Here’s the second part of a post I began last week in which I listed a few thriller/suspense novels that have stuck with me over the years. In Part 1, I mentioned books authored by Frederick Forsyth, Nelson DeMille, Alan Furst and Robert Wilson.
In this blog I’ll talk about Cormac McCarthy, James Lee Burke and Daniel Silva. My pick of McCarthy’s novels would be Blood Meridian, one of the “Border Trilogy” that included All the Pretty Horses. Blood Meridian isn’t for everyone. It is, at the same time, violent and exceptionally poetic. The style of writing in the book takes some getting used to. There’s very little punctation, and sentences may run on for half a page. But, man, is it worth it once you’re past that.
I’ll read anything by Burke. He’s never disappointed me. Some people complain that he writes the same story over and over with only slight tweaks. So what? How many basic stories are there? Not many. Even though I’ve read dozens of novels by Burke, his “voice” always keeps me turning the pages. He’s a writer who can inject some sort of tension–physical, sexual, social–into virtually every scene he crafts.
Most of Burke’s books are about a Louisiana detective, Dave Robicheaux, but my favorite (and that’s setting the bar really high) is about a Texas sheriff, Hackberry Holland. The book is Feast Day of Fools, which seemed to me Burke’s answer to McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men. It’s just as good.
Finally, Silva has never disappointed me, either. I’m totally hooked on his Gabriel Allon series. Allon is an Israeli spy and assassin who is also a renown art restorer. (Strange combination, huh?) Even though Silva often violates some of the fundamental techniques I was taught as a rookie noveliest to always follow–show, don’t tell; more dialogue, less narrative–he adheres to the number one rule I was taught: tell a good story. And Sliva tells damn good stories.
Well, those are my “Christmas list” picks. As I said in Part 1, feel free to chime in with yours or challenge mine.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.