly could devise. Set in near-real time, the global pandemic has altered the makeup and resources of the department, leaving Ballard and Bosch to recognize that the only way to solve both crimes is by again joining forces.

‘The Becoming: The Dragon Heart Legacy (Book 2)’ (St. Martins Press) by Nora Roberts, $28.99, hardcover, 448 pages, Nov. 23, 2021

After eons, the worlds of man and magic have been split and divided, but some, including Breen Siobhan Kelly, can move between both. Reading the second offering in Nora Roberts’ fantasy series, “The Becoming: The Dragon Heart Legacy,” gives you just enough time to get caught up on the series (“The Choice: The Dragon Heart Legacy,” book three is due Nov. 22), and if you do, you’ll find why November’s cliff-hanger resolution (the publisher isn’t quiet about labeling the series both fantasy and suspense) is so highly anticipated.

Perhaps more known for her romance novels — Roberts has published more than 220 of those — the author’s talents for fantasy are well-recognized and deservedly earned with the Dragon Heart series, a world-building series destined for the big screen.

‘Struggles of the Soul: Where to Now, Lord?’ (Legaia Books) by Hollis Arban, $7.95, paperback, 181 pages, Jan. 11, 2022

This touching, coming-of-age story, ‘Struggles of the Soul,’ by Hollis Arban, formerly of Athens in North Alabama, will appeal to teens — especially as the author adds a note of realism by inserting himself both into the story as the middle-aged Hal, and into the lives of a young family he befriends during a friendly game in the park.

As Hal’s life is revealed through stories, meals and outings, bonds deepen, boys learn to become men and a special young girl learns the value of friendship. Written from personal experiences, this short novel takes us to simpler times when learned life lessons lasted a lifetime.

And also on the subject of those simpler times, look also for Arban’s most recent book, “Short Stories for my Students” ($9.95, paperback, 175 pages, July 15, 2022). Written with middle- and high schoolers in mind, the 10 stories in this volume similarly come from the experience and imagination of earlier times — such as the story told to the author by his father, narrating the tale of a panther roaming the family’s Alabama farm in the early 1900s.

‘The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections’ (Poisoned Pen Press) by Eva Jurczyk, $26.99, hardcover, 336 pages, Jan. 25, 2022

An accomplished debut, “The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections” by Eva Jurczyk takes us with an expert’s pen into the world of rare books in a large university. Part mystery — and, as the title promises, one which centers on an irreplaceable ancient tome — and part relationship storytelling, the tale of a priceless book and the curator who’s told to keep the theft quiet is much more than it appears on the surface.

Look beyond the cover, Jurczyk tells us, and we’ll find the substance of a woman struggling to move past the shadows of the powerful men who loom over her. A heartbreaking twist infiltrates this story in a novel that teaches us about the transformational power of books in our lives.

‘The Silent Sisters’ (Charles Jenkins Book 3)' (Thomas & Mercer) by Robert Dugoni, $24.95, hardcover, 400 pages, Feb. 22, 2022

Those who have read Robert Dugoni’s past books would purchase anything, sight unseen, with the author’s name on it. Were he to publish his grocery list we’d still press “buy” because readers know even that would be laced with suspense and story.

And so we come to the third book in Dugoni’s Charles Jenkins series — a story we desperately need today.

Set in Russia, Jenkins is a master spy who thinks he’s done with his craft until the final two of seven sleeping American assets, women under decades of deep cover and dubbed “the sisters,” drop all communications from their contacts.

By this point in the series (preceded by “The Eighth Sister” and “The Last Agent"), Jenkins is on a Russian kill list, leaving him what he believes no moral option other than infiltrating the country in disguise — made harder since Jenkins is a Black man in a sea of white — to either save the Russian counter spies or determine if they’ve been turned against America as double agents.

Layering Russian organized crime into the story, Dugoni weaves a Russian spy story where, beyond all odds, the underdogs might just have a chance to win. Begin with the first two books in the series to capture shades of story, or dive into No. 3 for a solid summer read.

