Author of the week
Trying to have it all is tricky—especially when you work for the CIA, said Mackenzie Dawson in the New York Post. Karen Cleveland, who has just published her first spy novel, remembers not being able to trust her luck when, just about the time she started working as an intelligence analyst for the agency, she found a man she could imagine settling down with. “When you work for the CIA, you hear a lot of things about the potential for foreign agents to get close to you,” she says. “At first, he seemed too good to be true.” Luckily, Cleveland wasn’t being set up. “My husband just is a great guy,” she says. But even after the couple married and began raising a family in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, she couldn’t forget how it had felt to worry about such a betrayal.
Cleveland’s novel, Need to Know, makes the nightmare real, said Sue Carter in the Toronto Star. The protagonist, a workaholic CIA analyst like Cleveland used to be, discovers by accident one day that her husband is a Russian agent, and then has to decide whether her loyalties lie with her country or the young family she has built. Charlize Theron optioned the film rights, no doubt attracted by the book’s hybrid of domestic drama and spy action thriller. Theron is slated to play Cleveland’s alter ego—but there’s no word yet on whether her character will eventually use a maternity leave from the CIA to write her first novel and change career paths. “I had gotten to the point that I just wanted a change,” Cleveland says. “It felt like a now-or-never moment.”