November 10) I wrote how much we love helping people find good books to read? The other day a patron wanted some espionage/thriller/political novels like Vince Flynn's. He left with a short list of authors to try, and he left me with inspiration for this reading list. I'll admit that I often have a hard time coming up with "guy books," so I especially loved this suggestion!
In this list, you'll find conspiracies, terrorism, and spy games set in the dangerous world of cutthroat politics.
The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine
Ivor Tesham, a member of Parliament, decides to give his married mistress an unusual birthday gift. He hires two men to kidnap her and transport her, bound and gagged, to their weekend love nest. When the kidnapping goes terribly wrong and results in murder, Ivor becomes trapped in a dangerous game of his own making.
Blink of an Eye by William S. Cohen
After a nuclear bomb flattens a major American city, national security advisor Sean Falcone is charged with identifying the attackers, but if his sources are incorrect, it could mean inciting war with the entire Muslim world. Cohen is a former Republican senator and congressman who also served as President Clinton's Secretary of Defense.
By Order of the President by W.E.B. Griffin
In the first of the Presidential Agent series, a leased Boeing 727 mysteriously vanishes after two passengers murder the pilot. Army intelligence officer Major Carlos Guillermo Castillo, a veteran of the Special Forces, is called in by the president of the United States to uncover the truth and embarks on an undercover investigation into a case with frightening implications.
The Camel Club by David Baldacci
It exists at the fringes of D.C., has no power, and consists of four eccentric members. Their simple goal is to find the "truth" behind their country's actions. The Camel Club studies conspiracy theories, current events, and the machinations of government, but never in their wildest nightmares could they imagine the conspiracy they are about to uncover.
The Eleventh Commandment by Jeffrey Archer
Connor Fitzgerald has led a double life for the last 28 years as the CIA's most deadly assassin. Just days before his retirement, he comes across an enemy he can't handle—his own boss, director of the CIA. The Eleventh Commandment? "Thou shalt not get caught. But if you are, deny absolutely that you have anything to do with the CIA."
Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan
Jason Harrow must return to New York when he learns his daughter is in trouble. Realizing he's either incredibly paranoid or that Serena knows enough about a terrorist group to endanger herself and everyone around her, he tries to prevent "the End of Civilization as We Know It" while confronting his fear that he's inherited his mother's insanity.
Eye of the Storm by Jack Higgins
In the first Sean Dillon thriller, elusive master terrorist Sean Dillon reemerges during the Gulf War when Saddam Hussein hires him to assassinate Margaret Thatcher. Only Martin Brosnan, an American Special Forces hero and IRA member turned college professor, can stop him.
Fade by Kyle Mills
Salam al Fayed (aka Fade), an American agent of Arab ancestry and a former Navy SEAL, becomes bitter when his latest mission ends in failure and his employers treat him badly. So when his former friend and colleague, Homeland Security agent Matt Egan, is ordered to persuade Fade to put aside his anger and join an undercover team in the Middle East, Fade has a one-word answer.
The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson
In the first of the John Wells series, Wells, an undercover operative who has infiltrated al Qaeda, is trapped between his terrorist associates and the CIA, which no longer trusts his loyalty, when he becomes a prime suspect in two bombings in Los Angeles. Be warned, this novel is not for the squeamish: the torture sequences and bombing descriptions are graphic and chillingly real.
The First Counsel by Brad Meltzer
A young White House lawyer, Michael Garrick, begins dating the President's daughter, Nora Hartson. Michael thinks he can handle the pressures of the White House and all the power. Then, while together late one night, he and Nora witness something they were never meant to see—and become ensnared in a secret scheme by a White House insider that includes betrayal and murder.
Gatekeeper by Philip Shelby
Hollis Fremont has been at a dream job in Paris at the American Embassy for three months. She's also having an affair with a high-ranking embassy official. Soon events are set in motion that plunge her into the midst of a plot to kill a presidential candidate, and she realizes that she cannot trust anyone around her. No damsel in distress, Hollis puts her own life at risk to stop the assassination attempt.
The Good Son by Michael Gruber
Somewhere in Pakistan, Sonia Laghari and 8 fellow members of a symposium on peace are being held captive by armed terrorists. Sonia, a religious woman and Jungian psychologist, has become the de facto leader of the kidnapped group. Meanwhile her son Theo, an ex-Delta soldier, uses his military connections to find and free the victims.
