Friday, February 17, 2012

Tess Gerritsen's 5 favorite thrillers

Tess Gerritsen is the best-selling author of the Jane Rizzoli crime thrillers.

One of her five favorite thrillers, as told to Daisy Banks at The Browser:
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett

Next up is the Second World War thriller Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett, about a German spy on the run code-named “the Needle”.

This book was my introduction to the spy thriller. I had read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy before that. But Eye of the Needle was a thriller as opposed to a spy novel.

What do you think is the difference?

John le CarrĂ© is very cerebral. There is an intellectual puzzle of trying to figure out who the characters are. Eye of the Needle was an out-and-out chase thriller. The plot is about whether the English intelligence officer will catch “the Needle” before he completely changes the course of the Second World War. And even though you know how the war ends, Follett manages to keep up this incredible adrenaline all the way through the story because the villain is so brilliant and tenacious.

What makes him such a mesmerising character?

First, he is ruthless. He can get out of almost any scrape. He is like the dark side of James Bond. Another thing Follett does which I found really effective is introduce a heroine who is a completely ordinary housewife with nothing going for her. She is very unhappy, yet she ends up being the one who brings down “the Needle”. That is what I love – a downtrodden character who is not a classic heroine ends up becoming the heroine after all. It’s a wonderful example of an ordinary person doing something extraordinary.
Read about another thriller on the list.

Eye of the Needle is one of Louise Bagshawe's five favorite classic chase novels.

Also see Tess Gerritsen's six favorite books featuring female sleuths.

--Marshal Zeringue