Saturday, April 16, 2011


Ethan Iverson has a very cool post called Thrill Ride, where he writes about the most shocking thriller fiction he has read.

Iverson's post was more grist for my never ending "to be read" list. But it also got me thinking about my favorite thrillers (BTW, he was a little unimpressed by Don Winslow's Savages, but I loved it.)

OK, favorite thrillers (and I take a little latitude with "thrillers")

The Guards by Ken Bruen: This is one of the best and most unusual private eye novels you will read - sad, funny, scary, it is all of these things and more.

American Tabloid by James Ellroy: Ellroy takes the hard boiled crime fiction style that made his previous books L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia so successful and fits it effortlessly into a political thriller.

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson: What is so haunting about this novel is the way Thompson writes it, in the cold and calculating first person, presenting a man who has everybody fooled at first before things go horribly wrong.

The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville: This was a searing novel of guilt and retribution, now that peace has come to Ireland at last, Fagan is tormented by the fact that he killed for nothing, and that he took the fall and bears the shame while those who ordered the killings are called peacemakers.

Rain Gods by James Lee Burke: Like most Burke novels, the description of the natural environment is key. The landscape and weather of the desert of west Texas is described in such clarity as to almost become a character in the story as well.

The Hunter by Richard Stark: Stark's style has the clipped tenacity of his noir forebears, but is already coming into it's own. Parker is a towering creation, the unstoppable criminal who makes women flush with desire and men shake with fear.

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