The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group discussion

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Thrillers of any Kind > Recommendations needed for a mystery thriller "high concept"

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) I just finished reading a book and I'm ready for another one. I'd like your recommendations on a high concept mystery thriller novel. Sort of like a Da Vinci Code or similar to a James Rollins novel. I really like a historical event as an intricate part of the story but the setting taking place in present day.

I hate that term high concept but it seems to be the best genre description for the following elements in the type of mystery thriller I am seeking. So, if anyone can recommend a novel with these characteristics I'd be very thankful.

1. Crime involved
2. Historical event a prominent factor
3. Action, adventure
4. Mystery-- gathering evidence, solving clues/puzzles
5. Quest or hunt for a treasure
6. Romantic tension

No Clive Cussler novels please. I read most of them already.

Thanks!


message 2: by Kandice (new)

Kandice You mentioned the Da Vinci Code. Have you read his other books? I personally enjoyed Angels And Demons more, and the story seemed a little "tighter" if that makes sense.


message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) I've also read Angels and Demons and do agree with you it seemed better. Looking for another kick butt author like him - besides me of course. ;-) I haven't read his earlier novels though. Are they worth it?




message 4: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Well, I thought Digital Fortress was a bit forced. It was quick, like all his work, but...somewhat lacking. Deception Point was better, in my opinion, but maybe it's the danger of the religious aspect that made me like the other two so much. They are certainly worth reading.

I'm going to look at my shelves and see if anything I've read would fit what you are looking for.


message 5: by Kandice (new)

Kandice After a quick glance, have you read Timeline by Michael Chrichton, On, Off A Novel by Colleen McCullough, or possibly All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren?

Only Timeline takes place in another age, but the other two are very tight stories that need close paying attention to. They are set in earlier decades. instead of centuries.


message 6: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) I've read Timeline and loved it! Was a great book and really enjoyed the movie too. Kids loved the movie as well. I've also read All the King's Men but don't remember it that well. I have not read On, Off A Novel though -- just went to the link and am not too thrilled about serial killers in 1965. Sorry.


message 7: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Oh! Don't say sorry. I am just trying to think of anything I've read that may "fit".:)


message 8: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) I just remembered a book I read that was a first time runaway best selling by a couple of college grads. It fits this high concept genre to sort of give you an idea. It is called The Rule of Four. The Rule of Four


message 9: by Kandice (new)

Kandice That does look good. Thank you.

Also I forgot The Secret Supper A Novel by Javier Sierra. I actually read and audio-ed that one. Very good and seems to fit what you are looking for.


message 10: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) Boy, I am being picky. The Secret Supper sounds really good but it is set in the 1400s. I'm looking for a novel set in the present. National Treasure - the movie - is what I'd be looking for in this high concept genre.


message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 27, 2009 07:48PM) (new)

Have you read any of Henning Mankell, more precisely his Faceless Killers, Kurt Wallander series. The linked one is only one of about 10 - 12 of the ones already translated into English. An interesting detective series.

Or perhaps James Lee Burke, his Dave Robicheaux, The Neon Rain being the first would be of interest.


message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) Hmmm....The Neon Rain sounds quite interesting. I just placed it on hold at my library! Thanks Pontalba. Please do recommend more as this one is only 280 pages and I'll probably blow through it in short time.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, I recommend the whole series, I've only read the first um...6 or 7, but they're dynamite, now remember, the first one is a lot of set-up, they get better.

Have you read any Iain Pears? I've only read An Instance Of The Fingerpost, and while most people I've read impressions or reviews of think it was fantastic, the ending, for me was anticlimactic. But I knew the history of the applicable section, so it was no surprise to me. Pears had a very interesting way of presenting the story I thought. Told by several different narrators, all wildly different, of the same crime.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Davide Hewson's Nic Costa series might suit you - there are 8 books so far and while i haven't read them all the ones I have seen fit the bill - although not all have the romantic element you're looking for

1. A Season for the Dead (2003)
2. The Villa of Mysteries (2004)
3. The Sacred Cut (2005)
4. The Lizard's Bite (2006)
5. The Seventh Sacrament (2007)
6. The Garden of Evil (2008)
7. Dante's Numbers (2008)
8. The Blue Demon (2009)

