Red Widow by Alma Katsu (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audible: 10+ hrs.
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Red Widow by Alma Katsu, narrated by Mozhan Marnò, is a thriller but from a female CIA analyst’s point of view. Don’t let the word “analyst” make you think this is all data focused because it isn’t.

Lyndsey Duncan, the so-called human lie detector, is called into CIA headquarters by Eric Newman to investigate the murder of a Russian asset and a potential mole within either U.S.-based CIA or its Russian counterpart agency. She is warned to stay away from the widow, Theresa Warner, who is obviously the mole referenced by Katsu’s book title. For me, the story is not about the hunt for the mole, but about the clandestine agency’s backstabbing, infighting, lack of loyalty, and agents’ expendability. It’s about the high-wire act that agents dangle on every day, attempting to protect our freedoms and stave off attacks and other horrible events.

The narrator of Katsu’s book is fantastic with all of the voices. Each character is well fleshed out and discernible in conversations and interactions. I loved the narrator. I loved that this book showcased female protagonists, but the story was a bit too predictable, which I chock up to reading too many other spy novels and police-based books. It’s hard to surprise me with twists and turns in these kinds of books. One other thing that bothered me, is that Lyndsey is slow to realize she’s a pawn. I felt like she was smarter than that. We all have flaws and blindspots, and perhaps that is what trips up Lyndsey in this novel.

Red Widow by Alma Katsu, narrated by Mozhan Marnò, is a spy thriller I wanted to love, but I just ended up liking. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth reading because it was, and I hope this is a genre that Katsu continues to explore, though I admit I prefer her horror and paranormal books.

RATING: Tercet