American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

American Spy

What if your sense of duty required you to betray the man you love? One woman struggles to choose between her honor and her heart in this enthralling espionage drama set against an unforgettable historical backdrop.It's 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She's brilliant but she's also a young black woman working in an old boys' club, and her career has stalled out; she's overlooked for eve...

Details American Spy

TitleAmerican Spy
Release DateFeb 12th, 2019
PublisherRandom House
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Cultural, Africa

Reviews American Spy

  • Read By RodKelly
    Solid 3.5There are great things here: a complex protagonist who's a black FBI agent embroiled in a case that becomes more dangerous and violent as time passes. The author explores how sexism affects the main character her at the work place, and also delves into the complicated experience she had growing without her mother, to name a couple of the major themes in this novel.But overall, the novel suffers from lack of narrative momentum. It's slow ...
  • Sydney
    This book felt like a missed opportunity. It was such an interesting premise, I went into it with high hopes. Then it committed the fatal error of being boring. The framework of the book--the way the narrator is telling the story in a journal for her sons--didn't work for me. The writing style ended up being far too reflective, with not enough immediacy. I just felt like there was far too much telling and way too little in the way of showing. Plu...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    This is the last of the Camp TOB books for the Tournament of Books and I thought it was pretty good. It is largely set in Burkina Faso and Martinique, two countries I have not yet had the chance to read books from, and I always enjoy learning more about places. Despite the alternating time periods and the fact that it is a spy novel, it's a pretty slow burn. I set it aside a few times to read other things but was ultimately glad I came back to it...
  • Dean the Bibliophage
    The synopsis for American Spy ignites the espionage thriller neurons in your brain and forces you to excitedly purchase Lauren Wilkinson’s novel of a black female intelligence officer during the Cold War, a well researched work of fiction inspired by true events. As the blurb summarises: It's 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She's brilliant but she's also a young black woman working i...
  • Books on Stereo
    A mid-tier spy narrative that quickly loses steam after its neck-breaking opening sequence.
  • Shawna
    DNF - 1/3 of the way through. I really wanted to like this book, I just couldn't read it.Thank you to Edel Weiss for the advanced copy. I now notice that all of the other reviews are just a summary of the story line, and not about the actual book itself. I appreciate that the author was trying to do something different - she is using a narration where the protagonist is telling a story to her twin boys. The problems come in when the story will go...
  • Jessica Jeffers
    This is a delightful twist on the spy thriller. More to come.
  • Jiny S
    This is best story I’ve ever read that gives black women a voice as a marginalized minority in society. It is also one of the best spy books on my shelves. The storytelling is coherent, cognoscible, and not to mention heartpoundingly intense. Throughout the narration, political ideologies permeate both the protagonist’s personal life and the on the world’s stage that she is involved in as a result of her job. She has to make so many decisio...
  • Rincey
    3.5 stars
  • Nicole O
    I was initially drawn to this book due to its unique plot and strong female protagonist. It's a fictional story rooted in historical truths, and so I figured this book had great potential (similar to what Marlon James did with A Brief History of Seven Killings). Unfortunately, this novel fell short for me. The story is told both in flashbacks and to her sons in the form of a letter/journal, which presents the author the opportunity to really delv...
  • switterbug (Betsey)
    What initially attracted me to this book were two things—the artful, vibrant cover and the title. I’m not a fan of genre spy novels like Bourne Identity, but prefer when the spy content is linked to something deeper and more thematic, such as in Mailer’s HARLOT’S GHOST, DeLillo’s LIBRA, and, more recently, Lea Carpenter’s RED WHITE BLUE. Not that all good spy novels have to have intellectual heft, but in order to engage me, I want to ...
  • Jill
    There are many spy novels out there but the best are novels that capture the CIA’s nation destabilization efforts in a compelling and eye-opening new way.Kudos, then, to Lauren Wilkinson, whose protagonist is Marie Mitchell, a black woman whose parents are a Harlem-born cop and a Martinique-born, FBI-operative mother. Whip smart, congenitally wary, and unable to tolerate deception, Marie is a character unlike others that readers like me have me...
  • Lata
    I enjoyed this a lot. Part spy story, but also so much more, with essentially a giant letter to main character Marie’s sons framing this story. This book has so much going on in it, as Marie describes different periods of her past to her sons, explaining how she got to where she did. There are complicated family dynamics, the experience of growing up terrified of a nuclear war, the dual nature of the judicial system based on one’s skin colour...
  • Michelle
    Revised Review 10/2018:4 StarsThank you to Netgalley and Random House for providing me an advance copy of this book. I greatly appreciate the opportunity and below have provided an unbiased review.Marie Mitchell is an FBI agent who while extremely qualified, is consistently passed over for high profile assignments. When you work for the FBI in the 1980's, you're living in a man's world. While buried in paperwork, she is left to wonder when her op...
  • Amanda