Another writer who has some books similar to Brown's is Steve Berry

1. The Templar Legacy (2006)
2. The Alexandria Link (2007)
3. The Venetian Betrayal (2007)
4. The Charlemagne Pursuit (2008)
5. The Paris Vendetta (2009)


message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) Bernadette, you nailed it with Steve Berry. I had actually read the Templar Legacy a few years back and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had forgotten that author's name altogether though. Much appreciated for making the connection again. His book do fit the bill of what I'm looking for and definitely has all the elements. I'm going to the library today to get The Alexandria Link. It's available and I can't wait to dive into it! Thanks for telling me about Berry again.


message 16: by Jan (new)

Jan (booklover777) | 66 comments Michael wrote: "I just finished reading a book and I'm ready for another one. I'd like your recommendations on a high concept mystery thriller novel. Sort of like a Da Vinci Code or similar to a James Rollins nove..." I really like this type of book as well. Here's my recommendations:
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (I can't remember if it has much romance but it certainly fits the bill otherwise) or The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte or The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova or Madonna List, The by Max Foran. So many books, so little time!


message 17: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) Thanks Jan. I'll check those out!


message 18: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Aug 28, 2009 10:55AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 551 comments How about The Eight, by Katherine Neville?

There's a search for a mysterious set of chessmen, and half of it is set during the French Revolution, and half in Algeria in the early 1970s, during the warm-up to the OPEC oil shocks. There are several murders, and a couple of romances.


message 19: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) The Eight does fit that high concept genre. I did start reading it a couple of years ago and got about a third way into it, but I lost interest. It just seemed so slow a pace and dragged and dragged. So, I never finished.


message 20: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) I'm already halfway through Steve Berry's The Alexandria LinkThe Alexandria Link A Novel and love it! Exactly what I was looking for. Fast-paced, page turner, thriller, suspense, action, lots of history involved in the present day plot, short chapters leave you hanging wanting more. Gathering clues, deciphering riddles. Easy to read, easy to comprehend. Good dialogue. So far, so good!!!


message 21: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) Very cool! Thanks Lisa. I read the Last Templar. I just finished Steve Berry's The Alexandria Link and then blew through another of his - The Charlemagne Pursuit. Both excellent books! I'll keep you list handy as I've picked up a Clive Cussler novel right now that I just started.

By the way, if you like these books you might consider my own novel too - Crown of Serpents - it's written in the high concept genre style as well.


message 22: by Ed (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 6 comments Pontalba wrote: "Have you read any of Henning Mankell, more precisely his Faceless Killers, Kurt Wallander series. The linked one is only one of about 10 - 12 of the ones already trans..."

Henning Mankell is a master. Kurt Wallander is so human in his relationships and with his own self doubt. Mankell's books are literature as opposed to just being thrillers.

I feel the same way about Alan Furst who writes WW II spy stories. He takes the genre beyond where it's ever been before - the Dashiell Hammet of spy stories. Better than DaSilva and that's saying something.

Arturo Perez-Reverte has also been mentioned. I highly recommend Queen of the South, a superb piece of writing.

I'm afraid I do not share others' high opinion of Steve Berry. I've only read The Third Secret but have no intention of delving further into his list.

I also, am of the opinion, that Clive Cussler is a bit of a hack. I've read two or three of his offerings and found them too formulaic.

I will try Raymond Khoury, one of these days and have added some of the other suggestions to my overlong TBR list.


message 23: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) Ed, yeah, I hear you about Cussler. They are formulaic and predictable but very entertaining. And that's exactly the reader expectation for his adventure-suspense genre. His books are very good stories - if you will - as opposed to good literary writing. I enjoy them from time to time because I really like the way he weaves in a historical event and tales of lost treasure into the plot. But I've also found myself actually unable to read some of his books and others I've actually skipped paragraphs to move faster. I started doing this with Tom Clancy books along time ago when he used to get soooooo caught up in the inner workings of a special weapons system. It just took so much away from the story. But on a whole Steve Berry, Clive Cussler are very similar. They are commercially successful from a story telling standpoint as opposed to literary works of art. And for me, that entertainment reading is satisfying.


message 24: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 20, 2009 10:43AM) (new)

Ed wrote: I feel the same way about Alan Furst who writes WW II spy stories. He takes the genre beyond where it's ever been before - the Dashiell Hammet of spy stories. Better than DaSilva and that's saying something.

