Publication Order of Standalone Novels
If you have ever wondered why Jason Matthew’s spy novels seem so real, so authentic it’s because the man used to be a spy for the CIA. Not just any spy his background was in escaping surveillance and intelligence. No small feat in this day and age and yet he was the expert in his field.
It’s clear where he got his inspiration for such books as Red Sparrow. But what did it really feel like to be a CIA agent? Is it really as glamourous and dangerous as the movies make it out to be? Jason Matthews of course isn’t what you would expect from an agent. If you were to meet him on the streets he would be the last person you would think would be a spy. He’s not dressed in a suit and his dishevelled grey hair and black horn-rimmed glasses make him appear more like a bookkeeper than a spy.
His job entailed more than that spying however, he was technically considered a diplomat in Asia, Europe and even the Caribbean. It was his job to recruit and train foreign agents. Once they were trained they went under his wing where he would manage them throughout their careers with the CIA.
“There were a lot of mind games going on,” he recalled in an interview. “You wake up in the morning, and there’s a cigarette stubbed out in the ashtray. An entry team has come in the house at night and left the butt to let you know they were there.”
That sort of lifestyle is hard for a lot of us to understand, we only see it in the movies but that was normal life for the author. When that life ended he felt as if he could never settle. The life of an agent is a very hands-on job, when that ended for him he didn’t know what to do with himself. He said it was either writing or fishing. That’s where writing filled a void for Matthews. Although Matthews is not trained in writing he did spend some time in journalism school before he found his career with the CIA.
Red Sparrow takes place in today’s Russia where State Intelligence Officer Dominika Egorova is trying to survive the post-soviet intelligence. The term “sparrow” is the name for a female intelligence officer who uses seduction to serve her country. Dominika was drafted against her will by the Russians and managed to run into a CIA agent named Nathaniel Nash during a mission. The attraction between the two threatens both of their careers as the revenge seeking sparrow is recruited into the CIA.
Matthews novel Palace of Treason comes out on Tuesday and is a sequel to Red Sparrow. The book gives you a raw look at what it’s really like to live in the world of espionage and spy games. Its serious business and only the truly strong and intelligent could go about doing the things that were required of Jason Matthews.
Palace of Treason brings back the main characters Dominika Egorova and Nathaniel Nash in another action-packed novel of spy games. Working undercover for the CIA Dominika goes back to work for the men she despises in Russia. The goal is to penetrate the SVR and the Kremlin. All the while trying to avoid exposure Dominika manages to survive an Iranian assassination, rescue an agent, deal with her sadistic boss and escape an ambush from counterintelligence. If that’s not exciting enough Dominika has to fight off the urges she has towards her CIA handler Nash who she is falling for. Everything seems to be going great for a while when a mole in the SVR finds Dominika’s name on a restricted list which is bad news for an agent who finds herself somewhere that she shouldn’t be.
The main characters spend a lot of the time in the books trying to avoid being followed and have to spend a great deal of time walking around to avoid being discovered. It sounds like a page written right out of Jason Matthew’s life. The author is now living in Los Angeles, California and is cut off from the agency and all the secrets that lay inside in which he spent most of his life. That was when he decided to take what he knew and all his free time and create the 2013 novel, Red Sparrow. It was a good thing he took that leap because it brought him into the world of critical success with Red Sparrow becoming a bestseller. That success also came with a seven figure movie deal. Not so bad for a retired spy. The script for Red Sparrow is currently being developed at 20th Century Fox and it’s even rumored that Jennifer Lawrence wants the role of Dominika for herself. There’s still no word on who will be directing the movie so it’s still in the beginning stages. The slow going process makes it clear that Fox is looking for a lead director, someone who knows how to bring a badass female character to the screen and make her shine. That is undoubtedly why they are looking at Jennifer Lawrence since she has already proven that she can bring depth and strength to a character.
The life of a CIA agent is what has inspired a highly successful career for this author. Matthews once said that becoming an author for him just happened one day. There was no real conscious decision about it. He just started writing war stories and the next thing he knew he was at 400 pages. The fact that his stories pour out so easily speaks of his experience within the agency. Now he just wants to tell his stories and bring a new life to his world once again.
Jason Matthews retired after 30 years in the service of the CIA and turned to writing as a form of therapy. All those years working for the CIA took a toile on him. When most people would head into retirement Matthews decided to write some novels.