Often, spy thrillers evoke familiar comforts, if also images of dusty covers and yellowed pages. But Lauren Wilkinson, while returning to a classic era (the Cold War), manages to reinvigorate the genre by following a character we haven’t seen before: a black woman serving as an FBI agent tasked with helping to remove the Communist president of Burkina Faso (who was known in real life as “Africa’s Che Guevara”). All the while, Wilkinson uncovers several secrets involving politics, race and sex as her protagonist attempts to survive in a world controlled by white men. Like her character, the author is fresh to the field—American Spy is her first novel—but capable of revealing insights into how power truly functions. So much so that President Obama included the book on his summer reading list.
Buy now: American Spy