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Jason Matthews (novelist)

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Jason Matthews (September 17, 1951 – April 28, 2021[1]) was an American author of espionage novels and former CIA officer, best known for the Red Sparrow spy novel trilogy.


Matthews was born September 17, 1951, in Hartford, Connecticut.[1] He worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for three decades, where he met his wife, Suzanne, also a former CIA officer.[2][1] He died April 28, 2021 at the age of 69 from corticobasal degeneration.[3]


Prior to becoming a novelist, Matthews spent 33 years working for the CIA.[4] While in the CIA he was officially a diplomat, in Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean, but his real job was recruiting and then managing foreign agents.[5]

In 2014, his first novel, Red Sparrow (2013), won an Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American author.[6] Writer and critic Art Taylor praised it in The Washington Post, writing that it "isn't just a fast-paced thriller—it's a first-rate novel as noteworthy for its superior style as for its gripping depiction of a secretive world."[7] It was adapted into a movie of the same name starring Jennifer Lawrence.[8]

In 2015 and 2018, he published Palace of Treason and The Kremlin’s Candidate, which are the sequels to Red Sparrow.


Red Sparrow trilogy[edit]

  • Matthews, Jason (2013). Red Sparrow. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4711-1261-4.
  • ——— (2015). Palace of Treason. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4767-9375-7.
  • ——— (2018). The Kremlin's Candidate. Penguin Books, Limited. ISBN 978-1-4059-2085-8.



  1. ^ a b c "Jason Matthews, CIA officer who after a career in the field wrote realistic spy novels including Red Sparrow – obituary". The Telegraph. 3 May 2021. Retrieved May 24, 2024.
  2. ^ My Mom Was A Spy For The CIA, And This Is What She Wore To Work
  3. ^ "Author of 'Red Sparrow' thrillers, Jason Matthews, dies at 69". USA Today. Associated Press. April 29, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  4. ^ McGrath, Charles (May 27, 2015). "Shadowing Jason Matthews, an Ex-Spy Whose Cover Identity Is Author". The New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  5. ^ Shadowing Jason Matthews, New York Times.
  6. ^ "Category List – Best First Novel | Edgars Database". The Edgars. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  7. ^ Art Taylor (October 15, 2013). "'Red Sparrow,' a fantastic new spy thriller by former CIA operative Jason Matthews". The Washington Post.
  8. ^ Kelly, Mary Lousie (March 5, 2018). "'Red Sparrow' Author And Ex-CIA Agent Says New Movie Gets Spy Life Right". NPR. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  9. ^ "International Thriller Writers – Past Nominees and Winners". thrillerwriters.org. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  10. ^ "Category List – Best First Novel | Edgars Database". theedgars.com. Retrieved February 27, 2017.

External links[edit]