Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


Greenleaf Book Group
Service Provider
The Handler
Feminism, Family Drama, and Friendship In the thrilling and twisty follow-up to author Monica McGurk’s critically acclaimed The Agency, The Handler follows protagonist Bree and her fellow nanny spies from the Norwood Agency, an independent global spy ring fronting as a British college for aspiring nannies to the elite, as they race against the clock to locate the children kidnapped under her watch during their first inauspicious mission in Turkey. Dealing with the betrayal of other members of Norwood, the trio heads out on a search that ends up leading them to the shocking truth about orphaned Bree’s dead parents and the mission that got them killed when she was still a baby. Taut and thrilling, The Handler weaponizes domesticity as the women of Norwood Agency exploit their roles to influence international events. In doing so, The Handler explores the tradeoffs facing modern women balancing careers, families, and love. It plumbs motherhood and intergenerational trauma against a backdrop of some of the greatest diplomatic events of recent history, painting a portrait of loss and regret in the pursuit of truth.
In McGurk’s second installment of the Norwood Nanny Chronicles, after The Agency, readers are plunged into a thrilling world of espionage, mystery, and personal redemption as Bree, a nanny/spy in training, comes to terms with the kidnapping of her first charges in Turkey—and the mysterious deaths of two fellow agents. Driven by a deep sense of responsibility for the kidnapped children, but also haunted by the unresolved deaths of her parents and half-sister, Bree sets out, with her fellow nanny spies, to solve the mystery of the missing children and uncover her family’s secrets.

McGurk crafts a tale that seamlessly weaves together the intricacies of spy craft, personal history, and the quest for truth, its elaborate plot unfolding across multiple time frames and locations. From the turbulent backdrop of Ireland during the Irish Republican Army and British Empire conflict to the orphanage in Alabama where Bree grew up, and finally to the Norwood Agency in Britain, the story navigates through these settings with skillful storytelling, though the timelines require close attention to fully appreciate the unraveling events.

Heredity, DNA tests, and undercover moles resonate, mirroring the spy game, as Bree explores her roots in her ancestral home with fellow spy Dash Heyward, aided by roommate and Head Girl, Ruby. The supporting characters, with their own motives and secrets, add complexity to the tale. As Bree grapples with the embedded tracking device in her neck and questions of trust, the tangled web of relationships, beliefs, and falsehoods keep readers guessing until the final pages, and how to discern intentions while surviving requires every inch of Bree’s focus. The payoff is a gripping tale of espionage, self-discovery, and survival, and McGurk masterfully blends the action, mystery, and character-driven moments together, delivering a worthy sequel that will leave readers anticipating the next installment.

Takeaway: A twisting spy game adventure of betrayal, self-discovery, and survival.

Comparable Titles: Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious, Marion Blackwood’s The Traitor Spy.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A