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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Spy Coast (The Martini Club #1) by Tess Gerritsen

A former CIA operative retires to small-town Maine--along with other former agents--to live out a quiet existence, until figures from the past roar in to turn everything on its head.


Maggie Bird is a retired CIA operative who has made a simple home for herself in rural Maine. She's tried not to make emotional connections and she keeps to herself--old habits from her former life.

Then Maggie is visited by someone with knowledge of her past--just before a dead body shows up in her driveway and someone tries to kill Maggie.

All of the upheaval seems connected to an operation from years earlier, "Malta"--and Maggie's perceived betrayal of key players in it. Maggie just can't figure out who's still alive and who would suddenly be after revenge. She also suspects that she can't trust the Agency after a data breach revealed the names of the Malta operatives involved.

Unbeknownst to the other citizens in Purity, Maine, the town has drawn multiple former intelligence agents (they make up the "martini club" in the series title). They didn't all work together in their former lives, but they are friends--despite habitual emotional distance--with commonalities in their backgrounds. Now they operate as a team to try to determine who is after Maggie and why.

The dogged local acting sheriff, Jo Thibodeau (a great and legit Maine last name), is complicating things, pushing for answers and determined to figure out what's going on.

The story tracks back through Maggie's past, including her missions and her romantic life, and introducing figures who are connected to her present problems.

Everything about this premise was a slam dunk for me: spies, Maine, the community of retirees with fascinating pasts, reemerging danger. I was intrigued by the early pages, centered around the quiet Maine life of a group of retired CIA agents with fascinating pasts.

I didn't feel much of the connection between Declan and Maggie, which Gerritsen seemed to be building the foundation for in preparation for future books, and I was less interested in the page time spent tracing past events and the Malta operation, although the story's plot and tension certainly rely heavily upon that element.

This was a great setup for a series. I'd like to read more Gerritsen novels.


Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Tess Gerritsen is the author of the 13-book Rizzoli and Isles mystery series as well as many other books.


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