Plot: Condon has crafted an excellent thriller in Spider’s Web. The story is fast-paced and a delight for readers to keep up with. Even though this is the third in the series, it is easy to follow the plot and it can be read as a standalone work.
Prose/Style: The writing is a little choppy, but the story is so engaging that the uneven sentences do not detract from the story.
Originality: This story feels very original in both concept and execution. It combines military spy work with a deeper emotional storyline about anxiety, PTSD, and the loss of a loved one.
Character Development/Execution: The protagonist, Maggie, survives many horrible events that shape her development, and readers visibly see her growth despite these traumas. The reader experiences Maggie’s deep sense of loss after the death of her husband and then witnesses her eventual healing and ability to open up to a new love.
Date Submitted: April 01, 2021
Finding Magdalena introduced Maggie as a teenager in a harrowing tale of love and loss. Now readers get to appreciate Maggie as an adult: agent, singer, mother, and wife. The dialogue can sometimes be stilted or trite (“I need to remember that a lot of women don’t even get one baby”), but the emotions underneath it are real. Domestic issues including fertility problems, jealousy, and mental illness intertwine and juxtapose with dangerous enemies including the mysterious group known as the Brotherhood, and loved ones become collateral damage when covert operations go terribly wrong, showing the tragic humanity in the espionage world.
Condon’s wonderful heroine is a survivor above all else. The story boasts a rare mix of daring spycraft and the domestic life of an extended family, though this sometimes leads to uneven pacing and an overextended plot. There’s much to enjoy as Maggie outwits kidnappers and Russian operatives while facing her own fears and demons. Both new and returning readers will appreciate the promise of this unique series and be eager to follow Maggie wherever her dangerous, fulfilling life takes her next.
Takeaway: A tough heroine with strong family ties brings adventures galore to thriller readers wishing their ordinary lives could be just a little more exciting.
Great for fans of David Baldacci’s King & Maxwell series, Dan Fesperman’s Safe Houses.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+
“Spider's Web” is the first book I have read as a stand alone in the Author’s Magdalena series and I absolutely loved the writing style! I could not put it down, it is fast paced, suspenseful, dynamic and action packed. I found Author Shannon Condon’s prose, crisp dialogue, and the depth of the characters enthralling. She is a talented writer, captivating her readers throughout the story telling with ease and a sense of foreboding. I was on eggshells as I turned the pages, sensing a surprise about to unfold and the ending did not disappoint! Bravo Author Shannon Condon, I can’t wait to read the first 2 books in the series and the next installment. I recommend this book and I am a huge fan!