Discover our guide with the best spy thriller books to get your pulse racing and your mind thinking. Pick up your next favorite novel, and delve into thrilling espionage.
Deception, mystery, and double-crossing are all parts of the best spy thriller books. Of course, they typically have a bit of murder and political intrigues. If you are a fan of this genre, you may wonder which books should be on the top of your list.
Unlike the works of the best science fiction authors, spy thriller authors have much of their writing set in reality. They often take real-life events and transform them into fictional works. Because of this realistic aspect, many readers appreciate the creativity that goes into these books. While several spy and crime thriller authors have set the tone for the genre, some newcomers are worth discovering. If you are looking for a new spy novel to add to your bookshelf, this list of the best espionage thrillers is sure to have something that appeals to you.
- 1. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre
- 2. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carre
- 3. The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
- 4. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
- 5. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
- 6. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
- 7. The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
- 8. Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
- 9. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
- 10. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
- 11. American Assassin by Vince Flynn
- 12. Slow Horses by Mick Herron
- 13. The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene
- 14. The Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor
- 15. The IPCRESS File by Len Deighton
- 16. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
- 17. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
- 18. Berlin Game by Len Deighton
- 19. The Quiet American by Graham Greene
- 20. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
- 21. An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris
- 22. Transcription by Kate Atkinson
- 23. The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett
- 24. Agent Running in the Field by John le Carre
- 25. The Innocent by Ian McEwan
- 26. The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
- 27. Real Tigers by Mick Herron
- 28. From Russia, with Love by Ian Fleming
- 29. At Risk: A Novel by Stella Rimington
- 30. The Billion Dollar Spy by David Hoffman
- 31. The Travelers by Chris Pavone
- 32. The Moscow Club by Joseph Finder
- 33. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
- 34. State of Fear by Michael Crichton
- 35. Patriot Games by Tom Clancy
- 36. First Strike by R.J Patterson
- 37. The Third Option by Vince Flynn
- 38. Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn
- 39. Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy
- 40. Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews
- 41. With a Mind to Kill by Anthony Horowitz
- 42. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
- 43. Independence Square by Martin Cruz Smith
- 44. The Devil’s Bargain by Stella Rimington
- 45. The Match by Harlan Coben
- 46. Falling by T. J. Newman
- 47. Two Nights in Lisbon Chris Pavone
- 48. Agents of Influence Mark Hollingsworth
- 49. Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
- 50. The Island by Adrian McKinty
1. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre
Written in 1963, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold talks about Alec Leamas, a British agent sent to East Germany to pose as a defector. His goal is to spread disinformation, often using morally questionable actions. The book received excellent acclaim from critics and was named to Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Novels from 1923 to 2010. It also won the 1963 Gold Dagger and the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.
“It is said that men condemned to death are subject to sudden moments of elation; as if, like moths in the fire, their destruction were coincidental with attainment.”John le Carre, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
2. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carre
Also highly rated by readers, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy hit the bookshelves in 1974. This book is one of the George Smiley series and focuses on his work finding a Soviet mole in the British Secret Intelligence Service. Critics found the book an exciting social commentary on the political scene of the time. In 2022, the book was part of the Big Jubilee Read to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II.
“Dealing with beautiful women, Your Grace, Craw had warned, is like dealing with known criminals, and the lady you are about to solicit undoubtedly falls within that category.”John le Carre, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
3. The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
Published in 1971, The Day of the Jackal is a political thriller by English author Frederick Forsyth. It follows a professional assassin tasked with killing Charles de Gaulle, the French president. While the assassination attempt was factual, the plot itself is fiction. In 1972 this book won the Best Novel Edgar Award and was part of the 2003 BBC The Big Read survey.
“Moonlight turns even the most civilised man into a primitive.”Frederick Forsyth, The Day of the Jackal
4. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Tom Clancy is among the best spy and crime thriller authors, and his first book was The Hunt for Red October, which he published in 1984. It follows Marko Ramius, a Soviet submarine captain who takes the Red October submarine on a rogue mission. This book introduces Jack Ryan, one of Clancy’s most famous characters, and the book’s publication placed Clancy at the top of the list of spy novel authors.
“It is a principle of diplomacy that one must know something of the truth in order to lie convincingly.”Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October
5. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Robert Ludlum published The Bourne Identity in 1980. It follows the story of Jason Bourne, a man with the amazing ability to survive a disaster but then struggles with amnesia. The CIA seems to want him dead, and the book explores what happened to him as he tries to discover his top-secret identity. Publisher’s Weekly named The Bourne Identity one of the best spy novels of all time, and it was the basis of a movie by the same name. This book is the first in the Bourne Trilogy.
“I mean, we’re all trying to find out who the hell we are, aren’t we?”Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identity
6. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
Casino Royale was Ian Fleming’s first book. The British author published it in 1953, and it is the first James Bond book, leading the way to the entire book and movie franchise that follows the famous spy 007. In the book, Bond, named 007, serves the British Secret Service in an attempt to bankrupt a Russian agent at a table. The mission goes south, leading to adventure, plenty of spy-related action, and a steamy romance in typical 007 fashion.
“Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles.”Ian Fleming, Casino Royale
7. The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
The Kill Artist is the first Gabriel Allon book by Daniel Silva. Allon is an infamous assassin who is a former Israeli intelligence operative. Though he wishes to keep his past in the past, Allon is called on again to get back in the game, this time to eliminate a zealot who has ties to his past. The book is popular partly for its colorful characters, which keep it engaging. Silva published the book in 2000.
“I suppose I needed to share it with her. I suppose I needed someone to forgive me.”Daniel Silva, The Kill Artist
8. Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
Published initially as Storm Island in 1978, Eye of the Needle was the first bestseller written by Ken Follet. The book is a spy story set in World War II, and the main character is Henry Faber, a German spy who regularly uses a stiletto to do away with people in his way. Weaving in plenty of action, and Hitler and Churchill in 1979, it earned the Edgar Award, and in 1981 it became a motion picture.
“The trouble with being inspired to perform the impossible was that the inspiration gave you no clues to the practical means.”Ken Follett, Eye of the Needle
9. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
Red Sparrow is the first in a trilogy by the same name. Jason Matthews introduces the world of intelligence in post-Soviet Union Russia with a female spy, Dominika Egorova, who is forced to become a Sparrow, a spy trained to seduce an enemy agent to become a mole. Armed with the unique ability to understand people by seeing the color of their emotions, Egorova romances Nathaniel Nash from the CIA. The book is full of intrigue. The book was published in 2013 and earned the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author in 2014.
“I’ve always loved Russian humor,” said Nate. “It’s a shame there’s so little of it.”Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow
10. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
Published in 1915, The Thirty-Nine Steps is a short novel by Scottish spy author John Buchan. It is the first of five novels featuring action hero Richard Hannay, known for his ability to escape difficult situations. Since its original publication, four movies have come from this book, including the most recent in 2008.
“A fool tries to look different: a clever man looks the same and is different.”John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps
11. American Assassin by Vince Flynn
Published in 2010, American Assassin is the first Mitch Rapp book by Vince Flynn. Rapp is a college athlete who trains to be a CA operative. American Assassin follows Rapp through his training and first job as a trained assassin. Throughout the book, the hunter becomes the hunted and must fight for his life.
“If you’re not busy living, you’re dying.”Vince Flynn, American Assassin
12. Slow Horses by Mick Herron
Slow Horses is the first book in Mick Herron’s Slough House series. This Gold Dagger Award-winning series follows a team of M15 agents on the path toward redemption after making serious mistakes. The main character, River Cartwright, gets his chance when a young man is abducted and needs rescuing before the kidnappers kill him live online. Herron published Slow Horses in 2010.
“This was the blissful break when the world seemed a safer place, between the end of the Cold War and about ten minutes later.”Mick Herron, Slow Horses
13. The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene
The Honorary Consul is a 1973 Graham Greene novel, one of the author’s favorite books. This book is set right before Argentina’s Dirty War of the 1970s. It follows depressed, alcoholic English doctor Eduardo Plarr who ends up amid a political kidnapping and spy adventure.
“I have to think of all the possibilities, doctor. Even a crime of passion is possible.’ ‘Passion?’ the doctor smiled. ‘I am an Englishman.”Graham Greene, The Honorary Consul
14. The Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor
When 30 Secret Service agents are killed, and the President of the United States is kidnapped, Scot Harvath is one of the only survivors. This ex-Navy SEAL must escape to Switzerland to protect his life while also trying to figure out who was responsible for the crime. The 2007 novel The Lions of Lucerne introduced Scot Harvath to readers, and Brad Thor went on to write several sequels to the book.
“I know my limits. You don’t ever need to worry about me.” “Thanks, Scot. I’ll remind myself of that next time I see you looking like a flipped turtle.”Brad Thor, The Lions of Lucerne
15. The IPCRESS File by Len Deighton
Len Deighton first published The IPCRESS File in 1962, but it has recently gained modern readership after a 2022 TV series by the same name. This book is written as if it were the protagonist’s report to the Minister of Defence. It starts with a straightforward mission to find a missing scientist but ends with a deadly conspiracy that must be unraveled. This was Deighton’s first book, becoming a classic in the espionage novel genre.
“He had a long thin nose, a moustache like flock wallpaper, sparse, carefully combed hair, and the complexion of a Hovis loaf.”Len Deighton, The IPCRESS File
16. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
Originally published in 1959, Our Man in Havana is a spy thriller and political satire work by Graham Greene. It follows the story of a vacuum cleaner salesperson approached by the British intelligence agency M16 to do some spy work in Cuba. Instead of sending real reports, the main character makes up fictional tales to send back to Great Britain. As the plot thickens, he must take extreme measures to hide his deception. This story has quite a bit of humor intertwined as the scammer continues trying to protect his side income as a spy.
“You should dream more. Reality in our century is not something to be faced.”Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana
17. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
After World War II, The Alice Network follows two women, one a spy, as they work to figure out what happened to The Alice Network, a ring of female spies from 1915 that was eventually torn apart due to a traitor. This book is unique among spy books because it features a female lead. Kate Quinn published this book in 2017.
“Hope was such a painful thing, far more painful than rage.”Kate Quinn, The Alice Network
18. Berlin Game by Len Deighton
With Berlin Game, Len Deighton introduces Bernard Samson, a new main character, a middle-aged intelligence officer working a desk job for M16. He gets pulled into action when one of his friends behind the German Iron Curtain signals he wants out, and Samson must head up the rescue. Deighton published this work in 1983.
“Perhaps all fear is worse than reality, just as all hope is better than fulfillment.”Len Deighton, Berlin Game
19. The Quiet American by Graham Greene
As its title implies, The Quiet American is not a loud and brassy spy novel. Instead, this book set in Vietnam is a quieter take on the spy novel genre. It was first published in 1956 and was the subject of two films. In the book, Alden Pyle, the main character, heads to Vietnam on a mystery mission to Saigon, only to fall in love throughout the short book.
When it was published, the book was controversial because it questioned America’s involvement in the Vietnamese conflict. In addition, American readers were unhappy with the book because it appeared to paint the Americans as brutal murderers. If you’re searching for more thriller books to binge on a weekend, check out our list of the best authors like Mark Edwards. You can also search for thriller authors using our search bar at the top right of the post.
“Time has its revenges, but revenge seems so often sour.”Graham Greene, The Quiet American
20. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Another spy novel set in Vietnam, The Sympathizer, was the first book by Viet Thanh Nguyen and came out in 2015. It became a bestseller and was given the 2016 Pulitzer Prize. It is a spy novel but also a war novel, mystery book, and historical fiction work following the South Vietnamese army and the role of a North Vietnamese mole during the Vietnam War. The narration style involves a series of flashbacks from an unnamed narrator, adding an extra layer of mystery.
“Nothing . . . is ever so expensive as what is offered for free.”Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer
21. An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris
An Officer and a Spy, published in 2013, weaves a thrilling spy story around the Dreyfus affair and the story of Alfred Dreyfus and the French officer Georges Picquart. The latter tried to free him in light of the falsified evidence brought against him. This book is particularly popular because it is based on true events. This book became a movie in 2019.
“There is no such thing as a secret—not really, not in the modern world, not with photography and telegraphy and railways and newspaper presses.”Robert Harris, An Officer and a Spy
22. Transcription by Kate Atkinson
Transcription tells the story of 18-year-old spy Juliet Armstrong who is sent to work for M15 during World War II, followed by events a decade later that tie into her work in M15. This book is filled with double-crosses and intrigue, which makes it a famous spy novel. It is also an excellent story because many of the tidbits came from true happenings, making it believable. Atkinson published this book in 2018.
“Do not equate nationalism with patriotism… Nationalism is the first step on the road to Fascism.”Kate Atkinson, Transcription
23. The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett
British author Ken Follett published The Key to Rebecca in 1980. This bestseller is based on the Nazi spy Johannes Eppler, who inspired the book’s main character. In the book, a Nazi master agent sends secrets to the German army, and only an English officer and a young Jewish girl have the information to stop him. Unfortunately, no one will listen to either of them, and a spy adventure begins.
“Ishmael said: “The sun rises, and the sun sets. Sometimes it rains. We live, then we die.” He shrugged.”Ken Follett, The Key to Rebecca
24. Agent Running in the Field by John le Carre
Yet another John le Carre book on the list, Agent Running in the Field, follows a veteran British Secret Intelligence Service officer named Nat and a friend, Ed, who is a secret double agent. The novel pokes fun at Brexit and President Trump while showcasing a devious plot. It was the last book le Carre published before dying in 2020, hitting the bookshelves in 2019. Critics indicated it was a good novel among espionage thrillers because it shed light on modern spy methods.
“We are a divided nation, Nat, as you will have noticed. The divisions between us across the country are neatly reflected in the divisions between our masters. No two ministers think the same way on the same day.”John le Carre, Agent Running in the Field
25. The Innocent by Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan’s The Innocent is part spy thriller, part psychological thriller. It is set in Berlin during the Cold War. It talks about a secret tunnel under the Soviet sector that British and American spies used to access the Russian communication network. The story follows a young English post office worker who finds himself amid political intrigue and forced into the world of espionage. It has a twist ending that keeps readers guessing through every page.
“He needed that time edged with boredom in which fantasy could flourish.”Ian McEwan, The Innocent
26. The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
Like many of the best spy novels, The Secrets We Kept is based on true events. It follows a CIA plot that sends secretaries into Russia to use their charm to get in with powerful men as they seek to get Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR so it can be published in the West. Prescott released this book in 2020.
“We unveil ourselves in the pieces we want others to know, even those closest to us. We all have our secrets.”Lara Prescott, The Secrets We Kept
27. Real Tigers by Mick Herron
Real Tigers is the third book in the Slough House series. It tells of disgraced M15 operatives pushing paper in the Slough House. When one is kidnapped, the disgraced agents must get to work to free him, and in the process, they uncover a very serious and hidden problem that travels up to the Security Service. This book came to market in 2017.
“Like most forms of corruption, it began with men in suits.”Mick Herron, Real Tigers
28. From Russia, with Love by Ian Fleming
From Russia, with Love is the fifth James Bond book. It follows Bond’s fight against the Soviet counterintelligence agency SMERSH. In the book, Tatiana Romanova is sent on a mission to seduce the famous spy and destroy him. This particular novel set the stage for the spy novel genre decades after its publication in 1957. This book was one that President John F. Kennedy called one of his favorites.
“Hope makes a good breakfast. Eat plenty of it.”Ian Fleming, From Russia, with Love
29. At Risk: A Novel by Stella Rimington
At Risk is the first book in the Liz Carlyle series. When a terrorist targets Britain yet travels under a British passport, Liz Carlyle, a counter-terror agent, must track them down. This book is suspenseful from the first page until the last, making it stand out. Rimington published the book in 2004.
“When you walked across the room just then, you enhanced my standing by several hundred percent. You will note that we’re being discreetly observed.” She smiled. “I do note it. You should send your colleagues downriver for one of our surveillance courses.” They examined the menus. Leaning forward confidentially, Mackay told Liz that he could predict what she was going to do.”Stella Rimington, At Risk
30. The Billion Dollar Spy by David Hoffman
Even though The Billion Dollar Spy is a true story of the spy world during the Cold War, not a fiction work, it is full of top-secret missions and engaging intrigue. People who love spy thrillers will love this book, which is written like an espionage thriller. If you didn’t know it was a true story, you might think it was an engaging work of fiction. Hoffman published the work in 2015.
“This is a country that can’t even make toasters,” he said. “And while they can make missiles, they can’t feed their population.”David Hoffman, The Billion Dollar Spy
31. The Travelers by Chris Pavone
Your pulse will race as you read The Travelers, which Chris Pavone published in 2016. This book takes a writer for a magazine and thrusts him into a spy tale. One wrong choice after another takes him deep into an international deception. While the book’s ending is excellent, the main character’s experiences on the journey make it an enduring read. If you’re searching for more thriller novels, check out our list of the best Carter Brown books. You can also search for thriller authors using our search bar at the top right of the post.
“For a long time she thought of life as an accumulation of experiences, but recently she’s realized that it’s also the opposite: a narrowing. Living the same day, over and over.”Chris Pavone, The Travelers
32. The Moscow Club by Joseph Finder
The Moscow Club opens in the streets of Moscow with the death of a chauffeur working with a spy ring. CIA agent Charles Stone gets pulled into the mystery when he receives a tape that shows a hidden problem within the Kremlin. This launches a mystery with surprising connections to the agent’s family history.
“He noticed that his hands were trembling. He put the package in his front coat pocket, placed the recorded tape in the crevice, and then nudged the brick back into place.”Joseph Finder, The Moscow Club
33. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes was published in 2013. The book starts with the murder of a young woman in a creepy hotel and quickly introduces additional murdered characters that are seemingly unrelated. However, as the book unfolds, a tangled web is revealed that shows how they are all intricately connected. If you want to try writing your own novel, check out our guide on how to write a thriller!
“If you want to be free, all you have to do is let go.”Terry Hayes, I Am Pilgrim
34. State of Fear by Michael Crichton
Published in 2004, State of Fear is a techno-thriller novel written by Michael Crichton. It’s his fourteenth under his name and twenty-fourth in total. Crichton also wrote spy thriller books under the pen name John Lange. One book to consider is Scratch One. Check out our list of the best Michael Crichton books.
This book depicts eco-terrorists who plan mass murder to raise awareness about global warming. Surprisingly for a fiction book, it includes numerous graphs, footnotes, two appendices, and a 20-page bibliography supporting Crichton’s debunked stance on global warming. Several climate scientists, science journalists, environmental groups, and science advocacy organizations argued his viewpoints contain many inaccuracies, distortions, and out-of-date facts.
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which is least known.”Michael Crichton, State of Fear
35. Patriot Games by Tom Clancy
Patriot Games is the first book in the Jack Ryan series. This exciting novel is filled with thrilling scenes on the cutting edge of war and the battle of international terrorism. This book follows CIA analyst Jack Ryan as he is vacationing in London – when suddenly, a terrorist attack occurs.
Ryan instinctively dives forward to stop it and is injured in this heroic act. It’s not until his recovery in the hospital that he realizes he saved the young son of the Prince and Princess of Wales. In one short moment, he becomes a beloved hero to the world and the biggest enemy of the world’s most dangerous man.
“It’s all about intelligence; and intelligence comes down to a bunch of faceless bureaucrats sifting through all this crap.”Tom Clancy, Patriot Games
36. First Strike by R.J Patterson
First Strike is the first novel in the Brady Hawk series. Brady Hawk is a cutthroat black ops assassin who wreaks havoc on terrorists worldwide. In this novel, Hawk is recruited by Texas Senator J.D. Blunt to handle the Firestorm operation – a top-secret counterterrorism program.
However, through working with D.C.-based handler Alex Duncan, Hawk learns the location of the chief bomb maker for the Al Hasib terrorist group. This high-tension novel keeps readers on the edge of their seats as secrets are revealed, and Hawks’ own family comes into the equation.
“Hawk concluded the only thing that had really changed was his tactics”Jack Patterson, First Strike
37. The Third Option by Vince Flynn
The Third Option is the thrilling fourth novel of the Mitch Rapp series, written by Vince Flynn and published in 2004. This book follows the story of CIA counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp. Rapp is seen as the final and “Third Option” when the government and military fail at resolving emergencies. When Rapp is called on for his services, he becomes the target of government agents with hidden agendas. This novel is filled with plot twists, political intrigue, and power struggles, keeping the reader on edge until the very end!
“He had the gift of all great tacticians. He could focus on the smallest detail and never lose sight of the overall picture.”Vince Flynn, The Third Option
38. Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn
Transfer of Power is the third book in the Mitch Rapp series. In this book, we see Rapp take on terrorists within the White House and tackle a hostage situation that threatens the lives of over 100 people. This gripping novel has themes of heroism, betrayal, and power, adding depth to the grippy spy story.
The pace of this book is intense, and there are many unexpected twists and turns. With a gripping sense of danger, this thrilling book is a page-turner with high-stakes decisions, moral quandaries, and political tension.
“Spending the last several years alone had allowed her to grow in strength. Independence and self-reliance were great things. The best part about them was that the only person who could let you down was yourself.”Vince Flynn, Transfer of Power
39. Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy
Clear and Present Danger is the combined fifth and sixth book of the Jack Ryan series. In this chilling thriller novel, the head of the FBI falls victim to an assassination by Colombian drug lords. Jack Ryan is called to tackle this assassination and grapples with tough questions about how far he can go to protect his country.
Ryan and his partner Mr. Clark delve into the world of spies to discover who the enemy is. This thrilling novel explores the boundaries of action, blurred lines of loyalty, and what it’s like to come face-to-face with death.
“The mark of a good officer, Wegener repeatedly told his youngsters, was willingness to admit he had something yet to learn.”Tom Clancy, Clear and Present Danger
40. Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews
Palace of Treason is the second novel in the Red Sparrow trilogy, featuring the brilliant Captain Dominika Egorava as she finds herself in a web of danger while navigating Putin’s Russia. Dominika faces deadly assassination attempts as a double agent for the CIA. This novel seamlessly blends a thrilling plot with themes of a forbidden romance as Dominika falls for her CIA handles. This gripping sequel will get your heart pounding for more than one reason.
“Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak – Simon Benford”Jason Matthews, Palace of Treason
41. With a Mind to Kill by Anthony Horowitz
With a Mind to Kill is a continuation of the adventures of James Bond. In this thrilling novel, we watch on as readers when M’s funeral occurs, but one crucial person is absent – James Bond. Behind the Iron Curtain, former Smersh agents plot to exploit Bond in a high-stakes operation that could shift the world’s power dynamics.
As Bond finds himself amid one of the most challenging situations, he grapples with treachery, political divide, and self-identity. This book delves deeper into Bond’s psyche with themes of suspense, espionage, and discovering one’s true self than ever before.
“As far as he could see, the communist system was defeating itself without his help. How else to explain the forlorn hopelessness of its capital?”Anthony Horowitz, With a Mind to Kill
42. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
The Family Upstairs is a mesmerizing novel published in 2020. This book examines family secrets and revelations and identifies as Libby Jones embarked on a life-changing journey after receiving a mysterious letter. As she arrives at an extravagant mansion in Chelsea, her true identity is revealed, and little does she know – many people are awaiting her arrival. As this story unfolds, Jewell weaves together the lives of three families, each with their dark secrets. This is a thrilling tale you won’t be able to put down, and you will be turning pages to get to the end.
“I’d subliminally determined at this point that the only way to really know what was going on in the world was to listen to women talk. Anyone who ignores the chatter of women is poorer by any measure.”Lisa Jewell, The Family Upstairs
43. Independence Square by Martin Cruz Smith
Independence Square stars Detective Arkady Renko who risks his life to find a missing anti-Putin activist in Ukraine just before the Russian invasion. Renko is diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is challenged when navigating this political turmoil and his romantic life. Readers follow Renk’s journey as the novel unfolds, capturing the essence of the tensions between Russia and Ukraine. This gripping political thriller combines social commentary with immense suspense and complex character development.
“Petrovka 38 was the police headquarters where Arkady worked as investigator for the Office of Prosecution, and Victor was his good friend and assistant detective.”Martin Cruz Smith, Independence Square
44. The Devil’s Bargain by Stella Rimington
The Devil’s Bargain follows Harry, a remorseful policeman who made an illegal bribe that changed his life forever. This encounter involved a dangerous man being allowed into Britain years ago, now a successful MP.
As secrets come to light, Harry’s life is turned upside down. CIA analyst Manon Tyler enters the scene with a report on Russian illegal immigrants, and the MP might be on that list. This exciting story follows Harry as tension rises throughout the adrenaline-filled journey of espionage.
“So far his replies had been a tissue of lies and make believe. The next bit would be largely true”Stella Rimington, The Devil’s Bargain
45. The Match by Harlan Coben
The Match is a gripping novel that follows Wilde, a man with an unknown past who embarks on a journey to find his true identity. With a DNA test revealing a 100% match with a father he never knew of, Wilde’s search becomes filled with mystery and danger. As he continues his search, he becomes entangled with a group of online doxxers who help him with his search.
But when members of this secret community start to die one by one, it becomes clear that he’s being targeted. This exciting book twists and turns as you follow Wilde’s journey of self-discovery, keeping readers hooked with each new chapter.
“Worry about what you can control. If you can’t control it, let it go.”Harlan Coben, The Match
46. Falling by T. J. Newman
T.J. Newman’s Falling is a heart-pounding thriller that takes readers through a high-stakes, suspense-filled flight. This tense thriller follows the pilot of a plane that you, the reader, have boarded. The pilot’s family has been kidnapped, and for them to live, everyone on the plane must die for them to live.
The only way for the pilot to save his family’s lives is to crash the plane with you on board. This moral dilemma, mixed with themes of sacrifice, loyalty, and consequences, proves a thought-provoking and tense read.
“You don’t think everyone actually lives, do you? Most people just exist and roam around. It’s a choice, to actually live.”T.J. Newman, Falling
47. Two Nights in Lisbon Chris Pavone
Two Nights in Lisbon throws readers into a world of intrigue, following protagonist Ariel Pryce. Pryce wakes in a Lisbon hotel and discovers that her husband has vanished without a trace. As she delves into her husband’s mysterious disappearance, Ariel uproots unsettling questions about his true identity.
As she scrambles to find him, she knows what she must do – ask the person for help who she least wants to. With razor-sharp wit, unexpected discoveries, and heaps of danger – Ariel’s journey is one you don’t want to miss.
“Ariel doesn’t want to be a woman who’s wondering where her husband is, such an archetype of insecurity. But where is he? She has no choice.”Chris Pavone, Two Nights in Lisbon
48. Agents of Influence Mark Hollingsworth
Agents of Influence is a tense exposé that unveils the rogue intelligence agency, the KGB, and how their insidious efforts to undermine the Western political system are on an unprecedented scale. Over 1300 KGB officers are stationed in the US compared to only 350 FBI agents. This book sheds light on the KGB’s infiltration of government institutions and their threat to Western civilization. Although this novel is based on fact rather than fiction, it’s a thrilling read – especially if you’re interested in socio-economic politics and covert operations.
“The involvement of intelligence agents in the smear operation was revealed when a photograph was published of a high-ranking FSB office delivering the video to the RTR offices in Moscow.”Mark Hollingsworth, Agents of Influence
49. Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Wrong Place Wrong Time became an instant bestseller and one of the top thriller books of 2022. The story follows Jen, who is anxiously waiting for her 18-year-old son to return home one evening when she spots him out the window. Next, she witnesses him stabbing a stranger to death. Struck with shock, she doesn’t know what to do, and her son ends up in jail.
But, when Jen wakes up the next day, it’s the day before the murder, and she is slowly traveling back in time each time she awakens. Only she can solve the mystery and stop her son from becoming a killer, but first, she needs to figure out how to navigate her new time-bending world.
“We only think of the bad things that happen, rather than those that, through fortune, pass us by.”Gillian McAllister, Wrong Place Wrong Time
50. The Island by Adrian McKinty
The Island was published in 2022 and is written by New York Times bestselling author Adrian McKinty. After killing a woman in a hit-and-run, this family’s Australian vacation turns from a wildlife heaven to a wildlife hell. This heart-pounding thriller is about a family facing their darkest fears (and deepest secrets) when they go on the run to save their lives.
“She reflected that the Mad Max movies had been skillfully edited to erase the actual tedium of driving through outback Australia.”Adrian McKinty, The Island
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