The author of Edgar Award-winning Under the Harrow returns with the story of two sisters who become entangled with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), decades since the Good Friday Agreement pushed the dissident group's operations underground. Journalist Tessa is busy juggling career and new motherhood when she finds her sister Marian shockingly caught in televised footage of an IRA robbery, testing the limits of her ideals, the bonds of her family, her notions of right and wrong and her identity as a sister and a mother.
Even at its highest pitch, Ms. Berry’s novel remains a human-centered story that closely examines the behavior of siblings, babies, mothers and friends. All the more shocking, then, when the curtain of domesticity is pushed aside to reveal the man in the black ski mask standing outside the window. Once the screws of suspense have been tightened, Northern Spy becomes a beguiling thriller that’s hard to put down.
Taut and passionate, it’s a plot-driven and morally demanding narrative full of threat and heartbreak. The fiercely portrayed reality of life in a divided land and the costly choices everyone faces make this into a page-turner. Berry also excels at keeping her protagonists smart and even wise—so when things do go wrong, it’s not because of foolish mistakes ... Northern Spy will be a hit for readers of Dublin noir and tartan noir, as well as those who’ve already discovered Stuart Neville’s Belfast noir with its grit and darkness. But because Berry opts to view the pain and violence through a young mother’s eyes, there’s less in-your-face blood and guts, and perhaps more agony in spite of that.
Flynn Berry...shows off her crisp writing style and deft plotting throughout Northern Spy. It is a fast and furious read that literally is tough to put down and demands to be finished in a single sitting. Your heart will be in your throat much of the time as the bonds of sisterhood and loyalty to the cause will be stretched to the breaking point.