The Helsinki Affair by Anna Pitoniak: A review

Okay, let me be honest here: It has been close to a month since I finished reading this book and so much has passed through my brain since then that I am struggling to remember the plot and characters. But at the time that I finished it, I gave it four stars so I know that I enjoyed it!

It's a spy novel as you might guess from the title and the cover. It features a CIA agent named Amanda Cole who is following in the footsteps of her father who was also a CIA agent. When we first meet her she is stationed in Rome and is pretty much bored out of her skull. Nothing's happening there to interest a CIA agent. Then, through the doors of the embassy walks a low-level Russian operative who is desperate to warn the Americans that a U.S. senator on a trip to Cairo is about to be assassinated.

Unfortunately, Amanda's superiors do not believe the Russian. They decide to take no action. But Amanda does believe him and so does a brash legendary spy named Kath. Amanda and Kath team up to try to get to the bottom of things.

They discover a complicated case involving foreign oligarchs, double agents, blackmailed CEOs, and illegal arms transfers. But most important to Amanda, she finds her deceased father's name in the notes that the senator had written before his death. What is the meaning of that?

There was quite a lot for me to like about this book, including the fact that it featured two really strong female characters. Moreover, the plot was a good one and the intersecting of the past and present timelines, on the whole, was handled well, I thought.

On the other hand, sometimes the plot bordered on the unbelievable, and the timelines jumped around unexpectedly, even within the same chapter. But when I'm enjoying a story, these trivialities don't bother me so much. And I did enjoy this one and would recommend it to anyone who, like me, enjoys spy novels.


  1. Glad to see you back in circulation, Dorothy.

    1. And it's good to be back in circulation, even if circulating slowly!

  2. I might be reading this one later this year ... and I'm wondering if the case with the Russian gets too convoluted to follow ... sometimes the unbelievability of plots can get to me. Still I have read and liked the author before.

    1. I had no problem following the plot and I'm sure you won't either.


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