Reviews for The spy coast

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A secret past catches up with a former CIA agent, with bloody results. Maggie Bird, age 60, is comfortably retired in Purity, Maine, where she considers herself “a small-town chicken farmer.” Out of the spy game for 16 years, she certainly doesn't want her history to be discovered. “Here on Blackberry Farm,” she says, “I've found a measure of peace, even happiness.” But a woman, possibly CIA, tracks her down and asks for Maggie’s help in locating a missing agent. Soon after, the woman’s body ends up in Maggie’s driveway. So much for an uneventful retirement. The complex plot weaves back in time to when Maggie meets her future husband, Dr. Danny Gallagher, in Bangkok. She loves him oh so much but deceives the poor man about her clandestine livelihood. But then, maybe their accidental encounter doesn’t happen by chance at all. In the present, Jo Thibodeau, Purity’s acting chief of police, is frustrated because the state police take control of the murder case. That doesn’t stop her from asking a lot of uncomfortable questions about who the hell Maggie Bird really is. Maggie is part of the Martini Club, where she socializes with a klatch of other retired CIA agents who cheerfully deflect Thibodeau’s persistent queries. “She can’t outsmart us but she can outlast us,” Maggie thinks of the chief. The story has some nice lines as it moves to London, Bangkok, and Milan before ending in Purity: “The killer must have been in bad-breath distance of him.” And Chief Thibodeau, smelling a man’s good cooking, thinks, “Too bad she didn’t have a man at home, cooking for her.” But Maggie is a pebble in Thibodeau’s shoe, and it’s easy to imagine a series with the two of them. This is a nice take on retirement—five old spooks whose bones may ache but whose minds remain sharp. You can expect mystery, action, and bloodshed in this exciting thriller launched straight from the peaceful shores of Maine. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
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Gerritsen (the Rizzoli & Isles series) delivers an amusing and exciting tale of retired CIA agents in Maine who swing into action when one of their own is threatened. Leading the action is Maggie Bird, a former spy who’s recently relocated to the hamlet of Purity, where she hopes to live her life out in relative anonymity as she tends to her chickens and enjoys the company of the local Martini Club. When a dead body is dumped in her driveway and someone takes a few shots at her from across a field, Maggie connects the dots to the tragic case that led her to retire from the CIA 17 years ago. With the help of her baby boomer drinking buddies—four ex-agents with a full assortment of tradecraft skills—Maggie dives back into Operation Cyrano, which began as a simple case to root out a Russian sleeper agent and ended in a plane crash off the coast of Malta that killed Maggie’s husband, among others. The plot bustles along nicely, careening from Thailand to Italy and many points in between, but the real surprise is the richness of Gerritsen’s supporting cast, a cantankerous bunch whose love for one another runs deep. Some details toward the end hint that a sequel may be in the works, and it’d be more than welcome. Maggie and her gray-haired tribe are more than capable of helming a long-running series. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Nov.)

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gerritsen, a former physician best known for her medical thriller series, Rizzoli and Isles, branches out into the world of espionage with the first novel in a projected series called the Martini Club, expertly mixing spy drama with romance and wry comedy. The Martini Club is a loosely run book club consisting of ex-CIA operatives who have retired to an out-of-the-way town in Maine to seek peace and quiet—and a hidey-hole from other spies who may still be after them. At the latest meeting, protagonist ex-spy Maggie Bird is called away by the local police. A woman’s body has been found in Maggie’s driveway, and the corpse has two execution-style bullet holes in her forehead. When Maggie discovers that a security breach in a case she worked on years ago has imperiled members of the Martini Club, she sets out to discover if the murder was a warning or the elimination of a threat. As memories of her international assignments and the one great love of her life flood back, the case prompts tentacles from Maggie’s past to tighten their hold. Compelling reading throughout, with astute characterizations, a fast-moving but understandable spy plot, and lashings of dark humor. Gerritsen fans and readers of Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club mysteries will love this.