Good Minds Suggest—Charlie Huston's Favorite Thrillers

Posted by Goodreads on June 25, 2013
Unlikely heroes fight to survive in the noir crime-scapes of novelist and comic book author Charlie Huston. He's written about an alcoholic bartender mixed up with the Russian mafia in his Hank Thompson trilogy, a vampire private eye in the hard-boiled Joe Pitt Casebooks, a trauma-scene clean-up worker (as gruesome as it sounds) in The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, and now he's reached new depths of twisted in his new techno-thriller, Skinner. Huston's protagonist was raised until age 12 in a skinner box, a contained space for behavioral experiments, and bred to be a killer. Becoming a CIA agent turned "asset protector," he's assigned to a brilliant roboticist who must take down a cyberterrorist plot. Huston recommends five thrilling books with virtuoso writing that do more than just titillate.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré
"I arrived late to the decades-long John le Carré party, so like any good guest, I'm staying late. His prose may have become fleeter over the years, his mastery of storytelling more complete, but his moral compass is never so finely oriented as it was when he wrote The Spy Who Came in from the Cold."

Spook Country by William Gibson
"My greatest fear regarding Skinner isn't that astute readers will realize how much I've stolen from William Gibson; it's that they'll identify deeper levels of influence and greater instances of theft than the ones I'm already painfully aware of. Starting with Pattern Recognition Gibson turned his atomizing gaze away from the future and trained it on the extreme present moment. While it is the middle book in a loose trilogy, Spook Country is the best of the three; [it] stands very much alone, exhibits some of his finest prose, and improbably features a former goth rock star as his hero."

Running Dog by Don DeLillo
"Don DeLillo is not one of the first names in thrillers; I'm not certain that he is a middle or last name in thrillers, but he is a 1,000-pound prose gorilla who has long had an entertainingly jaundiced take on spies and the back alleys of internationalism. Running Dog has one of the best MacGuffins in the history of fiction: a homemade porno shot in Hitler's bunker during the fall of Berlin."

The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion
"Joan Didion is not likely to claim Tom Clancy's vast real estate holdings on airport bookshelves (more's the pity), but she was a specific influence when I was writing Skinner. You will not find a more lucid and oddly, languorously, taut read than The Last Thing He Wanted. U.S. adventurism in the southern end of the American continent filtered through the pen of our great journalist/novelist."

On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming
"Some choices are easily made: shaken, not stirred. Because, please note. Gin cannot be bruised, people. It is liquid and it has no flesh. What it can be is watered down by a fussily slow stir in ice. A short savage shake will both rapidly chill your martini and shatter the ice so that tiny slivers slip out through the strainer to float on the surface, which is pleasing to the eye, and refreshing when they glide between your lips on the tide of your first sip. On Her Majesty's Secret Service is my preferred Ian Fleming cocktail. The only Bond novel to pack a genuine emotional punch, it is equally adept at delivering rapid combinations of sexy thrills."

Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Best Thrillers

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Doug (new)

Doug Really glad to see "Running Dog" in this list. Early DeLillo deserves its due.

message 2: by Josh (last edited Jun 28, 2013 06:52PM) (new)

Josh Spook Country is def the best of the trilogy, and as with all Gibson books has some interesting insights into what we may see in the near future in our own lives. Oh by the way, Huston's Sleepless is fantastic and the style is quite a bit diff than his previous crime-noir.

message 3: by Lori (new)

Lori i miss the wraiths. i miss joe pitt.

message 4: by Paulo (new)

Paulo Silva I was inspired to My writings for some of those Books.

message 5: by Marchelle (new)

Marchelle I'd add any of Mr. Huston's books to this list - one of my favorite writers!

back to top