From Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley to Joan Didion’s overlooked espionage novel, thriller writer Alex Berenson picks his favorite books about Americans abroad. His new novel, The Secret Soldier, is out now.
When The Daily Beast asked me for a top five list, at first I wondered if I should. The classics of espionage are practically inarguable: four brilliant English novels, two each by Graham Greene and John le Carré, and one crackling American thriller— The Quiet American, The Human Factor, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Spy Who Came in From The Cold, and The Hunt for Red October. (If that last choice isn't literary enough for you, you can replace it with The Secret Agent. But I promise you'll have a much better time with Clancy.) They're all wonderful books—and if you read espionage, you've probably read them more than once.
So I offer a slightly different list, of thrillers—defined very broadly—focusing on Americans abroad.
Gallery: Alex Berenson’s Favorite Novels
Between 2000 and 2010, Alex Berenson worked as a reporter for the New York Times. Prior to joining the New York Times, Berenson was a founding member of TheStreet.com, the groundbreaking Internet financial website, specializing in financial investigative reporting. Berenson’s debut novel, The Faithful Spy , won the 2007 Edgar Award for best first novel and was a #1 New York Times bestseller. His John Wells series of novels has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide.