Hot Best Seller

The Handler

Availability: Ready to download

A disgraced former CIA operative must go back in the field with only his ex-wife as his handler in this electrifying thriller from a former intelligence officer. Meredith Morris-Dale is a CIA agent and a damn good one...even if this last mission did go terribly wrong. Now she has been summoned back to Langley where she expects to be fired. Instead, she is met by the Deputy A disgraced former CIA operative must go back in the field with only his ex-wife as his handler in this electrifying thriller from a former intelligence officer. Meredith Morris-Dale is a CIA agent and a damn good one...even if this last mission did go terribly wrong. Now she has been summoned back to Langley where she expects to be fired. Instead, she is met by the Deputy Director with stunning news. A single well-placed CIA mole in Iran's uranium enrichment program has kept the terrorist nation from building a bomb by sabotaging their centrifuge's performance. But after losing his daughter in an airliner shootdown, the mole wants out--leaving the world on the brink. His one demand: a reunion with the only handler he ever trusted, John Dale--Meredith's disgraced, fired, wayward ex-husband. As Meredith and John struggle through their fraught relationship, a craven CIA political hierarchy, Russian interference, and the rogue spy's manipulation, they must reach deep within their shared connection to maintain, recover, or kill the asset.


Compare

A disgraced former CIA operative must go back in the field with only his ex-wife as his handler in this electrifying thriller from a former intelligence officer. Meredith Morris-Dale is a CIA agent and a damn good one...even if this last mission did go terribly wrong. Now she has been summoned back to Langley where she expects to be fired. Instead, she is met by the Deputy A disgraced former CIA operative must go back in the field with only his ex-wife as his handler in this electrifying thriller from a former intelligence officer. Meredith Morris-Dale is a CIA agent and a damn good one...even if this last mission did go terribly wrong. Now she has been summoned back to Langley where she expects to be fired. Instead, she is met by the Deputy Director with stunning news. A single well-placed CIA mole in Iran's uranium enrichment program has kept the terrorist nation from building a bomb by sabotaging their centrifuge's performance. But after losing his daughter in an airliner shootdown, the mole wants out--leaving the world on the brink. His one demand: a reunion with the only handler he ever trusted, John Dale--Meredith's disgraced, fired, wayward ex-husband. As Meredith and John struggle through their fraught relationship, a craven CIA political hierarchy, Russian interference, and the rogue spy's manipulation, they must reach deep within their shared connection to maintain, recover, or kill the asset.

30 review for The Handler

  1. 5 out of 5

    PamG

    The Handler by M.P. Woodward is an exhilarating and suspenseful spy novel featuring Meredith Morris-Dale, a CIA case officer and John Dale, Meredith’s ex-husband and disgraced former CIA operative. A CIA mole in Iran’s uranium enrichment program wants out, but he demands that he will only work with John, the only handler he ever trusted. Will Meredith be able to convince John to take on the assignment, let alone successfully exfiltrate the mole? The multiple points of view are effective in gi The Handler by M.P. Woodward is an exhilarating and suspenseful spy novel featuring Meredith Morris-Dale, a CIA case officer and John Dale, Meredith’s ex-husband and disgraced former CIA operative. A CIA mole in Iran’s uranium enrichment program wants out, but he demands that he will only work with John, the only handler he ever trusted. Will Meredith be able to convince John to take on the assignment, let alone successfully exfiltrate the mole? The multiple points of view are effective in giving great perceptions of the other characters and their situations. Readers gradually gain knowledge of how each character connects to the story line and each other. This adds depth and complexity. While Meredith and John provide the main points of view, several antagonists and secondary characters are also featured. Several are flawed in some way, but that only made them feel more realistic. There is a handy character list at the beginning of the book. The premise of the story felt all too real to me, making it thought provoking and believable. From the shocking prologue to the tension-filled middle to the action-filled conclusion, this story captivated me. The author has created an adrenaline-fueled work of spy fiction with plenty of action and thrills. This well-written novel has an absorbing plot that builds suspense and is memorable. It features deception, trust, betrayal, deaths, and espionage. Blending these with political hierarchy within the CIA, and Iran’s military structure and Russian interference makes for a spellbinding tell. The author is an excellent storyteller who kept me on the edge of my seat and rapidly turning the pages. He balanced the suspense aspects of the novel against the intrigue and action scenes. There are plot twists that provide some startling moments in the story. The tradecraft felt authentic and this is likely due to the author’s intelligence background. The novel takes readers from Virginia to Iran to Iraq to Turkey to the United Arab Emirates. My one quibble was with the world-building, which didn’t give me a good feeling for the locations at times. Overall, this book was intense, fast-paced, action-oriented, and a powerful page-turner. This novel should delight those readers that enjoy spy thrillers that have strong male and female characters, intense fight scenes, and an absorbing plot. If you are looking for action, drama, and tension, this book will provide it. A few threads could provide story lines for future novels. This debut is excellent and I’m looking forward to reading more by this author. Berkley Publishing Group – Berkley and M.P. Woodward provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for May 31, 2022. This review was originally posted at Mystery and Suspense Magazine.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    This intricately plotted spy thriller will have you biting your nails and yelling at your book. So many times I wanted to warn the characters of impending catastrophes. Alas, they could not hear me. Meredith and her ex-husband, John, are paired up by the CIA for a mission that seems doomed from the start. Higher ups were ready to jump to a place of plausible deniability at the earliest sign of failure. Still, the two persist. It has been awhile since I read a good espionage novel and this one re This intricately plotted spy thriller will have you biting your nails and yelling at your book. So many times I wanted to warn the characters of impending catastrophes. Alas, they could not hear me. Meredith and her ex-husband, John, are paired up by the CIA for a mission that seems doomed from the start. Higher ups were ready to jump to a place of plausible deniability at the earliest sign of failure. Still, the two persist. It has been awhile since I read a good espionage novel and this one really fit the bill. I just have two minor quibbles: 1) The cover is hideous (in my opinion). It is not at all inviting to me. 2) I have hoped for more banter between John and Meredith. I expected more of a "Fox & O'Hare" setup. Perhaps there will be a sequel? Those are small issues and the book still gets high marks from me. It even includes a detailed cast of characters in front and an extensive Glossary in back. Perfect for fans of Daniel Silva and Brad Thor. Thank you to Berkley and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chris C - A Midlife Wife

