Friday, July 23, 2010

Thriller: 100 Must Reads

by KJ Howe

Looking for an intellectual and entertaining read this summer? Why not try Thrillers: 100 Must Reads, a collection of essays written by current bestselling thriller authors on the best reads of the thriller genre, spanning over 35 decades!

The collection includes classics like James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice and Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. You'll also find favorites by Frederick Forsyth, Peter Benchley, Clive Cussler, Robin Cook, and Ken Follett, to name a few. There are some fascinating and unusual essays, like Lee Child writing about the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, dating back to 1500 B.C. and William Bernhardt writing about Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.

The insights offered by the authors off an incredible journey of the thriller genre. After enjoying this fabulous compilation, I was considering what novels would make Romance: 100 Must Reads. I'd love to hear your suggestions about which books should be included!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


jo robertson said...

Yay, did I get the rooster? Well, that's fitting since I'm not going to National this year and am feeling very lonely without our Banditas. Bandita Buddies who are hanging in the Lair all of next week, be sure to pop in. Aunty Cindy and I, Posh and KJ are keeping the Lair fires burning.

And the rooster of course!

jo robertson said...

Yay for me! I did keep the rooster. And no way am I letting him board that plane with Donna. So if any BB's are also going to National in Orlando this year, be forewarned. That rooster is a fake! The real one's here, tee hee.

jo robertson said...

KJ, to answer your question, I just finished two of the best thrillers I've read in years. And they're by debut authors, which makes me very hopeful.

The first is Christopher Farnsworth's BLOOD OATH. I think I read that someone already bought the movie rights. The premise is that since President Andrew Johnson every U.S. President has had the "president's vampire" to help him with the "sticky," covert stuff -- read "wet work," if you will.

For those of you who do NOT like vampire books, this is a good one to cut your teeth on (ha, no pun intended) because the focus isn't so much on the vampirism, but the idea of redemption. Nathaniel Cade is the vampire and Zach Barrows is a smart ass presidential aid who's made the vamp's handler to punish him. Yes, there's clever wit there too.

Try it, you'll like it.

jo robertson said...

Okay, the second thriller is BAD THINGS HAPPEN by Harry Dolan. This story has more twists and turns than you can imagine, but I think at the heart of it, it's a love story. Maybe. You decide.

It reads like the great old mysteries of the Thirties and Forties. The prose is spare and the pace is incredibly fast. Can't recommend this enough. It's probably the Best. Mystery-Thriller. Ever.

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Jo.

I love thrillers. I'm a huge fan of Nelson DeMille and Carl Hiaasen.

barb said...

Hi Kim. thanks for the post but I am not much into thrillers unless they have romance and a HEA

congrats Jo on the GR have a good time with him

Of course we would have to have an Aunty Cindy and Anna's story in the compilation along with all the other banditos... can't leave any out LOL

Barbara Monajem said...

I don't read many thrillers (Hmm... I wonder why not?) but in romances, Georgette Heyer is a must read. She wrote so many fabulous ones that it's impossible to pick a favorite. In recent novels, I'd suggest everything by Joanna Bourne.

Helen said...

Well done Jo have fun with him and yes he will be with us here in the lair this year LOL if we can keep hime tied up he has so much fun at National and gets into trouble LOL.

I am not into thrillers either I love me a romance with a HEA hard to choose but some of them would be Julie Garwoods historicals and as Barbara has said all The Bandits books you couldn't leave any of them out Kathleen Woodiwiss Johanna Lindsey's Loretta Chase Julia Quinn Eloisa James yes the list goes on

Have Fun

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey KJ!!

I'm surprised I've actually read some of these authors. Robin Cook is the one who really scares me. Why? Because he has so much real medicine in his books that I can see this happening. And that is really scary to me!!

I may have to get this book just to read the essay on Theseus and the Minotaur. I think Ariadne is one of the biggest tragic heroines of Greek mythology in this story!

Kim Howe said...

