Who is Vera Kelly?

Rosalie Knecht

Book - 2018

"New York City, 1962. Vera Kelly is struggling to make rent and blend into the underground gay scene in Greenwich Village. She's working night shifts at a radio station when her quick wits, sharp tongue, and technical skills get her noticed by a recruiter for the CIA. Next thing she knows she's in Argentina, tasked with wiretapping a congressman and infiltrating a group of student activists in Buenos Aires. As Vera becomes more and more enmeshed with the young radicals, the fragil...e local government begins to split at the seams. When a betrayal leaves her stranded in the wake of a coup, Vera learns the Cold War makes for strange and unexpected bedfellows, and she's forced to take extreme measures to save herself. An exhilarating page turner and perceptive coming-of-age story, Who Is Vera Kelly? is a novel that introduces an original, wry and whip-smart female spy for the twenty-first century"--

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FICTION/Knecht Rosalie
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Knecht Rosalie Due Oct 14, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Adventure fiction
Spy stories
Historical fiction
Novels
Action and adventure fiction
Spy fiction
Published
Portland, Oregon : Tin House Books 2018.
Edition
First U.S. edition
Language
English
Physical Description
266 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781947793019
1947793012
Main Author
Rosalie Knecht (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Who is Vera Kelly? A 25-year-old CIA spy living in Buenos Aires, that's who. It's 1966, and, at first, there is nothing terribly exciting about her covert-ops work—until Argentina is riven by a coup, and she finds herself in terrible danger and desperate to get out of the country. In the meantime, the story has moved backward in time to 1957, when Vera is a teenager who has been declared incorrigible by the court and remanded to the Maryland Youth Center. After time served, she finishes high school and moves to New York. It is there that she is recruited to work for the CIA. The story continues to move back and forth in time, filling in Vera's backstory and her present life in Buenos Aires, where she masquerades as a college student, meeting two classmates who she thinks might be KGB agents. But are they? It's a tangled, atmospheric story that gradually builds suspense to a satisfyingly surprising denouement. Spy-fiction fans will want to take note. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Knecht's solid second novel (following The Relief Map) opens in 1966, when 25-year-old Vera Kelly is sent to Buenos Aires by the CIA to infiltrate a rumored KGB cell, gladly leaving behind her life in New York. Ever since a falling-out with her abusive mother as a teenager, Vera's life consists of her work at a radio station and her occasional discreet trips to underground lesbian bars in Greenwich Village. But in Buenos Aires, Vera learns to lead a spy's double life. Vera's observations of the politically charged city are straightforward and sharp: "Bars where students liked to go were nearly empty. Plainclothes police lounged conspicuously in the windows." As Vera consorts undercover with the radical students assumed to be in touch with the Soviets, a military coup and a personal betrayal threaten her work, leaving her with the new task of trying to make it out of Argentina alive. While Vera is a charming narrator, especially among the ranks of spy thriller leads, her work among the radicals is never as gripping as it should be, nor are the flashbacks following her trajectory from reckless teenager to CIA operative. Still, with some suspension of disbelief, this is a promising subversion of the classic espionage novel, one which would lend itself well to a sequel or series to come. (June) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

After being recruited by the CIA to work undercover in Argentina, radio host Vera Kelly becomes close to a group of student activists, but, after a betrayal, she is left stranded and must take extreme measures to escape.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Navigating the underground gay scene of 1962 Greenwich Village, quick-witted Vera Kelly is recruited for the CIA and infiltrates a group of student activists in Buenos Aires before a coup leaves her stranded in hostile territory. Original.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"New York City, 1962. Vera Kelly is struggling to make rent and blend into the underground gay scene in Greenwich Village. She's working night shifts at a radio station when her quick wits, sharp tongue, and technical skills get her noticed by a recruiter for the CIA. Next thing she knows she's in Argentina, tasked with wiretapping a congressman and infiltrating a group of student activists in Buenos Aires. As Vera becomes more and more enmeshed with the young radicals, the fragile local government begins to split at the seams. When a betrayal leaves her stranded in the wake of a coup, Vera learns the Cold War makes for strange and unexpected bedfellows, and she's forced to take extreme measures to save herself. An exhilarating page turner and perceptivecoming-of-age story, Who Is Vera Kelly? is a novel that introduces an original, wry and whip-smart female spy for the twenty-first century"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

"Gripping, subtle, magnificently written." —The New York Times Book Review"A delectable page-turner . . . Vera Kelly introduces a fascinating new spy to literature’s mystery canon—one we hope sticks around long beyond this snappy, intimate debut." —Entertainment Weekly

Review by Publisher Summary 5

New York City, 1962. Vera Kelly is struggling to make rent and blend into the underground gay scene in Greenwich Village. She's working night shifts at a radio station when her quick wits, sharp tongue, and technical skills get her noticed by a recruiter for the CIA.Next thing she knows she's in Argentina, tasked with wiretapping a congressman and infiltrating a group of student activists in Buenos Aires. As Vera becomes more and more enmeshed with the young radicals, the fragile local government begins to split at the seams. When a betrayal leaves her stranded in the wake of a coup, Vera learns the Cold War makes for strange and unexpected bedfellows, and she's forced to take extreme measures to save herself.An exhilarating page-turner and perceptive coming-of-age story, Who Is Vera Kelly? introduces an original, wry, and whip-smart female spy for the twenty-first century.