The Spy Coast: Book summary and reviews of The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen

The Spy Coast

A Martini Club Thriller

by Tess Gerritsen

The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen X
The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen
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  • Published Nov 2023
    364 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

A retired CIA operative in small-town Maine tackles the ghosts of her past in this fresh take on the spy thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

Former spy Maggie Bird came to the seaside village of Purity, Maine, eager to put the past behind her after a mission went tragically wrong. These days, she's living quietly on her chicken farm, still wary of blowback from the events that forced her early retirement.

But when a body turns up in Maggie's driveway, she knows it's a message from former foes who haven't forgotten her. Maggie turns to her local circle of old friends―all retirees from the CIA―to help uncover the truth about who is trying to kill her, and why. This "Martini Club" of former spies may be retired, but they still have a few useful skills that they're eager to use again, if only to spice up their rather sedate new lives.

Complicating their efforts is Purity's acting police chief, Jo Thibodeau. More accustomed to dealing with rowdy tourists than homicide, Jo is puzzled by Maggie's reluctance to share information―and by her odd circle of friends, who seem to be a step ahead of her at every turn.

As Jo's investigation collides with the Martini Club's maneuvers, Maggie's hunt for answers will force her to revisit a clandestine career that spanned the globe, from Bangkok to Istanbul, from London to Malta. The ghosts of her past have returned, but with the help of her friends―and the reluctant Jo Thibodeau―Maggie might just be able to save the life she's built.

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Media Reviews

"This is a nice take on retirement―five old spooks whose bones may ache but whose minds remain sharp. You can expect mystery, action, and bloodshed in this exciting thriller launched straight from the peaceful shores of Maine." ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Gerritsen…branches out into the world of espionage…expertly mixing spy drama with romance and wry comedy… Gerritsen fans and readers of Richard Osman's Thursday Murder Club mysteries will love this." —Booklist (starred review)

"[T]he real surprise is the richness of Gerritsen's supporting cast, a cantankerous bunch whose love for one another runs deep. Some details toward the end hint that a sequel may be in the works, and it'd be more than welcome. Maggie and her gray-haired tribe are more than capable of helming a long-running series." —Publishers Weekly

"Tess Gerritsen writes in a smoothly elegant style; it's always a delight to read her. The Spy Coast is a marvelously plotted read with action-packed pages, g-force twists and turns, and a platoon of fascinating characters. I truly hope to see Maggie Bird and her team of silver-haired helpers on the pages again." ―David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Master storyteller Tess Gerritsen has written an ingenious, spellbinding novel that moves from Bangkok to a small town in Maine, seductive settings where secrets are kept and lives upended…The Spy Coast is utterly thrilling, full of morally complex characters with deeply buried secrets and a life-and-death chase into the past and back again. It's a great novel." ―Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author

"Powerful, resonant, absorbing, freighted with menace and suspense…Gerritsen is a born storyteller, and this new series showcases her talents more than ever. Irresistible and highly recommended!" ―Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"A riveting tale filled with engaging characters. I look forward to the rest of the series." ―Kathy Reichs, author of the Temperance Brennan Bones series

"Tess Gerritsen is a brilliant, must-read novelist, and she's done it again with The Spy Coast. Readers will want to follow the adventures of Maggie Bird and her band of Mainer compatriots for a long, long time." ―C. J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Storm Watch

"A crackerjack thriller." ―Paul Doiron, bestselling author of the Mike Bowditch novels

This information about The Spy Coast was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own reviewwrite your own review

She Treads Softly

excellent spy thriller
The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen is a very highly recommended, excellent spy thriller and the first book in a new series featuring a group of retired CIA operatives living in Purity, Maine.

Maggie Bird, 60, retired from the CIA sixteen years ago and now considers herself a chicken farmer. She enjoys her quiet life on Blackberry Farm and the book club/martini club she attends with a group of long time friends who are also retired. When a mysterious woman who shows up asking about a former associate is later found dead in Maggie's driveway, it's clearly a message and threat. Maggie's friends are quick to jump in to help her with their special skills. Acting police chief, Jo Thibodeau, however, is puzzled by this group of senior citizens who are competently conducting their own investigation.

The narrative alternates between the past and the present in Maggie's life and told through the point-of-view of Maggie or Jo. Although the story moves around in time, it is very easy to follow and readers will know which character is the focus. The main story concerns Maggie and her life. Maggie is a fully realized, well-developed character and she will immediately garner your support and sympathy

Everything about The Spy Coast is excellent, the writing, plot, and characters, and represents the start of a wonderful new series that I will most definitely follow. The Martini Club is composed of likeable, skilled former CIA agents who may be retired seniors but are still intelligent and capable. The pages flew by in this entertaining, fast-paced, and engaging novel. The ending was a complete surprise.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley.


Good Espionage Thriller
This is an espionage thriller that I enjoyed immensely. This is my first book by Tess Gerritsen, and I am looking forward to #2 of The Martini Club series. I found myself after each chapter thinking, I’ll just read one more chapter; this is when I know it’s a good book.

The cast in the book are Ex CIA agents that have retired to the small town of, Purity, Maine. Someone is trying to kill Maggie, one of the former CIA agents and ghosts from her past start to return. There is lots of mystery and action in, The Spy Coast. I was immersed in this story right from the start.

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Author Information

Tess Gerritsen Author Biography

Photo © Brian Velenchenko

International bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A Stanford University graduate, Tess went on to gain her MD at the University of California, San Francisco. While on maternity leave as a physician, she began to write fiction. She published her first novel in 1987 and has since sold over forty million copies of books in forty countries, winning the Nero Wolfe Award and the RITA Award. Her novels have been top-three US bestsellers and number one bestsellers abroad. Critics worldwide praise her novels as "pulse-pounding fun" (Philadelphia Inquirer), "scary and brilliant" (Toronto Globe and Mail), and "polished, riveting prose" (Chicago Tribune). Publishers Weekly has dubbed her the "medical suspense queen." Her series featuring homicide detective Jane...

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