Hey Jo, congrats on the seems only fair that you get to enjoy him before the conference since you're not going either. I'm so sad as I haven't missed a National in years.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

OKay, for my books of the 100 MUST read list:

1.The Flame And The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss
2.Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
3.Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey (James and Georgina's story)
4.Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
5.Nobody's Baby But Mine by SEP
6.Mistress by Amanda Quick
7.Dark Lover by JR Ward
8.Texas Splendor by Lorraine Heath
9.Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon
10.Anything by Georgette Hyer, but my favorite as I recall was Regency Buck.
11.Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas
12. Over The Edge by Brockmann

Okay, that's it for my dozen...

Kim Howe said...

Jo, thanks for sharing those two fabulous thrillers. I'll definitely check them out. I love recommendations from people I trust!!!

How about romances? What would you put on your must read list?

Kim Howe said...

Jo, also wanted to comment that I LOVE the fact that the best thrillers are by debut authors. Lots of room for new talent in the genre.

Kim Howe said...

Jane, great taste in authors. Carl makes me LOL every time I read his books and humor is difficult to write. How about romances? What would you include in your top 100?

Kim Howe said...

Barb, thanks for stopping by. Of course we'd have the suspense banditas prominently featured! :) What about romances...I'd love to hear which ones you think are timeless.

Kim Howe said...

Barbara, great to see you!!! Hope you are happy and well. I'll check out Joanna Bourne...haven't read her yet. Thanks!

Kim Howe said...

Helen, great list. I would have included those authors as well. I have a special affinity for Kathleen Woodiwiss.

Kim Howe said...

Suzanne, Robin Cook is an incredible guy. I met him last year at Thrillerfest and he practically screams brilliant as you listen to him talk...and what a wonderfully diabolical mind! Love it! I think anyone would enjoy the Thriller: 100 Must Reads as all the stories are archetypal.

Kim Howe said...

Suzanne, okay, I'm convinced. You should be the editor of Romance: 100 Must Reads. Seriously. Someone should do one of would be a very hot seller.

Suzanne Ferrell said...


I think to do this, with there being so many great books by so many great authors, we'd have to decide why it's a must read.

Was the author, writing or book itself innovative for the subgenre or era it was written in? We'd definitely have to include entire works by some authors, (Heyer, Austin, Lindsey and Garwood come to mind.)

Was a particular story a standout? This is where Outlander fits in, by my standards...

JD Robb and Nora Roberts, where does one even begin to write her mark on the romance world? We'd probably end up in weeks worth of discussions on her alone!!

I think Claiming The Courtesean by Anna Campbell, (our own Bandita) made it's idellible mark on the Regency world, turning it upside down!

Kim Howe said...


That's an insightful analysis. For the Thriller book, they chose one book from greats like Ian Fleming and Frederick Forsyth, the novel that really impacted the genre which took a lot of time and effort for the editors. I love reading essays analyzing fiction--story is fascinating. Anna C would definitely make the list!!!

Nancy said...

Jo, congrats on the rooster! We'll miss you a;; at National, but the home fires couldn't be in better hands.

KJ, the 100 top romances? Great idea, and I think I need to find this thriller book. It sounds cool.

I'm not very good at picking bests because mine tend to change on a fairly regular basis. Kathleen Woodiwiss's Shanna would have to be on there, seeing as how it has occupied a spot on my keeper shelf for so long. Georgette Heyer's Frederica (I discovered last night that there's a Fort Frederica in Georgia--don't usually get forts with female names, but that's what the map says). Pride and Prejudice.

Gillian Layne said...

I bet every historical I love will eventually be nominated, so I'm going with the Atlantis series by Alyssa Day--I love them. And I just polished off In Love With John Doe by Cindy Kirk last night (Silhouette Special Edition June) and I was in tears. That doesn't happen too much when reading outside of Balogh. Kirk is seriously good at real emotion.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Jane, good choices. Those are the heavy guys LOL.

Barb, I have to confess that the only element that disappoints me in some thrillers is the lack of romance. That's why I recommended both BLOOD OATH and Bad Things Happen. They fulfilled that need for a touch of romance in my mystery-thrillers.

jo robertson said...

