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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Spy Coast

Series: The Martini Club #1

Narrators: Hillary Huber,

Brittany Pressley

Brilliance Audio

ISBN: 9781662515125

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 11/01/2023

Format: Audio/e-book

My Rating: 5 Stars

A retired CIA operative in small-town Maine tackles the ghosts of her past in this fresh take on the spy thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

Former spy Maggie Bird came to the seaside village of Purity, Maine, eager to put the past behind her after a mission went tragically wrong. These days, she’s living quietly on her chicken farm, still wary of blowback from the events that forced her early retirement.

But when a body turns up in Maggie’s driveway, she knows it’s a message from former foes who haven’t forgotten her. Maggie turns to her local circle of old friends—all retirees from the CIA—to help uncover the truth about who is trying to kill her, and why. This “Martini Club” of former spies may be retired, but they still have a few useful skills that they’re eager to use again, if only to spice up their rather sedate new lives.

Complicating their efforts is Purity’s acting police chief, Jo Thibodeau. More accustomed to dealing with rowdy tourists than homicide, Jo is puzzled by Maggie’s reluctance to share information—and by her odd circle of friends, who seem to be a step ahead of her at every turn.

As Jo’s investigation collides with the Martini Club’s maneuvers, Maggie’s hunt for answers will force her to revisit a clandestine career that spanned the globe, from Bangkok to Istanbul, from London to Malta. The ghosts of her past have returned, but with the help of her friends—and the reluctant Jo Thibodeau—Maggie might just be able to save the life she’s built.

My Review

Tess Gerritsen introduces her exhilarating new series, The Martini Club #1—THE SPY COAST, featuring five fascinating retired CIA agents settling into Purity, Maine, without anyone in the town knowing their past. They want to blend in like their ordinary neighbors (known as the Martini Club) who meet for book club, martinis, great food, gossip, and much more.

However, after sixteen years, the past may come calling to Maine for Maggie, and an over-eager acting police chief suspects there is more to this group of friends than meets the eye.

Having lived all over the world as a CIA operative, retired Maggie Bird (age 60) purchased Blackberry Farm and has settled into a chicken farm in Purity, Maine. With gray hair, she fits in like any other retired senior citizen, which is what she wants. She has a website and a former occupation that fits in the event people start digging that should satisfy them. She checked all the backgrounds of her neighbors before buying the farm. (loved Luther & Callie next door).

However, it appears someone has found her. She has been tracked down with an operative showing up asking for her help.

She then heads to book club (Martini Club) with her retired old friends—(Maggie, Ingrid, Lloyd, Ben, and Declan), who have retired in Purity, as well. While there, she gets a call. The Fed ex-man found a woman dead in her driveaway. It appears she was moved.

Enter Jo Thibodeau, acting sheriff, who is complicating matters. She thinks this group of friends is not as they appear.

Told from POV: Maggie and Jo, the Author takes us on a wild adventure from past to present.

Jo's investigation collides with the Martini Club's moves and Maggie's search for answers from revisiting the globetrotting from eighteen years earlier —Bangkok to Istanbul, from London to Malta. The ghosts of her past have returned; however, with the help of her Martini Club friends and maybe Jo Thibodeau, Maggie might be able to keep the quiet life she has worked for.

THE SPY COAST is fresh, fun, and a cracker of a read. I loved the Martini Club and this age group! (I am in this group) and love books featuring these characters. They have so much experience and more than meets the eye. This is an excellent example of how often people overlook those after a certain age. My favorite parts were back in Maine with the group of friends, neighbors, and town.

Expect plenty of humor, thrills, mystery, suspense, spies, and action with a fun, entertaining cast of characters with many secrets! I am looking forward to Martini Club #2!

Fans of Mark de Castrique's Secret Lives series will enjoy this one!

AUDIOBOOK: I purchased the audiobook, narrated by my two favorites, Brittany Pressley and Hillary Huber, for an outstanding stellar performance! I also read the e-book for reference. Highly entertaining!

I usually am not a fan of spy and espionage tales; however, I enjoyed THE SPY COAST due to Maggie, Jo, and The Martini Club! I thoroughly enjoyed the Author's note and her inspiration for the book. Too Cool! Remember to consider seniors and their backgrounds and never underestimate them—retired but not dead by any means.

Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an early reading copy. I also purchased the audio (I highly recommend it).

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks My Rating: 5 Stars Pub Date: Nov 1, 2023 Nov 2023 Must-Read Books Nov Newsletter


“This is a nice take on retirement―five old spooks whose bones may ache but whose minds remain sharp. You can expect mystery, action, and bloodshed in this exciting thriller launched straight from the peaceful shores of Maine.”

―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The plot bustles along nicely, careening from Thailand to Italy and many points in between, but the real surprise is the richness of Gerritsen’s supporting cast, a cantankerous bunch whose love for one another runs deep.”

―Publishers Weekly

“Gerritsen…branches out into the world of espionage…expertly mixing spy drama with romance and wry comedy… Gerritsen fans and readers of Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club mysteries will love this.”

―Booklist (starred review)

“Tess Gerritsen writes in a smoothly elegant style; it’s always a delight to read her. The Spy Coast is a marvelously plotted read with action-packed pages, g-force twists and turns, and a platoon of fascinating characters. I truly hope to see Maggie Bird and her team of silver-haired helpers on the pages again.”

―David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Master storyteller Tess Gerritsen has written an ingenious, spellbinding novel that moves from Bangkok to a small town in Maine, seductive settings where secrets are kept and lives upended…The Spy Coast is utterly thrilling, full of morally complex characters with deeply buried secrets and a life-and-death chase into the past and back again. It’s a great novel.”

―Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author

“Powerful, resonant, absorbing, freighted with menace and suspense…Gerritsen is a born storyteller, and this new series showcases her talents more than ever. Irresistible and highly recommended!”

―Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“A riveting tale filled with engaging characters. I look forward to the rest of the series.”

―Kathy Reichs, author of the Temperance Brennan Bones series

“Tess Gerritsen is a brilliant, must-read novelist, and she’s done it again with The Spy Coast. Readers will want to follow the adventures of Maggie Bird and her band of Mainer compatriots for a long, long time.”

―C. J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Storm Watch

“A crackerjack thriller.”

―Paul Doiron, bestselling author of the Mike Bowditch novels

“I loved it. A hugely entertaining read!”

―Ann Cleeves, creator of the Vera and Shetland series

About the Author

Photo by Josh Gerritsen

International bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A Stanford University graduate, Tess went on to gain her MD at the University of California, San Francisco.

While on maternity leave as a physician, she began to write fiction. She published her first novel in 1987 and has since sold over forty million copies of books in forty countries, winning the Nero Wolfe Award and the RITA Award.

Her novels have been top-three US bestsellers and number one bestsellers abroad. Critics worldwide praise her novels as “pulse-pounding fun” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “scary and brilliant” (Toronto Globe and Mail), and “polished, riveting prose” (Chicago Tribune). Publishers Weekly has dubbed her the “medical suspense queen.”

Her series featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series Rizzoli & Isles, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

Now retired from medicine, she lives in Maine and writes full time. WEBSITE







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