‘Girl In Ice’ (Gallery/Scout) by Erica Ferencik, $27.99, hardcover, 304 pages, March 1, 2022

A most strange novel, the setting of Erica Ferencik’s “Girl In Ice,” the Arctic Circle, is beautifully drawn and rendered, painting with words what is perhaps the most rural and inhospitable place in the world — making it, of course, the idea setting for a thriller that is at once both physical and psychological.

Linguist Valerie Chesterfield is trained in dead languages, which is fortunate as she travels to a remote science station off the barren coast of Greenland in search for answers to what appeared to be her scientist twin brother’s suicide. At the station, the discovery of a young girl frozen in both ice and time — the reason why the small team there wanted Valerie to join them — is a seemingly medical impossibility: the girl has been unfrozen, thawed out alive and speaks a language no one understands. Strange indeed, but as Valerie gets closer to comprehending the language of the girl, in addition to unraveling the circumstances behind her brother’s death, the ending comes with answers that are just as unexpected.

Ferencik works hard to put a lot of moving pieces together in this novel, but too hard in places. There’s an awful lot going on in terms of text and subtext and those, mixed with the austere climate, at times trip over one another. Still, the author earns high points for crafting a credible world inside an incredible story. You won’t soon read another book such as this.

‘The New Neighbor’ (Poisoned Pen Press) by Carter Wilson, $16.99, paperback, 400 pages, April 12, 2022

Carter Wilson writes tough, muscular novels and his particular brand of psychological thrillers grab you by the throat from page 1. To wit, the opening of his latest, “The New Neighbor”:

“I thought I couldn’t handle another minute in the funeral home, but this church is worse.

“My wife doesn’t belong here.

“Thirty-four years old and and the count stops there. Her biological clock runs backward now, ticking decomposition. ...

“‘Daddy, your tie,’ … Maggie points at my neck, her fierce, blue eyes gift-wrapped with streaks of red. Easy to tell when she’s been crying.”

Tough indeed. And it gets worse, much worse, way before the story even hints at getting better.

On the day of his wife’s funeral, Aidan Marlowe learns he’s holding the winning Powerball numbers — he’s superstitious to a fault and his same weekly numbers are on autoplay — manufacturing phenomenal wealth and unbearable loss at the same time.

But while the loss is inconsolable, the wealth can buy Marlowe and his two children a fresh start, which they do by purchasing a mansion in Bury, N.H. (a crossover town from Wilson’s “The Dead Husband” in this standalone story).

Because he’s won in one of the few states that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, Marlowe is hoping for a complete, fresh start. And this he has — until mysterious notes appear, letting him know that someone is watching his family, very, very carefully.

Building toward a denouement that is both solid and satisfying, “The New Neighbor” constructs collective consciousness fears made fresh under Wilson’s pen. The author has eight standalone thrillers in his canon to date, with each one a worthy successor.

’Strangers We Know’ (Thomas & Mercer) by Elle Marr, $15.95, paperback, 283 pages, May 1, 2022

Suspense and thrills in one package, Elle Marr’s “Strangers We Know” offers a fresh approach to the “FBI needs my help in tracking down a serial killer” motif.

Ivy Hon was adopted as an infant and so knows little of her family history. When a mysterious illness necessitates a genetic test, the results are unexpected. According the her DNA, she’s related to the Full Moon Killer, a serial murderer who has been stalking the Pacific Northwest for decades.

A fast, engaging read with well-drawn characters and credible story, Marr is showing herself to be a true working author, offering here a strong complement to her previous offerings, “Lies We Bury” (April 2021) and “The Missing Sister” (April 2020).

‘Our Little World’ (Dutton) by Karen Winn, $26, hardcover, 352 pages, May 3, 2022

Karen Winn’s “Our Little World” is poised to be the sleeper hit novel of 2022. To date, the attention it’s earned — despite strong critical reviews — pales with the depth of emotion and gravitas of the story.

Bee Kocsis has come of age. Encapsulating the story that is to unfold, she says as much in the first pages of this masterfully precise debut — a remembrance tale of two sisters growing up in Hammond, N.J., on the cusp of first love, loss and depths of turmoil that belie their young ages.

The remembrance year is 1985 and Bee’s sister, Audrina, is alive. It’s no secret that Audrina is dead when the novel opens — “My sister isn’t the only dead girl I’ve known, and not the first either,” Bee tells us — but it is a poignant set-up for secrets to come and the soul-crushing actions that will define not only the sisters, their friends and their families, but a community.

Bee and Audrina live in the type of upper middle-class block where moms take turns on summer days carpooling and chaperoning the neighborhood children from one activity to another. At Deer Chase Lake on one such outing, Sally, the preschool sister of a young, teen friend, Max, goes missing. Max unfairly takes responsibility after a community search proves futile, and so sets up one of the prominent parallels throughout the novel. Max’s misguided ownership of his sister’s disappearance will echo the responsibility Bee will ultimately feel for Audrina — although the sisters’ narrative is much more complicated.

Winn chronicles well the growing distance between the siblings even as Bee longs for a deeper relationship with the younger, but more socially adept Audrina: “Our fights were Cold War epic. When she hugged me, it was a Supreme Court ruling. We were hot and cold, and both at once. Sin and virtue, virtue and sin. An entire world occurred within our small, confined existence. Sisters were we.”

What comes of this wonderfully drawn period piece is this: the most self-assured kids can be the most self-tortured, teenage angst is not the sole privilege of teens and secrets will eventually out.

“Our Little World” is an encompassing look at small town American, circa mid-1980s, when the world felt different because it was. With a technological revolution still on the horizon — the first commercial mobile phone had launched two years earlier, but the iPhone and social media were a brief generation away — the pure unconnectedness of society parallels the impending unconnectedness of family relationships. Winn captures this beautifully.

‘The Local: A legal thriller’ (Doubleday) by Joey Hartstone, $28, hardcover, 320 pages, June 14, 2022

Joey Hartstone is a gifted screen- and television writer (“LBJ,” “Shock and Awe,” “The Good Fight,” “Your Honor”) and offers in “The Local” a fast-paced, well-executed legal thriller on par with anyone writing such fare today (looking at you, John Grisham).

James Euchre is a patent lawyer living in patent lawyer Mecca, the town of Marshall, Texas, when a beloved mentor and judge is murdered. The person accused of the crime turns out to be the man Euchre is already representing in a patent lawsuit. That the client is wealthy and arrogant adds to building a deep internal conflict over Euchre’s defense of a man who could be the killer of a man he considered a father. Second chances factor deeply into this narrative, but Hartstone tangles those well with grief and addiction before unraveling the final mystery.

‘The Force of Such Beauty’ (Dutton) by Barbara Borland, $27, hardcover, 383 pages, July 19, 2022

Barbara Borland has been more than once in serious contention for major writing awards — an Edgar best novel finalist, a peer contest, among those — and her most recent novel, “The Force of Such Beauty,” is a case in point. Her third novel, a “phantasmagorical fable of love and marriage,” tells the story of Caroline, a princess who longs to break the confines of royal isolation — and attempts to do so, more than once.

Turning upside down the typical girl-prince dichotomy, Caroline is certainly no passive princess in this thriller masquerading none-to-subtly as a deep introspective on our notions of privilege, station, womanhood and marriage. The messages are not lost, but enhanced in this haunting, smart satire.

Tom Mayer can be reached at tmayer@cullmantimes.com.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review "The Silent Sisters", the third book in the "Seven Sisters" trilogy to feature Charles Jenkins, a most unlikely agent for the CIA to send into Russia - being over six feet tall and a Black man! But send him, they do, as it's time to get the final 'Sisters' out after some of the others had been betrayed and executed.
This book takes place not long after the events in "The Last Agent", and Jenkins is sent back to bring out the two remaining "Sisters", but his first night in Moscow finds him in trouble as he is the witness to a Mafyia murder, and inadvertently gives away his identity.
Thus begins the ultimate cat-and-mouse game as Jenkins must a) rescue one of the "Sisters", b) avoid one of the most ruthless men in the ruling party and c) not get himself killed by a vengeful "Catherine The Great", whose son was the man Charlie witnessed the murder of.
This one has all the necessary elements that make up a good spy-versus-spy thriller: the hero who must rescue the damsel in distress; the beautiful woman who has spent decades spying on her government; the ruthless FSB assassin, etc.
This is a fitting end to the trilogy, and highly recommended - after you've read the other two.
Was this review helpful?
The Silent Sisters continues Robert Dugoni's tradition of rock solid thrillers.   Charles Jenkins is back, and tasked once again with saving the sisters who have worked so tirelessly to help the United States.   He flies to Russia with one goal in mind, and as usual, things don't quite go as planned.

