Be­tween the Lines

Need to Know

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - CON­TENTS - BY DOUG GAL­LO­GLY Doug Gal­lo­gly lives in Fort My­ers with his wife, Jackie.

Vi­vian Miller is CIA an­a­lyst whose primary task is to locate Rus­sian sleeper agents. One fate­ful day, she gains ac­cess into one sus­pect’s com­puter and finds a file la­beled “Friends,” which con­tains five photographs. One of the photographs is of her hus­band. Need to Know, by Karen Cleve­land (Bal­lan­tine Books, 2018, $26), is the story of a woman whose love for her fam­ily leads her down a dan­ger­ous path.

She ex­pects de­nial or ex­cuses, but when Vi­vian Miller con­fronts her hus­band, Matt, with the pic­ture she found on the Rus­sian’s com­puter, he qui­etly ad­mits his guilt. The ram­i­fi­ca­tions are un­bear­able: Matt will be ar­rested, she will lose her job—and maybe be ar­rested—and their four chil­dren will be sucked into the foster care sys­tem. Pan­ick­ing, Vi­vian deletes the pic­ture and hopes it won’t be no­ticed.

Later, one of her co­work­ers tells her there are ru­mors of a mole in their depart­ment. Vi­vian tries to act nor­mal at work while des­per­ately search­ing for the truth about her hus­band, who lies so con­vinc­ingly that she’s forced to ques­tion everything. But she’s started down a shad­owed path and can’t turn back, even as Matt pres­sures her to com­mit trea­son to cover up his sta­tus and pro­tect their fam­ily. Can it get any worse? Yes.

Karen Cleve­land spent eight years as a CIA an­a­lyst, the last six in coun­tert­er­ror­ism. This ex­pe­ri­ence gives her a depth of knowl­edge that brings an aura of au­then­tic­ity to this story. As the reader fol­lows Vi­vian far­ther off the straight and nar­row, there ex­ists only the hope that she will find her way, some­how, to sur­vive the jour­ney. If you en­joy sus­pense that keeps you up past your bed­time, this book is for you!

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