Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Five top spy novels, written by spies

Alma Katsu's first spy novel is Red Widow, the logical marriage of her love of storytelling with her 30+ year career in intelligence. As an intelligence officer, Katsu worked at several federal agencies as a senior analyst where she advised policymakers and military commanders on issues of national security. The last third of her government career was spent in emerging technologies and technology forecasting. She was also a senior technology policy analyst for the RAND Corporation and continues as an independent consultant and technology futurist, advising clients in government and private industry.

At CrimeReads Katsu tagged five of the best spy novels, written by spies, including:
John le Carré, The Night Manager

The genre lost a giant when le Carré passed away on December 12, 2020. A life in intelligence is tricky; you’re often asked to do things that leave a bad taste in your mouth, and no one was able to capture the spy’s internal moral struggle better. His Cold War books are probably the best at capturing the spy-vs-spy gamesmanship of the time, but he answered the critics who said he was a one-trick pony by writing standalone novels like The Night Manager that dealt with intrigues in other parts of the world and emerging transnational issues. To top it off, he was a superb writer. The best make it look easy, and he tempted many an intelligence professional into thinking they’d write a book after they’d retired, only to find out it’s much, much harder than it appears.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue