A Book Spy Review: ‘The Blue Hour Sanction’ by Landon Beach


One day, Margaret Crandall, a small-town girl from Michigan, was simply a prominent collegiate heptathlete, and the next, she’s one of the world’s most deadly assassins, but how does that transformation take pace? 

That’s the whole point of Landon Beach’s new thriller, The Blue Hour Sanction, which tells the backstory of Adrienne Astra, a character who was first introduced in Beach’s 2021 novel Hurron Breeze, although, maybe not quite how you’d expect. Breeze, the first book in the Sunrise-Side Mystery series, follows a head-scratching mystery that involves a murder in a small Michigan town where, unbeknownst to everyone else residing there, is a place called home by one of the world’s most famous authors, Riley Cannon. Living under a different name and embracing a quiet life in the shadows, Cannon is preparing for her return to the publishing world and is currently writing her next book, which stars a globe-trotting assassin named, you guessed it, Adrienne Astra.

Going back in time to tell the account of Cannon’s fictional character here, Beach breathes new life into Astra while also treating his readers to an exciting coming-of-age story that chronicles the recruitment, training, and first missions of one of the genre’s most intriguing new characters. While it’s no doubt a fun read for Beach’s fans, especially those who favor his Riley Cannon books, it also proves to be the first true action thriller from Beach, who is better known for spinning mystery and suspense plotlines than bang, bang, shoot-’em-up-types of stories, though, his readers may hope for a sequel to this one.

Though The Blue Hour Sanction opens with Margaret’s final race as a college athlete, Beach wastes no time setting up the meat of the plot, which involves her being groomed to partake in a Hunger Games-like job audition that’s really more of a tryout. There can only be one winner, and whoever that is will be assured a spot on the roster of a top-secret group that employs talented killers. But for Margaret—who, throughout the story, grows to become the operator known as Adrienne Astra—things take a turn when her mentor is found dead. Suddenly, the primary mission assigned to her is no longer her main focus. But with moles and double agents abound, she must quickly embrace the spy game before she herself winds up dead and her mentor’s murderer goes free.

A fresh take on telling a story within a story, The Blue Hour Sanction dives into the past of one of Beach’s most fascinating characters, bringing her to life for a rip-roaring origin story that’s different than anything else out there.

Book Details

Author: Landon Beach
Series: Adrienne Astra #1
Pages: 401 (Paperback)
ISBN: 1959783009
Publisher: Landon Beach Books LLC
Release Date: August 29th



Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and is building a growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” is now available. His second novel, LETHAL RANGE, comes out on August 8th. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. And to take part in free, exclusive BOOK CLUBS each month, join The Real Book Spy on Discord.


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