Barbara, so many romance readers cut their teeth on Georgette Heyer. She'd definitely be on the list of romance writers.

Hi, Helen! Good choices. Yes, the GR does like to get into mischief. Especially if he's hanging with the Banditas. And if there's food or wine involved. I have a feeling he might try to sneak away to Orlando next week.

Kim Howe said...

Nancy, you'd love this book. For anyone who writes in the suspense genre, it's basically a history of thrillers--and the perfect place to see what has been done when. Also, some of the insights and essays are fabulous.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Suzanne. Cook's medical thrillers are frighteningly real, aren't they? I love books that revolve around something that COULD happen even if it's not happening now.

jo robertson said...

Oh, KJ-Kim, is this your first miss? I missed last year too. The worst is not getting to see the Banditas and the Buddies in real time LOL.

jo robertson said...

Great list, Suz! I'm curious, why DARK LOVER (Wrath's story) instead of some of the later Brotherhood stories?

jo robertson said...

Oh, for my Best List of Romance novels, definitely the Bandita books. I do enjoy a good historical so I'm partial that way. I have to agree with Suz about OUTLANDER. It's become a classic, I think, plus I love the whole time travel stuff.

I can't wait for Suz's book to come out and right now I'm reading MONEY HONEY by our own Susan Sey. She has a great smart-ass writing voice in romantic wit.

jo robertson said...

Honestly, KJ, I was shocked that these BLOOD OATH and BAD THINGS HAPPEN were by debut writers. Although sometimes I think the first book a writer creates is the best. Lots of room for tweaking.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

YAY Jo-Mama!
Way to go on capturing the chook! Send him out to do yard work today. This heat should leave him pretty exhausted and unable to find trouble. ;-)

What a fun book, KJ! I'm like a lot of others, I don't read thrillers because I miss the romance. However, I think Jo has won me over on Blood Oath... I'll let you know what I think when I finish reading it.

Barb, how sweet of you to mention my books in a top 100! I really do appreciate your vote of confidence.

I agree with Jo and Suz that Outlander needs to be included in any Top Romance list. Other than that, there are just too many great books for me to narrow it down,and YES, Bandita books are definitely in there.


Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Jo! you got the Rooster! I'm missing you too, already, Jo, and I'm just arrived. *pout*

KJ, what fun. I think as far as Top 100 in Romance, you KNOW I'd put the Bandits in there. Grins. Probably Ain't She Sweet; Nora's Dance Upon the Air; the JD Robb Origin in Death. A perinnial fav of mine, and Anna C's is A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbottsen. I can't think of others at the moment. too tired! Left DC at 3:50 this morning. ugh.

KJ and Jo, and AC and Posh, we will MISS you!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Oh and forgot to mention how very bummed I am at not being able to attend National this year. :-( Yes, the worst part is NOT seeing all the other Banditas and BBs who attend. But we will keep things lively here in the Lair until our comrades return!



Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Jo, both those books sound fabulous - the Blood Oath and Bad Things Happen. :>

KJ, as you know, I envy your trip to Thrillerfest. Grins. And Robin Cook is a chilling writer, for sure. I used to think the same thing about Michael Crichton too. Brilliant minds!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

GREAT MINDS, Duchesse!

We were posting at almost the exact same time. :-)

3:50 AM?!?!?!?! Did you even bother trying to sleep beforehand? I doubt I would have.

TRY to enjoy the rest of your day,


Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I can pretty much guarantee that there will be some "drunk dialing" to our missing Bandita pals, dears! Grins. You KNOW you'll hear from us at some point.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Jeanne,

With the 3 hour time difference, I can pretty much guarantee *I* will be awake! Sober may be a whole nother story...


Kim Howe said...

Jo, I agree that first books seem to be novels of the heart and they really have grit and emotion in them. Sometimes the deadlines imposed on future books mean there isn't the same depth in them. Sad that business changes things, but that's life, isn't it?

Kim Howe said...

AC, great to hear from you. I echo the impact of OUTLANDER. It was so unique and different!

catslady said...

I started out reading thrillers/horror stories and still enjoy them. That sounds like a wonderful collection and i've read all those authors. Coonts and King come to mind :)

Kim Howe said...

