#BookReview (by Lou) Who Is Vera Kelly? By Rosalie Necht @Verve_Books @RosalieKnecht @OldcastleBooks @holliemcdevitt #CrimeFiction #SpyFiction

Who Is Vera Kelly
By Rosalie Knecht
Rated: 5 stars *****

Who Is Vera Kelly? Well that’s something I wanted to know and got curious about, when I was invited to review by Hollie McDevitt at Old Castle/ No Exit Books, then there’s the cover, which is not what anyone would expect, but fits with the time and all of this combined makes this reviewer want to see what can possibly be inside, such a vibrant, strong sounding book!
There are also Book Club questions at the back.

About The Author


Photo by Seze Devres for Ace Hotel New York

Rosalie Knecht is the author of Who Is Vera Kelly?Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery and Relief Map. She is also the translator of César Aira’s The Seamstress and the Wind (New Directions). She lives in New Jersey.  


whoisverakellycoverNew York City, 1962. Vera Kelly is struggling to make rent and blend into the underground gay scene in Greenwich Village. She’s working night shifts at a radio station when her quick wits, sharp tongue, and technical skills get her noticed by a recruiter for the CIA.Next thing she knows she’s in Argentina, tasked with wiretapping a congressman and infiltrating a group of student activists in Buenos Aires. As Vera becomes more and more enmeshed with the young radicals, the fragile local government begins to split at the seams. When a betrayal leaves her stranded in the wake of a coup, Vera learns war makes for strange and unexpected bedfellows, and she’s forced to take extreme measures to save herself.

An exhilarating page turner and perceptive coming-of-age story, Who is Vera Kelly? introduces an original, wry and whip-smart female spy for the twenty-first century.



Set in the late 1957 and early 1966 and between Maryland and Argentina, Vera Kelly has come from being a troubled person, who is failing in her studies, attending counselling sessions with Miss Kay and getting on the wrong side of the law and taking up some jobs, to later (in the 60’s) becoming recruited as a spy. It’s a slow burn and it is good that there is the political background about how Juan Peron (in exile at this point) and Eva Peron (Evita – dead by then, but being immortalised in artworks of sorts), are still on people’s lips. The book shows the political complexities of Argentina, without making it too complex to read. It’s also pertinent about how easily impressionable students can get mixed up in ideaologies. This spy is on a mission as Communism is infiltrating the country and students are being recruited to join them.
There is also Nico, who she meets in Buenos Aires, who happens to know everyone and everything, more or less. There is also the matter of the president of the construction firm, Aliadas, who is also concerned about the Communists and what they may do to the company.
It feels dark and sinister at times and at certain points, it becomes a more intense and compelling book than it starts off with, as there is a plot, involving explosivesShe meets Nico in Buenos Aires in 1966 and it turns out he knows everyone and everything and worked his way up in the world, right from the very bottom. The company president of Aliadas is however, worried about the Communists and what they might do to the construction firm. There is also what the Communists are doing in recruiting impressionable students. It’s politically interesting and even though it is set in the 50’s and 60’s, it shows a certain amount about how students are easily recruited into things then as they are in this whole new millenium. It also references, briefly, Juan Peron, although no longer in Argentina, his name was still on people’s lips, and Evita, at this point – dead, but her image in graffiti. It shows the political complexities of Argentina in a way that isn’t too much or too heavy. Vera is on a mission, involving surveilling subversive students, it’s an intense and compelling book, which feels dark and sinister and tugs to draw readers in deeper, but Vera Kelly can certainly hold her own, with her technological know-how, as there is a terror plot to tackle, which all adds to an intriguing new spy story, which is a great addition to any spy collection

Who is Vera Kelly blog tour poster

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