Hawke by Ted Bell
Alexander Hawke is a daring, dashing, and handsome billionaire adventurer who occasionally does “favors” for the U,S, and British governments. In the first of the series, Hawke heads for the Caribbean on a secret mission to locate an experimental stealth submarine, which has fallen into the hands of an unstable government planning a strike against the U.S.
The Inside Ring by Michael Lawson
Following an assassination attempt that wounds the president and kills his closest friend, General Andy Banks, the Secretary of Homeland Security, who had warned the Secret Service about the attack, initiates an investigation. He goes to Joe DeMarco, a fix-it man who’s never dealt with something of quite this magnitude.
The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
In the first Gabriel Allon novel, the Israeli intelligence chief recalls Gabriel and Jacqueline to eliminate a top Palestinian terrorist, who is part of a plot to halt peace talks by assassinating Yasir Arafat. The former agents were once lovers, and their pasts and enemies come back to haunt them as the terrorist begins his campaign of murder. Silva has covered Middle East politics as a journalist and CNN producer.
Last Snow by Eric Lustbader
Jack McClure, Special Advisor and closest friend to the new U.S. president, takes on a personal mission along with his official one—keeping his two incompatible companions (Annika Dementieva, a rogue Russian FSB agent, and Alli Carson, the President's daughter) safe and finding those responsible for murdering an American senator who was supposedly on a political trip to the Ukraine.
The Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor
In the first of the Scot Harvath series, a group of Secret Service agents is massacred in Utah and the president of the United States is abducted. Surviving agent Harvath vows to avenge his murdered colleagues and find the kidnappers. The terrorists publicly demand $500 million and privately insist that an anti–fossil fuel proposal in Congress be killed.
The Machiavelli Covenant by Allan Folsom
While investigating the murder of a former girlfriend, her child, and her congressman husband, former LAPD detective Nicholas Marten stumbles upon a secret, illegal bioweapons program. He also finds himself allied with another man trying to foil a cabal bent on creating a new world order—the U.S. president himself, John Henry Harris.
The Man with the Baltic Stare by James Church
Inspector O, the wily North Korean police detective, is ordered out of retirement to Pyongyang. His task is to cover up a crime of passion committed by the young leader of a transitional government vital to a tenuous peace agreement between the two Koreas. Inspector O finds his life threatened when the case tests his loyalties.
Metzger’s Dog by Thomas Perry
Veteran CIA operative Ben Porterfield is ordered to recover some top-secret papers (revealing government-sponsored research on "psywar": how to wreak havoc, panic, and mayhem in assorted Latin American nations) from the terrorists who seized them while stealing $1 million worth of cocaine.
Mounting Fears by Stuart Woods
In the aftermath of his vice president's unexpected death, President Will Lee finds his efforts to select a replacement hampered by a rogue CIA agent's vengeful plot against the first lady and a nuclear threat in Pakistan. To make matters worse, the new VP chooses becomes entangled in a love triangle that could ruin Lee’s re-election bid.
Pursuit of Honor by Vince Flynn
The National Counterterrorism Center is struck by a series of devastating explosions with catastrophic results. With three al Qaeda terrorists still at large, CIA superagent and counterterrorism expert Mitch Rapp must thread his way through the naysayers on Capitol Hill—and silently, swiftly, do what he must for the sake of his country and the pursuit of honor.
Quantico by Greg Bear
Just a handful of years from today, global terrorism has escalated out of control. When the political situation in the United States becomes balanced against the administration, only three FBI agents and one bio-terror expert are left to deal with a domestic terrorist, who has started telling certain fanatics that he can make gene-keyed anthrax to destroy their hereditary enemies .
The Rules of the Game by Leonard Downie
Journalist Sarah Page uncovers evidence of appalling corruption in defense contracts related to the War on Terror, to private security contractors, and to government involvement in torture, rendition, and murder. Her findings puts her life at risk. Meanwhile, President Susan Cameron must choose between her political future and the nation's well-being after learning of Sarah's discoveries.
The Twelfth Imam by Joel C. Rosenberg
Amid escalating tensions in the Middle East, Iranian-American CIA operative David Shirazi must infiltrate and disrupt Iran's nuclear weapons program, leaving no trace of U.S. involvement. When he learns of a prophet called the Twelfth Imam, proclaiming himself a messiah, Shirazi worries that a war of apocalyptic proportions may be in the offing.
The Walls of Jericho by Jon Land
When a serial killer stalking Jericho threatens peace talks between Palestine and Israel, a Palestinian detective and an Israeli Shin Bet agent must set aside their differences to stop the killer before he destroys the talks. The two soon discover that there is something more sinister behind the murders and their forced collaboration.