high quality American 2021 2021 Spy: A Novel online

high quality American 2021 2021 Spy: A Novel online

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American Spy updates the espionage thriller with blazing originality.”—Entertainment Weekly
“There has never been anything like it.”—Marlon James, GQ
“So much fun . . . Like the best of John le Carré, it’s extremely tough to put down.”—NPR

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY CHICAGO TRIBUNE AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time • NPR • Entertainment Weekly • Esquire BuzzFeed • Vulture Real Simple • Good Housekeeping • The New York Public Library

What if your sense of duty required you to betray the man you love? 


It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant, but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club. Her career has stalled out, she’s overlooked for every high-profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Sankara is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent.

In the year that follows, Marie will observe Sankara, seduce him, and ultimately have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American.

Inspired by true events—Thomas Sankara is known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”— American Spy knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance. This is a face of the Cold War you’ve never seen before, and it introduces a powerful new literary voice.

NOMINATED FOR THE NAACP IMAGE AWARD • Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize


“Spy fiction plus allegory, and a splash of pan-Africanism. What could go wrong? As it happens, very little. Clever, bracing, darkly funny, and really, really good.” —Ta-Nehisi Coates

“Inspired by real events, this espionage thriller ticks all the right boxes, delivering a sexually charged interrogation of both politics and race.” Esquire

“Echoing the stoic cynicism of Hurston and Ellison, and the verve of Conan Doyle, American Spy lays our complicities—political, racial, and sexual—bare. Packed with unforgettable characters, it’s a stunning book, timely as it is timeless.” —Paul Beatty, Man Booker Prizewinning author of The Sellout

Amazon.com Review


Editors'' pick: Things get very complicated for Marie Mitchell when she seizes an opportunity to go around the Old Boys'' Club in this Cold War spy novel." —Chris Schluep, Amazon Editor

Review

“An expertly written spy thriller . . . that tackles issues of politics, race and gender . . . Like the best of John le Carré, it’s extremely tough to put down. It marks the debut of an immensely talented writer who’s refreshingly unafraid to take risks, and has the skills to make those risks pay off.” —NPR

“For the novel’s engaging intelligence and serious reckoning with the world’s postwar order, Wilkinson deserves the comparisons to John le Carré she’s already receiving. But in bringing a virtually unheard-from fictional viewpoint to espionage literature, she has reinvigorated the genre.” Time

“Lauren Wilkinson’s  American Spy, inspired by true events, is a thrilling, original read.” Real Simple

“It might seem hyperbolic to say that this book is riveting and thrilling from the very first page, except that it totally is. . . . It’s a refreshing take on an espionage story—No icy Russian tundra! A black female spy!—that’s sexy and suspenseful in equal measure.” —Samantha Irby, Marie Claire

“Wilkinson takes readers down a path of danger, seduction and patriotism.” Essence

“Lauren Wilkinson reminds us of a less-covered side of the Cold War with her debut set in 1986 Africa. FBI agent Marie Mitchell is stationed in Burkina Faso, and when she’s assigned to shadow Thomas Sankara, ‘Africa’s Che Guevara,’ the personal, political and professional collide for her in unforgettable ways.” The Washington Post

“A complex and powerful work . . . The espionage plot that eventually drives the action is only one component in this ambitious, multifaceted novel.” Shelf Awareness

“An excellent spy novel that is unlike every other spy novel I’ve read. . . .  This is a great read for fans of literary mystery, character driven novels, and historical fiction–especially focusing on history that never gets taught.” Book Riot

“A gutsy new thriller . . . challenging boundaries is what brave fiction does, and Wilkinson proves confident enough to carry it off.” The New York Times

American Spy updates the espionage thriller with blazing originality.” Entertainment Weekly

“[In] this genre-defying novel . . . Marie’s journey into the moral and spiritual morass of espionage is inventive . . . Unlike the heroes of John Le Carré’s novels, Marie must also grapple with the cognitive dissonance of serving a country in which she is regarded as a second-class citizen.” Vulture

“An excitingly sharp debut novel by the talented newcomer Lauren Wilkinson . . . Rest assured that  American Spy will not only keep you turning the pages, it will do much more than that. Wilkinson steeps her thriller in a complicated awareness of huge, thorny themes: race, Cold War amorality, the politics of our intelligence services and the ease with which we can become complicit with deeds we actually abhor.” —NPR “Fresh Air”

About the Author

Lauren Wilkinson earned an MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University, and has taught writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She was a 2013 Center for Fiction Emerging Writers Fellow, and has also received support from the MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Wilkinson grew up in New York and lives on the Lower East Side. This is her first novel.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

Connecticut, 1992

I unlocked the safe beneath my desk, grabbed my old service automatic, and crept toward my bedroom doorway, stealthy until I was brought to grief by a Lego Duplo that stung the sole of my foot. I hobbled the rest of the way to the door and crouched behind it.

