During the Cold War, the United States’ intelligence community went to great lengths to undermine Soviet Russia and ever since, a lot have found themselves curious and interested in the Central Intelligence Agency. Films and books have been released to manifest the secret work of the CIA. Espionage fiction has become a popular genre all because of the thrilling also dangerous stories blending politics, spies, secrets, conspiracies, betrayal, undercover plots, war, and heroes through a unique lens. People just can’t resist a dip into the mysterious world of the CIA and authors can’t help but write more. Hence, from the classic to the contemporary, here are the best books of the US intelligence service around.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

Drawing from her own experience as a CIA analyst, Karen Cleveland writes an exciting spy thriller Need to Know. Released in 2018, the story is unlike other espionage novels featuring male protagonists. The book follows dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst who had it in life: a loving husband and four beautiful children. That is until she uncovered a dangerous secret while on pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil.  It is the CIA’s mission to put America first and foremost, but all spies have an inside life. Now, Vivian is torn between her loyalty and betrayal. How far will she go to learn the truth?

The Secret Empress by Frank Heller

Immersed in his new life in bodybuilding business, Joe Wilder thought he left his past as a CIA field agent on The Secret Empress. But everything went down in burning flames after he’s dragged back to living his past. What seemed to be a simple trip to China becomes a dangerous quest as he is hauled into a dangerous secret. He now has to deal with secrets, confrontation, and becoming the hero he once was. Relying on his skills from his former life, will Joe survive long enough to see another day? Will he save the life of a boy with a secret? All of these will be answered in Frank Heller’s The Secret Empress.

The Miernik Dossier by Charles McCarry

Dubbed as the American le Carré, Charles McCarry presents a complicated web of deception in his masterpiece, The Miernik Dossier. The first of seven novel, The Miernik Dossier, features Paul Christopher under deep cover in Geneva with a cover job in the World Research Organization. Paul Christopher is tasked to liberate Miernik’s sister, fight bandits, and so much more bouncing from deadly serious escapades to farce and back again. McCarry’s novels have been an inspiration inside and out for other espionage books due to its realistic take on the CIA.

The Russian Pink by Matthew Hart

Matthew Hart’s background as a veteran journalist with niche in diamond works brings in an explosive novel The Russian Pink. This heady thriller is about Alex Turner, an investigator for the Treasury Department’s diamond division and former CIA agent, caught in a web of deception and malice while trying to uncover the secrets behind the most expensive diamond in the world. After spotting the gems around the neck of the would-be First Lady and Russian agents in the mix, Alex finds himself on a twisty path of conspiracies, blown operations, and double crosses.

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

Irina lived a simple life as secretary when she is plucked from the CIA typing pool and given the assignment of a lifetime in The Secrets We Kept. Her mission: help smuggle Doctor Zhivago into the USSR. Mentoring Irina is seasoned spy Sally Forrester known for her gift of deceit using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. The Secrets We Kept is an exhilarating tale of secretaries turned spies, love, duty, and sacrifice. Inspired by the true story of the CIA’s plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, Prescott narrates a soaring emotional intensity and captivating historical detail about two women empowered to lead lives of extraordinary intrigue and risk.