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The Silent Sisters–extracting spies from Russia

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The Silent Sisters

by Robert Dugoni

Spy thrillers are not my go-to genre, but I read The Last Agent, the second book in the Charles Jenkins Series, thinking it was a standalone. I was hooked. I returned to read the third in the series, The Silent Sisters, when it was published recently. Both were page turners.

Charles Jenkins, the protagonist, is a semi-retired spy with quite the reputation in Russia where The Silent Sisters takes place. It is Putin’s Russia so the book brings together some of recent Russian history with current events. Moscow is covered with cameras as Jenkins goes in to rescue the two remaining deep undercover plants known as the Seven Sisters. Before he begins his mission, he works with specialists in disguise techniques at Langley because, as a large Black man on Russia’s top 10 kill list, he is easy to spot, especially given their expertise in facial recognition technology. His perhaps fatal error is trying to help an abused stranger in a seedy bar on his first night there. His principled act begins a manhunt by the police, the Russian spy agencies, and the mafia.

At home in Washington state, he has left a wife who formerly worked for the CIA, two children, and a retirement he hasn’t really gotten to enjoy yet. Thoughts of his family keep him going when things get brutal.

Descriptions of the physical settings and the atmosphere of suspense and tension are achieved with excellence. The reader is immersed in each setting from the Trans-Siberian train making its way to freedom to the offices where directors of intelligence agencies compete for power and for their lives. Each setting has its own gripping tenor.

Author Robert Dugoni is a master at keeping all the balls in the air until it is time to draw things to a conclusion. Then he works the circumstances to arrive at a satisfactory ending that is hopeful, but realistic.

I believe this set of books was originally conceived as a trilogy. The author hints in the Acknowledgments that his upcoming trip to Egypt could be the impetus for more adventures featuring Charles Jenkins. I hope so!

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Thomas & Mercer for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thriller

Notes: 1. #3 in the Charles Jenkins Series, but could be read as a standalone.
2. There is some Russian included for atmosphere, but unless the meaning is obvious, it is seamlessly translated for the reader in the text.
3. There is a small amount of swearing, including one word in Russian.
4. It is a spy novel involving Russian agents and the Russian mafia so you can expect some torture, but the descriptions are not detailed or extensive.

Publication: February 22, 2022—Thomas & Mercer

Memorable Lines:
The pain shattered his skin like splinters of broken glass passing through his body.

She’d learned long ago, when her father had died, that vengeance did not bring satisfaction. It didn’t even temper the pain of death. It would not temper the pain of Eldar’s death. It only let others know that killings would come at a heavy cost. Retribution. An eye for an eye.

When you can have everything, you appreciate nothing.


  1. Timely book right now. A good review but it sounds too violent for me to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gretchen says:

    Great review, Linda! I have heard good things about this author, but wasn’t sure his books were for me. Your review has convinced me I should give him a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It sounds well written, I wish I was brave enough to read thrillers 🙂 I’m having trouble watching even a few minutes of news these days…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      I know what you mean. Not only is the news horrible, but it is hard to know what to believe. The one thing I am sure of is that there are innocents caught in the middle of a power struggle.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. WendyW says:

    It sounds interesting. I don’t often read thrillers, or spy books, but this sounds good. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Carla says:

    I like Robert Dugoni’s writing, but passed on this series as I am not big on spy thrillers. After reading your review, Linda, I think I might give the first book a try. I like that he is a man of values and that it is rescues as well. Thanks for a great review.

    Liked by 1 person

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