A few moments passed, just enough time for me to feel ridiculous. I told myself that what I’d heard was the house settling. That was always what it wound up being.

The room was still and dark; the only light was from the moon. Poochini, our German shepherd mix, was closed in your bedroom with you. He let out a single, cautious bark. I heard the whoosh of tires on asphalt—­a car passing on the Boston Post Road, which was hidden just behind the tangle of woods at the back of our small house. Then it was quiet again.

That night I’d been up late working on a translation at the desk in my room, so it was after two when I’d finally shut off the light and climbed into bed. I hadn’t been able to sleep. As I was staring at the ceiling, I’d thought I’d heard a floorboard creak in the hall. Instinctively, I’d climbed out of bed and gone for my gun.

Your room was across from my own. I pictured you both asleep, and told myself I was being irrational. I told myself we were safe.

Then a man appeared in my bedroom, and my heart picked up speed as I watched him approach my bed. I lunged low at him from behind, toppling him to the floor with a crash. His gun thudded against the hardwood and disappeared into the darkness. He tried to stand, but I climbed on him, pinned him down. His lean, hard body bucked beneath mine. He shoved me off and my back collided with the bedside table. My lamp clattered to the floor. I’d lost my gun too. I tried to get to my feet, but he grabbed a handful of my hair and yanked me back down. He rolled on top of me and his hands searched for my neck. They found my mouth instead, and I bit him so hard he screamed. Spat out an expletive that was the first word uttered by either of us. I clawed the skin I could get at—­his face, his arms—­and struggled against his weight. He went for my neck again, and as he started to squeeze I reached behind me, flailing my arms, hoping to find the fallen lamp in the dark; instead my fingers curled around a 9mm that didn’t belong to me. I lifted it to the man’s temple. Squeezed the trigger.

The sound of the shot exploded through our quiet house. He crumpled and his weight pressed me down against the hardwood, suffocating me. I heard Poochini race into the room and your footsteps in the hall. Gasping, I struggled to push the heavy body off me, then went to turn on the overhead light and lock the door so you couldn’t see inside my room. My breath came hard and fast as I looked at the body.

“Maman?” one of you called from the hall.

“Stay there,” I barely managed to choke out, still coughing. My voice was raw and constricted from the violence done to my throat. And my senses were surreally sharp, the effect of the adrenaline coursing through me. I felt like I could see more clearly than I ever had before, and smell more keenly: The tangy scent of his blood and sweat in the air were oppressively strong. I looked at his face. Much of it was missing, but I didn’t think I recognized him. Poochini watched me check his pockets for ID, but found none. It didn’t matter—­I knew who’d sent him.

“I’m coming right now,” I called to you two as I searched for my gun. I locked it back in the safe, and took the man’s with me. Poochini followed me out of the bedroom and tracked bloody dog prints all over the wood floor. I pulled the door closed behind me.

William, you were there blinking against the bright light; Tommy, you were peeking out from your room, half hidden behind the doorframe. I realized the phone was ringing.

“Blood,” you said, William, and pointed at my face.

“It’s okay,” I said. “I’m okay.” I sped down the hall, crossed the living room to the front door, and stepped outside. Peered out into the dark, but didn’t see anyone or any unfamiliar cars. I went back inside. You’d followed and were standing in the foyer. Tommy, you were crying. I wanted to pick you up but didn’t because of the blood on my clothes.

“We’re safe,” I said, hoping to soothe you as I made a circuit around the living room, Poochini following in my wake as I looked for the man’s point of entry.

I went back down the hall and into the bathroom. He’d come in through the window there. I stared at the broken glass, then looked at my reflection in the medicine cabinet. There was blood on my face and neck and T-­shirt. The man had choked me so hard that he’d broken blood vessels in my cheek. I turned on the tap; as I was washing my face, the phone sounded again. I picked up the living room extension, as if in a trance. My neighbor Irena was on the line. She lived next door, close enough to have heard the shot.

