The Pequod Review:
The Miernik Dossier is the best and most ingeniously structured of Charles McCarry's spy novels. The book takes place during the Cold War and McCarry uses a variety of epistolary formats — telephone transcripts, surveillance reports, diary entries, agent reports, etc. — to investigate whether a Polish citizen living in the United States (Tadeusz Miernik) is a Communist agent. The story is a gripping one but it's McCarry's characterization that is especially impressive. Despite the limitations of the source material, McCarry creates a cast of complex and well-drawn characters — including not just the protagonist (Paul Christopher, a CIA operative with a secret passion for poetry), but Nigel Collins (a bitter MI6 agent), Ilona Bentley (an alluring but troubled concentration camp survivor), and Kalash el Khatar (a tall and suave Sudanese prince). In the hands of a lesser writer, this fragmentary record could easily make for a confusing or emotionless narrative. But McCarry creates a thrilling adventure story, full of memorable characters. This is one of the very best modern espionage novels.