Loose Lips

“This looks like an insider’s account. Claire Berlinski does a marvelous job of portraying a young woman plunged into a culture most Americans find hard to understand. It’s an honest book. It should be read by anyone intending to work for the CIA.”

— Robert Baer, former CIA case officer


SELENA KELLER HAS just completed a doctorate in Oriental Studies. Living in Manhattan, unemployed, and dismayed by her dull job prospects, she sends her resume to the CIA on a whim. Within weeks she is contacted by a CIA recruiter, who asks her how she would feel about convincing another human being to commit treason.

Loose Lips

Despite her checkered past, she passes the background investigation, the polygraph, and a battery of bizarre CIA aptitude tests. She enters on duty as a Clandestine Service Trainee. Living under cover as a government budget analyst, she is suddenly isolated by a layer of lies from her family and her past. Sanskrit and Pali, she discovers, are completely irrelevant to the education in espionage she receives at the Farm, the CIA’s covert training facility.

The loneliness and isolation of life under cover lead Selena into a relationship with Stan, a brilliant but darkly paranoid fellow student who cannot put a spy’s habits aside, even in the bedroom. She learns that spies who fall in love with one another enter a wilderness of mirrors, where deception and betrayal are nothing less than professional obligations.

Loose Lips

Loose Lips is a wonderful, pitch-perfect roman à clef that blends satire, romance and tragedy,Loose Lips offers a unique insight into the culture of the CIA. This first novel establishes Claire Berlinski’s reputation as a storyteller of hilarious gifts and profound insight.

Wickedly funny . . . What first looks like a light summer read turns out to be a chilling, absorbing story.”

The Washington Post Book World


Cosmopolitan, “Hot Summer Reads”

“ROUSING, HILARIOUS, COMPULSIVELY READABLE . . . There’s . . . a lot to cheer about thanks to the narrative voice of an extremely engaging and likable main character. Breezy, accomplished and bracing, this is superior entertainment.”

Publishers Weekly


Read reviews of Loose Lips.

You can read the first chapter of Loose Lips on Amazon.

Loose Lips has been translated into French and Spanish and is available on Audio Cassette. The film rights have been purchased by Tribeca and Universal.