Five Good Thriller Books About Spies and Secret Intelligence

Some of the thickest plots are about secret intelligence. Government agencies, espionage, army missions, armed weapons, terrorism, assassination, technology… Books like that are filled with thrills, chills and more than a few blood-spills. The blood-spills they can keep, the juicy plot is my weakness.

I love a complicated story. The thicker the plot, the further I can get into that world. You know the one I mean. The one you step into as soon you turn to the first page of a novel and read the first few lines in that book. A big book is an incredible treasure. A friend got me some girly body scrub for Valentines Day. It smelled amazing, like salted caramel and chocolate cookie dough ice cream. But I couldn’t help thinking that if he’d known me a little better he would have known to just walk into a book store and get the thickest book he could find. Then again… Not every thick book is a good read.

These five weren’t all thick, but they were really good reads. The titles are clickable, they’ll take you to online book stores (mostly Amazon) where you can buy these.

Tom Clancy – Without Remorse

My favourite book of the five on this list.

John Kelly, a former Navy officer, suddenly loses his wife in a freak accident while he is out at work on an oil rig. The incident leaves him depressed. A few months later he is driving out to his boat when he spots a female hitchhiker on the side of the road. For some reason he can’t explain, he stops and picks her up. The strangeness builds momentum as he finds himself taking her out to his secluded island with him, where an unexpected romance blooms. She seems to fill a space in his heart that he desperately needed filled. Tragedy strikes again though, mostly due to John Kelly’s recklessness. His new love is a drug addict and former prostitute running from a dangerous pimp. John Kelly underestimates how dangerous this man really is when he takes her back to the pimp’s turf. The pimp spots his runaway prostitute, and in the wild chase that follows, John Kelly lets his guard down. The girl is kidnapped and killed, her body mutilated and dumped in a public fountain. The gruesome murder sparks something in John Kelly that he can’t suppress or control. The skilled ex-Navy SEAL puts his deadly gifts to use and goes off on a chilling man-hunt, without remorse.

It was gripping. I needed to see how it would end. There were so many little stories weaved into the whole novel that I actually had to take a few breaks. I’m very emotional, a good scene can move me to tears and there were just too many good scenes.

Tom Clancy’s Net Force – The Archimedes Effect

Entertaining characters, fast-paced action, a thick plot. Rachel Lewis was raped by a soldier back in high school. Her father grabbed a gun and killed her rapist without a second thought, but instead of facing the humiliation of a court-martial, he took the same gun and killed himself. Rachel Lewis is a Sergeant in the Army now, but she’s been biding her time, waiting for the opportune moment to avenge her father’s death. When the time comes, a series of dangerous but almost senseless thefts and attacks begin to occur at Army bases across the country. 

Jay Gridley, tech-whiz and MIT wonder boy, is put on the case. But he keeps running into dead ends and soon finds himself being hotly pursued by an attractive female officer determined to sleep with him. He’s married with a beautiful baby boy, but he can’t help wondering what it would be like to just let loose for a moment… 

Rachel, meanwhile, is facing problems of her own. A pair of terrorist brothers are determined to kill her for the intel she’s trying to sell, and she has a partner who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Jay Gridley and Rachel Lewis go head to head in a battle that Jay soon discovers is very personal. 

The story had potential, but this one was a little more disappointing. Tom Clancy seemed more intent on the steamy possibilities between Rachel and Jay Gridley. I mean the sexual tension wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I would’ve appreciated more details on the battle of their minds.

Michael Frayn – Spies

Stephen Wheatley is a weathered old man now with grandkids and a comfortable life. But every year, towards the end of spring, he is overwhelmed by an intoxicating smell. Yep. A smell. It seems to bring something into the air with it, something that goes beyond his senses and reaches into the depths of his mind. Something that makes him feel as though there is something he does not remember – something he was not supposed to forget. What is it? He decides to take a trip to his childhood home, to the place where he thinks he began to forget. There he rediscovers a time and a memory that is as unusual as that smell in the air every spring.

This one is so good I haven’t even finished reading and I’m writing about it, as soon as I’m done, it’ll probably top Without Remorse on this list. It’s like reading a little boys diary, except better, because the little boy is actually an old man. So maybe he’s an old boy? Its confusing if it’s anything at all, but incredibly psychological, a challenge to your ability to follow a good story. Like breadcrumbs on a beach…

How lucky am I to have just found these books lying around the house? It’s amazing what too much time and desperate boredom will allow you discover.

John Grisham – A Time To Kill

Jake Brigance is a small-time lawyer. But Ford County is a small-time town. Until a brutal rape and a gory murder put Jake’s name and the little town on the map. This is Jake’s biggest case yet, and the kind of publicity lawyers like him can only dream of. But all the excitement begins to draw a type of attention that threatens his home, his family, and his life as he has known it before now. Is there ever a time when murder is right? What happens when a wronged man takes the law into his hands? The law says one thing, but Jake Brigance is going to make it say another. After all, the law  can be a double-edged sword. He just has to make sure his client doesn’t get caught on either end. 

John Grisham is THE go-to for a crazy legal thriller. His stories are so down to earth you forget that the characters aren’t real. I found myself wondering why I wasn’t practicing law (I’m licensed to do so here in Nigeria) then I remembered we don’t practice a jury system here and we were these terrible gowns and wigs. So I’ll never have the chance to strut in an expensive Italian suit while I hold a captivated jury spell-bound with my eloquence.

John Ehrlichman – The Company

In the midst of mad politics, a CIA Director with humble beginnings finds himself playing a strange game. Determined to preserve the life he has worked for, he begins to push government buttons he has never pushed before. Meanwhile, he suspects that his wife is sleeping with the President, and a certain Congressman’s wife catches his eye. At the same time, there’s a terrible secret in the government archives directly linked to him that he must keep under wraps. Spies, assassins, government scandals, and steamy affairs. It’s a lot to handle, but he’s not the CIA Director for nothing. Who knows, he just might come out of it all with his name and dignity intact. 

I like the old cover more. There’s that ominous golden eagle draped with wires on the front and it’s just so striking. This book was apparently written by an former Nixon aide, which was apparently supposed to make drive lie imaginations wild and probably sell more books. But the plot just wasn’t as impressive as I was led to think. More about politics than anything else, it gets dull. But I liked it, it was a fascinating read nonetheless.

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