The Spy's Son

  • by Bryan Denson
  • Narrated by Jason Culp
  • 12 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist Bryan Denson tells the riveting story of the Nicholsons - father and son coconspirators who deceived their country by selling national secrets to Russia.
Jim Nicholson was one of the CIA's top veteran case officers. By day he taught spycraft at the CIA's clandestine training center, The Farm. By night,he was a minivan-driving single father racing home to have dinner with his kids. But Nicholson led a double life. For more than two years, he had met covertly with agents of Russia's foreign intelligence service and turned over troves of classified documents. In 1997 Nicholson became the highest-ranking CIA officer ever convicted of espionage. But his duplicity didn't stop there.
While behind the bars of a federal prison, the former mole systematically groomed the one person he trusted most to serve as his stand-in: his youngest son, Nathan. When asked to smuggle messages out of prison to Russian contacts, Nathan saw an opportunity to be heroic and to make his father proud.


What the Critics Say

"A haunting book as fast paced and as exciting as the best spy novel...and it’s all true." (Robert Lindsey, author of The Falcon and the Snowman)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


This book reads more like a spy novel than a non-fiction book. It grabbed my attention right off and held it throughout the book.

In June 1997 Judge James Cacheris sentenced Harold James Nicholson, the highest ranking CIA officer ever convicted of espionage to 23 years in prison. He was placed in a federal prison in Oregon where his family lived. He was arrested and convicted while in prison, again for espionage for running his own son. He had another eight years added to his sentence.

Nicholson had recruited his youngest son Nathan to carry messages to his Russian contact and bring home the money they paid him. Bryan Denson is a reporter with The Oregonian newspaper. He drew upon FBI reports, court documents, military records, personal correspondence and hundreds of hours of interviews (with Nathan) for this award winning book.

The book is full of fascinating details of the clock and dagger techniques of the KGB and CIA operatives, double agents and spy catchers. The author tells the story of the Nicholson family and what happened to it when betrayed by the father.

I found this a most interesting story. Jason Culp does an excellent job narrating the book.
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- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."

No words to adequately express...

Having been a fan and addictive reader of espionage fiction, mostly historical, this Pulitzer Prize level of journalism and literature, and all that it represents, has been a non-stop listen for me. The only thing that would improve the level of this experience for me would be to have a special review level that exceeds 5 stars in every category!
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- J. Lindsey "In Anchorage AK since 2007. Found audio books in 1996. I remember the huge boxes of cassettes in the mail! Sometimes w/a faulty cassette!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-05-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios