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Thread: Spy Books

  1. #1

    Default Spy Books

    We've chatted about about spy books in other threads, but I wanted to dedicate a thread to spy/thriller series and their protagonists. I'm a pretty big fan of the genre, even knowing it's pretty much the male version of a harlequin. Now that summer is well upon us I'm really looking forward to my annual ritual of reading the new releases by my favorite authors. I'm pretty much exclusively an audiobook listener and love listening on long bike rides, runs, and when doing household chores. I have a strong preference for George Guidall as my narrator, but there are some other really good ones like Jay Snyder or Armand Shultz. Lou Diamond Phillips has done a few of the Clancy books and he does an awesome job.

    Here are my favorite authors and characters.

    Vince Flynn/Kyle Mills: Mitch Rapp Series
    Daniel Silva: Gabriel Allon Series
    Brad Thor: Scot Harvath Series
    Mark Greaney: Court Gentry/Gray Man Series
    Alex Berenson: John Wells Series
    Tom Clancy: Jack Ryan Series
    Ben Coes: Dewey Andreas Series

    If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the Mitch Rapp series. That's mostly out of sentiment because of the time in my life when I reengaged with the genre. I was introduced to the series by my Father-in-Law before he passed and had so many great conversations with him about the various books and plots. The inventor and author of the series passed away from cancer a few years ago and then replacement author has really done an outstanding job. I also *love* the Gabriel Allon series, though to my everlasting shame I came to know it through a post on this site by UteStar. That man drives us all crazy but he does have an eye for fiction books. I've tried a few other series and have had a difficult time getting into them. This genre requires one to create a strong relationship with the protagonist, knowing that they'll always save the day regardless of how horrible the circumstance. It's also almost exclusively a domain of the right wing so torture scenes are a staple and *almost* always necessary to save the day, though our hero never takes pleasure in it.

    If any of you thriller fans have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them.

  2. #2
    UofU/BYU mixed marriage Scott R Nelson's Avatar
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    Do the heroes have to be spies?

    I quite like Vince Flynn and stories about Mitch Rapp and have read the whole series twice.

    I also like:

    Lee Child: Jack Reacher
    Michael Connelly: Harry Bosch
    Walter Mosley: Easy Rawlins
    Walter Mosley: Leonid McGill (only five books in this series)

    It's hard to choose between Michael Connelly and Walter Mosley as my favorite author, but Vince Flynn is right up there with them. I'll have to start reading some of those others on your list.

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    Board Bookworm happyone's Avatar
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    I don't read a whole lot of spy fiction these days, but

    For non fiction - Ben MacIntyre's on WWII are superb!

    Fiction
    Le Carre's Smiley books are excellent as well as classic

    W.E.B Griffen has a series set in the WW II OSS - Men at War
    Last edited by happyone; 06-27-2018 at 05:23 PM.

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    If I start the Mitch Rapp series with Executive Power (book 5), will I be lost? My library only has the audiobooks starting from 5....

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    UofU/BYU mixed marriage Scott R Nelson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiveCoug View Post
    If I start the Mitch Rapp series with Executive Power (book 5), will I be lost? My library only has the audiobooks starting from 5....
    You won't be lost. All of the books can stand on their own. The only reason to read them in order is that some of the later books give away details from the earlier books. I read Executive Power first, then determined that maybe I should start at the front and read them sequentially.

    The one book you can read out of order is American Assassin, since the whole thing is about what happened before anything in the rest of the series.

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    Senior Member dabrockster's Avatar
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    Default Spy Books

    I love Mitch Rapp series. When Vince Flynn passed, I was heartbroken as he was my favorite author. I have not been able to read any of the new books due to his passing but you have raised my interest. I may have to check out the ones done after Vinceís passing.

    So tragic. He beat cancer once and it came back in his prime and took him away from us fans.


