The editors of CrimeReads.com have release their list of the best espionage novels of the year. It features spy stories from Tomás Nevinson, Tania Malik, Anna Pitoniak, Javier Marías, and Alma Katsu.
Tomás Nevinson by Javier Marías
Retired spy Tomás Nevinson—once an agent for the British Secret Service, now living a quiet life in his hometown, Madrid—is approached by his former handler, Bertram Tupra, with an offer to bring him back in from the cold for one last assignment.
The mission: to go undercover again, in a small Spanish town, to find out which of three women who moved there a decade ago is in fact a terrorist trained by the IRA, on the run after masterminding several deadly attacks.
Everything about the assignment is shadowy, from exactly who is in charge, to the question of what “justice” Nevinson will need to mete out once he unmasks the terrorist. But, lured by the appeal of being back on the inside, he accepts the job.
Nevinson soon becomes intimately involved with each of the three women. How—or whom—to choose among them? Under increasing pressure, he must choose, and then act . . .
Hope You Are Satisfied by Tania Malik
Riya works for Discover Arabia, a rinky-dink tour guide company in the far-flung desert outpost of Dubai. It’s 1990, and the city’s iconic skyline, along with its global reputation, remains but a gleam in developers’ eyes. For twenty-five year-old Riya, Dubai is a desert purgatory that spreads out between her family back home in India, and an as-yet-defined future ahead of her. If she belongs to anything, it is to the city’s transient underclass of young people from South Asia, Africa, and Europe who arrive with the ubiquitous goal of earning more than they could at home.
Will a favor from Dubai’s most notorious fixer get Riya back in everyone’s good graces? Or will the impending possibility of an invasion by Saddam Hussein make Riya’s problems (along with everyone else’s) a moot point?
Beirut Station by Paul Vidich
The Israel-Hezbollah war is tearing Beirut apart: bombs are raining down, residents are scrambling to evacuate, and the country is on the brink of chaos.
In the midst of this turmoil, the CIA and Mossad are targeting a reclusive Hezbollah terrorist, Najib Qassem. Najib is believed to be planning the assassination of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is coming to Beirut in ten days to broker a cease-fire. The spy agencies are running out of time to eliminate the threat.
They turn to a young Lebanese-American CIA agent. Analise comes up with the perfect plan: she has befriended Qassem’s grandson as his English tutor, and will use this friendship to locate the terrorist and take him out. As the plan is put into action, though, Analise begins to suspect that Mossad has a motive of its own: exploiting the war’s chaos to eliminate a generation of Lebanese political leaders.
She alerts the agency but their response is for her to drop it. Analise is now the target and there is no one she can trust: not the CIA, not Mossad, and not the Lebanese government. And the one person she might have to trust—a reporter for the New York Times—might not be who he says he is…
Red London by Alma Katsu
After her role in taking down a well-placed mole inside the CIA, Agent Lyndsey Duncan arrives in London fully focused on her newest Russian asset, deadly war criminal Dmitri Tarasenko. That is until her MI6 counterpart, Davis Ranford, personally calls for her help.
Following a suspicious attack on Russian oligarch Mikhail Rotenberg’s property in a tony part of London, Davis needs Lyndsey to cozy up to the billionaire’s aristocratic British wife, Emily Rotenberg. Fortunately for Lyndsey, there’s little to dissuade Emily from taking in a much-needed confidante. Even being one of the richest women in the world is no guarantee of happiness. But before Lyndsey can cover much ground with her newfound friend, the CIA unveils a perturbing connection between Mikhail and Russia’s geoplitical past, one that could upend the world order and jeopardize Lyndsey’s longtime allegiance to the Agency.
The Helsinki Affair by Anna Pitoniak
Amanda Cole is a brilliant young CIA officer following in the footsteps of her father, who was a spy during the Cold War. It takes grit to succeed in this male-dominated world—but one hot summer day, when a Russian defector walks into her post, Amanda is given the ultimate chance to prove herself.
The defector warns of the imminent assassination of a US senator. Though Amanda takes the warning seriously, her superiors don’t. Twenty-four hours later, the senator is dead. And the assassination is just the beginning.
Corporate blackmail, covert manipulation, corrupt oligarchs: the Kremlin has found a dangerous new way to wage war. Teaming up with Kath Frost, a fearless older woman and legendary spy, Amanda races from Rome to London, from St. Petersburg to Helsinki, unraveling the international conspiracy. But as she gets closer and closer to the truth, a central question haunts her: Why was her father’s name written down in the senator’s notes? What does Charlie Cole really know about the Kremlin plot?