    Great story. Tension filled but so many to keep track of made it tough. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I was ready for a new black ops book and this one fit the bill! Sometimes taking a chance on a new author can be a hit or a miss and this one is definitely a hit. The general twist in this novel is the ex-wife/ex-husband connection and it sets up the story perfectly. The characters have that innate knowledge about each other that really showcases the plot. Even their daughter has an interesting side role that i Great story. Tension filled but so many to keep track of made it tough. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I was ready for a new black ops book and this one fit the bill! Sometimes taking a chance on a new author can be a hit or a miss and this one is definitely a hit. The general twist in this novel is the ex-wife/ex-husband connection and it sets up the story perfectly. The characters have that innate knowledge about each other that really showcases the plot. Even their daughter has an interesting side role that is yet to be completely explored…maybe a future storyline to come. Woodward takes us around the world with suspenseful chases and twists that you don’t see coming. Interference from all sides keeps you guessing who can be trusted and the good vs evil theory is tested more than once. Due to Woodward’s past career, he is highly knowledgeable about this topic and the chosen locations of the plot which makes it tough to put this one down once you get going. I stumbled through a few spots where I kept losing track of who was who due to the high number of characters, but once I got them down, the story flowed smoothly at a fast pace. The story is unique, detailed, and highly descriptive. Woodward nailed the deep, twisted, tangled webs of mystery, suspense, and plot twists. Plus, the edge of your seat suspense-filled ending leaves you looking for more from this up-and-coming author of note. * copy received for review consideration * Full review - https://amidlifewife.com/the-handler-...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    The Handler, the debut from M.P. Woodward, is a work of art and probably in my top 10 best espionage thrillers I've read. I had a nice long review written but I deleted the text on accident like a dumdum. Regardless, I cannot recommend The Handler enough. Thanks to M.P. Woodward, the Berkeley Publishing Group and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of The Handler! The Handler, the debut from M.P. Woodward, is a work of art and probably in my top 10 best espionage thrillers I've read. I had a nice long review written but I deleted the text on accident like a dumdum. Regardless, I cannot recommend The Handler enough. Thanks to M.P. Woodward, the Berkeley Publishing Group and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of The Handler!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Don

    This is the best debut I've read in years! This is the best debut I've read in years!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Great Characters Propel the Narrative SUMMARY Meredith Morris-Dale is a CIA case officer who has been summoned back to Langley, where she expects to be fired. Instead, she is met by the Deputy Director with startling news. 

A CIA mole in Iran’s uranium enrichment program has kept that country from building a bomb by sabotaging their centrifuge equipment.  Now the situation is getting dangerous, and the mole wants out. The only person he trusts to pull him out is John Dale—Meredith’s disgraced and Great Characters Propel the Narrative SUMMARY Meredith Morris-Dale is a CIA case officer who has been summoned back to Langley, where she expects to be fired. Instead, she is met by the Deputy Director with startling news. 

A CIA mole in Iran’s uranium enrichment program has kept that country from building a bomb by sabotaging their centrifuge equipment.  Now the situation is getting dangerous, and the mole wants out. The only person he trusts to pull him out is John Dale—Meredith’s disgraced and fired CIA operative and ex-husband. Meredith and John must work together through their strained relationship, a dysfunctional CIA political hierarchy, and Russian interference to recover the mole. REVIEW THE HANDLER is a suspenseful and intriguing debut spy thriller. The story is complicated, dangerous and fast-moving. The writing is good and demonstrates the author’s knowledge of the intelligence community. While it’s a bit long and repetitive in places it is worth the read. Meredith and John’s characters were well-developed and they propel the narrative. The characters are full of angst, fear, and bravery. Author M.P. Woodward is a veteran of both US intelligence ops and the entertainment industry.  As a naval intelligence officer with the US Pacific Command, he scripted US war game exercises in the Middle East. In multiple deployments to the Persian Gulf and Far East, he worked alongside US Special Forces, CIA, and NSA. His knowledge come thru in this story. Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Publisher Berkley Published May 31, 2022 Review www.bluestockingreviews.com

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ross Sidor

    MP Woodward's debut novel is a breath of fresh air in the genre. American "spy novels" tend to focus more so on assassins, special ops, and action, but minimal spycraft. The Handler combines the trappings of an old school spy drama with the conventions of modern thriller writing, and should appeal equally to fans of "Damascus Station" or Mitch Rapp. It is a grounded spy story with a pair of strong protagonists, a realistic, intricately developed plot, and a couple of unique twists. There's plent MP Woodward's debut novel is a breath of fresh air in the genre. American "spy novels" tend to focus more so on assassins, special ops, and action, but minimal spycraft. The Handler combines the trappings of an old school spy drama with the conventions of modern thriller writing, and should appeal equally to fans of "Damascus Station" or Mitch Rapp. It is a grounded spy story with a pair of strong protagonists, a realistic, intricately developed plot, and a couple of unique twists. There's plenty of action and suspense, too, but those parts tend to be more brief and low-key affairs, often with John Dale relying more so on his wits, tradecraft, and quick thinking rather than out-shooting legions of enemy agents. The emphasis here is on espionage, the fate of a highly placed asset, and the tension between a former, disgraced CIA paramilitary officer who reluctantly comes out of exile and goes to work for his case officer ex-wife to bring out a defecting Iranian scientist. Pitted against them is a Russian team, and their leader is another stand-out character, intelligent and ruthless, with spetsnaz operators backing her up. Assuming this is the first in a new series, then it does an excellent job as serving as the introduction of the main characters, and the author perfectly handles the relationship between John and Meredith while giving both characters equal importance and page time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susan Amper

