Original Sin Review
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Who doesn’t love a good spy thriller? The action…the adventure…the intrigue…. They often make for a gripping read. Now take your typical spy and turn him into a stay-at-home mom—and the result is a fun and fast-paced new spy series for chicks: author Beth McMullen’s Sally Sin adventures, starting with the first installment, Original Sin.

To her neighbors in San Francisco, Lucy Hamilton is a devoted wife and stay-at-home mom. She plays at the park, she goes to yoga class, and she drives the Prius that her environmentally-aware husband, Will, bought for her.

But, just a few years ago, Lucy was known by a different name: Sally Sin, Agent 26 for the USAWMD—the United States Agency for Weapons of Mass Destruction. If asked, she tells people that she worked a boring desk job—but, in reality, she worked as a spy, traveling the globe to protect unsuspecting citizens.

Lucy was happy to trade her old life as a spy for her new life as a wife and mother—but now it’s coming back to haunt her. Her nemesis has apparently come back from the dead, and he’s been spotted in San Francisco. So when her old boss comes to her for help, she’s even more concerned about protecting her family from her past than protecting the planet from whatever Ian Blackford has up his sleeve.

Sally Sin is no James Bond. She isn’t smooth and sophisticated. She rarely wears formalwear (because it’s hard to chase a toddler in heels—and forget about stain removal!). And she prefers espresso to martinis. She’s just the typical mom at the playground: dressed in jeans and a stained T-shirt, carrying a giant tote filled with toys and snacks and bandages. And that makes her a character that most chick lit fans will absolutely adore. She may not be as slick as the usual spy, but her adventures are every bit as fun.

In this first book in the series, McMullen spends most of her time developing the characters and their story. While there’s a new caper playing out, there are also plenty of flashbacks to Lucy’s old life. Since the flashbacks aren’t always in chronological order, it’s sometimes a bit tricky to figure out where in time you are. But they help to establish the characters—even though, by the end of the book, they’re not fully developed. Lucy sometimes seems a bit too bumbling to be a notorious spy, and both Blackford and Lucy’s former boss, Simon Still, are a little hazy. Still, it’s definitely an entertaining start—and those unanswered questions just leave plenty of ground for McMullen to cover in upcoming adventures.

From playgroup grandpa Sam and clueless environmentalist Will to spy-turned-mommy Lucy (who has plenty of secrets in her past), Original Sin has plenty of intriguing characters—which is perfectly fitting for a story that’s filled with action, intrigue, and potty chairs. I look forward to seeing what’s in store for them all in Sally Sin’s upcoming adventures.

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