The Washington Times reported last week that former CIA officer and thriller writer Jason Matthews died.
NEW YORK (AP) - Jason Matthews, an award-winning spy novelist who drew upon his long career in espionage and his admiration for John le Carre among others in crafting his popular “Red Sparrow” thrillers, has died at age 69.
Matthews died Wednesday from Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD), a rare, untreatable neurodegenerative disease, according to his publisher, Scribner.
“How a bestselling, critically-acclaimed spy novelist sprung from the head of a quiet CIA operations officer appeared to be a great mystery,” Colin Harrison, Matthews’ editor at Scribner, said in a statement. “But when you learned Jason Matthews spoke six languages, had read widely for decades, was an astute observer of human behavior, and was adept at composing long classified narratives, it all made sense. His books were not only sophisticated masterpieces of plot and spy craft, but investigations into human nature, especially desire in all its forms.”
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My friend Joseph C. Goulden, a veteran journalist and author, offered a good review of Jason Matthews’ The Kremlin’s Candidate for the Washington Times.
An ever-present nightmare for an intelligence agency is the prospect of an enemy officer winnowing his or her way into a position where he or she can endanger operations.
High-level traitors are not unknown in the trade. Consider the British officer Kim Philby who spied for the Soviets while working in counterintelligence for his country’s Secret Intelligence Service.
Author Jason Matthews posits an even more audacious penetration in his delightfully-readable novel in which Russia has positioned a candidate for the position of director of Central Intelligence.
Mr. Matthews writes with the insider-authenticity of an officer who served for 33 years in the CIA’s Operations Directorate, specializing in denied-area assignments.
“The Kremlin’s Candidate” is the third book in his Red Sparrow series, with carry-over characters, but nonetheless a stand-alone work. It reinforces Mr. Matthews‘ dominance as a writer of intelligence fiction.
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