• Northern Spy

  • Reese's Book Club (A Novel)
  • By: Flynn Berry
  • Narrated by: Katharine Lee McEwan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (2,258 ratings)

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Northern Spy  By  cover art

Northern Spy

By: Flynn Berry
Narrated by: Katharine Lee McEwan
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Publisher's summary

Reese’s Book Club Pick
Instant New York Times Best Seller
A New York Times Book Review Top 10 Thriller of 2021
A Washington Post Top 10 Thriller or Mystery of 2021

“If you love a mystery, then you’ll devour [Northern Spy].... I loved this thrill ride of a book.” (Reese Witherspoon)

“A chilling, gorgeously written tale.... Berry keeps the tension almost unbearably high.” (The New York Times Book Review)

The acclaimed author of Under the Harrow and A Double Life returns with her most riveting novel to date: the story of two sisters who become entangled with the IRA

A producer at the BBC and mother to a new baby, Tessa is at work in Belfast one day when the news of another raid comes on the air. The IRA may have gone underground in the two decades since the Good Friday Agreement, but they never really went away, and lately bomb threats, security checkpoints, and helicopters floating ominously over the city have become features of everyday life. As the news reporter requests the public's help in locating those responsible for the robbery, security footage reveals Tessa's sister, Marian, pulling a black ski mask over her face.

The police believe Marian has joined the IRA, but Tessa is convinced she must have been abducted or coerced; the sisters have always opposed the violence enacted in the name of uniting Ireland. And besides, Marian is vacationing on the north coast. Tessa just spoke to her yesterday.

When the truth about Marian comes to light, Tessa is faced with impossible choices that will test 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. Walking an increasingly perilous road, she wants nothing more than to protect the one person she loves more fiercely than her sister: her infant son, Finn.

Riveting, atmospheric, and exquisitely written, Northern Spy is at once a heart-pounding story of the contemporary IRA and a moving portrait of sister- and motherhood, and of life in a deeply divided society.

©2021 Flynn Berry (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

Named a Best Book of 2021 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, CrimeReads, Kirkus Reviews, and the New York Public Library

“A chilling, gorgeously written tale of a modern community poisoned by ancient grievances.... Berry is a beautiful writer with a sophisticated, nuanced understanding of this most complicated of places.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Thrillingly good.... Flynn Berry shows a le Carré-like flair for making you wonder what’s really going on at any given moment.... Berry won an Edgar for Under the Harrow in 2017. Here comes another contender.” (The Washington Post)

“[A] beguiling thriller that’s hard to put down.... Even at its highest pitch, [Northern Spy] remains a human-centered story that closely examines the behavior of siblings, babies, mothers and friends.” (The Wall Street Journal)