Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
Published 4 June 2013 Simon & Schuster
Red Sparrow is Jason Matthews' debut novel - and it is brilliant! I instantly wanted to read it all over again the second I finished it. It is a USA-v-Russia spy thriller. A fast paced, adrenaline building, edge-of-your-seat read. I LOVED it!
I've never read a book like it and I wouldn't have picked it up from a bookshelf so have discovered a fabulous new genre to read.
CIA operative Nate Nash is undercover in Moscow. He is young, eager to get on and handling one of the CIA's prize double agents - MARBLE.
Dominika Ergorov, former prima ballerina, is a fledgling of spy school and sparrow school as so doubly dangerous. What no-one knows is that she can see the colours of emotions in people - a triple threat. It is Dominika's task to honeytrap the American Nash and discover the identity of the double-agent traitor. So begins a cat and mouse chase. Who will uncover the other's secrets first?
I am not sure if it is usual for spy thrillers to have strong female leads - perhaps more recently due to the Larsson effect. However, I feel Dominika is a great character. Hard, unflinching, sultry, lonely - she's wonderful.
Red Sparrow being a Russian spy thriller contains much Russian language and culture which added to the authenticity and therefore my enjoyment of the book. The character traits were also fascinating and from my experience accurate - well done Mr. Matthews.
A fun aside to this thriller is that it contains recipes - yes, that's right - the recipe for something the characters eat appears at the end of each chapter and as I read I found myself guessing what it would be. I plan to try several of the recipes...delicious!
Red Sparrow is a real page turner - a fabulous debut from Jason Matthews, an ex CIA operative. His knowledge and experience gives the novel an honesty and depth that I'd imagine would be difficult to achieve unless you've been there.
I would recommend Red Sparrow to everyone. Its not typical male adventure thriller genre so ladies, do not be put off, but its publishing date does make it a great Father's Day gift.
I will be looking out for more Jason Matthews books in the future.
A huge thankyou to @Dark_pages for the ARC.