Anonymous Sources

Anonymous Sources

by Mary Louise Kelly


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In this exciting and “fast-paced thriller that is hard to put down” (Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA), a young reporter must match wits with spies, assassins, and a terrorist sleeper cell that is targeting the very heart of American power.

When Boston reporter Alexandra James is assigned to cover the death of Thom Carlyle, the son of a powerful Washington insider, she soon discovers the story is not as simple as it seems. The young man fell from the top of a Harvard bell tower, but did he jump…or was he pushed?

Focused on what could be the story of a lifetime, Alex chases leads from Harvard Yard to the courtyards of Cambridge, England, from a clandestine rendezvous in London to the inside of a nuclear terrorist network. But when she goes to Washington, DC for a key interview that promises to tie everything together, Alex the hunter becomes Alex the hunted: an assassin is dispatched…her laptop disappears…her phone is tapped. And she begins to grasp that Thom Carlyle may have been killed to hide a terrifying conspiracy within the White House itself.

NPR National Security correspondent Mary Louise Kelly has turned her own real-life reporting adventures into fiction with this stylish spy thriller that is “great fun, from beginning to end” (The Washington Post).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476715551
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 03/04/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 938,539
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Mary Louise Kelly has written two novels, The Bullet and Anonymous Sources, and spent two decades traveling the world as a reporter for NPR and the BBC. As an NPR correspondent covering the intelligence beat and the Pentagon, she has reported on wars, terrorism, and rising nuclear powers. A Georgia native, Kelly was educated at Harvard and at Cambridge University in England. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and their two children. Learn more at

Read an Excerpt

Anonymous Sources


    Thomas Carlyle climbed the bell tower that night without quite planning to.

    He’d arrived back in Cambridge two hours before, stiff and cranky after the long flight crammed in economy class. No one was home at the house on Brattle Street. Old pizza menus were gathering dust on the floor of the front hall, and nothing was in the fridge but a withered apple and several dozen cans of his mother’s Diet Coke. So he’d dumped his bags and headed out. Fifteen minutes’ walk to the local liquor store, and then—some old homing instinct kicking in here—another ten to Eliot House.

    Eliot looked the same. Perhaps the most imposing of Harvard’s dorms, it towered above the Charles River. Red brick, wide double doors, an overflowing bike rack out front. Students lounged outside the doors, smoking and giggling. Summer school must have started.

    Thom caught the open door from one of them, nodded at the familiar-looking security guard, and turned right into the dining hall. It smelled of seafood—fish tacos, maybe—and frying onions. Dinner was in full swing.

    Thom had eaten hundreds of dinners here, and fish tacos were among his favorites. But tonight he clutched his brown paper bag and headed straight for the far doors, through an archway, and toward the stairs marked H-ENTRY.

    He took the stairs two or three at a time, up five flights. Then he cut down a hallway toward the door marked LEONARD BERNSTEIN ’39, MUSIC ROOM AND TOWER.

    He dug in his jeans pocket for the key. It turned. So the lock hadn’t changed either. Two more flights, darker and narrower now. The linoleum was worn thin and stained.

    When he reached the seventh floor, a small metal plaque informed him that Bernstein used to practice here in 1936. Yes, and it didn’t look like they’d bothered to redecorate it since, Thom thought to himself. He smiled. He was in decent spirits, actually, considering the jet lag, and the girl. At the top, one last door. He jiggled the lock and it swung open.

    The tower room was small. Dusty. Low ceilings. Surprising, really, given the grandeur of the Eliot tower and dome from the street. In the fading light Thom took in the grand piano hulking in the middle of the room. He’d always wondered how the hell they’d hauled it up here.

    But the reason he’d come was for the windows. Two huge and perfectly circular windows, each maybe six feet across, one framing each end of the room. The right one was long since painted shut, if it had ever opened. But the left one bore two ancient-looking brass latches. Thom unhooked them and then remembered to kick at the bottom panes, where the paint always stuck a bit. And there it was. The whole window spun open on creaky hinges. He wedged his paper bag into the crack to keep the breeze from slamming it shut again, then hooked a leg over, lowered himself onto the sill, and peered down across the steep slate roof.