“Marie! I’ve been calling. Thank god, you’re all right.” Because she was panicked, her Polish accent was especially pronounced. Irena was around my mother’s age. I went to her house sometimes to sit at her kitchen table, sip coffee, and gossip. We were bonded as conspirators. Outsiders. Neither of us was the type to talk about our past, but I’d picked up on the little hints that suggested she’d seen mayhem in her life: There weren’t many retirees in that sleepy town who could so confidently identify the sound of a gunshot in the middle of the night.

I told her I was fine, then hung up abruptly because I’d heard a siren approaching. Irena must’ve called the police. I ushered you both back to your room, told you to wait there with Poochini. The bell rang.

“Marie Mitchell?” a cop called through the front door, and rapped on it once before kicking it open. As I was pulling your door closed, several sets of boots stomped through my living room. Three cops appeared at the mouth of the hall, trapping me. All three had their weapons drawn. Still holding the gun, I put up my hands.

Two of the cops stayed at the end of the hall while the third approached me. “Put the weapon down!” he ordered. “Put it down!”

“Listen, sir, my sons are in the house,” I said as I bent to put the gun on the floor. You both were shrieking with fear.

“Do you have any other weapons on you?” he asked.

“They’re behind this door. They’re just little boys. They’re four. Please don’t—­”

“Shut your mouth and answer the question,” he barked. “Anything else on you that could be a danger to us?”

“No, sir.”

The cop pressed me hard against the wall, and pain flashed through my bruised chest. As he searched me roughly, I stayed passive and compliant. He was twice my size, but if he’d shot me, they’d say in the report that it was because I posed a threat to him.

“What happened?”

Speaking as calmly as I could, not wanting to alarm him I said, “He’s in my room, sir. He was going to kill me. I live here.”

“Who is?”

“I don’t know, sir. But he’s dead.” I added, “My father’s a cop. His shield’s in my purse.” I kept a replica in a pouch with my insurance and registration, so if I ever got stopped in the car, I could casually flash it while handing over my documents.

The first cop glanced back to the other two. “She’s clear.”

As they holstered their guns, I asked if they wanted me to get the shield. The first cop shook his head. All three had finally started to relax.

“Which room’s the body in? This one?” He had his hand on the knob to my bedroom door. I nodded quickly. He opened it and went inside.

“Can I go in my sons’ room?” I asked one of the other cops, who nodded.

“Maman, I’m scared,” you said, Tommy, and clung to me.

“I know.” Not caring about the blood anymore, I crouched to put my arms around you both. I held you for as long as I could and kissed you. Then I quickly packed a backpack and shepherded the two of you and the dog out into the hall. You both tensed at the sight of the policeman. Tommy, I had to pick you up because you wouldn’t walk.

“Don’t go too far,” one of the cops called after me as I was leaving. At Irena’s house, she opened the door and threw her arms around me despite the state of my clothes. She was the only person living on our cul-­de-­sac that I genuinely liked.

“I have to go to the hospital.”

She hugged me again; I must’ve sounded dazed. She said, “They can stay here as long as you need.”

Before I left, I went to Irena’s kitchen, to her bedroom, to each room of her house, assessing all the points of entry while everyone, Poochini included, followed quietly. You were more vulnerable there than I would’ve liked, but I didn’t have much of a choice.

Once you realized I was leaving, you both started to cry again. As gently as I could, I had to unhook your arms from around my calves, and that was more painful to me than any of the damage done to my body. I promised I’d be back as soon as I could. I meant it.

Back at our house, a pair of EMTs had arrived. As one looked me over she told me what I already knew: My lip would need stitches. I said I’d drive myself to the hospital after the cops interviewed me, which I knew they needed to do.

The one who I’d felt most threatened by slipped on a falsely soothing posture that grated my nerves. He asked me if I needed anything, which I recognized as a prelude; he was testing the waters to see if I was ready to answer questions. I said, “Go ahead. Ask me anything you need to.”

“Start from the beginning. What happened?”

“I was asleep in my room. It was three, maybe? I heard a noise in the hall and—­”

“You were sleeping?”

“I was trying to sleep when I thought I heard something.”

“Mm-­hmm.” The cop’s eyes ran across my face. Heat flashed up into my cheeks, as I worried that my eagerness to be as truthful as possible made me sound like I was lying. Your grandfather was a career cop, which instilled a fear of authority in me that even my own time as a Fed couldn’t cure.

The interview continued. Two coroners came through the open door. I waited around for everyone to clear out, then went to get my lip fixed. By the time I got back to our street, it was almost dawn. Next door, I looked in on you in Irena’s den. You were lying on her pullout couch under a pile of blankets. Tommy, you’re easy to miss when you’re asleep. Your brother takes up a lot of space; he’s all limbs, like a sweet little squid. But, Tommy, you curl into an impossibly tight ball.

Poochini came over to me, and I scratched him between the ears. I asked Irena in a whisper, “How were they?”

She shook her head. “It took them a long time to fall asleep.”

I threw back a corner of one of the blankets and risked waking you to kiss your foreheads. Neither of you stirred. As Irena turned back to the hall, I wished her a good night, then sat on the arm of the sofa, and watched you sleep for a while, too wired to do so myself.

Martinique, Two Days Later

The man I’d killed had been an intruder in our home; I felt no legal obligation to the situation other than to submit to an interview as I’d done on the scene. But I wasn’t sure the cops would see it the same way, so we’d left the United States on a set of fake passports that my father’s friend Mr. Ali had prepared for me a few years earlier in case of an emergency. I hope that nothing about your adult lives will require you to be as paranoid as I was. The clerk at the Jumbo Car rental desk asked how my day was going, then looked up at me from his console. The smile slid from his face when he saw my stitches and the bruise in full bloom on my cheekbone.

I briefly took off my sunglasses so the clerk could compare my face to the one in the photo. The name on the license I gave the clerk matched my passport: Monica Williams. He used that name as he handed back my paperwork, and I glanced down at you two. Your French was good enough to have understood him, but you seemed oblivious to the new name.

Outside, you climbed into the backseat of a sporty-­looking red Peugeot with Poochini; the clerk had given me a free upgrade to a larger car. I loaded our luggage into the trunk, then started up the engine.

Martinique’s airport is in Le Lamentin, an industrial district, and as we sped along a factory-­lined highway, I told you about the day you were born. That day we’d driven along the same road; I pointed out the window to the spot where my mother and I’d been forced to pull over when her old truck had run out of gas. We’d ended up having to hitch a ride to the maternity hospital, ten miles away. All that had happened because truck drivers for the oil refinery on the island had been on strike, refusing to deliver to any of the gas stations. On strike—­it’s a very French country. When they call it an overseas department they mean it.

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4 out of 54 out of 5
2,233 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Bergsy
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
a mish-mash
Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2019
Sorry to dissent from the many positive reviews. This book is promoted as a spy thriller; it is not. Very little of the plot has to do with spying, and I for one found none of it thrilling. What the book is, is a better-than-average piece of heart throbbing chick lit,... See more
Sorry to dissent from the many positive reviews. This book is promoted as a spy thriller; it is not. Very little of the plot has to do with spying, and I for one found none of it thrilling. What the book is, is a better-than-average piece of heart throbbing chick lit, hung on a heroine who is sort of a spy who longs for the -- oops, spoiler. I can say, and longs, and longs, and longs. It''s really chick lit discussion of the heroine as mother whose feelings, if not her day-to-day life, are pretty much glued to her kids. So, my humble advice: if you want a spy thriller, ignore the hype and do not buy this book. If you want to revel in feminine feelings, then go ahead and I hope you enjoy it.
150 people found this helpful
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Mal Warwick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A superb new novel about Cold War rivalry in Africa
Reviewed in the United States on March 12, 2019
"I was a Special Agent in the FBI from 1983 to 1987, and in that time CIA hired me twice as a temporary contractor, the phrase they use for spy." The narrator is Marie Mitchell. American Spy is her story, written in 1992 in the first person as a diary for her young twin... See more
"I was a Special Agent in the FBI from 1983 to 1987, and in that time CIA hired me twice as a temporary contractor, the phrase they use for spy." The narrator is Marie Mitchell. American Spy is her story, written in 1992 in the first person as a diary for her young twin sons to read when they''re older. The action spans the thirty preceding years—from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the "New World Order" following the end of the Cold War.

Marie is the younger of two sisters. Helene, now dead, was five years older and Marie''s idol. It had been Helene''s ambition to join the CIA and later form her own private intelligence agency. And that''s what has led Marie to the FBI, and ultimately to agree to two assignments from the Company. Except, as we''ll learn later, they might not have come from the CIA at all.

