Q&A with Matthew Quirk, author of The Night Agent

Matthew Quirk is a New York Times bestselling author whose newest thriller, The Night Agent, is now on sale. Quirk studied history and literature at Harvard College. After graduation, he spent five years at The Atlantic reporting on crime, private military contractors, terrorism prosecutions, and international gangs. He lives in San Diego.

About The Night Agent

No one was more surprised than FBI Agent Peter Sutherland when he’s tapped to work in the White House Situation Room. From his earliest days as a surveillance specialist, Peter has scrupulously done everything by the book, hoping his record will help him escape the taint of his past. When Peter was a boy, his father, a section chief in FBI counterintelligence, was suspected of selling secrets to the Russians—a catastrophic breach that had cost him his career, his reputation, and eventually his life.

Peter knows intimately how one broken rule can cost lives. Nowhere is he more vigilant than in this room, the sanctum of America’s secrets. Staffing the night action desk, his job is monitoring an emergency line for a call that has not—and might never—come.

Until tonight.

At 1:05 a.m. the phone rings. A terrified young woman named Rose tells Peter that her aunt and uncle have just been murdered and that the killer is still in the house with her. Before their deaths, they gave her this phone number with urgent instructions: “Tell them OSPREY was right. It’s happening. . . “

The call thrusts Peter into the heart of a conspiracy years in the making, involving a Russian mole at the highest levels of the government. Anyone in the White House could be the traitor. Anyone could be corrupted. To save the nation, Peter must take the rules into his own hands and do the right thing, no matter the cost. He plunges into a desperate hunt for the traitor—a treacherous odyssey that pits him and Rose against some of Russia’s most skilled and ruthless operatives and the full force of the FBI itself.

Peter knows that the wider a secret is broadcast, the more dangerous it gets for the people at the center. With the fate of the country on the line, he and Rose must evade seasoned assassins and maneuver past jolting betrayals to find the shocking truth—and stop the threat from inside before it’s too late.

Recently, Matthew Quirk took the time to answer some of CrimeHQ’s questions about his new thriller, his inspirations, and more!

Every night, Peter’s job is to wait by a phone that never rings — as Sisyphean a task of monotony that we could imagine, so we must ask: What’s the most mundane job you’ve ever held?

That’s based on my FBI friend’s real job! During high school, I drove a launch and took people out to their boats in a big mooring field in the Sandy Hook Bay, in New Jersey. It was great: puttering back and forth piloting this mini-tugboat-looking launch or on the rainy days sitting in a hut on a dock and reading.

Of course, eventually the phone must ring, and for Peter, everything goes wrong with just one phone call. Who is the last person you’d ever want to hear from on the other side of a phone call?

My wife, or anyone in my family, calling from a hospital with grave news.

Very few things elicit as much suspense as a character on the run. What are some other books you’d recommend in that sub-genre?

Marathon Man was an early inspiration for me. The Thirty-Nine Steps is a classic. I also loved Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta and No Country for Old Men, book and film.

Will we see more of Peter Sutherland?

No immediate plans. I was talking with some TV/film people about it and then while out on a walk a whole arc for him and Rose popped into my head, so we’ll see. I’d love to spend more time with those two.

If you could team Peter up with any other fictional character, who would you choose to help him through his troubles?

Anyone! So hard to pick. Huck Finn. Wodehouse’s Jeeves. Nora Charles. Or maybe Buck from Call of the Wild; I really miss him.

Describe The Night Agent in five words.

Spy’s son hunts mole, redemption.

What television show are you currently binging?

I’ve been reading like crazy and don’t have a show going right now. My last binges were Babylon Berlin on Netflix and Succession on HBO. Both are excellent.

What would be your murder weapon of choice?

Ricin, from the castor plant. If it’s good enough for the KGB, it’s good enough for me.

Photo Credit: Mark Finkenstaedt

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of The Night Agent by Matthew Quirk!

To enter, make sure you’re a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

The Night Agent Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/interview-with-matthew-quirk-author-of-the-night-agent beginning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) January 15, 2018. Sweepstakes ends at 9:29 a.m. ET January 29, 2019. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


  1. Barbara Bibel

    Sounds like a great read!

  2. elvinoray


  3. Julie Toller

    Sounds fun

  4. Mary Smith

    Would love to read this!

  5. Kate Vocke

    Yes please! Sounds like my kinda book!

  6. Tiffany

    Would love to read, sounds great!

  7. MM

    Thank you for the opportunity to win!

  8. Linda


  9. Liz

    This sounds so good!

  10. Elena

    This crime-suspense sounds thrilling! Thanks for the chance =)

  11. Trisha McCullough

    Ohhh, I love political spy thrillers. Sounds awesome!

  12. ravensfan

    I’d love to win this book.

  13. Becky Shemeley

    Sounds like an awesome crime-thriller to add to my TBR list!

  14. Jackie Wisherd

    My local newspaper just had a big article about this author and this book. After reading the article I wanted to read the book. Hope I get the chance.

  15. Mary Woods

    Sounds like a great read.and one I would definitely like to read!

  16. kathy

    Great plot. Can’t wait to read it.

  17. Karen Parisot

    I bet this will be an amazing read!

  18. Thomas Cole

    I’m looking forward to reading this book. What a great sounding plot. I am looking forward to pick up and read.a

  19. Jean Feingold

    Nothing like a conspiracy

  20. Matthew Rodman

    Marvelous plot

  21. Lana Maskus

    I’m not too much of a crime, mystery, or thriller reader, but this sounds interesting.

  22. Paul Gada


  23. carloshmarlo

    That boat job sounds wonderful, I’d have loved doing that! Were the boat owners good tippers by any chance? Thanks!

  24. David Male Siegel

    Good read, I bet.

  25. Emma Cazabonne

    This sounds like an irresistible FBI book! Thanks for the chance to win it

  26. April

    Compelling plot

  27. Pearl

    Intriguing and enthralling.

  28. lasvegasnv


  29. Darlene Slocum

    This sounds like one you would not like to put down, reading way past bedtime.

  30. Stephanie L Nelson

    This sounds like a great book!


    Given the current political climate, conspiracy and secret survellience, fbi and mystery have an added cachet as up to the minute and timely fun reads. Would love to add this to my to read pile of books.

  32. Rita Newhouse

    I just finished reading The Silent Patient, and although I usually figure out early on what the ending will be, I did not this time and was quite surprised. And so, I would very much like to read Mr. Quirk’s latest book,The Night Agent. The subject is apropos to the situation at present in Washington with the FBI’s probe as to whether the current president has been working for Russia. With a masters in history, this would be my kind of fictional read.

  33. Barbara Raeuber

    I love political thrillers!

  34. bill norris

    sounds like a fun read.

  35. John Smith

    Maybe “Marathon Man” and “The Thirty-Nine Steps” could be combined somehow!

  36. Suzanne McMannis

    rings excellently

  37. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  38. Bill Siravo Sr

    Looks like today’s news.

  39. Joye

    I have read this author and his books are really good

  40. Susanne Troop

    Love a good book!

  41. Nicole seabolt

    Love this type of book

  42. Cindi Hoppes

    A man with an exciting, yet, unknown past… You had me at the main character, and this is my favorite genre.
    Thank you, Cindi

  43. nancy burgess

    Sounds like a great read.

  44. Janet Gould

    great interview

  45. Louis Burklow

    This book sounds great and I think I’ll want to see more of Peter.

  46. Peter W.

    Ricin! Yes!

  47. Cathy Mullican

    Sounds good!

  48. April Shuffler

    This book sounds like it’s right up my alley!! I would love to win a copy to read!! My fingers are crossed.

  49. Susan Morris

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this book!

  50. Kathleen James

    Wow! Just reading the synopsis is getting my heart rate up. I need this book!

  51. Renee Nash

    This sounds like a great read! TY for the contest & chance to win.

  52. Jodi Scott

    I love political thrillers!

  53. Daniel L Carr

    I love a good thrill !

  54. Sally Schmidt

    Sounds like a good read, haven’t read a good one in a while.

  55. Jane Schwarz

    Sounds like a thrilling read. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  56. Jane Cole

    Sounds very interesting!

  57. Michael Shulman

    Sounds interesting

  58. susan beamon

    My library needs a copy of that book.

  59. Rebecca Mensinga

    Sounds interesting!

  60. Lori P

    This would be especially interesting in light of our crazy times!

  61. Robert Grieco

    Love this author!

  62. Doug P

    Mole hunting! I’m in.

  63. Dawn R Byers

    Looks good – add me to this contest

  64. Lesley

    Sounds really good!

  65. Diane Seitz

    My kind of book. Sounds like it will be great reading. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  66. William Hamilton

    I have read all of his previous books. Look forward to his latest.

  67. Daniel M

    sounds like a fun one

  68. Karen Terry

    Sounds like a great read.

  69. Andrew Beck

    Matthew Quirk is quite the clever writer and I am sure that The Night Agent will not disappoint!

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