Sunday, September 10, 2006

15 spy novels

Peter Cannon compiled a list of 15 spy novels for Publishers Weekly. It's unclear if these are bestsellers or Cannon's favorites or...whatever.

Here are the five on the list published after 1990:
Gayle Lynds 1996

Government agent Liz Sansborough enters a terrifying underworld that encompasses the posh beach communities of California, a highly secret CIA training camp, the netherworld of Washington super spies, and the dangerous back streets of Paris.

Joseph Finder 1991
Finder's first novel imagines a KGB coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Six months after the book’s publication, such a coup actually happened. The Moscow Club was eventually published in 30 foreign countries, and became a bestseller throughout Europe.

Norman Mailer 1991
Harlot's Ghost, a 1300 page chronicle of the CIA, was published in 1991. Norman Mailer considers it one of his best novels. The characters comprise a mixture of real people and fictional characters, the logic of this mix is explained in Mailer's postscript to the novel. Atmospheric and troubling, Harlot's Ghost exemplifies Mailer's skills as both a novelist & a chronicler. Although it should not be read as a factual account of the CIA's activities, it evokes the mood and methods of this organization and the men who created it.

Daniel Silva 1996
A history professor named Alfred Vicary is handpicked by Winston Churchill to expose a highly dangerous traitor. The Nazis have their own unlikely agent—the babelicious Catherine Blake, a beautiful war widow under direct orders from Hitler to uncover the Allies plans for D-Day.

Colin MacKinnon 2006
Mixing fact and faction, MacKinnon chronicles the poignant personal story of a senior CIA agent, Paul Patterson, on the trail of Osama bin Laden. The case leads Patterson to a disturbing chain of events—porous U.S. immigration policies, White House indifference, CIA bungling—that in hindsight provides the perfect set of circumstances for 9/11.
Click here to read about the other 10 titles.

(Hat tip to David J. Montgomery via The Rap Sheet.)
Another list of top spy novels is here.

--Marshal Zeringue