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Publisher's Summary

“A wicked sharp spy novel…. Equal parts Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Killing Eve.” (S. A. Cosby, author of Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears)

An exhilarating spy thriller written by an intelligence veteran about two women CIA agents whose paths become intertwined around a threat to the Russia Division - one that's coming from inside the agency.

Lyndsey Duncan worries her career with the CIA might be over. After lines are crossed with another intelligence agent during an assignment, she is sent home to Washington on administrative leave. So when a former colleague - now chief of the Russia Division - recruits her for an internal investigation, she jumps at the chance to prove herself. Lyndsey was once a top handler in the Moscow Field Station, where she was known as the "human lie detector" and praised for recruiting some of the most senior Russian officials. But now, three Russian assets have been exposed - including one of her own - and the CIA is convinced there's a mole in the department. With years of work in question and lives on the line, Lyndsey is thrown back into life at the agency, this time tracing the steps of those closest to her.

Meanwhile, fellow agent Theresa Warner can't avoid the spotlight. She is the infamous "Red Widow", the wife of a former director killed in the field under mysterious circumstances. With her husband's legacy shadowing her every move, Theresa is a fixture of the Russia Division, and as she and Lyndsey strike up an unusual friendship, her knowledge proves invaluable. But as Lyndsey uncovers a surprising connection to Theresa that could answer all of her questions, she unearths a terrifying web of secrets within the department, if only she is willing to unravel it....

©2021 Alma Katsu (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

Finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice 

One of:
Northern Virginia Magazine's Best Beach Reads
BookPage's Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers of 2021
Writer's Digest's 71 Books and Authors to Check Out in 2021

“Katsu, a longtime intelligence analyst for the C.I.A. and N.S.A, writes what she’s most professionally familiar with after years in the paranormal and horror novel trenches. The plotting is sophisticated and laced with surprises, but what stands out most is the emotional core of Lyndsey and Theresa’s alliance, and whether there is room, in a nest of vipers, for true sisterhood.” The New York Times Book Review

“Terrific…Fans of FX’s ‘The Americans’ will recognize a world where professionalism can fall prey to sexism, careerism, and garden-variety klutziness. Duncan’s job is a lot ‘like juggling knives,’ and Katsu makes us care that she doesn’t bobble.” The Washington Post

Red Widow is layered with inside knowledge of how CIA bureaucracy works; it is often a bleak workplace, it seems, where loyalty is in short supply and careers can be ended on a whim.” Financial Times  

What listeners say about Red Widow

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-11-21

Riveting

I loved that it’s a suspenseful thriller that is really about how we know what know, friendship, love, trust, and loyalty. It’s a deeply satisfying and rewarding book.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-10-21

Superlative Spy Thriller

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was hoping who’d fill the void after Jason Matthews of Red Sparrow fame passed away. Glad we have a most worthy successor.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Julie Proctor
  • 14-06-21

Great Story

This is the first time reading this particular author and I loved loved this story. Definitely going to look for more and try another one!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 04-04-21

Somewhat disappointed- no spoilers

Honestly, I was expecting more from a former employee of the illustrious CIA. The hype. The marketing. I even pre-ordered it.

As I writer and big fan of espionage/thriller novels, I was fired up for this work of fiction by a former CIA employee. RED WIDOW did not do it for me. If you like cozy novels, this might do it for you for you. If you like deep in the weeds action- best stick with the masters. Sorry. Trust me. I helped get this book to number one bestseller, and had high expectations.

On a good note- the narrator was good.

Anyway, I’ll stick with the masters.

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  • SW@TX
  • 04-12-21

Terrible narrative

This is my first and last book with this narrator. Monotone boring dialog - slow story. Couldn’t stay awake!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-05-21

Less than I hoped for

It is difficult to write this while avoiding spoilers. The author’s knowledge of the DC area raised my expectations, but on balance the book fell short for me. It felt a bit inauthentic and unrealistic in regard to the treatment of two of the pivotal characters: one a women, the other, her husband.

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  • Abe Klassen
  • 24-12-21

Save your credit

The sample was promising. I was going to give up halfway through but then there was twist in the plot. I thought it would start getting better….it didn’t.

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  • Kevin
  • 23-11-21

Excellent spy thriller!

The plot and plot and it's develpoment kept me coming back. The performance was also veey good!

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  • Susan
  • 23-02-22

A really enjoyable listen.

After a steady diet of Jack Reacher then Mitch Rapp this book was a welcome thriller without all the fights and killings. The character development was spot on and the mystery, although somewhat obvious, was still captivating. My main complaint is that Lindsey and Teresa spend too much time folding their arms across their chests. I thought the performance was excellent.
I definitely recommend Red Widow.

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  • Joseph
  • 20-01-22

LaCarre Like

I have read many spy novels, but like John LaCarre, this rings true....as the real world of espionage must truly be...I thoroughly enjoyed the listen. The narration excellent also.

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  • neop
  • 12-04-21

lightweight

I did finish this book in a couple,days so it holds your interest, but throughout I kept waiting for something more to happen..you didn’t have to be a CIA agent, as apparently the writer is, to write this somewhat simplistic story.