Code Name Blue Wren: The True Story of America’s Most Dangerous Female Spy—and the Sister She Betrayed

Harlequin Audio. Jan. 2023. 10:24 hrs. ISBN 9781488218408. $27.99. CRIME
Renowned as an investigative reporter for multiple news outlets, Popkin narrates his well-researched work about Ana Montes, the woman who spied for Cuba in one of the most damaging espionage cases in U.S. history. Popkin’s dogged passion for this topic shows in his performance. He exudes empathy for Montes when describing her abusive father, tenderness when discussing her mother, and tension as the bond breaks between Montes and her sister, an FBI agent. He marvels at how an emotionally detached Montes worked as the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) Cuban analyst, garnering accolades and promotions within the DIA, while also slipping top-secret intelligence to Cuban handlers for nearly 17 years. Though the FBI suspected her of being a spy, Montes left behind no evidence. It was a Cuban immigrant, an analyst for the NSA, that found proof that the mole was Montes. Convicted of espionage, she was sentenced to 25 years at the supermax unit of FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, TX. A smooth production, this audiobook skillfully manages a myriad of direct quotations and maintains an engaging newscaster perspective throughout.
VERDICT This deep dive into the case of Ana Montes is meticulously presented and will captivate true-crime lovers.
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