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Olivia Bahou
Jan 23, 2018 @ 11:00 am
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You need to know about Need to Know, one of the buzziest new books of 2018, whose manuscript set off a publishing house bidding war—and you better not sleep on this rec because it will be flying into theaters before you have time to update your Kindle. The spy thriller, written by Karen Cleveland, hits shelves today, and it’s already in the works to become a major motion picture, with Charlize Theron at the helm as both star and producer.

Need to Know centers on Vivian Miller, a CIA analyst who's on a mission to identify deep-cover Russian agents when she makes a major discovery that threatens the security of everyone she loves. As she debates whether to take a risk and report what she saw, she questions her allegiance—both to her country and to her marriage.

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With Russian meddling making actual headlines, the book feels particularly relevant. But political satire it is not; instead, it provides an escape into a world that feels somehow both familiar and completely out of reach. The plot is fantastical, and utterly ridiculous—until it shocks you awake with the twist you thought you understood but never saw coming.

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The author, Karen Cleveland, was herself a CIA analyst for eight years, so the descriptions of Vivian’s job are sprinkled with realistic details but coupled with a dark fantasy that only a former CIA agent could dream up.

After Random House's Ballantine Books nabbed the rights to Need to Know, Hollywood quickly responded, and the motion picture is now being developed by Universal Pictures. Charlize Theron will produce the film and star as Vivian.

There’s no word yet on when the film will hit theaters, but it’s safe to say you’ll have just enough time to run to your nearest bookstore (or Amazon.com) and devour the read cover to cover before you see it on the big screen.

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