A Thrilling Tale of Espionage, Friendship, and Unfinished Business

Former spy Maggie Bird, at 60, has settled in the seaside village of Purity, Maine, hoping to leave her dangerous past behind. She lives a quiet life on her chicken farm, enjoying cocktails with her close-knit group of friends—all retired CIA operatives. But when a body is dumped in her driveway, and someone takes shots at her, Maggie soon realizes her past isn’t done with her yet. Enlisting the help of her “Martini Club,” Maggie dives back into the world of espionage to uncover who’s trying to kill her and why. Complicating matters is Purity’s acting police chief, Jo Thibodeau, who is more used to handling rowdy tourists than homicides […]

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The Traitor Beside Her

This book had potential but ultimately fell short of expectations. Set in 1944, it follows 21-year-old Justine Byrne, who is recruited by US Army Intelligence, to work at Arlington Hall, a code-breaking facility to uncover a traitor. Initially, the premise promised a gripping WWII espionage thriller. Unfortunately, the execution didn’t live up to that promise. The pacing was inconsistent, with the plot dragging in places where it should have been tense and thrilling. The characters, especially Justine, lacked depth and development. Though portrayed as an intelligent woman, she came across as flat and one-dimensional. The historical setting was well-researched, but it often overshadowed the plot. The repetition of words throughout […]

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The Helsinki Affair: A Spy Thriller that Misses its Mark

I always get excited for a new spy thriller, but The Helsinki Affair didn’t quite hit the target. The setup was intriguing—Amanda Cole, a CIA agent in Rome, gets a tip about a planned assassination of a US Senator. The premise promises high stakes and international intrigue. However, the execution was lackluster. Amanda’s quest to unravel an international conspiracy after the assassination takes us on a whirlwind tour from Rome to Helsinki, yet the storytelling felt bogged down by too many details and awkward sentence structures. The narrative’s frequent point of view switches, especially noticeable in the audiobook, added to the confusion rather than the suspense. Halfway through, the novel […]

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Panama Canal Coup

I just finished Command and Control, a thrilling addition to the Jack Ryan series that kept me turning pages well into the night. The legacy of Tom Clancy lives on, and this book is proof that the spirit of Jack Ryan continues to captivate readers with its intense political and military scenarios. This time, the drama unfolds around the Panama Canal, an essential artery of global trade. The plot kicks off when President Jack Ryan is caught in the middle of a coup while visiting Panama to support his friend, President Rafael Botero, against socialist threats. What was supposed to be a routine display of democratic solidarity spirals into chaos, […]

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The Cellist

“A nuclear bomb can only be dropped once. But money can be wielded every day with no fallout and no threat of mutually assured destruction.”—Daniel Silva, The Cellist. I picked up The Cellist by Daniel Silva, hoping for the usual rollercoaster ride, but ended up feeling like I was stuck on a slow-moving tour bus. Look, I’m usually all in for Silva’s twists and turns, but this? This was a slog. First off, the whole vibe’s off. We’re back with billionaire Viktor Orlov, who’s up to his neck in trouble again. His London pad, supposedly tighter than Fort Knox, gets breached on what? A rainy evening? Come on. Then there’s […]

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Damascus Station

Author David McCloskey draws upon his own experiences as a CIA analyst in Syria, bringing authenticity to this spy thriller. He paints a vivid picture of the chaos and danger of international espionage and the chaos of the Syrian uprising—his understanding of tradecraft shines through every page. The plot centers on CIA operative Sam Joseph, who’s left reeling after a botched exfiltration in Syria. He’s shipped off to Paris to recruit Mariam Haddad, a Syrian Palace official, as a double agent. Cue the forbidden romance. The two go to Damascus to hunt down a brutal pair of brothers who kidnapped and killed an American spy. The chase brings the pair […]

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The Bucharest Dossier

As a book reviewer, one of the best parts of my job is discovering new authors. William Maz was an unknown name to me until The Bucharest Dossier landed in my hands, and I can now say I am a fan. This international espionage thriller follows Bill Hefflin, a Romanian expat who’s parents brought him to America as a child during the Cold War. After graduating from Harvard, he’s recruited by the CIA as an analyst. His skills are put to the test when he’s asked to return to Bucharest. It’s the start of the bloody 1989 uprising against Nicolae Ceaușescu, the Communist leader of the country. What unfolds is […]

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Enemy at the Gates

I’ve been a fan of the Mitch Rapp series ever since the first book hit the shelves in 1999. When Vince Flynn passed on after churning out thirteen fantastic books, I thought, “That’s it, the end of an era.” But then Kyle Mills stepped up to the plate, and while his first couple didn’t quite hit the mark for me, he’s found his groove with Enemy at the Gates. After two decades of covert ops and assassinations, Mitch is contemplating hanging up his spy hat. He’s feeling the wear and tear, has settled down with a family, and is not exactly fond of the new president. And this president, Anthony […]

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The Tehran Initiative

The Tehran Initiative by Joel C. Rosenberg is a gripping, action-packed thriller that picks up where The Twelfth Imam left off. In this book, things are even more intense as Iran conducts its first atomic weapons test, setting off a chain of events that could change the world as we know it. Millions of Muslims believe their long-awaited messiah, the “Twelfth Imam,” has arrived, sending shockwaves across the globe. Israeli leaders fear that Iran, under the influence of the Twelfth Imam, might launch a devastating nuclear attack. The president orders CIA agent David Shirazi to sabotage Iran’s nuclear warheads before Iran or Israel can launch a devastating first strike. The […]

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The Order

Israeli Spy Chief Gabriel Allon is on vacation in Venice with his wife and two young children when his friend, the reform-minded Pope Paul VII, dies suddenly. The Holy Father’s private secretary, Archbishop Luigi Donati, suspects foul play and summons Allon to the Vatican. What follows is a hunt for truth and justice. The Swiss Guard who was standing watch outside the papal apartments the night of the pope’s death is missing. So, too, is the letter the Holy Father was writing during the final hours of his life. A letter addressed to Gabriel. As the cardinals gather for the papal conclave, Allon investigates the murder and uncovers a vast […]

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