    In THE HANDLER, Meredith Morris-Dale is a CIA case officer who is being asked by the deputy director to get her disgraced ex-husband back into the fold so he can contact a CIA mole in Iran’s nuclear program. The mole will only talk to John Dale. Dale takes on the mission but refuses to remain within the confines of CIA sanctioned communication protocols. He goes dark and things get very dangerous in Iran for both Dale and the mole. There are a few too many places, people, and lettered agencies to In THE HANDLER, Meredith Morris-Dale is a CIA case officer who is being asked by the deputy director to get her disgraced ex-husband back into the fold so he can contact a CIA mole in Iran’s nuclear program. The mole will only talk to John Dale. Dale takes on the mission but refuses to remain within the confines of CIA sanctioned communication protocols. He goes dark and things get very dangerous in Iran for both Dale and the mole. There are a few too many places, people, and lettered agencies to keep track of, but thriller fans will enjoy it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* Publisher *Genre* Thriller / Espionage *Rating* 3.5-4 *Thoughts* M.P. Woodward's The Handler, is the story about a disgraced former CIA operative who must go back in the field with only his ex-wife as his handler in this electrifying thriller from a former intelligence officer. The novel has all the action of The Gray Man with the personal dynamics of Karen Cleveland's Need to Know. If you've been reading any news lately, except the Monkeypox, or the economy, or the price of gas, or the cos *Source* Publisher *Genre* Thriller / Espionage *Rating* 3.5-4 *Thoughts* M.P. Woodward's The Handler, is the story about a disgraced former CIA operative who must go back in the field with only his ex-wife as his handler in this electrifying thriller from a former intelligence officer. The novel has all the action of The Gray Man with the personal dynamics of Karen Cleveland's Need to Know. If you've been reading any news lately, except the Monkeypox, or the economy, or the price of gas, or the cost of food, or baby formula shortages, you know that the Iranian nuclear program is one of the most important challenges facing the West today. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    A terrific spy thriller that I couldn’t put down! Thank you NetGalley for the advance copy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    The Handler Events sometimes change course and results although created and orchestrated do not always play out the way you wanted. Horrific prologue that reacts to a relief and actual event of the accidental takedown and shooting of a Ukrainian commercial airliner by an Iranian missile. What happens when a mother witnesses the horror firsthand learning that her daughter was a passenger on this plane and was killed. Returning to college in Canada her parents Zana and Nadia were given a brief time The Handler Events sometimes change course and results although created and orchestrated do not always play out the way you wanted. Horrific prologue that reacts to a relief and actual event of the accidental takedown and shooting of a Ukrainian commercial airliner by an Iranian missile. What happens when a mother witnesses the horror firsthand learning that her daughter was a passenger on this plane and was killed. Returning to college in Canada her parents Zana and Nadia were given a brief time to grieve as Zana who has been working undercover for the CIA asks to come in and was done. Needing to have a safe passage for himself and his wife, but with a serious stipulation. The person who would be the handler to extract him had to be John Dale now living a quiet life as a painter. Ex-wife Meredith, working for Ed Rance head of CPT division, and her immediate boss. But from the start, you begin wondering about his motives and actions as the progress of the event and we get to know both sides. The opposition team comprised of Russians, including Yuri Kuznetsov, an SVR officer out of Damascus. The cunning and conniving Maria Borbova also known as Genevieve an SVR Officer out of London. The events take an unusual turn when the demands time to light and Meredith Morris Dale the CIA case officer whose last mission went bust, has now been told to return to Langley thinking her days are numbered and is going to be fired but comes face to face with the deputy director. Even though we get the feeling that Rance has his other agenda, he claims to be acting on the orders of Deputy Director Dorsey who asked that John Dale be reactivated because the asset requested him. They have a unique relationship. Case officer Meredith will evaluate his fitness for duty putting her in a precarious position. The asset is known as Cerberus and is a nuclear physicist who has been keeping the CIA aware and in the loop about Iran’s nuclear program. A bonus is the character of Kasem Kahlidi the Quds Lt. Colonel. He had been imprisoned with John and together escaped the ISIS captors because of Dale’s ingenuity and other Quds coming to help plus guard officers. John had gained insight into Cerberus who asked John to create a plan for his family to escape in case the Iranians ever closed in on him. Will they realize that this man has been placed as a mole in Iran’s uranium enrichment program knowing his role, dangerous and deadly was prevent them from building the bomb by sabotaging the performance of their covert centrifuge arrays. Things heat up when contact is made between Meredith and John and the conversations are confrontational each side wanting control of the other and yet neither can get a permanent handle on the other. The sarcasm and banter let you know somehow they still care about each other. The moles are many but for some reason, Yuri is singled out even though he's on the side of Iran. The nuclear bomb is what Zana, and the Russians are creating and Javed his superior wants it done in time. Meredith gets blindsided , she’s blown, and John explains that the Russians are involved and heavily in the Iranian nuke programs via the reactor in Bushehr meaning yellowcake going right past sanctions. The author lets us get to know Yuri and those under him, but the main thrust is whether the asset has surfaced and where is John. Yuri is at Starbucks and recalls what happened when interrogated and the drugs that they used to see if he was telling the truth. Pitot gave him the code that their surveillance came up empty and at this point we understand his problem and he wanted any sign of Kasem the Quds Force operator he tipped about the Iranian leak. He needed to see any major reaction from the Iranians that would establish a link to the CIA. But events change, misconceptions and Yuri is given a driver but a fake one and the reader learns just how dangerous Maria Borbova is and the end for Yuri but why? As Meredith tries to connect with John, he’s having trouble just finding safe places to hide. Going to his own house he’s attacked, and his cover blown, hoping to get to the asset before anything else happens turns deadly at times, he must enlist his survival skills and you wonder if Meredith can handle the pressure as she often must decompress and find a way to analyze the situation. Just when she’s out of ideas she takes stock of those involved and John does tell her who is dirty and the mole hoping she’ll be careful conveying information. Although we finally get to understand and meet Zana and his boss , Javed, he refuses to give Zana his exit stamp to travel and insists he gets back to work explaining why Zana was sabotaging the entire operation. The author explains that Javed believed a nuclear weapon would bring about the Mahdi , the Twelfth Iman hiding the Occultation since the year 872. The rest of pages 142-143 explains his rationale even more. But Zana went over Javed’s head for the travel stamps so why did the commander want to see him immediately? The author flashes to John and the fact that the blonde on the video is Maria who they realize is not what she appears to be. Dance is gotten contact and does not even think that she is drugging him for information. Lies, deceptions and powerful people on both sides but both John and Meredith are marked and in the site of Maria and her team and Rance is about to get blindsided one more time. When Zana and his boss are told to return to by plane what happens next is shocking and the result will cause Ana to think fast and hopefully escape the guardsmen before the realize what he did. Kasem realizes that Colonel Maloof, Sana and Javad were on the Bushehr delegation and headed back to Tabriz but why didn’t they return> Kasem is smart and realizes that there is much more at stake. Reminded Zana’s daughter was killed on the Ukrainian airliner. Locations are vital and John was to head for Tabriz, but he was silent, but the IRGC hornet’s nest had been kicked and things were not good. There was not name, just a number that began with the Iranian country code like the one Zana’s wife gave her. John takes up the cause and there are hunters on all three sides and the novel takes John all over from his cabin in Washington, to the order of Canada, London, Damascus, Langley, Iraq, Turkey, Kurdistan and Iran each site more dangerous than the one before until the final scenes and the end result of what finally happens to John, Cerberus but not before Meredith faces off with a dangerous killer but will she be found? The ending is a shocker and the tension is high as John and Zana face their own demons, Kasem realizes where he might belong and the ending lets you know that this is far from over. Did they rescue Zana and what about his wife? What about the nuclear bomb threat did the Russians succeed? AN ending that lets you know there is more to come as Meredith and John must deal with much more before all is said and done. Fran Lewis just reviews

