The best books that defined the thriller genre

F.F. Mormanni Author Of Double Crossed
By F.F. Mormanni

Who am I?

Since childhood, I have immersed myself in sci-fi and thriller novels, many of which inspired me to write my first novel at age 13. When writing medical techno-thrillers, I think it is important to intertwine real-life technology and science with compelling stories and characters. I have published two novels—Double Crossed and Mind the Gap—and written several feature screenplays, television pilots, and non-fiction articles. I am a Juilliard-trained flutist and harpist now working in finance. 

I wrote...

Double Crossed

By F.F. Mormanni,

Book cover of Double Crossed

What is my book about?

After reading about unusual autopsy findings of a recently deceased U.S. senator, President Lewis recruits his childhood best friend, Ian Richards, to investigate what is soon revealed as an attempt to infiltrate the government through the use of medical and technological capabilities far beyond what is known to exist. This same death arouses the suspicions of Ross Blanchard, a relentless reporter, who avails himself of equally sophisticated technology in his own investigation. The intelligence community and Blanchard ultimately cooperate, culminating in a daring raid on a clandestine laboratory in the most unlikely of locations. But is this really the end of it?

Double Crossed recounts the intersection of cutting-edge military technology, genetics, and neurophysiology as it gradually exposes a plot of startling complexity and ambition.

The books I picked & why

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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

By John Le Carré,

Book cover of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Why this book?

Espionage at the beginning of the cold war was relationship- and intellect-driven. John le Carré (a.k.a. David Cornwell), who worked for both MI5 and MI6, accurately portrayed the environment in which operatives put their lives and sources at risk in service of their country. I find this novel interesting because it is in stark contrast to contemporary spy thrillers that typically include advanced technology and sometimes far-fetched plot twists. 

The Day of the Jackal

By Frederick Forsyth,

Book cover of The Day of the Jackal

Why this book?

The plot of this novel is simple: a dissident political organization hires an assassin to kill the President of France, Charles de Gaulle. Forsyth simultaneously depicted the intricate preparations and precautious taken by the assassin, and the desperate hunt to uncover who is behind the assassination attempt before it is too late. I enjoyed reading this because it provides insight into the thought processes and personalities of the hunter and the hunted. 

The Bourne Identity

By Robert Ludlum,

Book cover of The Bourne Identity

Why this book?

Ludlum used amnesia as the primary conceit of the story. The revelation of the protagonist’s numerous surprising skills provides interesting clues, enabling both him and the reader to gradually solve the mystery of his origin. While reading, I found myself in a constant state of anticipation about the next new thing the protagonist will discover about himself and whether he will learn who he really is.  

The Hunt for Red October

By Tom Clancy,

Book cover of The Hunt for Red October

Why this book?

Clancy combined his familiarity with cutting-edge military technology, command structures of both the military and the government, and acronyms to craft a compelling story about the defection of the most advanced Soviet submarine and its captain. Reading this inspired me to thoroughly vet technology, science, geography, and institutional hierarchy for anything I write. 

Jurassic Park

By Michael Crichton,

Book cover of Jurassic Park

Why this book?

This is one of the few novels in my recent memory that is a real page-turner—and one of Crichton’s best. He combined innovative science with a unique story that eventually influenced Hollywood thrillers and is still at the forefront of pop culture today. Crichton was a Jurassic Renaissance Man, and his work continues to influence me as both a novelist and screenwriter.

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