Alma Katsu‘s Red Widow is one of my favourite thrillers from last year, so when I saw that its sequel, Red London was on the way, I immediately added it to my Must Read list. Given Katsu’s background actually working for CIA, it’s a series that readers can be confident has plenty of verisimilitude. Also, because Katsu’s an excellent author, Red Widow was a gripping story, populated by engaging and well-drawn characters. I have no doubt that Red London will provide more of the same. Here’s the synopsis:
CIA agent Lyndsey Duncan has a new asset to turn, in order to prevent the most calculated global invasion of our time. But will their blossoming friendship get in the way?
After an explosive takedown of a well-placed mole within the CIA, agent Lyndsey Duncan has been tasked with keeping tabs on her newest Russian asset, deadly war criminal Dmitri Tarasenko. She arrives in London fully focused on the assignment at hand, until her MI6 counterpart, Davis Ranford, the very person responsible for ending her last mission overseas after they were caught in a whirlwind affair, personally calls for her.
After a suspicious attack on a powerful Russian oligarch’s property on Billionaires’ Row in the toniest neighborhood in London, Davis needs Lyndsey to cozy up to the billionaire’s aristocratic British wife, Emily Rotenberg. Lyndsey’s job is to obtain any and all information related to Emily’s husband, Mikhail Rotenberg, and his relationship with the new Russian president, whom CIA and MI6 believe is responsible for the sudden mysterious disappearance of his predecessor, the Hard Man. Fortunately for Lyndsey, there’s little to dissuade Emily from taking in a much-needed confidante. After all, misery needs company.
But before Lyndsey can cover much ground with her newfound friend, the CIA unveils a perturbing connection between Mikhail and Russia’s geopolitical past, one that could dangerously upend the world order as we know it. As the pressure to turn Emily becomes higher than ever, Lyndsey must walk a fine and ever-changing line to keep the oligarch’s fortune from falling into Russian hands and plunging the world into a new, disastrous geopolitical reality.
Red London is a nuanced, race-against-the-clock story that at times feels eerily set against today’s headlines, a testament to author Alma Katsu’s 30-plus career in national security. It’s a rare spy novel written by an insider that feels as prescient as it is page-turning and utterly unforgettable.
Alma Katsu’s Red London is due to be published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in North America and in the UK, on March 14th, 2023.
Also on CR: Interview with Alma Katsu (2013); Review of Red Widow
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