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ryo

    I received a copy of this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway. This is a rather complicated global intelligence thriller that often felt too long and yet felt too short at the end. The title character is Meredith, who botches a mission before the book begins. Then a CIA mole who's been responsible for keeping Iran from building a nuclear weapon needs to be exfiltrated, which then forces Meredith to recruit her ex-husband John, who was formerly CIA but was disgraced and now paints in a remote ca I received a copy of this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway. This is a rather complicated global intelligence thriller that often felt too long and yet felt too short at the end. The title character is Meredith, who botches a mission before the book begins. Then a CIA mole who's been responsible for keeping Iran from building a nuclear weapon needs to be exfiltrated, which then forces Meredith to recruit her ex-husband John, who was formerly CIA but was disgraced and now paints in a remote cabin. The setup felt overly long before the action actually starts, but the action scenes themselves are pretty well-done. They felt exciting and took place in a variety of locations. But there are just too many characters and agencies, and that's often where the book felt too long. The book follows Americans in the CIA, the Iranian mole, the Iranian military, and also some Russians trying to infiltrate the whole operation. The fact that there's a "cast of characters" listing at the beginning of the book is a sign that there's just too many characters to keep track of. The scenes where the author just dictates exactly what a character is thinking felt especially lengthy. Despite the large number of characters, though, a lot of them end up being inconsequential. This was especially true near the end, where everything comes together in one climactic scene, and yet the book abruptly ends after the action does, leaving the fates of many characters up in the air, before major players have even made it to safety. There are a bunch of moments where the potential consequences of various questionable actions are stressed by some character, and yet nothing comes of those things, because the book wraps up right after the final action scene ends. It's also not even clear why the book is titled The Handler, when Meredith doesn't really feel like the central character, and the big exciting action scenes largely don't involve her. The action scenes are fun and exciting, but the book felt bloated overall while also feeling far too abrupt at the end.

  13. 5 out of 5

    John McKenna

    The Handler is written by a debut author whose real-life experiences as a Naval Intelligence Officer working with U.S. Special Forces, CIA and NSA clandestine operations through-out the Middle East, Persian Gulf and Far East, makes Mr. Woodward exquisitely well qualified to write about the covert doings which are being carried out all over the world in furtherance of U.S. foreign policy. The novel begins when a mole, code named Cerberus, five years incommunicado, anonymous, and working somewhere The Handler is written by a debut author whose real-life experiences as a Naval Intelligence Officer working with U.S. Special Forces, CIA and NSA clandestine operations through-out the Middle East, Persian Gulf and Far East, makes Mr. Woodward exquisitely well qualified to write about the covert doings which are being carried out all over the world in furtherance of U.S. foreign policy. The novel begins when a mole, code named Cerberus, five years incommunicado, anonymous, and working somewhere deep inside the Iran uranium enrichment program, reaches out and tries to contact his old handler, a man named John Dale . . . a former spy who’s since been drummed out of the CIA in disgrace . . . a man Cerberus knows only as “Reza.” Cerberus seems ready to defect, but the only person he trusts enough to deal with, is John “Reza” Dale, whose ex-wife Meredith, is now the head of the CIA’s Counter-Proliferation Division, is given the unenviable job of trying to coax him out of his forced retirement. Dale is reluctant and bitter, feeling it was a superior’s incompetence and malfeasance that got him axed in disgrace—and it’s only after a botched murder attempt by a Russian Special Forces hit team at his remote northwest mountain home that he agrees to be reactivated. Thereafter, the novel continues from several points-of-view, including a beautiful female Russian agent and assassin, a lieutenant colonel with the Iranian Quds forces: a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and Cerberus himself, among others. Conflicts come fast and furious as Dale tries to shake off the rust, extract the beleaguered Iranian scientist, elude the Russians and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards . . . stay alive long enough to tell the tale . . . and maybe even exonerate himself in the process. This is an electrifying and edge-of-the-seat nail-biter in which the action never stops and the twists just keep on coming!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    I received a gifted galley of THE HANDLER by M.P. Woodward for an honest review. Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review! Publication Date: 5/31/2022 THE HANDLER starts with a plane being shot down. On board is a young woman who is the daughter of one of the CIA’s long term moles. The mole’s role is to work from within Iran’s uranium enrichment program to keep them from getting a bomb developed. In the wake of his loss, he wants out. Meredith is a I received a gifted galley of THE HANDLER by M.P. Woodward for an honest review. Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review! Publication Date: 5/31/2022 THE HANDLER starts with a plane being shot down. On board is a young woman who is the daughter of one of the CIA’s long term moles. The mole’s role is to work from within Iran’s uranium enrichment program to keep them from getting a bomb developed. In the wake of his loss, he wants out. Meredith is a CIA agent who is brought in after a mission went wrong. Where she expects to be let go, it turns out she has extra value to the agency. The Iranian mole is only willing to work with one person, Meredith’s ex-husband who was dismissed from the CIA in a less than ideal series of events. Meredith is tasked to bring her ex back online in order to work things out. I don’t often pick up this type of thriller read, so I didn’t know what to expect when I picked this book up. I though that the author did a fantastic job of drawing me into the story with the opening chapter. We follow the daughter and get inside her head as she prepares for her future getting on board the plane that is destined to be shot down. We also hear directly from her mother who helplessly watches on. The interplay between ex-wife and ex-husband also makes for an interesting twist on the typical espionage story. There are layers of their relationship and their family which both connect and push them apart. I enjoyed having this extra element on top of the action of the bigger story. I will say that there were a lot of characters and at times I did struggle to keep track of who was who, but I didn't find that slowed me down in the overall story. THE HANDLER is out today and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun spy thriller!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Vicki Mosby

