The few spy thrillers I’ve read in recent years have been disappointing, but RED WIDOW is a shot in the genre’s arm. The novel is cleverly plotted, authentic, and reveals a fierce intelligence (no pun intended) behind the scenes. The author has worked for the CIA and NSA which guarantees this is the real deal. Alma Katsu knows what goes on at CIA headquarters, and she masterfully paints a portrait of the internal paranoia. Who can you trust when everyone around you has been trained to lie?
RED WIDOW is set pre-pandemic, so the masks are metaphorical (think: John le Carré) and the adversary is Russia, Putin, and the FSB. But the real trouble is within. A mole is loose. A top Russian asset has been poisoned. Two female agents — one of whom may be a traitor — are drawn together during the internal investigation. It’s a wild ride and a great escape.