IT’S THE CASE OF AMANDA’S LIFETIME, BUT SOLVING IT WILL REQUIRE HER TO BETRAY ANOTHER SPY—WHO JUST SO HAPPENS TO BE HER FATHER.
SPYING IS THE FAMILY BUSINESS. Amanda Cole is a brilliant young CIA officer following in the footsteps of her father, who was a spy during the Cold War. It takes grit to succeed in this male-dominated world—but one hot summer day, when a Russian defector walks into her post, Amanda is given the ultimate chance to prove herself.
The defector warns of the imminent assassination of a US senator. Though Amanda takes the warning seriously, her superiors don’t. Twenty-four hours later, the senator is dead. And the assassination is just the beginning.
Corporate blackmail, covert manipulation, corrupt oligarchs: the Kremlin has found a dangerous new way to wage war. Teaming up with Kath Frost, a fearless older woman and legendary spy, Amanda races from Rome to London, from St. Petersburg to Helsinki, unraveling the international conspiracy. But as she gets closer and closer to the truth, a central question haunts her: Why was her father’s name written down in the senator’s notes? What does Charlie Cole really know about the Kremlin plot?
The Helsinki Affair is a riveting, globe-trotting spy thriller—but this time, with a refreshing female-centric twist. Perfect for fans of John le Carré and Daniel Silva, this book introduces Pitoniak as a singular new talent in the world of spy fiction.
Pitoniak follows up 2022's Our American Friend with another ambitious espionage thriller about a female CIA agent forced to deal with crises past and present. Amanda Cole is bored and restless in her position as deputy chief of station in Rome. When her boss bungles a job and causes the poisoning death of a U.S. senator, Cole takes over as station chief and begins investigating the murder and Russia's role in it. In the process, she finds a disturbing document in the senator's notes that implicates her father—CIA operative Charlie Cole, who decades ago was mysteriously demoted to the agency's public relations office from a prestigious Cold War posting in Helsinki—in the killing. The case leads Cole on a winding pursuit that forces her to confront her father's shortcomings, both personal and professional, while pressure mounts for her to solve the senator's murder. Though the narrative stumbles in the middle sections—some elements, particularly a subplot on meme stocks, feel forced and overcomplicated—the startling finale saves the day. Pitoniak continues to show strong instincts for the art of cloak-and-dagger. Agents: PJ Mark and Stefanie Lieberman, Janklow & Nesbit.