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Aug 29, 2011

A Spy At Home

Posted by Wendy Ewurum  |  at  10:27 PM

Author:       Joseph Rinaldo

Series:      N/A
Genre:      Spy Novel
Publisher: N/A 

A CIA operative has had it with his job. He is not proud of his the parts he plays in inducing revolutions in African countries and facilitating the funding of such operations,  supporting whichever side favours his country’s goal in that activity. In his last operation he stashes away 9.5 million US dollars through untraceable accounts for his retirement.
From his journal, written before his death we read accounts of his life covering both his past in the CIA and his personal life as he settles into life as a civilian and fraudster who ends up raising his handicapped son alone.

  • Garrison is the protagonist and retired CIA operative
  • Louise is his wife 
  • Noah is the adopted son with Down Syndrome and subsequently Alzheimer’s. 
  • Arnold is Noah’s best friend with the same disease
  • Clement is Garrison’s former boss.

  • I found this book to be very well written. I cannot emphasize that enough. There is great flow and ease as you go through it. The dialogue between the characters is reflective of real life and because it is written almost as a memoir, one tends to forget that it is fiction. So well developed are the characters and the plot.
  • I liked the element of adding a couple with a child that has to deal with a disease that causes permanent mental and physical disability. The amount of detail with which it is covered is just enough to leave you well informed without being tiresome or overwhelming.
  • As a result of having been away for most of his life, Garrison had relationship with his wife that on the surface looked and felt great but underneath I felt  given the chance it could be tumultuous.  I was really pleased with the way the author described the couple’s marriage through the husband mostly but also though his interaction with his wife. After so many years away from his home it felt as if he was getting to know his family for the first time and I really felt sorry for him going through this stage only to have it cut short (I won’t go into how as I would be spoiling it for you).
  • The question that haunts him constantly in his later life is whether it was really worthwhile giving up his family for his country.  This inspires one to think of those we know who give up their "ordinary" lives for our freedom and security.  Is this what goes through their minds? The loneliness, self doubt, feeling cheated of their loved ones? Not comfortable ideas to ponder but it does give insight into the minds of those in our protagonist’s line of work.

  • Joseph has great suspense building technique but I felt it never followed through into noteworthy events. I found that with every scene where suspense was built, the actual event it was leading to turned out to be something small and almost insignificant (or perhaps the word is ordinary).  The end although bittersweet and disturbing for me didn't live up to the level of suspense that is built from beginning to end, especially with the intelligence activities that are forever present in the background. Had it been "sold" to me as a fictional memoir rather than the suspense/thriller spy novel it comes across as, I think my expectations would have been met. As it was I kept expecting something to happen.
  • Editorial inaccuracies: I am very hesitant to highlight these because they are so small but I promise to look out for them in my policy so here goes. I mentioned earlier that this was an incredibly well written story and it is, the only improvement needed is in areas where the singular needs to be made into a plural with an “S” (example: transition/s). Out of about 7 errors, 6 of them were of this nature. Grammatically the novel is on point throughout.


I feel that the title, the introduction of the theft theme and the CIA which never left the scene even after retirement had me expecting a lot more suspense and thrills of the chase but it turned out to be a story of a troubled man trying to do write by his family. I am torn between really liking the protagonist because I appreciate what he goes through and my unmet expectations. So I am in the middle on this one.

About the Author

Most know me as the author to Fabulosity Reads and in actual fact, that is the previous name of this blog. I have since then moved my books to a Wordpress self-hosted blog so that I can have a place to show a different side of me which I am equally passionate about and that is marketing and personal development. I hope you will love being here, watching me grow as I share and learn. My highest hope is that we will grown and learn together in all disciplines affecting our lives. I'd LUUURRRVE to hear from you, so don't be shy...


  1. I understand how a not-so-effective follow though on delivery when you build suspense can disappoint a reader.

  2. Thanks for coming by J.L, good to see ya.


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