    Senior year, he and his roommate, Joe, sometimes crawled right out across the roof, inching along until they could straddle the dormer windows. They would knock back a few beers and watch the girls crossing the courtyard, their laughter and teasing voices floating up from far below.

    Now he looked down at the Charles River, curving toward Boston and glowing golden at this hour. On the far bank rose the dome of Harvard Business School. Thom’s destiny, the way things were going. He shook the thought from his head and cracked open one of the bottles he’d purchased, walking here through Harvard Square. A thick, syrupy oatmeal stout. Not exactly the thing for this summer weather. But studying in England this past year, he’d lost his taste for the watery American lager that had been the staple of his weekends here in Eliot House.

    Thom took another sip and watched the boats gliding along the Charles. Lord knew how many hours he himself had logged on this river. By the time he made varsity crew, the boathouse had felt more central to his college experience than any library, and the blisters across his hands had hardened like tiny stones. A sculler flitted past, then an eight-man crew. Was that Boston University? But why would they be practicing so late, and on summer break at that?

    He squinted and craned forward, trying to make out what colors were painted on the oars. It was at that moment that hands reached from the shadows behind him. The blow landed at the bottom of his skull. A crack of wood against bone. There was a moment of perfect silence, before Thom swung his strong arms, clawing behind him. But the foot was already on his back. One kick, but hard enough to launch him off the sill and onto the roof ten feet down.

    He crashed into the pointed tip of a dormer window and rolled, grabbing for a gutter, a ledge, anything. There was nothing, and he fell, wide-eyed, into the gathering twilight below.

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    Anonymous Sources 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is a great summer read written by a reporter who appears to have actually visited all the locations in the novel. As a reader who reads prodigiously many spy thrillers, this book rang true and at the same time frightened me with scenerios that I had never considered and certainly didn't know existed. Did anyone else know bananas were a threat to our national security? I loved the Hyde character and could really "see" him in this book. The novel flows along well and reaches a cresendo that makes the reader find the last chapters impossible to put down. A fantastic first novel by a writer to watch for.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    WOW!  This is the beach read of the summer.  This book has it all: thrills, plot twists, spies, sex, Italian shoes, assassins, and guess what: it is really well written.  It was recommended to me by a friend in my book club and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.  Stayed up to 2 a.m. on a week night to finish it.  Recommending to everyone I can find.  The details are all so realistic--you really feel you are in the CIA headquarters, or a Cambridge college--the characters are intriguing and sometimes outrageous without being caricatures, and the plot leaves you breathless (as the heroine races from location to location to foil a plot) without seeming cliched.  A definite must buy.  Can't wait for the sequel!  And the movie!  
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Best read of the year Ms Kelly’s debut novel certainly leaves her audience calling for more. Taut, fast paced writing, with a quirky lead character that many women will identify with, breezes through a believable tale as a reluctant heroine. The plot gives us an insight into a world most of us have no idea about but importantly it rings true. I know nothing about the workings of the CIA or National Security but the story line felt completely believable without ever seeming far fetched. It takes us on a journey across the globe as Kelly seamlessly ends each chapter making you want to read on, hence the reason for devouring it in one sitting. A touch of humour thrown in for good measure and here is a book that is surely the start of a series. Expect Alyson Hannigan or Alicia Witt to play the lead in the movie that will surely follow.
    guinevereBN More than 1 year ago
    This book was so much fun to read. Her writing is so fresh and I cannot wait for Mary Louise Kelly's next book!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Beautifulky written
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    What a page turner. The heroine is so real, smart and funny and damaged. I look forward to more of her in future reads!
    1dachsmom More than 1 year ago
    A MUST READ!!!! FANTASTIC BOOK. Will add her to my favorite authors. Don't miss this one!!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    So good loved all the twist and turns, had good characters Took awile to figure Really enjoyed this book
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The plot was put together very cleverly with a host of characters. Good insight into press workings in covering and uncovering a potential story. Good read but The Bullet by her is better work.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    All i can say is i cannot wait until her next book Great plot and character development; a real page turner Highly recommend!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    It was thrilling, gripping and engaging. I, too, stayed up late on a week (work) night to read tge book. I can't wait to read her second book.
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I know.