Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Nine top classic and contemporary spy novels

When Timothy Jay Smith quit an intriguing international career to become a full-time writer, he had a host of real life characters, places and events to inspire his stories. His first novel, Cooper’s Promise, in some ways is still the most autobiographical of his novels, though he was never an American deserter adrift in Africa. But he was in The Mining Pan bar and he did meet Lulay and he did stowaway on a barge that landed him in an African jail.

Now, in his third novel, The Fourth Courier, set in Poland in 1992, Smith looks back at the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, as witnessed through the eyes of an FBI Special Agent on assignment to stop a nuclear smuggling operation out of Russia. Smith’s newest book continues his style of page-turning thrillers steeped with colorful characters.

At CrimeReads he tagged nine notable spy thrillers, including:
An Honorable Man by Paul Vidich

Paul Vidich’s 2016 debut novel, An Honorable Man, is set in 1950s Washington DC, where the Cold War is heating up amidst the demagoguery of McCarthyism. Josef Stalin’s death has left a dangerous power vacuum in the Soviet Union. Inside the CIA, a presumed double agent, codenamed Protocol, is blamed for helping Moscow assassinate the CIA’s local assets and ruthlessly stop other operations. The CIA, only seven years old, knows McCarthy will destroy its public standing if word gets out about the Russian mole. The CIA hires George Mueller to ferret him out. Who could be more qualified? Yale-educated, he’s run missions in Eastern Europe, and is so dedicated he’s chosen job over wife. Mueller, though, has secrets of his own, and when it’s learned that he’s made contact with a Soviet agent, suspicion falls on him. Until Protocol is found, everyone is a suspect.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue