I love a good heart-stopping, page-turning espionage thriller, such as Robert Ludlum’s series featuring Jason Bourne. However, I’ve also come to appreciate some “quieter” spy novels, particularly the work of Charles McCarry. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of secret agent action, but the works are more literary and focus more on story and character development.
The first McCarry book I tried was Tears of Autumn. Originally published in 1975, it was re-released in hardcover in 2005 and the Chicago Tribune ran a review that indicated it was possibly “the best political thriller ever written.” With an endorsement like that I had to try it for myself. I wasn’t disappointed. Filled with exotic locales, Tears of Autumn provides one of the most shocking and intriguing explanations of the Kennedy assassination I’ve encountered. I was hooked!
Unfortunately, McCarry is not a prolific author, but his original works are being republished (I can’t wait for The Better Angels set for re-release next month) and he has continued writing enough to bring Christopher and his cronies into the modern world. He also wrote Christopher’s Ghosts which gives a glimpse into the events that shaped Christopher, including growing up in Germany at the outset of World War II.
P.S. If you’re a spy fan like me, and want some more “classic” author suggestions, you might enjoy The Book of Spies: An Anthology of Literary Espionage, which gives excerpts by some of the greatest writers in the genre.
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