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Spy Books for Adults

There is something VERY fun about a spy novel – there’s a good reason stories like James Bond have been popular for decades!

Here are some my very favorite spy books and below that, I’ve collected a bunch of recommendations from my Instagram community!

best spy novels


finlay donovan is killing it book

Finlay Donovan Series by Elle Cosimano
I received tons of recommendations for this book before I read it! It’s about a suburban mom who, while going through a messy divorce, is mistaken for a contract assassin. She’s not going to kill someone . . . . but the money would really help get her manipulative ex-husband off her back. Laugh-out-loud funny and a little zany! The sequel is equally delightful and the fourth book just dropped this month.

the blonde identity book

The Blonde Identity by Ally Carter
I loved this funny spy romantic comedy with a dose of action packed adventure. Zoe wakes up in Paris with zero memory, but when she is mistaken for her spy twin sister, there are a lot of people who want her dead. This one has dual narrators (there are two narrators on the audiobook, which was extra fun) and I just loved every second of this book.

The Spy and I

The Spy and I by Tiana Smith
This one was such a fun listen and has a very similar premise to The Blonde Identity – the heroine’s twin sister is a spy and she gets roped into a dangerous mission, all while falling for her spy partner. Traveling the world, fighting off bad guys, uncovering spy traitors, and a little bit of romance!? What more could you need?

Zero Days by Ruth Ware
I had been meaning to read a Ruth Ware book for literally YEARS and finally picked up her 2023 release in the fall and then went on to read most of her books in quick succession. This one, about a husband and wife team who test digital and physical security for companies and then have a job go VERY wrong, is still my favorite of all her books so far.

first lie wins book

First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston
Evie Porter’s life looks pretty perfect and now her perfect boyfriend has just asked her to move in with him to his perfect house. The only catch is… Evie Porter doesn’t really exist. Working under the alias of Evie Porter, Lucca Marino knows that her ‘boyfriend’ Ryan is the mark and she’s just waiting to find out what the actual job is. While she is waiting to receive more instructions, she is introduced to Ryan’s close friend’s girlfriend, Lucca Marino. If it sounds trippy, it’s because it is. This book is full of twists and turns and you won’t want to put it down.

A fun new adult title from the author of Twilight

The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer
Say what you will about Stephenie Meyer. This book follows a female interrogation officer for one of the U.S. government agencies. She’s known as The Chemist because she uses chemical cocktails to get information out of her subjects, but now she’s less worried about her job and more worried about her life because the agency is now trying to kill her. This was just a FUN book with lots of laugh-out-loud moments. (Full review here)

And here are some of the ones recommended on Instagram that I haven’t read yet!

killers of a certain age book

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
Billie, Helen, Mary Alice, and Natalie are 60 year old women who have been assassins for the last 40 years. After all their time killing bad people they are going on a cruise to celebrate their retirement. But when someone made them targets for elimination, the four set off to find out who’s setting them up, all the while sporting bad knees and menopause.

A Train to Potevka

Train to Potevka by Mike Ramsdell
In this autobiographical book, Ramsdell details his life as a Russian expert in the CIA during the Cold War, mainly highlighting one specific operation. This espionage drama has it all – undercover contacts, secret agent training, mafia, escape, and gunplay.

The Charm School

The Charm School by Nelson DeMille
At Mrs. Ivanova’s Charm School, young KGB agents are being taught by American POW’s how to be model citizens of the USA. By doing this, the Soviet’s hope to infiltrate the United States undetected. But what will happen when an unsuspecting American tourist stumbles upon this secret school?

The Spy Coast

The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen
As a sixty year old retired spy, Maggie gave up the life of espionage for a small chicken farm in a little village in Maine. But it seems like she is not the only retiree with an interesting past. When a dead body appears in her driveway, she knows someone is sending her a message, and she believes it has something to do with her last case from 16 years ago.

Slow Horses

Slow Horses by Mick Herron
After a mission goes terribly wrong, River Cartwright is sent to Slough House. Slough House is a place they keep members of the intelligence service that messed up, instead of firing them. It’s a place full of misfits and never ending paperwork. However, when a young man is kidnapped off the street and appears on the internet, with those holding him threatening to behead him online, the misfits at Slough House become involved in the case. Will they put their pasts behind them and save the day?

