The Night Agent by Matthew Quirk | Book Review

To find a Russian mole in the White House, an FBI agent must question everything. . . and trust no one

To save America from a catastrophic betrayal, an idealistic young FBI agent must stop a Russian mole in the White House in this exhilarating political thriller reminiscent of the early novels of John Grisham and David Baldacci.

No one was more surprised than FBI Agent Peter Sutherland when he’s tapped to work in the White House Situation Room. From his earliest days as a surveillance specialist, Peter has scrupulously done everything by the book, hoping his record will help him escape the taint of his past. When Peter was a boy, his father, a section chief in FBI counterintelligence, was suspected of selling secrets to the Russians—a catastrophic breach that had cost him his career, his reputation, and eventually his life.

Peter knows intimately how one broken rule can cost lives. Nowhere is he more vigilant than in this room, the sanctum of America’s secrets. Staffing the night action desk, his job is monitoring an emergency line for a call that has not—and might never—come.

Until tonight.

At 1:05 a.m. the phone rings. A terrified young woman named Rose tells Peter that her aunt and uncle have just been murdered and that the killer is still in the house with her. Before their deaths, they gave her this phone number with urgent instructions: “Tell them OSPREY was right. It’s happening. . . “

The call thrusts Peter into the heart of a conspiracy years in the making, involving a Russian mole at the highest levels of the government. Anyone in the White House could be the traitor. Anyone could be corrupted. To save the nation, Peter must take the rules into his own hands and do the right thing, no matter the cost. He plunges into a desperate hunt for the traitor—a treacherous odyssey that pits him and Rose against some of Russia’s most skilled and ruthless operatives and the full force of the FBI itself.

Peter knows that the wider a secret is broadcast, the more dangerous it gets for the people at the center. With the fate of the country on the line, he and Rose must evade seasoned assassins and maneuver past jolting betrayals to find the shocking truth—and stop the threat from inside before it’s too late.

How was it?

This book sounds run-of-the-mill, and in some ways it is, but it’s an enthralling thriller. It gets your mind working as you understand and root for the main characters.

FBI Agent Peter Sutherland might have the most boring – but kind of important – job in the white house. He’s a glorified receptionist, who’s clearly overqualified but diligently waits for this phone to ring before transferring the said call to the important people. He doesn’t see much action, and there’s a bit of frustration about it that is felt by him and us readers on his behalf. The author does an excellent job of defining Peter, his past, and how it shaped him. He’s a believable and genuine character that’s easy to relate to, who has limited but useful skills that he knows how to wield to figure out what’s going on since he had Rose Larkin calling the emergency line he’s manning.

The overall story has familiar beats, but interesting characters and situations to make up for it. It’s good and entertaining and somewhat subverts expectations but it might be a bit too long. Actually, it’s more of a ramble, with some internal monologues when you want the characters to get moving, so it feels a bit slow at times. Yet no words are wasted, and there’s no filler that I could spot, it’s more a sign of my impatience. There’s enough action and suspense to make both Peter and the people against him look competent. I really appreciated that Rose, like Peter, was trying her best, not just relying on him, or there to forcibly have some romance in the book.

I liked The Night Agent a lot, it’s captivating with a good conspiracy and grounded characters. It’s a good one.

The trailer for the upcoming adaptation is here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Night Agent is available on The Book Depository and other book retailers near you.

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