The best books that defined the thriller genre

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.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

F.F. Mormanni Why did I love 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. 

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Spy Who Came in From the Cold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Our Kind of Traitor; and The Night Manager, now a television series starring Tom Hiddleston.

The 50th-anniversary edition of the bestselling novel that launched John le Carre's career worldwide

In the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse-a desk job-Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered…

Book cover of The Day of the Jackal

F.F. Mormanni Why did I love 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. 

By Frederick Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Day of the Jackal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Day of the Jackal is the electrifying story of the struggle to catch a killer before it's too late.

It is 1963 and an anonymous Englishman has been hired by the Operations Chief of the O.A.S. to murder General De Gaulle. A failed attempt in the previous year means the target will be nearly impossible to get to. But this latest plot involves a lethal weapon: an assassin of legendary talent.

Known only as The Jackal, this remorseless and deadly killer must be stopped, but how do you track a man who exists in name alone?

Book cover of The Bourne Identity

F.F. Mormanni Why did I love 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.  

By Robert Ludlum,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Bourne Identity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jason Bourne is back in the forthcoming major motion picture starring Matt Damon and Alicia Vikander. Go back to where it all began for Bourne in his first adventure - The Bourne Identity

He was dragged from the sea, his body riddled with bullets. There are a few clues: a frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the skin of his hip; evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face; strange things he says in his delirium, which could be code words. And a number on the film negative that leads to a bank account in Zurich, four million dollars, and…

Book cover of The Hunt for Red October

F.F. Mormanni Why did I love 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. 

By Tom Clancy,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Hunt for Red October as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Also Available as an Audio Edition from Audible

Tom Clancy's rich imagination and his remarkable grasp of the capabilities of advanced technology give this novel an amazing ring of authenticity. It is a thriller with a new twist, a "military procedural" with an ingenious, tightly woven plot that revolves around the defection of a Soviet nuclear submarine--the USSR's newest and most valuable ship, with its most trusted and skilled officer at the helm.

A deadly serious game of hide-and-seek is on. The entire Soviet Atlantic Fleet is ordered to hunt down the submarine and destroy her at all costs. The…

Book cover of Jurassic Park

F.F. Mormanni Why did I love 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.

By Michael Crichton,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Jurassic Park as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Crichton's most compulsive novel' Sunday Telegraph
'Crichton's dinosaurs are genuinely frightening' Chicago Sun-Times
'Breathtaking adventure. . . a book that is as hard to put down as it is to forget' Time Out


The international bestseller that inspired the Jurassic Park film franchise.

On a remote jungle island, genetic engineers have created a dinosaur game park.

An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now one of mankind's most thrilling fantasies has come true and the first dinosaurs that the Earth has seen in the time of man emerge.

But, as always, there is a…

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The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy

By Alexander Rose,

Book cover of The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy

Alexander Rose Author Of Empires of the Sky: Zeppelins, Airplanes, and Two Men's Epic Duel to Rule the World

New book alert!

Who am I?

A long time ago, I was an early-aviation historian, but eventually realized that I knew only half the story—the part about airplanes. But what about airships? Initially, I assumed, like so many others, that they were a flash-in-the-pan, a ridiculous dead-end technology, but then I realized these wondrous giants had roamed and awed the world for nearly four decades. There was a bigger story here of an old rivalry between airplanes and airships, one that had since been forgotten, and Empires of the Sky was the result.

Alexander's book list on Zeppelin airships

What is my book about?

From the author of Washington’s Spies, the thrilling story of two rival secret agents — one Confederate, the other Union — sent to Britain during the Civil War.

The South’s James Bulloch, charming and devious, was ordered to acquire a clandestine fleet intended to break Lincoln’s blockade, sink Northern merchant vessels, and drown the U.S. Navy’s mightiest ships at sea. Opposing him was Thomas Dudley, an upright Quaker lawyer determined to stop Bulloch in a spy-versus-spy game of move and countermove, gambit and sacrifice, intrigue and betrayal.

Their battleground was the Dickensian port of Liverpool, whose dockyards built more ships each year than the rest of the world combined and whose merchant princes, said one observer, were “addicted to Southern proclivities, foreign slave trade, and domestic bribery.”

The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy

By Alexander Rose,

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Washington's Spies, the thrilling story of the Confederate spy who came to Britain to turn the tide of the Civil War-and the Union agent resolved to stop him.

"Entertaining and deeply researched...with a rich cast of spies, crooks, bent businessmen and drunken sailors...Rose relates the tale with gusto." -The New York Times

In 1861, soon after the outbreak of the Civil War, two secret agents-one a Confederate, the other his Union rival-were dispatched to neutral Britain, each entrusted with a vital mission.

The South's James Bulloch, charming and devious, was to acquire…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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