Thrill me
April 28, 2011 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for thriller novels. Preferences insdie.

OK so, preferably British (or British set), preferably contemporary, towards the more literary end of the spectrum, particularly interested in especially crime (not procedurals), but also spy and techno-thrillers / anything with hacking in it, war

Writers of the sort of thing I'm interested in that I've like in the past include - Thomas Harris, Robert Harris, J. J. Connolly (who wrote the suburb Layer Cake), Iain Banks (thinking of Complicity)
posted by fearfulsymmetry to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Geoffrey Household's Rogue Male is a literary, British, British-set, war (WW2)-related thriller. A classic, though not contemporary (1939).
posted by ryanshepard at 9:32 AM on April 28, 2011

Try Robert Wilson, who wrote "A Small Death in Lisbon" and a bunch of intelligent, well-written thrillers set in West Africa.
Also Alan Furst, Peter Abrahams, Val McDermid . . .
posted by fivesavagepalms at 9:37 AM on April 28, 2011

Not British, but "The Cobweb" and "Interface" are fun technothrillerish books. They were both originally listed as being written by Stephen Bury, a pseudonym. I believe newer editions now list the authors as Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:42 AM on April 28, 2011

For spy stuff, you can't do better than John Le Carré.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:56 AM on April 28, 2011

Very literary but revolves around a crime, Martin Amis's London Fields.
posted by londongeezer at 10:00 AM on April 28, 2011

Robert Litell, "The Company."

From the Amazon reviews: " a family historical saga, except that the family is the American intelligence community. It has all the appropriate characters and tracks them over 40 years: a rogue uncle, the Sorcerer, a heavy-drinking chief of the Berlin office in the early Cold War days; a dashing hero, Jack McAuliffe, who ages gracefully and never loses his edge; a dastardly turncoat, who for the sake of the reader will not be identified here, but who dies nobly; a dark genius, the real-life James Jesus Angleton, who after the disclosure that an old buddy, British spy Kim Philby, had been a Russian agent all along, became a model of paranoia; a Russian exchange student who starts out with our heroes at Yale but then works for "the other side..."
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:08 AM on April 28, 2011

I recommend the Millenium series by Stieg Larsson. These three contemporary novels are crime thrillers set in Sweden that also involve, to some extent, the techo/hacking elements you mentioned.
posted by datarose at 10:43 AM on April 28, 2011

When I like a book, I like to read everything by that author, so my preference is for series.

I just re-read Le Carré's Honourable Schoolboy and it is one of the best-written, best crafted books I've ever read. They really don't write 'em like that any more; it's a literary pleasure. I'm not sure how well it travels, but if you can accept (or remember) that the world really did look like that between WWII and Glasnost, it's a wonderful romp. They all are.

Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series is perhaps the best contemporary spy serial going.

The Stieg Larsson suggestion is a brilliant one. The technology and hacking bits are a very vivid backdrop to a wonderful series.

The Bourne series by Ludlum is intricate and enjoyable.

Shoot anyone who suggests Dan Brown. The man can plot, but literary, he is not.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:13 AM on April 28, 2011

Oh, yes, "The Company" is great.

Which reminds me -- if you don't mind a bit of supernatural mixed in your otherwise grounded-in-reality spy novel, check out Tim Powers' Declare
posted by rmd1023 at 11:43 AM on April 28, 2011

Charles McCarry’s "Paul Christopher" series:
The Miernik Dossier (1973); The Tears of Autumn (1974) ;The Secret Lovers (1977); The Better Angels (1979); The Last Supper (1983); The Bride of the Wilderness (1988); Second Sight (1991); Shelley's Heart (1995); Old Boys (2004);Christopher's Ghosts (2007)

Eric Ambler, basically the father of the international spy thriller. These are his pre-WWII books but he continued writing thru 1981: The Dark Frontier (1936); Uncommon Danger (1937), US title: Background to Danger; Epitaph for a Spy (1938); Cause for Alarm (1938); The Mask of Dimitrios (1939), US title: A Coffin for Dimitrios;
Journey into Fear (1940)

Ross Thomas, cruel, clever, twisting plots: The Cold War Swap (1966); Cast a Yellow Shadow (1967); The Seersucker Whipsaw (1967); Singapore Wink (1969); The Fools in Town are on Our Side (1970); The Backup Men (1971); The Porkchoppers (1972); If You Can't Be Good (1973); The Money Harvest (1975) ; Yellow Dog Contract (1976) ; Chinaman's Chance (1978) ; The Eighth Dwarf (1979) ; The Mordida Man (1981) ; Missionary Stew (1983) ; Briarpatch (1984) ; Out On The Rim (1987); The Fourth Durango (1989); Twilight at Mac's Place (1990); Voodoo, Ltd (1992) ; Ah, Treachery! (1994);
posted by ohshenandoah at 1:11 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't leave out Martin Cruz Smith -- all of them!
posted by thinkpiece at 1:47 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Crime = Ian Rankin's Rebus series.
posted by PickeringPete at 3:34 PM on April 28, 2011

Norwegian, not British, but I have really been enjoying the Harry Hole crime novels written by Jo Nesbo. The Redbreast has war elements, Nemesis is also good.
posted by arha at 4:22 PM on April 28, 2011

Yes to Martin Cruz Smith--all of them.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 5:00 PM on April 28, 2011

Love the Milennium trilogy!

My dad convinced me to read Exile by Richard North Patterson, and it was great. It's about a Jewish lawyer in San Francisco who had an affair with a Palestinian woman in college, and she is accused of orchestrating a terrorist attack. Very engaging and current.
posted by radioamy at 7:49 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Definitely Millennium.

Carol O'Connell's Kathy Mallory books (starting with Mallory's Oracle) fit the crime and hacker criteria.

Tana French has written only three books so far, but they are all excellent and literary.

Both O'Connell's books and French's are based in the U.S. though.
posted by torticat at 8:49 PM on April 28, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks a lot of all the suggestions... will be making a list to take to the library next week.

Le Carre will be at the top - big gap in my reading there (though I've seen the old BBC adaptation of Tinker Tailor). Read Gorky Park years ago but I think Martin Cruz Smith needs revisiting.

Read The Millennium trilogy last year - whilst the first one is pretty good there's diminishing returns for the rest of the series. And knowing a bit about computers the 'hacking' is well... not good. Apologies to Apple fan boys but she uses a Mac ffs!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:57 AM on May 1, 2011

« Older Which Caribbean Island for our family vacation?   |   Preparing for my grand exit Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.