The best books for lovers of gripping suspense and espionage

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong journalist, I’ve covered and have been drawn to tales of intrigue, con men, massive financial scams, domestic terrorists and international plots, and the investigators and authorities who pursue them.


I wrote...

Friendly Fire

By Mark Pawlosky,

Book cover of Friendly Fire

What is my book about?

When Geoffrey Tate, one of the world’s richest individuals and the CEO of Yukon, the country’s preeminent artificial intelligence company, is shot and killed by his young trophy wife, it’s going to grab headlines. And seasoned Newshound reporter Nik Byron intends to be the one generating them. But Nik’s investigation quickly leads him down a treacherous path he didn’t foresee.

The sensational trial that follows Tate’s death threatens to derail Bullwhip—the military’s next generation of AI-inspired war machines—and scramble the fortunes of political heavyweights and Pentagon brass alike. His journalistic instincts aroused, Nik embarks on an uncertain hunt for the truth that takes him deep into the murky worlds of Washington lobbyists, the military-industrial complex, and the Saudi intelligence apparatus.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Night Manager

Mark Pawlosky Why did I love this book?

John Le Carré, the undisputed master of espionage, shifts gears in The Night Manager as the Cold War ends and an unsteady detente emerges in Europe, creating a power vacuum quickly filled by mercenaries, arms dealers, and drug smugglers who accumulate vast fortunes in the black markets that spring forth.

This book rekindles the flame for Le Carré readers who thought his best storytelling days were behind him.

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Night Manager as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Night Manager, an ex-soldier helps British Intelligence penetrate the secret world of ruthless arms dealers.

At the start of it all, Jonathan Pine is merely the night manager at a luxury hotel. But when a single attempt to pass on information to the British authorities - about an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings - backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine.

In a chilling tale of corrupt intelligence agencies, billion-dollar price tags and the truth of the brutal…


Book cover of The Last Tourist

Mark Pawlosky Why did I love this book?

Olen Steinhauer brings all his writing and storytelling talents to bear in The Last Tourist as his protagonist Milo Weaver, living off the grid in the Western Sahara, is tracked down by a young CIA analyst who comes to question and warn him about a new breed of assassin on the loose.

Lovers of Le Carré’s George Smiley will find kinship with Milo Weaver. 

By Olen Steinhauer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Tourist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Olen Steinhauer brings back Milo Weaver in The Last Tourist.

In Olen Steinhauer’s bestseller An American Spy, reluctant CIA agent Milo Weaver thought he had finally put “Tourists”―CIA-trained assassins―to bed.

A decade later, Milo is hiding out in Western Sahara when a young CIA analyst arrives to question him about a series of suspicious deaths and terrorist chatter linked to him.

Their conversation is soon interrupted by a new breed of Tourists intent on killing them both, forcing them to run.

As he tells his story, Milo is joined by colleagues and enemies from his…


Book cover of Wild Fire

Mark Pawlosky Why did I love this book?

Nelson DeMille is at the top of his game in Wild Fire.

The writing crackles throughout the novel as alpha male Detective John Corey pursues a clan of rich industrialists bent on revenging 9/11 even if it means destroying American cities and populations to accomplish their goals.

If you’re looking for fun and spycraft all in one place, this is the book for you.

By Nelson DeMille,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wild Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to the Custer Hill Club - an informal men's club set in a luxurious Adirondack hunting lodge whose members include some of America's most powerful business leaders, military men, and government officials. Ostensibly, the club is a place to gather with old friends, hunt, eat, drink, and talk off-the-record about war, life, death, sex and politics. But one Fall weekend, the Executive Board of the Custer Hill Club gathers to talk about the tragedy of 9/11 and what America must do to retaliate. Their plan is finalized and set into motion. That same weekend, a member of the Federal…


Book cover of Red Sparrow

Mark Pawlosky Why did I love this book?

Jason Matthews is the real deal, a 30-year-veteran of the CIA’s Operations Directorate and he gives the reader a ringside seat both into the Agency’s operations as well as Putin’s vast spy network and advanced training programs that recruits beautiful young woman to seduce and exterminate foreign assets.

This is one of the steamiest spy novels ever produced.

By Jason Matthews,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Red Sparrow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE MAJOR MOTION PICTURE starring Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton and Jeremy Irons.

Dominika Egorov, former prima ballerina, is sucked into the heart of Putin's Russia, the country she loved, as the twists and turns of a betrayal and counter-betrayal unravel.

American Nate Nash, idealistic and ambitious, handles the double agent, codenamed MARBLE, considered one of CIA's biggest assets. He needs to keep his identity secret for as long as the mole can keep supplying golden information.

Will Dominika be able to unmask MARBLE, or will the mission see her faith destroyed in the country she has always passionately defended?

'A…


Book cover of The Last Agent

Mark Pawlosky Why did I love this book?

Robert Dugoni has created the nearly perfect American spy in Charles Jenkins, an unassuming father, husband, and gentleman farmer who wants nothing more than to be left alone after a brilliant career ends in shambles.

But above all else Jenkins is a patriot who reenters Russia, his old stomping grounds, to rescue his most-prized confidential informant and spirit her out of the country before she's captured and murdered by Putin’s thugs. Dugoni and his characters breathe new life into the spy genre.

By Robert Dugoni,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Agent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal bestselling series.

An American operative in Russia is on the run for his life in a thriller of heart-stopping betrayal and international intrigue by the New York Times bestselling author of The Eighth Sister.

Betrayed by his own country and tried for treason, former spy Charles Jenkins survived an undercover Russian operation gone wrong. Exonerated, bitter, and safe, the retired family man is through with duplicitous spy games. Then he learns of a woman isolated in Moscow's notorious Lefortovo Prison.

If it's Paulina Ponomayova, the agent who sacrificed her life to…


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Sea Change

By Darlene Marshall,

Book cover of Sea Change

Darlene Marshall Author Of Sea Change

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Romance Reader Regency Romance Fan History Buff SF & Fantasy Fan

Darlene's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

David Fletcher needs a surgeon, stat! But when he captures a British merchantman in the Caribbean, what he gets is Charley Alcott, an apprentice physician barely old enough to shave. Needs must, and Captain Fletcher takes the prisoner back aboard his ship with orders to do his best or he’ll be walking the plank.

Charley Alcott’s medical skills are being put to the test in a life-or-death situation, Charley’s life as well as the patient’s. Even if she can save the American privateer's brother there will still be hell to pay—and maybe a plank to walk—when Captain Fletcher learns Charley…

Sea Change

By Darlene Marshall,

What is this book about?

High Seas, #1

David Fletcher needs a surgeon, stat! But when he captures a British merchantman in the Caribbean what he gets is Charley Alcott, an apprentice physician barely old enough to shave. Needs must, and Captain Fletcher takes the prisoner back aboard his ship with orders to do his best, or he'll be walking the plank.

Charley Alcott's medical skills are being put to the test in a life-or-death situation, Charley's life as well as the patient's. Even if she can save the pirate's brother there will still be hell to pay--and maybe a plank to walk--when Captain Fletcher…


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