Jason Matthews, an award-winning spy novelist who drew upon his long career in espionage and his admiration for John le Carre among others in crafting his popular "Red Sparrow” thrillers, has died at age 69. Matthews died Wednesday from Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD), a rare, untreatable neurodegenerative disease, according to his publisher, Scribner. "How a bestselling, critically-acclaimed spy novelist sprung from the head of a quiet CIA operations officer appeared to be a great mystery," Colin Harrison, Matthews’ editor at Scribner, said in a statement. "But when you learned Jason Matthews spoke six languages, had read widely for decades, was an astute observer of human behavior, and was adept at composing long classified narratives, it all made sense. His books were not only sophisticated masterpieces of plot and spy craft, but investigations into human nature, especially desire in all its forms." Matthews worked 33 years in the CIA’s highly secretive Operations Directorate before retiring a decade ago and following the path of such authors as le Carre and Charles McCarry in fictionalizing their time in intelligence. "Red Sparrow," published in 2013, was a neo-Cold War tale that introduced readers to CIA man Nathaniel Nash and to the former Russian ballerina Dominika… Read full this story
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