State of Terror

State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton
In this thriller, a novice Secretary of State has joined the administration of her rival. But when a series of terrorist attacks turns the world to chaos, will the secretary be able to assemble a team to unravel a deadly conspiracy?

Code Of Honor

Code of Honor by Alan Gratz
Alan Gratz is a master of historical fiction and his books are always high action through famous moments in history. When Iranian-American Kamran Smith learns that his big brother, Darius, has been labelled a terrorist, he sets out to piece together the codes and clues that will save his brother’s life and his country from a deadly terrorist attack.

Almost Home

Almost Home by Pam Jenoff
Jordan swore she would never return to London and more specifically to Cambridge where she went to university after her boyfriend Jared drowned. In the next ten years, Jordan worked all over the world as an intelligence officer. But when a letter arrives for Jordan, her plans very quickly change and she is heading back to the place she never thought she would return.

The Spy Wore Red

The Spy Wore Red by Aline, Countess of Romanones
Because of Aline’s beauty, everyone guessed she would become a model or an actress. But few would have guessed she would be known under the code name “Tiger”, infiltrating the Nazi underground and risking her life. This first-hand account is full of danger and intrigue!

American Spy

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
Marie Mitchell is a Cold War FBI intelligence officer tasked to undermine Thomas Sankara while undercover. Thomas Sankara is the revolutionary Communist president of Burkina Faso, and Marie secretly admires what he is doing for his country. It’s up to Marie to observe him, seduce him, and ultimately play a part in the coup that will bring him down. This one is inspired by true events.


Transcription by Kate Atkinson
When she was only 18 years old, Juliet Armstrong reluctantly joined the MI5, an espionage department that would neutralize Nazi sympathizers in 1940s London. After the end of the war, and ten years has passed, Juliet thought her past was behind her. Now as a radio producer at the BBC, figures from her past begin to resurface, and she is once again in danger.

Her Royal Spyness

Her Royal Spyness Series by Rhys Bowen
Lady Georgie comes from a long line of royalty, but after becoming penniless, she finds work spying for Her Majesty the Queen. When a drowned body is found in her London townhome, she must find a way to figure out who actually committed the crime and keep herself safe in the process.

The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax

The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman
Mrs. Pollifax is widowed, with adult children and decides to pursue her lifelong desire to be a spy. She becomes quite useful to the CIA and successfully completes an assignment which takes her all over the world – from New Jersey to Mexico City to Albania.

Spies don't fall for their asset

Spies Don’t Fall for their Asset by Meg Easton
MacKenzie is a spy movie fanatic, and she never imagines that she will meet a real spy and go on an adventure of her own! So, when MacKenzie is mistaken as a target, covert operative Jace is assigned to protect her. As they grow closer, he even starts to imagine a future with her. This is romcom spy adventure at its finest!

Alias Emma

Alias Emma by Ava Glass
It’s Emma Makepeace’s first major assignment as a British spy. She must escort a pediatric oncologist to MI6 custody because Russian assassins are after him. The problem? Russians have hacked into London’s CCTV cameras, so Emma must traverse the most heavily surveilled city without being detected.

the alice network book

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Embarrassingly, I haven’t yet gotten around to reading The Alice Network, about two women spies in both World War I and World War II.

The Expats

The Expats by Chris Pavone
Kate Moore is a working mother of two married to a lovely computer security expert. When her husband, Dexter, gets a new job in Luxembourg, she quits her job writing papers for the State Department, they move to Europe, and she gets involved with the other expatriate wives. Except, no one is who they say they are (even Kate, who is ex-CIA). Her husband and her friends are harboring strange secrets and Kate is determined to uncover what they are.

Red Widow

Red Widow by Alma Katsu
After an incident on a recent CIA assignment, Lyndsey Duncan is sent home to Washington on administrative leave. While home, the Chief of the Russia Division, recruits her for an internal investigation – to find the mole in the department. While working with fellow agent, Theresa Warner, the infamous “Red widow,” Lyndsey uncovers and exposes a terrifying web of secrets within the department.

The Spy and the Traitor

The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre
In this true story about the Cold War, Oleg Gordievsky, a Soviet Spy working for the KGB, began to spy for the British agency MI6 after becoming disillusioned with the Communist regime. After ten years with MI6, he was compromised by a CIA traitor and escaped with the help of MI6 who wanted to pay him back for his bravery and loyalty.

