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The Spy Coast


The Spy Coast

Fans of Tess Gerritsen and her work must have been chomping at the bit for THE SPY COAST, her first true foray into spy fiction. She already has amassed millions of fans who love her diverse work, particularly the wildly popular Rizzoli & Isles series. Well, I am happy to report that you now have a new favorite protagonist to root for.

Maggie Bird is an ex-CIA operative who is simply looking to live out the rest of her days in the quiet and pastoral solitude of Purity, Maine, with her biggest decision each day being what time to feed her flock of prized chickens. Unfortunately for Maggie, the biggest fear that every retired spy has comes true as it appears that her cover is blown and someone from her past has found her.

"I am thrilled that Gerritsen has decided to make this a series. She is so good at the spy game and has created characters who are immediately engaging and interesting."

Just 10 days prior to the events of this story, we read a passage set in Paris featuring a woman named Diana who seems to be in big trouble. A mission she was on has gone bad, and the fallout from it is still to be determined. Perhaps this is why Maggie’s past has converged with her present.

The excitement begins when Callie, the 14-year-old granddaughter of her neighbor Luther, informs Maggie that she overheard some stranger asking for her address at the post office. All Callie remembers is that she was a young woman. Immediately, Maggie’s antennas are raised, and she wonders if this is a friend or a foe. Regardless of their allegiance, she just wants to be left alone.

The stranger in question turns up at Maggie’s place, and we learn her name is Bianca. Her visit is a friendly one as she wants to know if Maggie has any idea where Diana might be. Maggie indicates that she has not seen or heard from her in 16 years and is completely out of touch with that world. She also did not really care for Diana when they worked together and will not go to any great lengths to involve herself in Bianca’s search.

Not long after this encounter, Maggie gets a call from Luther while she is visiting with some friends for their monthly book club. She urges Maggie to come home as there are police cars all over her driveway. When she gets there, Maggie is met by Purity’s acting police chief, Jo Thibodeau, who points out that there is a dead woman in her driveway, shot in the head. The victim is none other than the mysterious Bianca.

Maggie asserts that she only met this woman earlier that morning and was not present at the presumed time of death. Jo buys that for the moment but feels strongly that Maggie knows more than she is sharing. Maggie reports this startling development to her book club friends, all of whom are former spies trying to make a nice retirement in Purity. Now, this unfortunate murder is used to spring the group to action, and the self-proclaimed “Martini Club” is back in the game, at least temporarily.

Maggie needs to look into her own past to try to determine how she could be linked to any of this. This is all done via some terrific passages set decades prior when a young Maggie claims to be working for a European import company. She proceeds to fall for a British doctor who may or may not have nefarious ties to some important and deadly people, including Russian spies who her team is working against.

This all propels THE SPY COAST into some top-flight moments of suspense. Readers can just sit back and wait for the next danger or past revelation to drop into Maggie’s lap. The question will be whether or not she and her crew of fellow retirees still has what it takes to overcome these obstacles and walk away unscathed. I am thrilled that Gerritsen has decided to make this a series. She is so good at the spy game and has created characters who are immediately engaging and interesting.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on November 3, 2023

The Spy Coast
by Tess Gerritsen

  • Publication Date: November 1, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
  • ISBN-10: 166251512X
  • ISBN-13: 9781662515125