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Taut, tense and tantalising, Need To Know is an extremely impressive debut thriller from Karen Cleveland. Mixing international intrigue with domestic drama it is deftly paced and interspersed with clever plot twists. It actually wasn't quite the book I imagined. Cleveland is an ex-CIA analyst and mother writing about a CIA analyst who is also a mother . . . I had imagined that the selling point would be that it would contain significant CIA procedural detail. Instead Cleveland has demonstrated a true writer's craft and the story is insightful without being in any way overburdened by procedural or technical detail. Her knowledge is used to provide authenticity but is never allowed to cloud the plot or get in the way of her well formed characters.
To add to that the narration by Mia Barron, who is also someone new to me, is excellent. She brings the lead Vivian to life, carries the narrative and is not at all phased by a varied cast of supporting characters. Mixing these ingredients together delivers an extremely smooth and tasty dish of a thriller.
So a new author and a new narrator I'll be looking out for more from!
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A woman with the intuition of a telepathic psychoanalyst and a perfect memory for past events has her brain scrambled by repeated doses of pregnancy hormones and never makes a sensible decision again.