There are many parts to this book, and it moves seamlessly between the different characters and situations, tying them together in a way that makes great sense at the end.   Familiar characters return, along with some new faces.

I love Robert Dugoni's novels, and this is one of his best yet.  I can't wait to read the next Charles Jenkins installment!

All opinions are my own.  Thank you to #NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Great international spy thriller.  As usual, Robert Dugoni delivers a face-paced, easy to read adventure.
Was this review helpful?
This book was so good! I want to see more from this author in the future!! I couldn't put this book down. What a page turner!!!
Was this review helpful?
An intriguing, plot driven work. With the background of the characters, the plot does not seem implausible, which is frequently a weakness of many suspense books.  Looking forward to more books in this series as well as by this author
Was this review helpful?
Loved this book. Robert Dugoni has become one of my favorite writers. The Silent Sisters is a solid spy novel reminiscent of the Cold War. Charles Jenkins is an engaging protagonist. Love his back story and spy craft. This is particularly relevant in today’s world in which Putin engages in actual and psychological warfare. Now, I must read the first two books of the trilogy.
Was this review helpful?
I have enjoyed this series from the beginning and this third book was as nail-bitingly good as the rest. Being in that age range myself, I liked seeing a sexy, strong, and smart female main character. The good guys won, the bad guys got their just desserts and the author left the ending open for further adventures.
Was this review helpful?
To say that I love this character-centered series by Robert Dugoni would probably be an understatement. I was obsessed with finding out about Charles Jenkins and how he is going to get in and out of Russia not once, but three times! This was a well-thought-out series that paints a story of brave and tenacious women, the strong bond of friendship, and the knight that is Charles Jenkins. My only complaint would have to be the inaccurate translations of some of the Russian phrases written in the book. If Robert ever writes about sneaking in and out of Russia again, I would be happy to help him with translation (I know... I know... Only in my dreams).
Was this review helpful?
I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley for review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Absolute rocket ride of a thriller. I had not read the previous two books in the series. I would suggest that the reader do so for background but it didn't detract from the gripping plot development and story telling! This was my first of what I hope to be many from this writer.
Was this review helpful?
Published by Thomas & Mercer on February 22, 2022

The Silent Sisters is the third novel to feature Charles Jenkins, a retired CIA agent who returned to the agency to carry out a mission in Russia. The novels are all premised on a traitor’s betrayal of seven women in Russia who have served as spies for America. The traitor made Russia aware of their existence but not of each woman’s identity. When Russia discovers their identities, the women die. Jenkins has been tasked with rescuing the survivors before Russia can identify them.

As a tall black man, Jenkins is far from inconspicuous when he enters Russia. Since he was exposed as a CIA agent in the first novel, his ability to pull off a rescue in the second novel strained credibility. In The Silent Sisters, the CIA has given Jenkins a disguise kit that lets him pass as a shorter white man, among other costume changes. That all seems a bit Mission: Impossible, but I willingly suspended by disbelief as the story moved forward. The Silent Sisters is easily the best of the three novels.

Jenkins’ mission is to rescue Maria Kulivoka, the last of the Seven Sisters who is still living in Russia. Maria works for a director of the FSB, Dmitry Sokalov, her unwitting source of classified information. Maria does sexual favors for Sokalov to stay in his good graces, including favors that disgust her. The favors combine with alcohol to make Sokalov forget that he’s revealing classified information. Maria is in a dangerous position not only because she is spying for America, but because Sokalov might be tempted to kill her to keep their affair from being known to his powerful father-in-law.

Early in the story, Jenkins goes into a Russian bar for a beer and a meal. He intervenes when a thug beats a prostitute. Events lead to the thug getting shot, although not by Jenkins. The thug turns out to be the son of a crime boss, making Jenkins marked for death by Putin (thanks to his successful missions in earlier novels) and by a criminal organization.

The shooting is investigated by Arkhip Mishkin, an honest and sympathetic character who is approaching retirement. Mishkin doesn’t want to leave a case unsolved before he retires. To that end, he also wants to find Jenkins, if only to ask him for his version of the thug’s killing.

Strong women had played a significant role in this series. Their strength is fueled by their will to survive. Spies who betray their countries risk daily exposure, so it isn’t surprising that Maria is tough. She achieves that toughness by bottling up the rage she feels toward Sokalov and her disgust with herself. As a crime boss who ascended to the throne when her father was murdered, Yekaterina Velikaya must also play a role to survive. Neither woman can allow her true personality to emerge, if one even exists at this point. Maria nevertheless softens a bit during a long train ride toward potential freedom, when she has long platonic chats with a man that show her a side of life she has been missing.

As always, the plot moves quickly and generates reasonable suspense. Jenkins is your basic aging spy who would rather be bonding with his kids than doing his patriotic duty in Russia. Maria and Mishkin and even Yakaterina are more complex characters. They give the story its heart, elevating The Silent Sisters above a standard action novel.

RECOMMENDED
Was this review helpful?
This title is acceptable in most respects. It is part of a series. But honestly, I started why this protagonist keeps heading back into trouble. I am buying his reasoning anymore.
Was this review helpful?
The Silent Sisters

by Robert Dugoni 

Spy thrillers are not my go-to genre, but I read The Last Agent, the second book in the Charles Jenkins Series, thinking it was a standalone. I was hooked. I returned to read the third in the series, The Silent Sisters, when it was published recently. Both were page turners. 

Charles Jenkins, the protagonist, is a semi-retired spy with quite the reputation in Russia where The Silent Sisters takes place. It is Putin’s Russia so the book brings together some of recent Russian history with current events. Moscow is covered with cameras as Jenkins goes in to rescue the two remaining deep undercover plants known as the Seven Sisters. Before he begins his mission, he works with specialists in disguise techniques at Langley because, as a large Black man on Russia’s top 10 kill list, he is easy to spot, especially given their expertise in facial recognition technology. His perhaps fatal error is trying to help an abused stranger in a seedy bar on his first night there. His principled act begins a manhunt by the police, the Russian spy agencies, and the mafia.

At home in Washington state, he has left a wife who formerly worked for the CIA, two children, and a retirement he hasn’t really gotten to enjoy yet. Thoughts of his family keep him going when things get brutal.

Descriptions of the physical settings and the atmosphere of suspense and tension are achieved with excellence. The reader is immersed in each setting from the Trans-Siberian train making its way to freedom to the offices where directors of intelligence agencies compete for power and for their lives. Each setting has its own gripping tenor.

Author Robert Dugoni is a master at keeping all the balls in the air until it is time to draw things to a conclusion. Then he works the circumstances to arrive at a satisfactory ending that is hopeful, but realistic.

I believe this set of books was originally conceived as a trilogy. The author hints in the Acknowledgments that his upcoming trip to Egypt could be the impetus for more adventures featuring Charles Jenkins. I hope so!

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Thomas & Mercer for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thriller

Notes: 1. #3 in the Charles Jenkins Series, but could be read as a standalone.
	  2. There is some Russian included for atmosphere, but unless the meaning is  obvious, it is seamlessly translated for the reader in the text.
	  3. There is a small amount of swearing, including one word in Russian.
	  4. It is a spy novel involving Russian agents and the Russian mafia so you can expect some torture, but the descriptions are not detailed or extensive.

Publication:  February 22, 2022—Thomas & Mercer

Memorable Lines:
The pain shattered his skin like splinters of broken glass passing through his body.

