“American Spy” by Lauren Wilkinson


This 2019 political espionage thriller by debut novelist Lauren Wilkinson definitely grabbed me from the opening scene.  The main character is crouched behind her bedroom door, with her gun, after being awakened by a creaking floorboard in the hallway of her home, where she lives with her twin sons and German shepherd, Poochini. You’ll have to read it to see exactly what happens, but former FBI agent Marie Mitchell makes it out and flees to Martinique with her family. 

Written as a letter to her sons, Maria records the story of her life and their family’s history, “just in case I’m not around to tell you.” Jumping between time periods in her life, from the early 1960s up to the 1990s, the narrative keeps the reader guessing without making the intricate plot confusing. However, it also allows the reader to really get to know Maria and the other main characters’ motivations.  Plus I enjoyed the pop cultural references, and the slice of life descriptions of the different eras.

In many good spy thrillers, the setting is international, and this is the case with “American Spy.” The action moves from Queens, NY to Martinique to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.  While the plot moves along quickly, the author still takes time to describe the locations, giving this book a little more detail than the standard action/suspense novel.

Combining history, travel, suspense, family drama and adventure, “American Spy” is both plot and character driven and an entertaining read.  “American Spy” by Lauren Wilkinson is available in book format through the Lincoln County Library System.

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