The best novels for classic espionage thrills & intrigue

Chuck Driskell Author Of Doppelgänger: A World War II Espionage Thriller
By Chuck Driskell

Who am I?

I was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, lucky enough to spend three years in Germany. While in Germany, I fell in love with Europe. After my return to the States, I became an avid skydiver. That led to BASE jumping (parachuting from high buildings, bridges, cliffs, etc.) Unfortunately, I was badly injured in 1999. Though I’ve mostly recovered, I sought therapy in writing, melding my experiences as a soldier and adrenaline junkie, along with my love of exotic locales, into stories I love to share. That’s why I write. It keeps me sane and I love, love, love communicating with my readers.

I wrote...

Doppelgänger: A World War II Espionage Thriller

By Chuck Driskell,

Book cover of Doppelgänger: A World War II Espionage Thriller

What is my book about?

In the midst of the Second World War, two spies—more alike than they could imagine—stalk one another. The German spy is embedded as an American soldier, killing his superiors in the heat of battle. A major. A colonel. A general.

The American spy hunts him, the search narrowing from division, to regiment, to company. It’s a hunt for a vicious killer. It’s a hunt for the American’s doppelgänger.

The books I picked & why

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The Day of the Jackal

By Frederick Forsyth,

Book cover of The Day of the Jackal

Why this book?

I’ve read The Day of the Jackal at least a dozen times, and I still find new inspiration. Forsyth created an antagonist akin to Hans Gruber in Die Hard—I nearly find myself rooting for him. Along with great characterization is some of the greatest plotting I’ve ever read. The book is tight, smart, and absolutely engrossing, not to mention gorgeously written.

Eye of the Needle

By Ken Follett,

Book cover of Eye of the Needle

Why this book?

This was the book that hooked me on espionage thrillers. Follett takes an enormous subject and boils it down to a battle between a few. There are memorable characters all over this story, and each of them are faced with difficult choices. Once again, the antagonist has a shred of humanity, which occasionally puts the reader at odds. You’ll be hooked.

The Kill Artist

By Daniel Silva,

Book cover of The Kill Artist

Why this book?

This novel kicked off one of the most successful espionage franchises since James Bond. Gabriel Allon, along with the rest of Silva’s cast of characters, is so unique, so meticulous, that the reader feels as if you know him personally. Rich in research and detail, Silva’s book moves at a torrid pace. Once you read The Kill Artist, you’ll burn through the entire series.

I Am Pilgrim

By Terry Hayes,

Book cover of I Am Pilgrim

Why this book?

This book took me completely by surprise. I’d never heard of it, nor was I familiar with the author. It was one of those books that’s like finding a pot of gold. The pacing is excellent; the character development unique and well done. I found this book to be quite different, and engrossing, for reasons I cannot describe. Be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart.

Casino Royale

By Ian Fleming,

Book cover of Casino Royale

Why this book?

Casino Royale is the book that launched an icon: Bond…James Bond. While certainly not a modern thriller, this book is like taking a vacation to another time and place. Fleming’s writing style is his own, and his ability is enough to make me want to throw in the towel. Read this to get lost in the details and the richly developed characters. You’ll feel like you’re in France. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in France, the Middle East, and New York State?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about France, the Middle East, and New York State.

France Explore 544 books about France
The Middle East Explore 71 books about the Middle East
New York State Explore 384 books about New York State

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII, Her Majesty's Spymaster: Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the Birth of Modern Espionage, and D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II if you like this list.