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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Original Sin by Beth McMullen

Original Sin by Beth McMullen
Published by Hyperion ISBN 978-0401324215
Hardcover, $24.99
The timing is good for author Beth McMullen's new book-Original Sin- A Sally Sin Adventure. The story of a "wife. mother. spy", the first of a planned series, has plenty of company in popular culture. Angelina Jolie's movie Salt was an action-packed thriller, and USA Network has two popular spy TV shows- Burn Notice and Covert Affairs.

I read Original Sin on my IPad when I was down with the flu and it was the perfect one-sitting book. We first see Lucy Hamilton, loving mom to her toddler son Theo. She is married to Will, who loves his wife, son and the planet, and owns a company that develops green energy.

All seems normal, except for the fact that while Theo is in preschool, Lucy sits across the street in a coffee shop watching the school to make sure that "no one goes into Theo's school who doesn't belong there." And the fact that Lucy can "still kill an adult male twice my weight with one precisely placed punch in the chest. This is not something I tell the other moms at the playground. It simply doesn't come up that often".

So Will knows that Lucy did work for USAWMD- United States Agency for Weapons of Mass Destruction. But she wasn't a nuclear analyst, as she told him. She was a spy- named Sally Sin.

Her suburban life is turned upside down when her old handler, Simon, contacts her for a "simple chat". Simon tells her that her nemesis, Ian Blackford, who frequently kidnapped her back in the old days and whom was believed dead, actually is not. And so Lucy/Sally is dragged unwillingly back into the spy fold to protect her family, and the world.

The novel has excellent pacing, and the frequent flashbacks to Sally's spy days and her early relationship  with Will keep the story moving along. Sally and Simon's banter is terrific, and the book just keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next.

Original Sin has the possibility of becoming as successful as Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. It is not as humorous, it's more action-oriented, but I think it will appeal to the same reader. And the cover is adorable- it reminded me of my old favorite, "Girl from U.N.C.L.E" with Stephanie Powers. I wanted to be The Girl from U.N.C.L.E when I was a little girl; now I think I want to be Sally Sin!

rating 4 of 5 stars

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