Jo, I just downloaded BAD THINGS HAPPEN so I can read it on the plane. Thanks!

Kim Howe said...

Catslady, thanks for dropping by! Those 100 books are phenomenal and could keep one out of trouble for quite some time!

Kim Howe said...


hope you get some well-deserved shut-eye!!!!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Jo:I'm curious, why DARK LOVER (Wrath's story) instead of some of the later Brotherhood stories?

For me this set the series and gave us the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. It started the whole love of these over-the-top vampire heroes and pulled the reader into their world. All the others built upon this foundation and morphed into what the series is today.

Louisa Cornell said...

Jo Mama got the chook !! Yay! You could try trussing him up and throwing him in a closet to keep him from making the trip to Orlando. That boy DOES like the party with the Banditas and Buddies!

Thrillers I love (and they also have a touch of romance) are the Pendergast series by Preston Douglas and Lincoln Child. Some of the most tightly woven tales and chock full of obscure curiosities throughout, they are amazing reads!

Romantic Suspense? Anything by Karen Rose. But don't read it at night. You won't sleep a wink!

Romance Must Reads?

1. Anything by Jane Austen

2. Anything by Georgette Heyer (my fav - The Quiet Gentleman)

3. Anything by the Brontes

4. Anything by Diane Gaston (My fav - The Mysterious Miss M

5. Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

6. To Sir Phillip With Love by Julia Quinn

7. Anything by Karen Hawkins but most especially her twin series - Her Master and Commander and Her Officer and a Gentleman

8. Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters

9. Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series

10. Mary Janice Davidson's Betsy the Vampire Queen series (start with Undead and Unwed)

11. Anything by Anna Campbell

12. The Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris

13. Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale

14. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

15. The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley

16. Charming the Prince by Teresa Medeiros

17. Dangerous to Love by Rexanne Bechnel

18. Madeline Hunter's latest series - Ravishing in Red, Provocative in Pearls, etc

19. Anything by Kathryn Caskie, especially A Lady's Guide to Rakes.

20. Donna MacMeans, especially The Education of Mrs. Brimley

21. Christine Wells, especially Scandal's Daughter. I DO love that book.

22. His Secret Duchess by Gayle Wilson

23. Nicola Cornick, especially her latest series and The Wayward Widow (my personal fav)

24. Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire series

25. Mary Balogh - anything by her, but especially the Slightly Series, Simply Love and A Perfect Jewel

Jo, I am SO disappointed I won't see you in Orlando!!

jo robertson said...

True, KJ, I was thinking how much better Janet Evanovich's early Stephanie Plum novels were than the later ones. I don't blame the authors so much as the tremendous pressure on them to produce rapidly.

Let me know how you feel about Bad Things Happen!

jo robertson said...

Suz, great analysis! You're in super-fine analytical mode today. I agree. I haven't yet read the recent Brotherhood book -- John's story. I'm saving it LOL.

jo robertson said...

Aw, that's sweet of you Louisa! And that's quite an impressive list. I haven't read the Pendergast series. I'll have to try them. I don't know why but I'm leary of writing teams, but with your recommendation, I'll pick up one. Any suggestions?

jo robertson said...

Hey, Jeanne, hie thee to a bed and get a quick nap. You've got quite an exciting week ahead of you!

Louisa Cornell said...

These are the books in the Pendergast series by Child and Lincoln. Like you I was a bit reluctant to try a team read. My Mom brought home Still Life With Crows because she said (after reading the back cover) that it sounded like something I'd read. It blew me away. You might want to start with it. They don't necessarily have to be read in order until you get to the Diogenes trilogy. From there on out I suggest you read them in order.

Cabinet of Curiosities
Still Life with Crows

Brimstone - Part One of the Diogenes Trilogy

Dance of Death - Part Two of the Diogenes Trilogy

Book of the Dead - Part Three of the Diogenes Trilogy

The Wheel of Darkness

Cemetery Dance

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Louisa, that was a great list. Jo, I had a nice nap, thank goodness! Grins.