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Red Widow

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  924 ratings  ·  173 reviews
An exhilarating spy thriller about two women CIA agents who 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 her most recent assignment, she is sent home to Washington on administrative leave. So whe
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published March 23rd 2021 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  924 ratings  ·  173 reviews

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What a treat reading “Red Widow” by Alma Katsu was. My favorite part of the story is that its main character is female and most who work with her are female. At last, a spy novel featuring the strength of females. Not to say this is only a spy story highlighting women, it’s a spy story that shows the dark underbelly of the CIA and FBI. While being a spy like Tom Cruise looks romantic and exciting, Katsu wanted to show the personal toll that takes place in family lives and private lives for those ...more
ale ♡
Apr 19, 2021 marked it as to-read
thanks to my good friend Dai who recommended me this book, and she knows that i'm a sucker for russian culture and for the spy thriller, yup! ...more
L.A. Starks
Jun 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An excellent, suspenseful spy thriller written with an insider's expertise.
I appreciate this book's recommendation from fellow thriller author Joseph Finder.
Highly recommended.
Jun 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wom-21, 5000-2021, jun-21
Red Widow is a page turning, fast-paced spy thriller, written by a former CIA and NSA agent.
The authors detailed descriptions of the inner workings of the CIA are fascinating.
Interesting characters and a plot with twists and turns throughout make this novel an enjoyable read.
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Alma Katsu! This is sure different from her other books, The Taker series, The Hunger, The Deep; and I think that Red Widow is a hit!

This book is all espionage and Russian spies. Who do you trust when everyone's lives are on the line? There are a lot of twists and turns and I "knew" who the double/triple/quadruple agent was in every single chapter. I really didn't, but it was sure a lot of fun thinking that I knew who did what.

I have no idea if Ms Katsu is going to make this int
Apr 07, 2021 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alma Katsu’s Red Widow is a terrible thriller, with or without the spies. It lacks personality, suspense, complex characters, and a smart plot—basically everything an intelligent reader wants in a novel. Not only is it a one-star book, but I’m awarding it an eye roll score of a million plus. Save your money, save your time and save your brain power (more from being irritated and bored than figuring out the not-so-intense plot) and avoid this book.

Lyndsey Duncan is an agent for the CIA. She’s bee
Kim Kaso
Really enjoyed this book, it felt timely & very immediate. I particularly liked the 2 female protagonists. The story had a “ripped from the headlines” feel with the veracity of someone who was in the middle of the headlines being made. Lyndsey and Theresa are well-written as characters, I cared about them and their situations. I worked on the Naval Security Station while serving as an officer, and going through security, opening safes, dealing with classified material everyday felt very familiar ...more
Amanda McHugh
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been a fan of Alma Katsu's work since I devoured The Hunger last year, and when I saw her latest novel announced on Twitter, I knew I had to request it. I was thrilled to be approved and quickly dove in.

Still waiting the outcome of her career following her dismissal from Beirut, CIA agent Lyndsey Duncan is recruited by her former colleague and Chief of the Russia Division for a special investigation. Three informants are dead, and it's looking more likely that there's a mole in-house. Lynds
Steve Urszenyi
Jun 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In RED WIDOW, Alma Katsu crafts a propulsive story from the mind of an Intelligence Community (IC) insider. The writing is stellar and supremely well-crafted. I was drawn to the story's protagonist, Lyndsey Duncan, and found myself nodding knowingly at many of her observations and ponderings about life behind the veil of darkness, or below the surface of society, hidden from view.

The story and characters are believable and fully fleshed out, as one would expect from a writer with Ms. Katsu's exp
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Any book by Alma Katsu is an absolute treat. She can write in any genre and deliver the goods!
Apr 02, 2021 rated it did not like it
The review for this book was good. Unfortunately, the book was not. While the plot is intriguing and layered, the writing is anything but.
Some 100 pages into the book, things should happen. Conversation and thoughts should be supported by events that move the narrative in a positive direction. Unfortunately that is not the case with this book and it’s author. Unfortunately what purported to be a spy thriller was a boring story going nowhere very slowly.
Mar 21, 2021 rated it liked it
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Thrillers / Espionage / Suspense
*Rating* 3.5


Alma Katsu's Red Widow is an espionage thriller which alternates between two women: Lyndsey Duncan, and Theresa Warner. On a flight from NYC to DC, a Russian businessman named Yaromir Popov dies under mysterious circumstances which sets off a series of alarm bells deep in the heart of Langley, Virginia. Shortly thereafter, Lyndsey Duncan, a CIA agent who has been placed on administrative leave for her actions in Beir
I was in the mood for a spy thriller and picked this up. Turns out it's a really good one. Author Alma Katsu had a 35 year career in U.S. Intelligence at various agencies. That depth of experience comes through in the authenticity and easy authority with which she writes on the often complex organizational politics at play. The plotting is fast-paced and crafty and the characters are well drawn. If there's a sequel in the works I'm there. ...more
David Agranoff
I am overdue to check out the work of Alma Katsu, her horror novels have been on my list for a long time but I started with the spy thriller because it was available at the library at the right time. I was interested because I like novels written by authors who have a unique point of view that they bring to a topic. Something that only they could write.

I read something funny in a negative review of this novel. Random Goodreads reviewer seems unconvinced that the characters in this novel act like
Jamie Canaves
One of my favorite reads of the year! Here we follow two CIA agents on different missions, whose paths cross and can you trust anyone in a spy novel?

