Traitor by Jonathan de Shalit

traitorcoverTitle: Traitor
: No
Author(s): Jonathan de Shalit
Publisher: Atria / Emily Bestler Books
Format: ARC
Release Date: January 30th 2018
Pages: 320
Genre(s): Spy Thriller
ISBN13: 9781501170485

The odds that you’ve read about this author’s life are pretty slim. I’d probably even say impossible. Jonathan de Shalit is nothing more than the pseudonym of a former high-ranking member of the Israeli Intelligence Community. There’s something quite fascinating about an author whose books need to be vetted and approved particularly by a special Governmental Ministers’ Committee. With Traitor, Jonathan de Shalit definitely proves his experience in the field through minuscule details and delivers a decent spy thriller.

In Traitor, a young Israeli man presents himself at an American embassy in the heart of Rome to offer himself to commit treason—we could also fancifully call it spying— against his own country. Problem is that the agent to whom he unveils his ambitious plans to rise among the elites and communicate secret strategies is actually a Russian mole himself. After years of information-sharing to those who weren’t who he thought they were, a hint of a mole has been circulating among agents and a special top-secret team of veterans has been put together to discover the identity of this traitor.


For a spy thriller, Traitor has proved to be quite captivating. There was an atmospheric air of deceit that chocked me throughout the hunt for a mole that I couldn’t stop breathing in addictively. With a team composed of actors who have been through a lot and who are dragged back into action, I felt like they conveyed the very nature of their jobs with near perfection. Living in the shadows, embracing multiple identities, tracking people of interest internationally. You simply see everything that embodies a spy in this. The very essence of the job is described and integrated within the prose which is no easy feat. My own knowledge of what the job of these fellows was confirmed and I can say that it was delivered with great care.

It is however worth mentioning that for a novel with a title like this one, you sure don’t get much from the other governments’ side. Although enough to tease us on their methods and their strategies, especially the final chapter, Traitor focuses especially on the special team tasked with identifying an unknown mole. While the process that the team goes through to find the traitor was treacherous, in the sense that they had to rely heavily on gut feelings and deductions, I found myself satisfied by the authenticity of the methodology used to track down potential targets. Even if the point of view of all the traitors felt lacking in depth and complexity, Traitor still delivers a solid espionage story where both HUMINT and SIGINT is used appropriately in order to catch a traitor.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me a copy for review!


Have you read it yet? Do you plan to?

What do you think about Traitor?

Share your thoughts with me!

