Who is Vera Kelly RGB HighRes.jpg

who is vera kelly?

New York City, 1962. Vera Kelly is struggling to make rent and blend into the underground gay scene in Greenwich Village. She's working night shifts at a radio station when her quick wits, sharp tongue, and technical skills get her noticed by a recruiter for the CIA. 

Next thing she knows she's in Argentina, tasked with wiretapping a congressman and infiltrating a group of student activists in Buenos Aires. As Vera becomes more and more enmeshed with the young radicals, the fragile local government begins to split at the seams. When a betrayal leaves her stranded in the wake of a coup, Vera learns the Cold War makes for strange and unexpected bedfellows, and she's forced to take extreme measures to save herself.


"Gripping, subtle, magnificently written... This is a cool, strolling boulevardier of a book, worldly, wry, unrushed but never slow, which casts its gaze upon the middle of the last century and forces us to consider how it might be failing us still." -- Charles Finch, The New York Times Book Review

"How's this for a mash-up? Knecht's novel is a slow-burn espionage thriller, a complex treatment of queer identity, and an immersive period piece all rolled into one delectable page-turner." -- David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly

"Who Is Vera Kelly? is the twisty, literary, woman-driven spy novel you've always wanted to read. Vera Kelly hopscotches from Brooklyn to Buenos Aires, fueled by gin and cigarettes, on the run from her past and equipped with a case of listening devices. But this is no ordinary adventure novel: Rosalie Knecht is a sensitive and gifted writer with a lyrical voice that imbues this dazzling novel unexpected emotional depth." —Amy Stewart, New York Times bestselling author of Girl Waits With Gun

“Rosalie Knecht has created a truly fresh and original take on the spy novel, full of suspense and surprise and beautifully observed details of its cold war setting. Best of all is Vera herself, a memorable heroine who seems destined to become an icon of the genre. This is a remarkable and wonderful book!” —Dan Chaon, New York Times bestselling author of Ill Will

“Sardonic, intelligent, and thrillingly original, Rosalie Knecht has not only revitalized the female spy novel with her feisty, indeterminable heroine, she’s also joyfully queered it. I loved this book and I loved Vera. Read this book right now!" —Courtney Maum, author of I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You

“When we first meet Vera Kelly, she’s a troubled 1950s teenager who’s overdosed on Equanil. Next she’s in explosive 1960s Buenos Aires after being recruited by the CIA (“I could be charming if I wanted to. There were basic tricks”). Her past and present are told in alternating chapters, with all the edgy fun of classic noir but in an original voice that’s fresh, brisk, and snappy. Hugely buzzing.” —Library Journal, Most Anticipated Books of Spring/Summer