    Meredith Morris-Dale is a Handler for the CIA. She is ordered back to DC after her current asset is snatched, expecting to be in trouble, instead she is told she needs to convince her ex-husband John Dale to return to the CIA to help extract a former contact in Iran. Complicated doesn't begin to cover her feelings toward having to see her ex. They met when she was his Handler, fell in love, married and had a daughter. After he is suspended from the CIA they end up divorcing. Due to the circumsta Meredith Morris-Dale is a Handler for the CIA. She is ordered back to DC after her current asset is snatched, expecting to be in trouble, instead she is told she needs to convince her ex-husband John Dale to return to the CIA to help extract a former contact in Iran. Complicated doesn't begin to cover her feelings toward having to see her ex. They met when she was his Handler, fell in love, married and had a daughter. After he is suspended from the CIA they end up divorcing. Due to the circumstances of his suspension she knows he's not going to be willing to come back, especially with her boss, Ed Rance, involved. She gets the expected response but after he discovers someone tailing him in town and then finds a sniper on his property he agrees to return but only if she is his Handler and Rance is not in the loop of his whereabouts. His former contact in Iran,, Zana Rahimi, is a nuclear physicist whose daughter was killed in a plane crash caused by a misfired Iranian missile. To complicate things even more, the Russians are monitoring things and on Meredith & John's trail. Sometimes spy thrillers are too long or too technical. This one was neither. I stayed on the edge of my seat and didn't want to stop reading. When you see the cast of characters you think, 'that's so many people to keep up with' but the story is so well laid out that I didn't have any trouble with it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    First Clue

    Meredith Morris-Dale used to work with her husband, John. Now they’re divorced and moving on, their daughter grown and out on her own and John retired and pursing his passion as an artist. Meredith’s job needs John for one last gig, though. That wouldn’t be too unusual except that the task is for him to re-up in the CIA and re-establish contact with a scientist who’s sabotaging Iran’s effort to build a nuclear bomb. John was suspended from “the company” for an operation that went wrong, the trau Meredith Morris-Dale used to work with her husband, John. Now they’re divorced and moving on, their daughter grown and out on her own and John retired and pursing his passion as an artist. Meredith’s job needs John for one last gig, though. That wouldn’t be too unusual except that the task is for him to re-up in the CIA and re-establish contact with a scientist who’s sabotaging Iran’s effort to build a nuclear bomb. John was suspended from “the company” for an operation that went wrong, the traumatic details of which are slowly revealed; he also doesn’t want back in, but Cerberus, as the Iranian scientist is known to the CIA, won’t deal with anyone else. Soon John’s on a perilous journey to find Cerberus, a journey on which he’s pursued by other global bad guys who are using him to pin down details of the international spy network and move up in the superpower ranks. From the opening, this is like the best kind of action movie—fast moving, smart subplots, hair-raising escapes from death. Adding to the action is John’s decency toward the good people he meets and ruthlessness with all the rest. If you’ve ever wondered what a much scruffier James Bond would be like, this is the book for you.—Henrietta Verma For more reviews of forthcoming Crime Fiction, subscribe to our weekly newsletter, First Clue:​ ​https://www.getrevue.co/profile/First...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Dressler

    This novel is everything you wish for in a thrilling CIA debut novel. M. P. Woodward has done it right! It took me a little while to get a handle on the characters, but the list at the front of the novel was so helpful. It included both the Americans, the Iranians, and the Russians. Highly recommend more books have these lists! So once I got settled into the storyline, I was flying through the pages and the action- it seriously read like I was watching a Liam Neeson action thriller- think Taken on This novel is everything you wish for in a thrilling CIA debut novel. M. P. Woodward has done it right! It took me a little while to get a handle on the characters, but the list at the front of the novel was so helpful. It included both the Americans, the Iranians, and the Russians. Highly recommend more books have these lists! So once I got settled into the storyline, I was flying through the pages and the action- it seriously read like I was watching a Liam Neeson action thriller- think Taken on 2022 steroids! The novel has a strong female lead- Meredith, and her ex-husband is a disgraced CIA op that has to come back to the field for one last mission- one he doesn’t want to be a part of and one that is from his distant past. Immediately there is trouble as the Iranians and Russians are moving to make a nuclear arms deal, and of course time is of the essence. Only problem, there is a leak at almost every turn. Meredith and her ex, John have to think faster and stronger than the enemy, defy the odds, and somehow come out alive at the end. There is mystery woven in amongst the characters and how they all connect, at times you as the reader know more than the characters, and at other times you are realizing it in the moment. Woodward uses a lot of CIA thriller jargon and incorporates real locations, and plausible existences, problems, and systems- all of which make this such a believable read for our current times that I was devouring it! Thank you @berkleypub for my #gifted copy of The Handler, I am starting my campaign now for this to become a SERIES, y’all because I need to know more about these characters. I found myself at the end needing to know how it all ends, but needing to know MORE. 5 star read y’all, highly recommend this one! It publishes May 31st, and you HAVE to let me know if you grab a copy!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Ramirez

