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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

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
  • 03-05-2021

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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  • Stephen
  • 04-04-2021

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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  • Anna Johnson
  • 04-09-2021

Espionage fiction at its best

Gripping and intriguing, I could barely stop listening to Alma Katsu’s Red Widow. I loved being immersed in the authentic mundanity of the characters’ world whilst being pulled along by the progressive discovery of the truth. If you love spy thrillers in the tradition of Le Carre - where the action is more intellectual than physical - you’ll love this book!

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  • Dean S.
  • 27-08-2021

GREAT GREAT READ

WAS NOT SURE HOW THE END WAS GOING TO GO.... BUT RICHARD WAS BROUGHT BACK FROM RUSSIA PRISON AND REUNITES WITH HIS BADASS WIFE AND SON! THIS WAS A GREAT BOOK!

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  • Barbara
  • 04-07-2021

Overall an engaging story

Author writes with with engaging detail and authority about spycraft. Very interesting. Wish her editor had wielded the red pencil though on all the cliches. Three daggers to the heart within five minutes and too many others.

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  • Julie Proctor
  • 14-06-2021

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!

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  • Chantal Roe
  • 21-05-2021

Not a big reveal

I listened to the author on the Lawfare podcast the other day. They were talking about this big huge reveal. It’s NOT. Title of book. The minute you meet the character. I mean who wouldn’t guess this right away, is not a mystery / spy reader. I found the main character compelling. But everything felt so post-post modern.

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  • John Plaster
  • 13-05-2021

Excellent novel that keeps you wondering.

I love this book and the narrator is excellent for this novel. Alma Katsu is a talented author and so nice and takes time to get to know her readers. What I really like is this book gives you a glimpse into the workings of the CIA and the intelligence community since the author was an employee of the intelligence sector of the government. I also like the protagonist of the story is a female lead. We need more female role models.

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  • Ghost Reader
  • 29-04-2021

Spectacular, Devious and Unpredictable

This is the best spy novel I've read in years. And I read the best.

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  • Victoria Eriksson
  • 23-04-2021

WOW, awesome

Hope this author writes more spy books. I loved it. Nothing better than a female author of a spy novel in my opinion!

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  • neop
  • 12-04-2021

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.

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