I knew Jim (the spy) in prison, and spoke a number of times with Bryan-the-author (after my release) about the spy. Therefore, have not so much a vested interest in this book, but rather a deeper-than-normal curiosity about the entire story. As it turned out I became very close friends with another spy at the same prison who could not get over why he was sentenced to life (30 years in the Federal system), and the spy in this novel only 20 for a much more egregious insult and threat to the government. Author Denson explains this: Jim the spy in the novel was much more clever than my friend...or, as you will see, so he thought!
That aside, it took me a bit to read this novel/documentary because it is so exquisitely written I choose to read it as if sipping a very fine wine. Had to be in the right mood to get into those critical cubicles in time author Denson crafts so well. And that is not to say the book was too "heavy." Was also reading some of this during a time when Russian Probes & Collusion were in the headlines and that seasoned my intrigue. Finally finished it yesterday, closing the book for the last time completely satisfied. Astonished, going through the mentions of sources, lists of verifiable facts and above my realization of how much author Denson put into the [spy] crafting of this story. This is why I gave it five stars; totally on its merit. That I spoke with the author, and knew the spy, did not influence that. Read it, including at least a perusal of the sources, and you will too will agree with my generous choice of stars.