    Mind bogglingly good I stumbled on to this book and saw Marc Greaney’s blurb, and since he is my favorite author I figured I would find out if he’s just a shill for his publisher or actually recommended a good book. Well I am sorry I doubted him. This book is fantastic. It is written in a way that gives it a ton of authenticity. Much like Jack Carr’s James Reece series, but in this case instead of tip of the spear tactical goodies, the author brings suspense and drama to the Washington bureaucracy Mind bogglingly good I stumbled on to this book and saw Marc Greaney’s blurb, and since he is my favorite author I figured I would find out if he’s just a shill for his publisher or actually recommended a good book. Well I am sorry I doubted him. This book is fantastic. It is written in a way that gives it a ton of authenticity. Much like Jack Carr’s James Reece series, but in this case instead of tip of the spear tactical goodies, the author brings suspense and drama to the Washington bureaucracy. The book revolves around an ensemble of great characters. A wife who is on her way up at the CIA is tasked with getting her ex-husband to return to the fold, in order to bring a former asset back on line. They and the asset are hunted by multiple agencies all with their own cast of characters, but despite the many different facets, the book is tightly paced, and incredibly difficult to put down.(I was awake until 4:30 in the morning). I am very much looking forward to the authors next book and would HIGHLY recommend this one. The best way to describe it is if a LE Care’ book mated with a Mitch Rapp book. There is the cerebral spy skullduggery, while still keeping awesome throat slashing action sequences. READ THIS BOOK. .

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anne - Books of My Heart

    This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart   Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. The Handler is an espionage thriller.  The action and tension is suspenseful throughout.  Of course, I was rooting for the American team. The Russians seemed to be very skillful in their tactics and efficiently brutal.  The Middle Eastern characters seemed to be either religious zealots, or people caught unhappily in that world o This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart   Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. The Handler is an espionage thriller.  The action and tension is suspenseful throughout.  Of course, I was rooting for the American team. The Russians seemed to be very skillful in their tactics and efficiently brutal.  The Middle Eastern characters seemed to be either religious zealots, or people caught unhappily in that world of zealots and violence. The characters were well-developed but not easy to like.  Almost everything we know about them is their job, and not much else.  More personal layers would have maybe helped to better like the characters.  I didn't feel a sense of team or camaraderie. There was nothing to find humorous, only scary. The Americans seemed a bit behind the curve but had some skills and extreme luck.  Meredith was handling her ex-husband but other than disliking her lazy, cheating boss wasn't really helpful to him until the end. John, who was carrying out the mission, was super talented at fighting and staying off the radar.  He was suspicious about everything and that was smart. It saved him several times.  He seemed the most realistic and I could understand his reaction to being on this mission. I enjoyed this intelligence thriller, although it was a bit long.  The details made it more believable.  It was exciting and I was on edge for several people's safety.  

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Meredith, a CIA agent, is tasked with convincing John, a disgraced former CIA operative, to exfiltrate a mole from Iran’s uranium enrichment program. The mole has only ever trusted John to be his handler, but Meredith has her work cut out for her since John just happens to be her ex-husband. The Handler by M.P. Woodward was a highly enjoyable, action-packed, pulse-pounding spy thriller! I never knew who to trust, and the twists just kept coming! Meredith and John’s interactions added depth and em Meredith, a CIA agent, is tasked with convincing John, a disgraced former CIA operative, to exfiltrate a mole from Iran’s uranium enrichment program. The mole has only ever trusted John to be his handler, but Meredith has her work cut out for her since John just happens to be her ex-husband. The Handler by M.P. Woodward was a highly enjoyable, action-packed, pulse-pounding spy thriller! I never knew who to trust, and the twists just kept coming! Meredith and John’s interactions added depth and emotion, and the multiple POVs made the story even more intriguing. It was a bit difficult to keep track of everyone and their respective organizations, but the detailed Cast of Characters and the Glossary were very helpful. As a former intelligence officer, Woodward is clearly knowledgeable about the world of espionage, making this book realistically disturbing. It was an impressive debut, and I look forward to more from this author! *I received a gifted eARC from Berkley Publishing and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Lanigan

    This book straight up reads like a movie. For someone who will watch Mr. and Mrs. Smith every single time it’s on I was sold on this high stakes political spy drama. . Meredith Morris-Dale is a CIA case offer. She expects to be fired after a case goes wrong. What she doesn’t expect is a new assignment. . John Dale wants out and he has one request, the only handler he ever trusted who happens to be his ex-wife. . This was a compulsive spy thriller that I would love to see on the screen. One of my favori This book straight up reads like a movie. For someone who will watch Mr. and Mrs. Smith every single time it’s on I was sold on this high stakes political spy drama. . Meredith Morris-Dale is a CIA case offer. She expects to be fired after a case goes wrong. What she doesn’t expect is a new assignment. . John Dale wants out and he has one request, the only handler he ever trusted who happens to be his ex-wife. . This was a compulsive spy thriller that I would love to see on the screen. One of my favorite things about spy movies or tv shows like #24 are the interpersonal relationships. This book gave that to us and then some! Side note: I am all about the glossary! I love that! . Huge thank you to Bhc @berittalksbooks @thephdivabooks and @dg_reads for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    The Handler was a action packed spy thriller filled with plenty of action, suspense and double cross. A high speed international race for critical assets. Immersive storytelling, authentic writing that felt well-informed to the inner handlings of CIA Operatives and the high stakes game of espionage. Filled with plenty of twists and turns to keep your heart racing and details to make the reader feel “read in” on the ops. A unique mix of husband/wife CIA team as handler/agent with compelling charact The Handler was a action packed spy thriller filled with plenty of action, suspense and double cross. A high speed international race for critical assets. Immersive storytelling, authentic writing that felt well-informed to the inner handlings of CIA Operatives and the high stakes game of espionage. Filled with plenty of twists and turns to keep your heart racing and details to make the reader feel “read in” on the ops. A unique mix of husband/wife CIA team as handler/agent with compelling character and skill, engaged in the good fight to save critical assets. An intriguing adventure through the last page.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marcia J. Markovich

