We have lost two great thriller writers this year: Minnesota native Vince Flynn, who died in June from prostate cancer; and the great Tom Clancy, who passed away at the beginning of October.
Clancy burst onto the scene in 1984 with “The Hunt for Red October,” the first political thriller in the Jack Ryan series, about a CIA analyst during the Cold War. That book and four others went on to be Hollywood blockbusters. His final book, “Command Authority,” featuring Jack Ryan and his son, will be published later this year. Flynn wrote the Mitch Rapp series, the first of which is “Transfer of Power,” though he later wrote a prequel, “American Assassin.” Rapp is a CIA counter-terrorism agent charged with preventing attacks on United States soil. The final book in the series, “The Survivor,” will also be published later this year.
Darker evenings make October a perfect time to find suspenseful reads to keep you up past your bedtime. If you like dark, twisting plots and nail-biting page-turners, here are a few more authors you may want to give a try.
British author Philip Kerr writes the Bernie Gunther series, about a private eye in Nazi-era Germany. The first book, “March Violets,” begins in 1936 while Gunther is investigating missing persons cases. The cases become more complicated when it’s the Nazi party that doesn’t want those who are missing to be found. With special appearances by Herman Goering and Heinrich Himmler, and a traditional noir setting that still feels fresh and interesting, this series is a hit for anyone who likes thrillers or historical fiction set in this time period.
The latest discovery being passed around the library staff room is Sam Eastland’s “Eye of the Red Tsar,” the first in the series set in Stalinist Russia. Protagonist Inspector Pekkala is employed by the Romanovs just before their fall, and is subsequently taken to a gulag in Siberia. There are two more novels in the series, with more to come soon.
Of course, not all authors of thrillers are men, and one of the best (and best-selling) thrillers of last year was “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn (no relation to Vince). Told from the alternating points-of-view of a husband and wife after the wife’s disappearance, Flynn crafts a story full of tightly woven twists and turns. Neither party is innocent, but which one is ultimately guilty?
As Monty Python would say, and now for something completely different: Author and comedian Lorna Landvik will be back at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the library. She will have you laughing out loud as she discusses her latest book, “Mayor of the Universe.” This Minnesota Legacy event is free and open to the public.
LAUREL M. HALL is the adult services coordinator at the Brainerd Public Library.