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Review: The Helsinki Affair by Anna Pitoniak

Title: The Helsinki Affair

Author: Anna Pitoniak
Year published: 2012
Category: Adult fiction (thriller)
Pages: 368 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)Italy, UK, Russia, Finland, USA (VA)

SummarySPYING IS THE FAMILY BUSINESS. Amanda Cole is a brilliant young CIA officer following in the footsteps of her father, who was a spy during the Cold War. It takes grit to succeed in this male-dominated world—but one hot summer day, when a Russian defector walks into her post, Amanda is given the ultimate chance to prove herself.

The defector warns of the imminent assassination of a US senator. Though Amanda takes the warning seriously, her superiors don’t. Twenty-four hours later, the senator is dead. And the assassination is just the beginning.

Corporate blackmail, covert manipulation, corrupt oligarchs: the Kremlin has found a dangerous new way to wage war. Teaming up with Kath Frost, a fearless older woman and legendary spy, Amanda races from Rome to London, from St. Petersburg to Helsinki, unraveling the international conspiracy. But as she gets closer and closer to the truth, a central question haunts her: Why was her father’s name written down in the senator’s notes? What does Charlie Cole really know about the Kremlin plot?

Review: This Book of the Month novel hit the spot. It is fast moving and pulled me in from the start. I don't often read spy novels so this was a nice change. However, I will confess that I think I prefer spy stories on TV and in the movies.

Amanda and Charlie are both good characters. I cared about their plot lines, their interactions with secondary characters, and how things turned out for them. And, like most good spy stories, the ending isn't really an ending, but a drift into a continuing life of double agents, enemies, etc.

Reading books like this always makes me think what a terrible spy I would be. I hate the idea of never trusting those I am with, not being my authentic self, and knowing that danger lurks at every turn. I guess that's why books like this appeal to people: it's so different from our regular lives.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Literary Escapes--Finland

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