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    My Mic Sounds Nice falafel's Avatar
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    Picked up American Assassin, the prequetl to the Mitch Rapp series, and finished it this morning. Really fun read. Sad to hear that the author passed away in 2013, but he did put out a lot of Rapp novels. Replacement authors can be a mixed bag, but if the new guy is good, I'll give him a shot.

    Question: is Stan Hurley a common character in the later novels? He's great.
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    Quote Originally Posted by falafel View Post
    Picked up American Assassin, the prequetl to the Mitch Rapp series, and finished it this morning. Really fun read. Sad to hear that the author passed away in 2013, but he did put out a lot of Rapp novels. Replacement authors can be a mixed bag, but if the new guy is good, I'll give him a shot.

    Question: is Stan Hurley a common character in the later novels? He's great.
    Hurley is in most of the Rapp novels, though he plays a bigger role in the two prequels than in the others. He's badass and OMG he and Mitch are so alike but they're both too stubborn to see it!

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    My Mic Sounds Nice falafel's Avatar
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    Wait-list for all these authors.

    Going to read The Lions of Lucerne next.
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    Quote Originally Posted by falafel View Post
    Wait-list for all these authors.

    Going to read The Lions of Lucerne next.
    Funny but thatís the only Brad Thor novel I havenít read.

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    UofU/BYU mixed marriage Scott R Nelson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by falafel View Post
    Picked up American Assassin, the prequel to the Mitch Rapp series, and finished it this morning. Really fun read. Sad to hear that the author passed away in 2013, but he did put out a lot of Rapp novels. Replacement authors can be a mixed bag, but if the new guy is good, I'll give him a shot.

    Question: is Stan Hurley a common character in the later novels? He's great.
    American Assassin is a very good novel and it's nice that you can read that one without it giving away anything relevant to the other books. There are a total of 13 Mitch Rapp novels plus the first novel that Vince Flynn wrote - Term Limits - that has just about everybody else in it except Rapp. I don't think Stan Hurley appears in every novel, but I could be wrong. He's definitely in a lot of them.

    Kyle Mills wrote three later Mitch Rapp books. I read the first one and didn't feel a strong desire to read the other two, but probably will someday.

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    My Mic Sounds Nice falafel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YOhio View Post
    Funny but that’s the only Brad Thor novel I haven’t read.
    I don't find that funny actually. But since you started this thread, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.
    Ain't it like most people, I'm no different. We love to talk on things we don't know about.

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    Senior Member dabrockster's Avatar
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    I am curious if anyone saw the Movie based off of America Assassin. It has Michael Keaton playing Stan Hurley..

    Yes, he is a great character..


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    I loved the Bourne books by Ludlum. I thought they were great reads.

    I tried to listen to a LeCarre and just about feel asleep and crashed my car. Too slow.

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    Major disappointment The_Tick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dabrockster View Post
    I am curious if anyone saw the Movie based off of America Assassin. It has Michael Keaton playing Stan Hurley..

    Yes, he is a great character..


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    I saw American Assassin. I didn't care for it, but the folks I went with liked it.

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    My Mic Sounds Nice falafel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Tick View Post
    I saw American Assassin. I didn't care for it, but the folks I went with liked it.
    Based on the trailer, it doesn't seem like it really follows the book. Plutonium? GFTO.
    Ain't it like most people, I'm no different. We love to talk on things we don't know about.

    "The only one of us who is so significant that Jeff owes us something simply because he decided to grace us with his presence is falafel." -- All-American

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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by falafel View Post
    Based on the trailer, it doesn't seem like it really follows the book. Plutonium? GFTO.
    Not even close. But still a fun movie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by falafel View Post
    Wait-list for all these authors.

    Going to read The Lions of Lucerne next.
    Sadly, this book did not hit the mark for me. In fact, I'm going to go as far as saying it was terrible. The dialogue was grating and the Harvath character is like a cardboard cutout.

