Loose Lips: A Novel
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Loose Lips: A Novel

2.99 of 5 stars 2.99  ·  rating details  ·  235 ratings  ·  35 reviews
After sending her résumé to the CIA on a whim, New Yorker Selena Keller is contacted by an Agency recruiter, who asks her how she would feel about convincing another human being to commit treason. Despite her checkered past, Selena passes the background investigation and a battery of bizarre aptitude tests. Living under cover as a government budget analyst, she begins her...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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Flo
Claire Burlinski has written a clever story of a young woman who decides to join the CIA and the strange and at times weird training she undergoes after being accepted. But why such an intelligent woman would fall in love with a man who is obviously screwed up, I could not understand and one of the mysteries to be faced. There is another mystery which makes this a page turner, but what gave it 4 stars is the female protagonist's wonderful sense of humor. The reason I did not give it five stars?...more
Kirsten Van Ritzen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jen
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Tori
Jul 25, 2011 Tori added it
2003- This is a story about Selena Keller, who on a whim, decides to send her resume to the CIA. What follows is a battery of tests and then finally training, to become a spy. I'm not sure how much of the book is actually based on fact, but I found all Serena's training to be incredibly interesting. Besides being trained, we see Selena fall in love with Stan, another spy in training, or is he? About 75% of the book focused on Selena's job and the other 25% was on her personal life, so I found it...more
Gabby Hummel
I found this on a bookshelf at a house in the Cape I was vacationing in. For some reason, I decided to read it. It was a pretty mediocre book; not awful, but certainly not great.

The writing had it's funny moments and it was pretty suspenseful at times, but, overall, the writing was amateurish, the plot line boring and cliche, and the ending predictable. The ending was not happy, but it was not the good kind of sad that shows a good writer (i.e: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green), and, becaus...more
Sumos_Mom
This was all cutely wrapped up with brown paper and Valentine's stickers at my local public library for 'blind date with a book' month. A passable blind date. ;)
Patrick
This novel is skillfully written and sometimes funny but in the end -- and perhaps inevitably -- a downer. Berlinski is at least as smart and observant as her main character, Selena Keller, yet her snapshot of life as a CIA case officer-in-training suffers because CIA culture depends unapologetically on manipulation. People deliberately use each other. If you're okay with that (or, more charitably, realistic writing about that), you might like the novel more than I did.

In short, you have to be...more
Frederick Bingham
Selena Keller is a PhD sanskritist who decides to join the CIA. After going through a series of training exercises, she becomes a clandestine agent. However, her affair with another one of the agents leads her into trouble with the CIA's security bureaucracy. A light-hearted book that describes the CIA from the inside. The agency culture is portrayed as a soap opera crossed with a soviet-style bureaucracy. It is hard to tell how realistic a portrait it paints of the agency, but it rings pretty t...more
Knucklefish
An interesting look into the training of CIA officers. If all the things they had to go through are accurate, it sounds like one serious undertaking. Berlinski wrote about them in an amusing way due to the commentary of the main character Selena. I would almost say Selena was the weak link of the whole novel. She could be funny and endearingly honest, but she also had shades of selfishness and lack of integrity that made her harder to root for.
Erin
Hated it!!!! Completely unbelievable storyline. The descriptions of the CIA were good, but I hated the characters and the author herself is obviously dislikable from some of the things she had her characters think...for example, the white CIA worker who was aggravated at being passed over for promotion by unqualified affirmative action candidates. That's the reality, hon! It happens and people SHOULD be pissed off about it.
Scott E
Doesn't hold up in the long run. However, the details of the CIA training (which is a large portion of the book) are excellent and comlpetely absorbing. Haven't checked to see if this is the start of a series...which I think could easily be sustainable over a number of books. Not bad at all. Rating: 3.6 (but still can't round it up to a 4)
Nicky
An odd cross between Gossip Girl and Alias, this book makes CIA training camp seem like a high school prep school with the same kind of juvenile backstabbing and pranks. The plot - what there is of it - completely falls apart in the end, but it's an amusing ride if you skim with the proper discretion.
Shannon Rodriguez
This was such a terrible book, I had no interest except to learn more about Stan. I literally almost put this book down after a few pages, it got so boring so quickly.
Jillian
Mar 31, 2008 Jillian rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Chick-lit fans and people interested in the CIA
Hilarious, interesting, and one of my all time favorite books of all time. I even wrote the author to tell her how much I liked it, (something I've never done before or after), and she wrote me back the kindest, coolest email. This has to be one of my top 10 books of all time.
Julie
This book was mainly interested as an insight to what its like to go through training at the CIA. But it lacked a good plot, so if you're really that interested in the life of a case officer, don't wait your time on this particular work of fiction.
LouAnne Johnson
At first, I thought it was going to be light chick-lit, but it turned out to be well-written and engaging. Interesting story, interesting author. I predicted the ending because of heavy foreshadowing, but it was still a good read.
Craig
I have read dozens of spy novels by the usual suspects, mostly predictable rediculous nonsense with assassins and nazis and nazi assassins with the odd commie thrown in, but this is the most believable. Thanks Mischa!
J. J. Arias
Not quite what I was expecting, but a light, funny and enjoyable read nonetheless. This is not a serious spy novel. However, it does give some insight into what training for the CIA is like.
Magda Gregorski
Ok so I found this book in my building, someone threw it away and since the author has Polish last name, I figured I read it. I do not know about this one but I cont. to read it.
Erica
Jul 30, 2011 Erica added it
Not sure if the read was worth me tracking down a second copy after I managed to lose the first one, but I couldn't leave it at the point I was at...
Dee
Cute. One level above chick lit -- or at least a new twist. Lots of info. about becoming a CIA agent. Plot not really tied up at the end.
Jason
First novel I've read by a woman working for the CIA that actually made me think it was possible to work for the CIA. A funny and sad story.
Sue
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joni
Easy and fun book about the life and times of a girl who shouldn't have been working for the CIA. Cute no-brainer book.
Carelyn
Kind of interesting because of the CIA plot but it was really hard to finish it cause it was plain and boring.....
Jessica
Mar 02, 2008 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: spy
Well-written and smart, and pleasingly ambiguous about spycraft, the subsequent paranoia, and the heroine's future.
VaughanPL
Click here to find it in the catalogue.
vida
Not as good as Lion Eyes and you don't need to read it first...pretty interesting details about the CIA
Paul Chandler
Great story, until the main character gives up CIA info for a possible relationship.
Jsharp
Book falls flat at the end, but it is fun to read about CIA training!
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CLAIRE BERLINSKI WAS born in 1968 in California, and grew up in New York, Seattle and California. She received her undergraduate degree in Modern History and her doctorate in International Relations from Balliol College at Oxford University. She has since lived and worked in Britain, Thailand, Laos, France, and Turkey as a journalist, academic, consultant and freelance writer.
More about Claire Berlinski...
There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters Lion Eyes: A Novel Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis Is America's, Too The Margaret Thatcher Interviews: Lord Powell of Bayswater The Margaret Thatcher Interviews: Baron Walker of Worcester

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