Till next time,



40 thoughts on “Traitor by Jonathan de Shalit

  1. I’m not a huge fan of spy thrillers if I am being honest. In fact I hardly read them at all. Reading through this review, I don’t think this book will make me change that opinion any time soon. Even though the plot does sound like it’s trying to do something else. Well, still enjoyed reading your review for it, but this one is a pass for me 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that goes for a lot of people based on what I’ve heard from others. In fact, I feel like people prefer watching spy stuff rather than read it too! Thanks for reading though. I really appreciate it. Doubt I’ll be converting anyone into a spy thriller reader with this one too. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a decent read and definitely a surplus that he’s a real spy, who can better give as much detail as someone who’s been in the field? I had to google Humint and Sigint (signals intelligence) haha but they seem like essential spy-tools :-). Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? It’s definitely a pretty cool thing to have someone who has been in it to give us a story all about it. Awwww ye! I’m quite glad to hear someone even mention HUMINT and SIGNIT hahahah I purposely didn’t mention what they meant to let people go and discover what they stood for! 😀 Thank you so much for reading, Inge! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand! It wasn’t a perfect spy thriller for me so I just had to mention the shortcomings; at least those that I came across personally. But I really appreciate that you took the time to read my review nonetheless Nicole! Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? No better person to write a spy thriller! Then again, it’s no prerequisite to write spy thrillers though hahah Just like how Mario Puzo didn’t need to be part of the Mafia to write The Godfather! 😀 Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m going through a phase of struggling to sit still long enough to watch anything. But I’m looking forward to hitting the book shops/library next week. Will certainly be keeping an eye open for thrillers now.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oooh. How intriguing! This sounds like a complex spy thriller, indeed. I haven’t read any books I’d classify as a spy thriller, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested. I wonder if this is a good book to use as an introduction to the genre? Are there other books you’d recommend instead?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d say it’s a standard spy thriller that has all the ingredients to be considered good. An introduction.. Hmm.. Maybe.. I’ve only read 2 spy thrillers so far in my life I think though hahah I have maybe 5 of them in my bookshelves that I had always considered as excellent introductions to the genre though but never got to it yet. They’re all written by John Le Carré and he’s probably the one I’d refer anyone to if they want a good spy thriller. I’d look into his huge hits (which were also turned into movies) like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh I love the author’s background here and use of a pseudonym! That alone promises intrigue and sparks interest. You seem to really be enjoying the thrillers and exploring them lately? Or does it just seem that way? I may keep this as a thought on the back burner, but for some reason I struggle with spy thrillers and often avoid them. Excellent, thorough review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, the author’s background is pretty cool. I wonder if he’ll ever do book tours or sign books at conventions and all! 😮 The recent ones I’ve been reading were all ARCs and their release dates were all close to next other. It’s why I have so many back to back of them. I honestly can’t wait to get back to reading and reviewing fantasy and scifi novels hahahah Sort of tired of thrillers already and am probably going to decrease my requests for them by a lot this year. Fantasy and scifi is the way to go ❤ Thanks for reading Danielle!


  5. While I agree with others that I’m not a fan of spy thrillers (except John Le Carre of course!) and I think I will pass on this one… I was left wondering about the young Israeli man…! Umm what did he have to do with locating the traitor?! And Is the Russian the traitor or someone else you don’t know about as a reader?! So smart to lead with the author’s background Lashaan because I wanted to want to read it… 😉 This is a perfect review for someone who LOVES spy thrillers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I honestly don’t read spy thrillers much and have seen more movies than read books about spies too. I do want to read more John Le Carré though. I haven a bunch of his books on my bookshelves that I need to pick up. Hahah nice to see your curiosity was piqued! Pretty fascinating isn’t it? The author’s background is definitely a curious thing, and I’m sure we won’t be getting much more details about that any time soon! Thank you for reading Dani! I appreciate your awesome thoughts! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your graphics work is just so beautiful 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever read a spy novel before! I wonder if I’d like one. Maybe it would be a nice change? I bet it’s a well-paced genre. I haven’t even read the James Bond ones! 😀 have you read those or would you recommend those?

    Wow, APPROVED. That’s pretty incredible :0

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re too kind! It’s really beginner stuff though. An expert would probably laugh at how easy my stuff are hahaha Then again, I like that it’s easy for me to do cause if I put any MORE time into these things (and even attempt things that Trang does) I’d probably take A LOT of hours just for graphics.

      Ouuuh, who knows? Although based on what you tend to enjoy reading, I don’t think you’d suddenly be binging through spy thrillers though hahah I haven’t read any James Bond books yet and have ALWAYS wanted to read them, as well as a lot of John Le Carré’s books. If I were to recommend anything with James Bond, it would be to start from book 1, Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. As for John Le Carré, I’d recommend his classics, like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy!

      Thanks for reading, Evelina. ❤


    1. Yep. The writing was pretty good and because I could see how authentic it was, I enjoyed it. It was a nice spy thriller that had all the requisites to be one. Anything less and it could have been mediocre! Thanks for reading, Karina. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, yep. It’s nice to see that it’s not some marketing ploy either. Within the writing I could sort of tell that there’s a bit of non-fiction between the lines. Good stuff and well-worth picking up for anyone interested in a spy thriller not written by John Le Carré! 😛 Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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