blockbuster IRA spy story tipped to book Netflix deal after Reese Witherspoon's nod of approval
Reese Witherspoon's favourite book about Northern Ireland is being tipped to become the latest Hollywood blockbuster.
Since the American actress promoted the crime novel Northern Spy by US writer Flynn Berry in her book club, it has rocketed up the New York Times' bestseller list.
There is now excited talk about the page-turner becoming a Netflix film, with Witherspoon tipped to become its executive producer.
Northern Spy is the tale of two Northern Irish sisters, Tessa and Marian, who become entangled with the IRA.
Tessa, who works as a producer at the Belfast bureau of the BBC, is hard at work one day when news of an attack comes on the air. She is shocked to see footage of her sister wearing a balaclava.
The police believe Marian has joined the IRA, but Tessa knows that this is impossible.
The New York Times said in its review: "Desperate to help her sister and protect her son, Tessa is dragged further into a shadowy, dangerous world of weapons caches, undercover operatives, police informants and bugging operations.
"This is a perilous place of clashing allegiances in which the friendliest person can turn out to be the most committed of terrorists. Berry keeps the tension almost unbearably high throughout, even as the plot sags a bit at the end.
"At the heart of the story is Tessa's fierce relationship with Marian, which is almost a metaphor for Northern Ireland itself."
There are many twists and turns in the plot, and Witherspoon believes the gripping story would make a great feature film. As one source said, her enthusiasm for the book could easily lead to it being made into a movie.
"Reese Witherspoon has the Midas touch," said a Hollywood insider. "If she backs something, then movie distributors will listen.
"She apparently loves Northern Spy, so I am sure that we will see it on our screens pretty soon."
Avid reader Witherspoon confirmed that Northern Spy by Flynn Berry was her April book of the month on her Instagram book club account, which boasts more than two million followers.
Every month, the actress chooses a book with women at the centre of the story.
"Change your location to the edge of your seat because the April #ReesesBookClub pick, Northern Spy, will have you living there," Witherspoon said in a post on Reese's Book Club.
The post went on to add: "It's all about a mystery where it takes two to tangle and one wrong move to destroy everything."
Author Flynn said: "The story felt urgent and contemporary. We're all living against a backdrop of changing threat levels."
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