portland_laynie_bk_rising portland_laynie_bk_retired portland_laynie_bk_resurrected portland_laynie_bk_renegade
Full Name: Laynie Portland
Nationality: American
Organization: The Marstead Agency
Occupation Agent

Creator: Vikki Kestell
Time Span: 2019 - 2020


Laynie Portland is an agent with the Marstead Agency.

When in 1977 Helena "Laynie" Portland was about to graduate from the University of Washington, she received a letter from Marstead International. While there was a lot about the company she had yet to learn, she knew it to be "a technology and aeronautics firm with a global presence and reputation". The fact that they were interested enough in her for their recruiters to invite her to a dinner followed by an informal interview, she was flattered and not a little excited.

It was not long into their dinner discussions that they let her know that they were seeking "college graduates with the right mix of aptitude and skills to work and grow within our worldwide market". When they tacked on a statement that she had "the potential to serve the interest of [the] country", she figured things out and stated her findings that they were "representatives of a U.S. intelligence agency, unnamed so far, and you are trying to recruit" her. She had nailed it.

It was fairly obvious why she was one of their top candidates. She was a beautiful young woman, standing 5'8 with long straight corn-husk colored hair that fell to her mid back. Since her father was of Scandinavian descent, it was felt by everyone that she had inherited his genes though in fact she was adopted by him and his African-American wife with the proceedings being closed so no one knew her origins. But what Marstead did know was she was very intelligent and a wizard when it came to languages. She was fluent in Spanish and German, was learning Russian, and would add several others other time.

After she went "through the Company's rigorous tradecraft and tactical training program" she began to see first hand what a "dirty business" the world of clandestine service was. Nevertheless she kept going putting everything she had into it because she had a secret that she was certain no one had figured out. Her opinion of herself was simply this: "I am worthless; my life has no value. I am only useful when the work I do serves a greater purpose".

That sort of inner rating of herself will play a major part in the things she is willing to do on behalf of Marstead, stemming from something that happened as a very little girl before her adoption, something that she barely remembers.

Be prepared for a major leap between the first and second recorded adventures - nearly 20 years - as the storyline transitions from young college student recruited to become a spy to a woman in her late 30s who has been undercover for a very, very long time. Both 'women' are interesting. The older one is deadly.

Great Line:
- In the intelligence business, the same traits that made for successful agents - cleverness, glibness, and the ability to charm, lie, and remain unflustered - were shared by people with deeply flawed psyches.!!- Opening line of the first book which deals with Portland being recruited, "No one is born a spy".


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:2019
Last Appearance:2020

1 Laynie Portland, Spy Rising Laynie Portland, Spy Rising
Written by Vikki Kestell
Copyright: 2019

The year is 1977. Laynie Portland is invited to a dinner and job interview with Marstead Intl. It is well into the spiel and the questions she realizes the job they are presenting is as an operative.
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2 Laynie Portland, Retired Spy Laynie Portland, Retired Spy
Written by Vikki Kestell
Copyright: 2019

Jumping ahead 2 decades, Laynie Portland has been living for years undercover as a Swedish citizen. The past seven has been as the mistress of a major technical advisory to the Russian government. As his brutality has increased, so has her worry for her life but her Marstead handlers do not want to lose the huge amount of intel she is providing.
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3 Laynie Portland, Renegade Spy Laynie Portland, Renegade Spy
Written by Vikki Kestell
Copyright: 2020

To save her life, Laynie Portland must go into Director Wolfe's provided witsec program and talk with a shrink about the abuse she has endured. The restrictions are proving too much for her and she is gaining a reputation as a renegade. And there is someone in the new taskforce she is put into that has a far different objective than the group, putting everyone in jeopardy.
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4 Laynie Portland,  Spy Resurrected Laynie Portland, Spy Resurrected
Written by Vikki Kestell
Copyright: 2020

The taskforce Laynie Portland is in fighting Chechen terrorists has barely survived three attacks, showing there is definitely someone in Marstead feeding them intel. To learn who it is, Portland must travel to Tbilisi on what is likely a suicide mission.
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This is a fascinating series in two, maybe three, parts.

The first is the initial adventure in which Laynie Portland is recruited in 1974 and it is really enjoyable to read. I liked watching the transition of the character from civilian to trained operative.

The second adventure jumps ahead nearly 20 years. Almost two decades. Portland is an amazing, self-assured, extremely capable agent who is ready to come in out of the cold.

After that, of course, there is retirement (hah! not really for Portand) and resurrection. You can't keep Portland down.


My Grade: B+


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