3 weeks ago

A superb Cold War thriller from Paul Vidich

Even if you’re a fan of espionage fiction, you may not yet be familiar with the name Paul Vidich. You should be. Vidich writes spy novels in the grand tradition of Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, and John le Carré. His historical espionage tales rank with those of his better-known contemporaries, Alan Furst and Joseph Kanon. […]

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a couple of months ago

About that billionaire who committed suicide in prison

Any veteran reader of mysteries has long since learned that something or someone randomly mentioned out of place early in a story will invariably turn out to be very, very important. Alfred Hitchcock called it a MacGuffin. So, your antennae are likely to wiggle frantically when you stumble upon a casual reference to that American […]

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a few months ago

A diabolically clever thriller about corporate espionage

In the early days of detective fiction, investigators such as Poe’s Auguste Dupin and Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes solved cases through sheer deductive brilliance. Later came the tough guys of the hardboiled school of detective fiction (Hammett’s Sam Spade, Chandler’s Philip Marlow, more recently Child’s Jack Reacher). They were all more inclined to use their […]

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a few months ago

British spies and the Nazi V-2 rocket

Alex Gerlis is the author of four outstanding standalone World War II spy novels (The Best of Our Spies, The Swiss Spy, Vienna Spies, and The Berlin Spies), all of which I enjoyed enormously. I can’t quite say the same about his most recent novel of espionage in that era, Prince of Spies—a tale about […]

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a few months ago

The latest from David Ignatius is a little hard to believe

The antihero has been a fixture in literature since Homer, although the term was first used in France only in the eighteenth century. In our time, the antihero has become a familiar figure through the writing of Dostoevsky, Kafka, Sartre, Camus, Kerouac, and Mailer and has entered popular culture through comic books, film, and television. […]

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a few months ago

Special Forces are up to no good in Somalia

Somewhere in the world, and probably in a dozen countries or more throughout the Global South, American Special Forces operators are engaged in action. Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, and other, less-well-known units, operating in small groups on top-secret missions, are involved in what has been called—romantically, ungrammatically, and probably misleadingly—the “War on Terror.” What are […]

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6 months ago

The CIA and the PLO in Cold War Beirut

What we Americans know about Lebanon is sadly limited. Those of us who have followed international news since the 1960s are likely to have vague memories of the Lebanese Civil War, the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, and the bombing of the Marine barracks near Beirut in 1983. Few will […]

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7 months ago

The classic Vietnam novel by Graham Greene

Graham Greene (1904 -91) hovers near the top of any list of the twentieth century’s most readable and insightful spy novelists. He was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966 and 1967, confirming his bona fides as an author who roamed far outside the limits of genre. And of his more than two […]

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