I just finished Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. I’m not sure where I heard about Red Sparrow. Possibly from Brad Feld?

After a little bit of a slow start, I really enjoyed it. The last half of the book is extremely hard to put down. I’ve long been a fan of spy thrillers, and Red Sparrow delivers this well. I especially liked how Jason Matthews brought the US-Russia relationship up to date, and was able to deliver a plausible cold-war style thriller in a very modern politically current story.

A lot of the technology was really interesting as well: the tracking dust to determine which Russians had come in contact with CIA agents was brilliant. I have to assume this really exists.

There’s some head-hopping that goes on, which is a style of writing that’s largely fallen out of favor. It took a little while to adjust to switching the point-of-view character midway through a scene, but Matthews handles switches reasonably well, and by the time I was a third of the way into the book, it was mostly invisible to me.

This is the first book in a series, and although I’m often reluctant to recommend a book when the whole series isn’t out yet, in this case I think Red Sparrow is enjoyable enough on its own.