    A true page turner from a new author who has walked the walk. From the first page of The Handler there is a behind the scenes feel for an all too real global espionage threat to this country. The author's time in naval intelligence is apparent, especially when describing briefings as well as his facility detailing tactical encounters and weaponary. The threats to America feel authentic, while he avoids making our adversaries one dimensional. In a way it reminds me of the early Tom Clancy novels. A true page turner from a new author who has walked the walk. From the first page of The Handler there is a behind the scenes feel for an all too real global espionage threat to this country. The author's time in naval intelligence is apparent, especially when describing briefings as well as his facility detailing tactical encounters and weaponary. The threats to America feel authentic, while he avoids making our adversaries one dimensional. In a way it reminds me of the early Tom Clancy novels. When I put it down I felt like I actually new a little bit more about a world most people will never see.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mob Razor

    Audiobook. This was kind of standard fare. It was good, but not unique. In fact, I would say it has some pretty tired character tropes. The ol’ highly capable, but inappropriately wronged and agent, living off the grid, but pulled back by character X (in this case Ex-wife) because they are uniquely qualified to save the world. **yawn**. The unknowingly compromised, uber horny male CIA agent.**yawn**. Anyway. The story was fine, if a little bit long. I would say this was worth the read/listen. Bu Audiobook. This was kind of standard fare. It was good, but not unique. In fact, I would say it has some pretty tired character tropes. The ol’ highly capable, but inappropriately wronged and agent, living off the grid, but pulled back by character X (in this case Ex-wife) because they are uniquely qualified to save the world. **yawn**. The unknowingly compromised, uber horny male CIA agent.**yawn**. Anyway. The story was fine, if a little bit long. I would say this was worth the read/listen. But it’s not special.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Whalen

    Wow!!!!!! BEST BOOK ALL YEAR FOR ME! I love thrillers and my favorite are espionage thrillers. This book has it all. In addition to a very well-crafted espionage story, there is humor and relationship with the main characters, John and Meredith. I NEVER write to authors, but I did write to M.P. Woodward for such a great read. I was stuck in a chair, mad because it was ending but even madder because I could not leave as I was glued to the book. What a wonderful kick off for a new author. I cannot Wow!!!!!! BEST BOOK ALL YEAR FOR ME! I love thrillers and my favorite are espionage thrillers. This book has it all. In addition to a very well-crafted espionage story, there is humor and relationship with the main characters, John and Meredith. I NEVER write to authors, but I did write to M.P. Woodward for such a great read. I was stuck in a chair, mad because it was ending but even madder because I could not leave as I was glued to the book. What a wonderful kick off for a new author. I cannot wait until the next one.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Raterink

    An excellent espionage thriller. Like Tom Clancy novels, there are lots of characters and different intelligence agencies, but the writing was so good, I never found it difficult to follow. Well developed characters and a fast moving plot kept me reading late into the night. For fans of Tom Clancy or Daniel Silva. Highly recommended Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley books for the advanced reader copy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    GryffindorBookishNerd

    This was an amazing and well written book. I enjoyed the thrill of it and it was one of those it totally could happen type of books that made it even better! It was a super intense action packed story that kept me wanting to read more and more. It was a perfect spy thriller type story with strong characters and multiple POVs that added to the story instead of distracted. This is an excellent introduction to Woodward and I am excited to see what else we get from this talented author.

  28. 5 out of 5

    James Winchell

    Had some thrilling parts good suspense and action with some twist and turns that kept me on my toes. For a debut novel it is surprisingly good. A few parts in the book dragged but over all it was good. MP Woodward did a real good job with character development. While reading the story you can tell MP spent some time over in the Middle East. Again not a lot of flaws. If you enjoy reading Tom Clancy, Brad Thor, Brad Taylor you will enjoy this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Guy Hamilton

    A superb and realistic espionage thriller, involving the Russians, The Iranians and the Americans and involves the Iranian nuclear program.It is very relevant and the relationships are both believable and credible.The ineptitude and human folly that frequently thwarts the best laid plans is used to maximum effect. This is really engrossing read , thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joe Lucia

    This is so damn good. The plot isn't contrived, time isn't focused on tertiary characters that barely fit into the narrative, the writing is tight, the story moves quickly, and no main characters are portrayed as infallible geniuses. I don't know if MP Woodward can hit another novel out of the park like this one, but I'll be at the front of the line if another book is ever released. This is so damn good. The plot isn't contrived, time isn't focused on tertiary characters that barely fit into the narrative, the writing is tight, the story moves quickly, and no main characters are portrayed as infallible geniuses. I don't know if MP Woodward can hit another novel out of the park like this one, but I'll be at the front of the line if another book is ever released.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.