From New York to Martinique to Burkina Faso

In American Spy, the action shifts rapidly and often from New York City to Martinique to Burkina Faso in flashbacks and flashforwards. Marie''s FBI posting was in the City. Her family had come from Martinique, and her mother has returned there to live. And Marie''s work for the CIA involves "getting close" to the dictator of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara.

Cold War rivalry in Africa lies at the heart of this story

Author Lauren Wilkinson has built her tale around real-world events that transpired in Burkina Faso. Her portrait of Sankara and her account of the actions he took as president of his country hew closely to the historical record. Sankara, and the country he tried so hard to reform, were victims of the Cold War between the US and the USSR.

Suspenseful, psychologically sound, and ultimately believable

Wilkinson''s command of plotting and character development are both skillful. Obviously, she understands the discriminatory treatment that hidebound agencies like the FBI so commonly doled out in years past to women and people of color. American Spy is suspenseful, psychologically sound, and ultimately believable. It''s all too typical of the Cold War rivalry that victimized so many small nations caught in the middle between two superpowers.

How another reviewer saw the book

In reviewing American Spy, NPR book critic Maureen Corrigan wrote in the Washington Post Book Review (February 15, 2019), "Lauren Wilkinson’s new novel, ''American Spy, is extraordinary in a lot of ways — most obviously because it places a female African American intelligence officer, Marie Mitchell, at the center of a Cold War tale of political espionage. But also striking is the novel’s deeper recognition that, to some extent, rudimentary tradecraft is something all of her African American characters have learned as an everyday survival skill. As Marie’s father wryly tells her on the day of her graduation from the FBI training academy at Quantico, ''I’ve been a spy in this country for as long as I can remember.''"
75 people found this helpful
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Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Unreadable garbage
Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2019
Why some author in "The Week" magazine gave this a good review is beyond me. The entire book is a female spy/agent/cop whatever, writing down her life story so her kids can read it (maybe when she dies? I don''t know, as I can''t finish it). If you want to go to sleep at... See more
Why some author in "The Week" magazine gave this a good review is beyond me. The entire book is a female spy/agent/cop whatever, writing down her life story so her kids can read it (maybe when she dies? I don''t know, as I can''t finish it). If you want to go to sleep at night, this''ll do you. If you are expected cool spy stuff and any action at all, don''t bother. Maybe it will get better at the end, but I can''t make it. It is more about growing up black in NYC and trying to make it. I suppose for that aspect, its a great story. Just not what I expected. Should have done more research first.
52 people found this helpful
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Sherri Love
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I really wanted to like this book (spoilers ahead)
Reviewed in the United States on May 2, 2019
But I found it lumbering and had trouble with the main character''s motivation. Why exactly did she become a spy? Why exactly was she so enamored with the leader of that African country? Why did she decide to leave her children? The whole thing defied belief. On one hand... See more
But I found it lumbering and had trouble with the main character''s motivation. Why exactly did she become a spy? Why exactly was she so enamored with the leader of that African country? Why did she decide to leave her children? The whole thing defied belief. On one hand she was a smart, cool cucumber, yet she allowed herself to get duped so easily. This made no sense to me. I wanted her to be more empowered. Instead she seemed not to have a handle on anything.
37 people found this helpful
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Mizukan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Could not put it down!
Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2019
This book was unlike any I’ve ever read. A quick and unpredictable storyline, superb writing and characters I actually cared about. I truly did not want it to end! In fact, I started getting depressed as I approached the end and paused to find other books like it by Black... See more
This book was unlike any I’ve ever read. A quick and unpredictable storyline, superb writing and characters I actually cared about. I truly did not want it to end! In fact, I started getting depressed as I approached the end and paused to find other books like it by Black woman authors (to no avail). I absolutely loved her writing (and thinking) and loved getting a completely different take on Africa. I’ll definitely be looking for her next one! Bravo!
34 people found this helpful
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Sumudu
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Detailed
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2019
Living in Ouaga as I read this I was amased the detail with which Zone de Bois and Zogona was described - and in Ouaga Benoua Lodge is very real and a place to must dine at. I found the book alright, thought that the secondary characters lacked depth, but... See more
Living in Ouaga as I read this I was amased the detail with which Zone de Bois and Zogona was described - and in Ouaga Benoua Lodge is very real and a place to must dine at.

