Review: Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

Jason Matthews writes with such authority about the CIA that I kept thinking as I read this book — he’s either got a great imagination, or he was a player. It turns out to be the latter. A retired CIA officer, he has written Red Sparrow as the first of a trilogy.

If I could sum up my thoughts on completing it, I’d have to say this: I can’t wait to start reading the second volume.

There are things I could have done without, such as the recipes that end each chapter (and the constant references to food in the text that seem to be placed there as an excuse for the recipes that follow) and the over-use of Russian phrases.

That having been said, the book is wonderfully plotted, full of suspense, with memorable characters (most notably Dominika Egorova), violent and sexy and unputdownable.

Matthews is a thriller writer of the first order, as good as le Carré and better than Fleming. Yes, that good.