American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

American Spy

Lauren Wilkinson

In a letter to her sons Marie reveals how she became an FBI agent. Inspired by her dead sister's dream, she goes and works as a fed in an all male, all white bureau in New York. The only black woman there. She gets assigned to infiltrate and seduce Thomas Sankara, the leader of the military coup in Burkina Faso. Lots of intrigue, secrets and lies. I wondered if any of this actually happened.

Extract

I've always been good at making guesses about who people are, and often used the skill when I was recruiting informants. I generally kept what I knew to myself though; my talent for observation put most people on guard, and my memory could cause the same problem. When it's a question of how much you remember about an acquaintance, a colleague, or a snitch, there's a fine line between what's flattering and what gives them the creeps.
The officer gave me some deliberately direct eye contact, his face wide open, his eyebrows up as he smiled slightly. When I first approached a target, I did so with this very same look on my face. It was a basic step, one of many I used to suggest to my targets that I was trustworthy. I imitated his expression; right from the start we were working each other.

Parallels
  • The Night Manager by John le Carré
  • Homeland - TV series
  • Oil on Water by Helon Habila