She’d learned long ago, when her father had died, that vengeance did not bring satisfaction. It didn’t even temper the pain of death. It would not temper the pain of Eldar’s death. It only let others know that killings would come at a heavy cost. Retribution. An eye for an eye.

When you can have everything, you appreciate nothing.
Was this review helpful?
Another fantastic addition to the Charles Jenkins series full of all the fun, espionage action we have come to love from Dugoni!

After his last mission where he barely escaped Russia alive, Charles Jenkins thinks he can finally settle down with his family and put the spy game behind him. When the final two of the seven sisters, assets who have been deep undercover, have cut off communication and Charles is tasked with finding out if they have been turned, or in hiding. A job that becomes harder as he has been placed on the Russian kill list. Immediately after he arrives, his plans fall apart when he gets involved in the death of the son of one of Russia’s most powerful crime leaders. Now, he must watch every move he makes even more carefully and try to accomplish his assignment without getting caught and killed. All he wants is to make it back home to his family in one piece before his luck runs out.

Every time I pick up a new Robert Dugoni book, I know I am going to be in for a fantastic read. The Charles Jenkins books would normally not be ones I pick up being set in Russia, not what pulls me in usually, but when Robert Dugoni writes it all bets are off and I’m in for the duration of the story. Charles is a character that is full of strength, determination, and will to live and return to his family. He is written in a way that readers will be able to relate to him and want to cheer him on to achieve his mission and return to his family. Each character in this book has a place and purpose; even with several different storylines and many characters it was easy to follow with Dugoni’s smooth writing. 

The world of espionage is fun to read about with different settings and people the characters encounter, but it can also be confusing depending on how well it is written. If you pick up a Robert Dugoni novel, doesn’t matter if it is one of the Charles Jenkins novels or one of his Tracy Crosswhite novels, you know you are going to be in for a story that is well written with characters that will pull you in and keep you intrigued by what they are going through and sucked into a really great story. There are some mature themes throughout this book, but it is written so well it never bothered me or took away from the story. I recommend this to those that enjoy thrillers and mysteries, but you will need to have read the first two in the series to get the most out of this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Dugoni never disappoints.

If he writes it, I am going to read it.

Charlie Jenkins has been called upon once again when an American sleeper cell in Russia goes silent, it is his job to go in and find them. But first, there is that opening scene in the prologue! Holy Moly! I mean, come on, that was brutal and instantly had me sitting up a little straighter in my chair, eyes glued to the pages, pulse pounding, and heart thumping in my chest.

Just when Jenkins thought he was done and could relax with his family at their farm, the CIA comes knocking. Assumed identity in place, Jenkins goes to Russia where he gets caught up in some nastiness at a bar that ends with the death of the only son of a powerful organized crime leader. Because when Charlie does danger - he goes all in! But this time he may have stepped in the you-know-what a little too much.

I really think you need to read the first two books in this series prior to reading this one. They really set the stage and readers will not feel as if they are missing out on information. Plus, the previous books are amazing so why not, go back and read them.

Fans of spy books, espionage books will not be disappointed. Plus, Charlie Jenkins is a very likeable main character who is no spring chicken. Nope, he wants to retire. But he is just so good at his job, the CIA keeps calling. Plus, there are other characters who are in their 60's. It was refreshing to read a book where most of the characters are middle age or above.


As with all his books, The Silent Sisters was well written and kept me on my toes. There is action, there is danger, there is retribution, there is intrigue, and there are complications. You will like some characters, dislike some characters, be amused by some characters, and shake your head at others.

If you have not read Dugoni, what are you waiting for????? He has so many amazing books, you may have difficulty choosing what to read first!


Dugoni once again explains in his author's note about spending 3 weeks in Russia and how that inspired this series.


Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Exceptional cold war espionage thriller with superb characters. This was a great read, and the best of the trilogy. Dugoni is such a great storyteller and hopefully there will be more Charles Jenkins books in the future. 

Thanks to the author, Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for this advanced copy.
Was this review helpful?