As we approach the astronomical beginning of summer (summer solstice), I’d like to offer a few recommendations for the season’s reading. That is, if you’ve read all my books and need something to tide you over until “Death in the Congo” comes out.

My first recommendation is a rather unusual book, titled “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. It’s one of two books the author has written with a third that seems to be a part of a sci fi series with other authors contributing books. The one I’m talking about is exquisite; a real gem.
It’s not a thriller, but has thriller elements. It’s the story of a Russian aristocrat, a gentleman, who navigates his way through the post-revolutionary Soviet Union. He avoids being killed in the pogroms that occurred after the communists took over. Instead he is confined for life to the Metropole Hotel in Moscow, a place where he lived in a luxurious suite. Only now he’s banished a tiny room in the attic.

One might think this would not be the best premise for an exciting story, but so much goes on in the tale that one never gets bored. The writing can only be described as delicious as the gentleman dishes out irony along with subtle victories over the oppressive communists who took over daily life with disastrous results. The book builds to a clever climax that one doesn’t see coming. It’s a book to consume in sips, enjoying its cleaver delights and point of view.

For more traditional fare, one could turn to Daniel Silva, a hometown boy, from Maryland. He writes with such detailed descriptions that one expects if one travels to the city in the story, one would see the seedy hotel on the exact corner mentioned by Daniel. His character is Gabriel Allon, an Israeli assassin. The character’s cover is an art restorer. Silva really did his homework and speaks with authority on paintings and the world of art restoration. In fact, my artist friend is the one who first recommended him to me. He became a fan because of Silva’s expert writing about the art world. It’s best to start with the first in the series, “The Kill Artist”. Silva develops his character chronologically through the series.

Vince Flynn died an untimely death at the height of his career. We are at a loss for it. The family and publisher have found a writer to carry on the work, moving his protagonist along on new adventures, but the tone is not quite the same.

Flynn self-published his first book. Fortunate for him, he lived in Minneapolis which is home to many publishing houses (or was). His first book got reviewed locally and a publisher read it and picked him up. Then it was “off to the races”.
Mitch Rapp is his main character. Not a man of refined tastes and surprising talents, like Gabriel Allon. His talent is hunting down and killing terrorists for the CIA. I fashioned Dan Stone partly after this example. My character has a bit of both Allon and Rapp in him. The first book, “Term Limits” is a stand-alone. The first Mitch Rapp book is “Transfer of Power”.

All books inspire me, but these are some that have had noticeable influence on my writing. I hope you’ll give them a try. Just don’t forget me…or Dan…or Jason. They’ll be back before you know it.

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