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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Catching a Russian Spy

Catching a Russian Spy

Agent Leslie G. Wiser Jr. and the Case of Aldrich Ames

FBI Files (Volume 2)

Bryan Denson

Roaring Brook Press


In Catching a Russian Spy, Bryan Denson presents the story of the FBI's investigation of Aldrich Ames, and brings to life Agent Les Wiser, Jr., the agent who helped bring him to justice.

Aldrich H. "Rick" Ames was a 31-year veteran of the CIA. He was also a Russian spy. By the time Ames was arrested in 1994, he had betrayed the identities of dozens and caused the deaths of ten agents. The notorious KGB (and later the Russian intelligence service, SVR) paid him millions of dollars.

Agent Leslie G. “Les” Wiser, Jr. ran the FBI's Nightmover investigation tasked with uncovering a mole in the CIA. The team worked night and day to collect evidence—sneaking into Ames' home, hiding a homing beacon in his Jaguar, and installing a video camera above his desk. But the spy kept one step ahead, even after agents followed him to Bogota, Colombia. In a crazy twist, the FBI would score its biggest clue from inside Ames' garbage can.

At the time of his arrest on February 21, 1994, he had compromised more highly-classified CIA assets than any other agent in history.

First in the FBI Files, a true-crime series for middle grade readers that follows FBI agents behind the scenes as they work to keep Americans safe.


The very worst day of Special Agent Leslie G. “Les” Wiser’s long career in the FBI came on a warm, cloudy Thursday in September 1993.

Wiser, a veteran spy hunter, was on the biggest case of his life....

Praise for Catching a Russian Spy

Praise for The Unabomber: Agent Kathy Puckett and the Hunt for a Serial Bomber
"This page-turning true-crime narrative takes readers behind the scenes of the detailed work, decision-making, and sometimes luck that go into solving difficult cases. The writing is lively, and the principal players are fully dimensional." - Kirkus

"Denson's well-written, well-researched book engages readers from the beginning and builds suspense as the case hits dead-ends again and again. His lengthy important background and insight into how they solved the case, grounding this true-crime account firmly in facts." - Booklist

"Denson’s text delivers true-crime thrills generally reserved for older readers but packaged here in streamlined content and accessible text, laced with a well-chosen selection of photographs and document reproductions." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"The text, pacing, and topic are accessible to reluctant readers, and the back matter features a wide array of resources and additional reading... An enthralling, well-researched introduction to true crime for upper elementary/middle school readers." - School Library Journal


Reviews from Goodreads

Bryan Denson

Bryan Denson is an award-winning journalist and the author of The Spy’s Son. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting and winner of the George Polk Award. Bryan contributes stories to Newsweek and serves as a special correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. FBI Files is Bryan’s first series for young readers. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

image of Bryan Densono
Beth Nakamura

Roaring Brook Press

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