    I really enjoyed this twist on the typical spy novel. I loved Marie and her story. I didn’t really know much about the actual history so I I had to do some googling. Well written and engaging. Definitely recommend.
  • Katie.dorny
    This was a 3.5/4 star read for me. I can’t believe it’s not on others people’s radar! I really enjoyed meeting Marie and getting inside her mind.We travel with her through childhood, her adolescence and everything that shape her into her current federal agent she is. Moreover, she is the only black woman in the 90’s at her office.It’s eye opening and at first I thought it was a bit too simply narrated for me, but then I realised I was l...
  • Katie Long
    Set during the Cold War while the US was engaging in troubling covert operations to stop the spread of Communism in West Africa. The description (and of course the title) makes it sound like a spy thriller, and to a certain extent that’s what it is, but that was the least interesting part to me. What engaged me the most was Marie’s voice and perspective as a Black woman in white man’s profession. The way she is cautious and plays along when...
  • Kay
    I feel like I was sold a 6 for a 9. This book has been marketed as a thriller/mystery. It's not. It's closer to historical fiction and I definitely feel that the marketing influenced my final opinion. The story feels like a diary entry, which it kinda is, but this is no something I was aware of going in. I found myself skipping over parts because I just wanted it to be over. The novel feels more introspective than action or plot driven. While I l...
  • Sarah
    DNF at 20%. I wanted to love this--the blurb sounds amazing--but I was too bored by the time I quit to have patience to get to the actual story. There was too much time spent on the main character's childhood and early life, and no real plot had yet emerged. I DNF ruthlessly and usually don't have a lot of patience for books that don't suck me in pretty quickly, but based on other reviews it seems likely this book will be rewarding for readers wh...
  • Julie Christine
    After fending off an attempted assassination, former FBI agent Marie Mitchell flees with her young twin sons to the Caribbean island of Martinique, where her mother lives. She begins a letter to her boys, "I'm writing this to give you honest answers to the questions I hazard to guess you'll ask while you're growing up. I'm writing it all down here just in case I'm not around to tell you." The letter takes the reader back through time to chronicle...
  • Karen (idleutopia_reads)
    Immersing myself into the world of American Spy was an experience unlike any other. It was thrilling from beginning to end. I loved the tapestry of words that Lauren Wilkinson created. She had me hooked from the beginning with her story of a suburban mom who one night gets attacked in her own home and kills the intruder. So begins a story that takes us towards an escape and flashes back to tell the story of Marie Mitchell, an intelligence officer...
  • Heather Fineisen
    Centers on the backstory of a black female spy and how she ended up in the present time with a threat to her and her twin boys. The book is really strong and well written until the end when action gets lively but the storyline putters. This is a debut author to keep an eye on.Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
  • Rachel | mrs.bennett.reads
    I'll start by saying that this book wasn't great. I wanted it to be, but it was not. However, it gets 3 stars for me for some really refreshing originality. One of the reasons I was so excited to pick this book up in the first place is the unique premise. It's the 1980s, and Marie is a black female FBI agent with a troubled past and big ambition. She's not really getting anywhere in her FBI career and ends up working for the CIA in Africa, trying...
  • Alison Hardtmann
    Marie is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She's brilliant, knowledgeable and dedicated. But it's 1986 and Marie is a young black woman, so the FBI doesn't know what to do with her, leaving her to fill out paperwork and cultivate assets she'll never be allowed to use. She's seen a family friend sidelined and she's intent on avoiding his fate. So when the CIA comes knocking with an assignment that sounds too good to be true, she's cautious, bu...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    3.5 stars. As promised, this is a spy novel driven less by plot and more by character. It's unique and interesting and I want so many more books like it in the world.For this specific story and me, we didn't quite see eye to eye because I wanted *more* character. I wanted to get deeper into who Marie was and how she felt. But I'll be looking for more from Wilkinson.
  • Jan
    A different kind of spy story—light on suspense, thanks in part to a choppy timeline, but with an interesting story of an African-American woman coming to terms with her family background and her career choices. Not everything works, but this debut novel shows an author worth watching. Rounding up from 3.5 stars.
  • Nadine Jones
    While her gift for secrecy put distance between us, it also taught me the value of intelligence: I learned that a secret is power, that power in application is force, that force is strength, and strength advantage. This was amazing! Ten stars!!Framed as a mother's (very long) confessional letter to her two young sons, this story spans decades and generations and borders. It hooked me right away from the very first line: I unlocked the safe beneat...
  • Taryn Pierson
    I’ve never gotten into spy novels because I don’t really want more alpha white male energy in my life, but THIS spy novel is about a black woman working undercover in the 1980s! Now that I can get behind. Marie is sent to Burkina Faso to undermine the Communist leader Thomas Sankara, but her goals get clouded when she gets to know the man behind the image. The book is written as a letter to her children, which is a really effective device, an...
  • Lulu
    Misleading synopsis, but the story we did get was pretty good. Not the action packed thriller I was expecting. More of a memoir.