I found the book alright, thought that the secondary characters lacked depth, but overall readable.
27 people found this helpful
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Shawn Cross
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
American Spy had everything I needed in it to love it.
Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2019
American Spy had everything I needed in it to love it. A hook that smacks you in the face as soon as you open the book. An exotic yet relatable backstory. Sister spies. A how-I-met-your-father romantic mystery. And enough plot twists to keep me on my toes. Lauren Wilkinson... See more
American Spy had everything I needed in it to love it. A hook that smacks you in the face as soon as you open the book. An exotic yet relatable backstory. Sister spies. A how-I-met-your-father romantic mystery. And enough plot twists to keep me on my toes. Lauren Wilkinson is a gifted writer bringing a diverse cast of characters into the political thriller arena with an explosive plot that gives a refreshing perspective on history that hasn’t gotten much exposure in this genre. I loved this book and can’t wait for the sequel.
25 people found this helpful
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Chike M Nzerue
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A spy thriller with a female protagonist
Reviewed in the United States on March 23, 2019
A story with great twists and turns. The plot is rich and the antagonists are quite multidimensional. I have read many spy thrillers with male protagonists whose stock in trade was womanizing apart from being bad-ass villains quick with their gun and able to escape from... See more
A story with great twists and turns. The plot is rich and the antagonists are quite multidimensional. I have read many spy thrillers with male protagonists whose stock in trade was womanizing apart from being bad-ass villains quick with their gun and able to escape from near death situations. It was refreshing to see a black woman play protagonist in a spy novel in which the FBI and CIA are intricately woven in. I liked how the protagonist showed empathy to the needs of the Burkina nation and it''s people. The relationship between Thomas Sankara and Blaise Compaore is nicely peeled like the layers of an onion. The ending of the book was somewhat weak. The death of her sister Helene was never resolved.
19 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Marianne
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I really wanted to love it but...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 7, 2020
I really wanted to like this more. The characters are great, and the writing good, but the way it’s told in flashback with the device of writing the story out for her sons made the pace unbearably slow.
3 people found this helpful
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AmyC
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Over-hyped, unevenly paced
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 22, 2020
Reads more like non-fiction, as if it were a true-life story - and that felt confusing at times. The forwards and backwards timescales were irritating, especially as they were woven in and out of different threads of the story. The writing quality is high, though, and it...See more
Reads more like non-fiction, as if it were a true-life story - and that felt confusing at times. The forwards and backwards timescales were irritating, especially as they were woven in and out of different threads of the story. The writing quality is high, though, and it gives some insight into the life of a very different kind of spy. I can’t help feeling it could have been a lot better, with some robust editing.
One person found this helpful
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Mr. D. R. Macdonald
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Gave Up
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 17, 2020
I found this an impossible read , even though I stuck with it to see if I could start to enjoy it. Ended up speed reading but unfortunately that didn’t speed the story up. Too much packing, perhaps to fill pages to make the story into a book. Sorry, I had to put it down,...See more
I found this an impossible read , even though I stuck with it to see if I could start to enjoy it. Ended up speed reading but unfortunately that didn’t speed the story up. Too much packing, perhaps to fill pages to make the story into a book. Sorry, I had to put it down, and down it stays. The author obviously wishes to be different and I must admit, for me, she has managed it.
One person found this helpful
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S. Smedley
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Refreshing take on the Cold War thriller
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 3, 2021
I''m not normally a huge fan of the Cold War thriller genre but thought I''d try something different and I wasn''t disappointed. It starts off at a good pace and keeps it up throughout, even with the switching between time periods. Some people don''t seem to like that but for...See more
I''m not normally a huge fan of the Cold War thriller genre but thought I''d try something different and I wasn''t disappointed. It starts off at a good pace and keeps it up throughout, even with the switching between time periods. Some people don''t seem to like that but for me it enables the characters to have a depth they wouldn''t otherwise have. It''s certainly refreshing to have a spy thriller written from a black woman''s perspective and it avoids most (but by no means all) of the spy novel clichés. Well worth a read.
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R. Craig
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Small print size makes this unreadable for me.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 11, 2021
I would love to be able to read this but the print is too small. Usually paperbacks are fine and I read a lot but there is no way of assessing print size on the internet so I find this one is just too small for me. Sorry author, maybe ask your publisher to check out a...See more
I would love to be able to read this but the print is too small. Usually paperbacks are fine and I read a lot but there is no way of assessing print size on the internet so I find this one is just too small for me. Sorry author, maybe ask your publisher to check out a larger print size for your work.
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