A Spy at Home by Joseph Rinaldo is a work of fiction, although you might not realize it, written in first person. Two stories work side by side: Garrison’s life as a former spy and his life as a family man. The two lives don’t blend easily. Garrison wants to be in two places at once.
Rinaldo does an excellent job balancing the two conflicting sides of Garrison. Despite the dangerous elements of smuggling, money laundering and dealing with rebel forces, I didn’t find the first half of the story as enjoyable as the second half, when tragedy strikes Garrison’s family. The events are dramatic and heartbreaking.
Based on what Garrison did during his last assignment for the CIA (deliberately vague to avoid spoilers), I empathized with him, but couldn’t decide whether or not I liked him. I didn’t feel an association with Garrison until the very end. I did enjoy the other main characters: Louisa (Garrison’s wife), Noah (their son) and Noah’s friend.
The story is certainly believable, to the point it appears to be non-fiction and incorporates humor, which I found refreshing. It contains well-written dialogue, real life challenges in the form of Down Syndrome, survival, and plenty of drama.
The author provided me with a copy of the book and requested a review. My disassociation with the protagonist and the first half of the story is purely because this is not the sort of book I typically read. If you like reading about the experiences of a CIA agent, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy this story.