    It did have a bunch of Mormon references, since the first section takes place in Park City and Midway. There's even a section involving a D.I. truck! But he loses points by claiming that Mormons don't eat chocolate because caffeine is verboten and for once having a member of the church refer to it as the "Church of Latter-day Saints". Also for claiming that Mormons object to being called Mormons.

    1 for 2 so far, Y.O.
    Ain't it like most people, I'm no different. We love to talk on things we don't know about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by falafel View Post
    Sadly, this book did not hit the mark for me. In fact, I'm going to go as far as saying it was terrible. The dialogue was grating and the Harvath character is like a cardboard cutout.

    It did have a bunch of Mormon references, since the first section takes place in Park City and Midway. There's even a section involving a D.I. truck! But he loses points by claiming that Mormons don't eat chocolate because caffeine is verboten and for once having a member of the church refer to it as the "Church of Latter-day Saints". Also for claiming that Mormons object to being called Mormons.

    1 for 2 so far, Y.O.
    Sorry, man. I noticed that some of Thor's earlier books in the series weren't as entertaining as the later ones (even though I specifically called out that I hadn't rad LoL). Brad Thor spins a good tail but there isn't a lot of nuance with his writing and your description of Harvath sounds about right.

    If you do like the genre and a bit more complexity with your characters then I strongly recommend Silva or Berenson. Fantastic writers.

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    My Mic Sounds Nice falafel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YOhio View Post
    Sorry, man. I noticed that some of Thor's earlier books in the series weren't as entertaining as the later ones (even though I specifically called out that I hadn't rad LoL). If you do like the genre and a bit more complexity with your characters then I strongly recommend Silva or Berenson. Fantastic writers.
    Silva is actually next on the list. There was a much longer wait list for his first novel, so that bodes well. I won't hold LoL against you because you couldn't have known. But I won't be voting for Brad Thor when he runs against Trump in 2020.

    Ain't it like most people, I'm no different. We love to talk on things we don't know about.

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    Senior Member BigFatMeanie's Avatar
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    I love Daniel Silva but I felt like his last couple have gotten very formulaic and predictable - they're basically just repeats of earlier books. The same characters doing the same things, the same descriptions of characters copied and pasted from earlier books. I will always love the Gabriel Allon series but Silva sold out a while ago and is basically just mailing it in on his more recent novels.

    Also, not spy-related but I'm a sucker for anything from Michael Connely. Bosch kicks butt.

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    My Mic Sounds Nice falafel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigFatMeanie View Post
    I love Daniel Silva but I felt like his last couple have gotten very formulaic and predictable - they're basically just repeats of earlier books. The same characters doing the same things, the same descriptions of characters copied and pasted from earlier books. I will always love the Gabriel Allon series but Silva sold out a while ago and is basically just mailing it in on his more recent novels.

    Also, not spy-related but I'm a sucker for anything from Michael Connely. Bosch kicks butt.
    I love all the Bosch books and the Mickey Haller books. I also like his new protagonist, Renee Ballard from The Late Show. I think she and Bosch appear in Connely's latest book.
    Ain't it like most people, I'm no different. We love to talk on things we don't know about.

    "The only one of us who is so significant that Jeff owes us something simply because he decided to grace us with his presence is falafel." -- All-American

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    UofU/BYU mixed marriage Scott R Nelson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigFatMeanie View Post
    Also, not spy-related but I'm a sucker for anything from Michael Connely. Bosch kicks butt.
    Quote Originally Posted by falafel View Post
    I love all the Bosch books and the Mickey Haller books. I also like his new protagonist, Renee Ballard from The Late Show. I think she and Bosch appear in Connely's latest book.
    I recently finished "Two Kinds of Truth" and was reminded once again how much I like Michael Connelly. He's a great writer.

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    I recently finished P. T Deutermann's Red Swan

    Set in present day DC - I thought is a pretty good thriller/spy novel about the CIA vs Chinese state security. The GR ratings are all over the map, so....

    I personally really like Deuermann's work and this didn't let me down.

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