CIA agent Lyndsey Duncan was basically put on timeout (suspension) after it was discovered that she was having a secret relationship with a spy from another agency, MI5–apparently that is frowned up on amongst spies. So she’s called back from her mission, and while not supposed to be active she’s called in because informants, including her first one
Jun 03, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, mystery
this was 'meh' - a fast read. There just wasn't enough suspense or twists to make it a good spy thriller. I expected the main character to be whip smart - but Lyndsey; who is often called a 'human lie detector' doesn't really figure anything out -and never figures out whose lying. To the reader, Theresa is the most obvious mole. Even without knowing her full back story it would seem to me that when looking for a mole one motive might be anyone's whose lost a loved one in service.

I always like t
May 21, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tt8_21
The book is about two female CIA officers. Both of them are hard working, intelligent and smart. Both of them have been portrayed as highly skilled in their fields. But the author didn't go justice to these qualities. I felt like these women were doing nothing in the whole story.

I am a bit disappointed. The book contained no new element, no character development and nothing enhancing the plot. From the chapter 1 to 15, only one thing was repeated and too vaguely. So I couldn't understand as to
Holly Minion
May 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
I love authors who have experience in a specialized field and then write a fiction book based in that field. It's just like getting a behind-the-scenes peek at a niche topic in a fun, easy-to-read way. Red Widow was written by former intelligence author, Alma Katsu, and her expertise in the realm of espionage and covert operations comes through on the page.

Red Widow is not a super-compulsive page-turner, but it was quick to read and kept me guessing. It's the perfect summer book that is a few s
An interesting story written by a former analyst at the CIA. While the plot was intriguing enough to keep me turning the pages, and I thoroughly enjoyed the tidbits of insider information the author provided, the characters seemed more cardboard cutouts than real people. For all I was told about the female protagonists, I couldn’t seem to make the kind of emotional connection with either of them that would have had me cheering them on.
John Machata
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Delightful spy thriller. Centered in Langley, Virginia, home of CIA headquarters, this is the first novel I have read filled with the bureaucratic in fighting that characterizes any huge governmental agency. Unraveling the truth is plausible at every turn. Main players are fleshed out realistically. A riveting read. Psychological aspects true to life.
The Crew Reviews
Jun 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Check out the review here:

"In RED WIDOW, Alma Katsu pulls back the curtain on a world of complexities and contradictions, where selfless service and selfish interests exist in equal measure, where truth is elusive and trust is illusory.

Two women, Lyndsey Duncan and Theresa Warner, the infamous “Red Widow” are thrown into this crucible where sacred duty intersects with unfathomable sacrifice. Katsu has created a thought provoking tale about conflicting loyalties and
Kristin Koski
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
An incredible story about a strong woman and her relationship to her work, her co-workers, and her superiors. I learned from her as she juggled it all because she wasn't always successful. She's full of self doubt but also confidence. I read this book at just the right time: the end of the school year. As a theatre teacher, I'm always full of tension and doubt in May; everything matters too much. Reading about the same struggles in the CIA reminds me to chill out. It's just the school play. I lo ...more
Jun 14, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Too many characters for me to follow on audio and I didn’t invest with any of them.
David Brady
Jun 14, 2021 rated it liked it
I liked this. It didn’t feel hyperbolic - it seems like this is how intelligence probably actually works. More office intrigue than James Bond. An insider’s take. 3.7.
Ray Palen
Apr 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
When it comes to espionage novels, in my opinion, there are three types that complement the genre. First, you have authors who are terrific writers and create something that is fun to read, but it is not full of enough deep detail that some curious minds might want to experience. Then, you have authors who have had a stellar career serving in the intelligence community but are a little stiff on the story-telling side, so you get something full of detail, but it eventually reads like an espionage ...more
★ ★ 1/2 (rounded up)
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
Another weekday morning at Langley. Men and women streamed across the parking lots—past the towering parabolic antennas, the Blackbird spy plane made into a monument—to converge on a set of doors placed into a wall so discreetly that they could be secret doors, known only to the initiated.

It was a cold morning. In raincoats and windbreakers, they moved with mindless determination, like ants following the scent of sugar,
...more Mystery & Thriller
When it comes to espionage novels, there are three types that complement the genre: those that are fun to read but not detailed enough that some curious minds might want to experience; those whose authors have had a stellar career serving in the intelligence community but are a little stiff with their storytelling, so you get a fully detailed work that reads like an espionage textbook; and those that perfectly blend the two styles. Fortunately, RED WIDOW falls into the third category.

Alma Katsu
Alma Katsu typically writes horror novels, so imagine my surprise when I find out that her latest novel, Red Widow, is a spy thriller. Not only that but she used her 35 years as a spy/analyst in the CIA as fodder. With that type of experience, I had high hopes for this look at modern-day spycraft. Unfortunately, much like her last horror novel, I found Red Widow a bit of a slog.

I imagine that some of my disappointment with Red Widow stems from the fact that I pretty much guessed the plot a quart
May 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Just released in March 2021, Red Widow follows protagonist Lindsey Duncan as she is brought back into the Russian division of the CIA in Washington, after leaving Beirut under rumblings of breaking a rule and poor judgement.

Readers wonder about that history, as Lindsey is a young, single woman who appears to be loyal to the CIA and a nice person. She is also smart - known as the "human lie detector" after a paper she wrote in college about micro-facial expressions gets her recruited by the CIA.
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