Need to Know

Need to Know

by Karen Cleveland


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • FINALIST FOR THE ITW THRILLER AWARD • Perfect husband. Perfect father. Perfect liar?

“Terrific.”—John Grisham
“Superb.”—Lee Child
“Breathtaking, heart-pounding.”—Louise Penny
“A fast-paced, relentlessly gripping read.”—Chris Pavone

Vivian Miller. High-powered CIA analyst, happily married to a man she adores, mother of four beautiful children. Until the moment she makes a shocking discovery that makes her question everything she believes.
She thought she knew her husband inside and out. But now she wonders if it was all a lie. How far will she go to learn the truth?  And does she really . . . 

Film rights sold to Universal Pictures for Charlize Theron • Rights sold in more than 20 markets

“Shaping up to be one of the year’s biggest new thrillers.”Entertainment Weekly
“So timely . . . Think of the perfect mix of Homeland and The Americans. . . . Need to Know needs to be read by all who relish spy novels. As entertaining as it is informative and as irresistible as it is impossible to put down.”Providence Journal
“Pulse-pounding.”O: The Oprah Magazine
“Accomplished . . . a nonstop thriller tapping into a hot mix of contemporary digital counterintelligence, old-school spying and ageless family drama.”Shelf Awareness

“An early contender for next year’s Gone Girl.”GQ (UK)
“The Russia page-turner that should be on everyone’s list.”New York Post

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524797027
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/23/2018
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,241,803
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Karen Cleveland is a former CIA analyst. She has master’s degrees from Trinity College Dublin (international peace studies) and Harvard University (public policy). Cleveland lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two young sons. This is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt

Two Days Earlier

Excerpted from "Need to Know"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Karen Cleveland.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

1. The title of the novel points to Vivian’s pursuit of the truth and her drive to determine what matters most to her. Ultimately, what are the things Vivian needs to know about her career and about her marriage?

2. Did you believe Matt when he assured Vivian that his intentions were pure? Were you suspicious of him at any point in the novel? Why?

3. Early in the novel, Vivian is asked to make a decision that pits her loyalty to her country against her loyalty to her family. Does she end up choosing between them, or does she manage to reconcile the two? What would you have done in her shoes?

4. On page 147, Vivian describes the day Luke almost got hit by a car. She instinctively screamed when she saw the car nearly run Luke over, while Matt remained silent. What is the purpose of this scene? What do the parents’ differing reactions reflect about their personalities?

5. Vivian tampers with confidential CIA files and programs multiple times throughout the novel. Were the things she did unethical or justified? Did she jeopardize the nation’s security?

6. Vivian and Matt both serve their respective countries, albeit in different ways. How do their national alliances affect their lives? Do their allegiances change over the course of the novel?

7. Vivian wants to provide the best life possible for her children, and she will do anything to protect them. But if Vivian had not had children to consider, do you think she would have made the same choices?

8. Do the events of the novel irreversibly change Vivian and Matt’s relationship?

9. Karen Cleveland was a CIA analyst herself. Think about the scenes where Vivian is inside the CIA headquarters—what details interested or surprised you? Did you feel you had an inside perspective into the processes of the CIA?

10. What do you know about sleeper cells in the United States? Do you feel they’re a serious threat the public should worry about?

11. Interspersed in the narrative are flashbacks to milestones in Vivian and Matt’s relationship. Did you like these scenes? What did they add to the story—or did they detract from it?

12. On page 267, Vivian says, “They get you where you’re most vulnerable.…With us, it was our family.” Where would you be the “most vulnerable”? Why?

13. Discuss the ambivalence Vivian feels about returning to the CIA after having a year off with her family. Why do you think Vivian decides to go back to work at the end of the novel?

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