A Peculiar Combination

A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver
It’s WWWI and when Uncle Mick’s locksmith business can’t pay the bills, he and Electra start making money by breaking into the homes of England’s wealthy upper class and breaking into their safes. After being caught doing a “job”, they are recruited by by the government to retrieve papers critical to the British war effort. When the safe that was supposed to contain those paper ends up empty with a dead body, will they play by the rules to find out who did it and where the bad guys got their information?

Code Name Blue Wren

Code Name Blue Wren by Jim Popkin
Ana Montes was one of the US government’s top experts on Cuba, working her way up to the Defense Intelligence Agency. Ana’s family was full of patriots – her father was an Army Colonel, her siblings were FBI agents, and her sister Lucy was responsible for hunting out Cuban spies. In the days after 9/11, even Lucy was shocked when, Ana was arrested as a secret agent for Cuba. This in depth story details the opposite paths two sisters took and how one turned into the most-dangerous spy against America.

A Woman of No Importance

A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell
I love these stories about women who changed the course of history. Virginia Hall went undercover as an American journalist and managed to recruit thousands of people to the Resistance as she went. And even though her prosthetic leg made her stand out, she was able to assume multiple identities in a single day. She was even given a license to kill by her British handlers. But when her cover was blown, she escaped over snow covered mountains, and was sent to work in what is now known as the CIA.

Maggie Hope Series

Maggie Hope Series by Susan Elia Macneal
Maggie Hope is well trained in math and code breaking, but the only job she is able to find is a job as Winston Churchill’s secretary. But after the German Luftwaffe bomb London, Maggie doesn’t let her job hold her back. She uses her access and position to unravel an assassins murderous plan.

Later on We'll Conspire

Later On We’ll Conspire by Kortney Keisel
Spies, Christmas, and sizzling chemistry?…this holiday spy romance has it all! When CIA operative, Park Bradshaw, receives his next mission – recovering a microchip with sensitive information – he didn’t realize how complicated it would get when he runs into Lacee Warren. As she gets entangled in his mission, Park’s feelings for Lacee become more of a distraction. Will this spy be able to complete his mission without breaking hearts along the way?

Between Silk and Cyanide

Between Silk and Cyanide by Leo Marks
In this memoir, Leo Marks details leaving his life at his father’s famous bookshop and transforming code-making and code-breaking for the Special Operations Executive during World War II. He shares so many fascinating and little-known aspects surrounding the war.

I Am PIlgrim

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
The man who calls himself Pilgrim has a long history in secret operations. As he tracks across Europe, he is sent on a mission to find the terrorist who is planning to unleash a manufactured “homemade apocalypse” on the US. Make sure you have time for this spy thriller – it is more than 600 pages.

Going Zero

Going Zero by Anthony McCarten
A randomly selected group of ten people have been asked to test a ground breaking piece of spyware called FUSION. The creator, Cy Baxter claims it can track anybody anywhere in the world – but it’s up to the selected participants to prove him wrong. They have 30 days to remain off grid and undetected. If they can do it, they receive $3 million dollars! But for participant Kaitlyn Day, there is more at stake than just a few million dollars, she has her own agenda.

thursday murder club

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Soon to hit the movie theaters, this four part series is getting a lot of buzz. Four residents of a retirement community meet on a weekly basis to discuss specifics about unsolved crimes. One crime that’s at the forefront of their meetings is a local, wealthy developer found dead inside his home with a mysterious photograph left next to his body. Full of wit and mystery, this series sounds like a lot of fun.

Etiquette and Espionage

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
Set in a steampunk Victorian world filled with vampires and werewolves, this novel about “finishing school” is not what your would expect. While one might envision learning to curtsy properly, these girls are learning espionage, diversions, and ways to deal out death.

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
No one does a suspenseful mystery like Agatha Christie and this one, where the famous Orient Express is stopped by a snowdrift and a millionaire riding aboard turns up dead, it becomes clear that the murderer is another one of the passengers.

The Heist

Fox & O’Hare Series by Janet Evanovich
Janet Evanovich has some wildly popular series, and in this one about two special agents doesn’t miss the mark. When Nicholas Fox, a handsome con man convinces the FBI to hire him, he will end up working with Kate O’Hare, a very dedicated special agent, on countless missions.

And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!

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One Comment

  1. My library cards ‘holds’ are max’ed out! I’ve read a few books on this list and they have been so good. Great list!!!!

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