When the word “spy” is used in popular culture, it conjures up images of James Bond and ice-cold assassins. The reality is that the majority of modern intelligence work is done in an office cubicle.
Hasler, with 20 plus years of experience in the CIA, mines that untapped area with a very funny book that is half “The Office” and half your typical terrorist thriller. The book, which only explicitly refers to the CIA in its subtitle, shows Hasler’s great ear for the absurdities that accumulate when a variety of people who otherwise would never talk to each other are forced to work together. Although the office politics are straight out of a sitcom, the terrorist threat that they are dealing with is real and the stakes feel high. No guns are fired or cars chased but as you become invested in the characters Hasler manages to make a senate committee meeting feel just as exciting.
There haven’t been a tremendous amount of humorous spy novels, but if Hasler is looking to corner the market, this is a great start. Anyone who has worked in an office can relate to bosses that don’t understand, workers that don’t want to work together, and wading through a bureaucracy in place just to make things more difficult. The truly chilling thought is that the people charged with keeping the nation safe must deal with that AND the politics of who ever is in charge of the White House as well.
Last Words: Although there are an abundance of goofy characters and wild situations, this feels like the most truthful spy novel I’ve read about the modern era of intelligence gathering.