Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Kayla Reviews THE WAYWARD SPY

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Well internet friends, it finally happened. I have COVID. I’ve been vaccinated, yes, but it was really only a matter of time. I’m a theatre and English teacher, after all, and most of my classes are stuffed to the brim with over 35 students. My husband’s had it, my children have had it, and now it’s my turn.

That said, I’m incredibly blessed to have a supportive family, and plenty of books to read. I technically finished this one before my diagnoses, and have felt too ill to review it until now, but I assure you it was worth the read.

Summary (from Goodreads):

The terrorist threat has changed. The consequences haven’t.

When her fiancé, a CIA operative accused of treason, is killed overseas, intelligence analyst Maggie Jenkins smells cover-up and sets out to clear his name. Maggie disobeys direct orders and travels to Tbilisi, Georgia, to follow a trail littered with secrets and lies, corruption and deceit, risking her own life to expose the terrorist threat at the intersection where the Russian Mafia, Chechen rebels, Al Qaeda and … US government officials meet.

From the halls of power in Washington, D.C. to the political chaos of the former Soviet Union, Maggie must confront players from the intelligence, political, and criminal worlds who will do anything to stop her. How far will Maggie go to uncover the truth?

My Take:

The true winner is this novel is the main character, Maggie. In a world where authors are constantly overcompensating for years of “weak women” in cinema and media altogether—I’m talking about the constantly kidnapped Daphnes and comic-book “girlfriend tropes”—it’s refreshing to find a heroine who is so realistic. Maggie is not a trained spy, she does not have super powers, and she makes a series of poor choices that are completely realistic given her astounding situation. This characterization, in my opinion, grounds the entire story and kept me reading (switching between the text and the powerfully narrated audiobook at break-neck speed), if only to see whether this ordinary woman could put it all together in the end.

Although a I didn’t connect as deeply with Maggie’s CIA associate Warner (it’s not his fault I was too captivated by Maggie), I thought he was a well-written, well-developed character. His stakes in the story were every bit as sweat-inducing, and readers will have no trouble relating to the CIA man with a shed full of secrets.

Oh, and the book’s ending was well worth the journey!

Overall, this award-winning debuted novel has well-earned its prestige, and I personally think more people should pick it up. Give this one a read or a listen, and join me in eagerly awaiting the sequel, WAYWARD ASSASSIN.

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