Arturo Perez-Reverte has also been mentioned. I highly recommend Queen of the South, a superb piece of writing.

I'm afraid I do not share others' high opinion of Steve Berry. I've only read The Third Secret but have no intention of delving further into his list.



I've read several of Furst's and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Also Perez-Reverte's Queen of the South. Excellent.

Another author y'all may enjoy is Jo Nesbo. I've only read The Redbreast so far, but if his others are anything close to that one, they'll all be excellent reads.


message 25: by Ed (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 6 comments Pontalba wrote: "Another author y'all may enjoy is Jo Nesbo. I've only read The Redbreast so far, but if his others are anything close to that one, they'll all be excellent reads."

Thanks for the recommendation. Another addition to my over the top TBR list.


message 26: by Ed (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 6 comments Michael wrote: "Ed, yeah, I hear you about Cussler. They are formulaic and predictable but very entertaining. And that's exactly the reader expectation for his adventure-suspense genre. His books are very good sto..."

I, like you, often read books for their entertainment value rather than their literary value. Authors like Baldacci, Deaver, Grisham, etc.

I totally agree with you about Clancy. He has a bunch of imitators who think long descriptions of weaponry is what people want. NOT!!!!

I recently read Forsyth's The Afghan and was so disappointed. He got into all this stuff about weapons, I'm imagining because the rest of the story was so weak. I still don't know how I managed to finish it.

I know most people are more interested in the story but when the story gets out of hand, like in Berry's The Third Secret I get very turned off.

I love the magic when a good story and good writing come together.


message 27: by Vicki (new)

Vicki (vlord) | 18 comments Michael wrote: "I just finished reading a book and I'm ready for another one. I'd like your recommendations on a high concept mystery thriller novel. Sort of like a Da Vinci Code or similar to a James Rollins nove..."
I am new to this group and I want to thank you all for some great suggestions for this avid reader.
I believe that you might really like Michael Slade's series of books that begin with Headhunter. There is not a lot of romantic tension, but the mysteries are my all time FAVORITES! He(actually it is a couple of writers together) is a great author and the mysteries are some of the best in my opinion. Happy Reading!




message 28: by Kelekolio (new)

Kelekolio Malakina | 8 comments Michael wrote: "I just finished reading a book and I'm ready for another one. I'd like your recommendations on a high concept mystery thriller novel. Sort of like a Da Vinci Code or similar to a James Rollins nove..."

Try Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I'd say 5 out of 6 of the requirements would be met.


message 29: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl The perfect book for these requirements is The Flanders Panel by Arturo Perez-Reverte. It's contemporary and historical, it uses chess as allegory and real life game, there are several murders (contemporary and historical), there's a mystery, crimes have to be solved, there's a quest, there's romance. I gave it a mixed review myself, but it definitely has all those elements.


message 30: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (lmorris) | 19 comments I quite enjoyed Honor Among Thieves by Jeffrey Archer. It my be missing the Romantic tension aspect-it's been awhile and I can't remember.

I also quite like David Baldacci.


message 31: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) The Flanders Panel sounds very cool. I marked it to read. Thanks Lobstergirl.



message 32: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl You're welcome.


message 33: by Stephen (new)

Stephen (stephenT) Lobstergirl wrote: "The perfect book for these requirements is The Flanders Panel by Arturo Perez-Reverte. It's contemporary and historical, it uses chess as allegory and real life game, there are severa..."

I second this opinion. All Perez-Reverte's books are worth a read.


message 34: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan (jonathan_maberry) | 9 comments Doug Preston's THE CODEX.


message 35: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) I finished Perez-Reverte's The Flanders Panel and wanted to say what a great book it was indeed. Lobstergirl and Stephen your recommendations were spot on. Great story that kept you going, very interesting characters, and an ending that was superb.

Thank you!


message 36: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl You're welcome. Sounds like you liked it slightly more than I did.


message 37: by David (new)

David (davidkessler) | 10 comments The Passover Plot - Hugh J Schonfield.


message 38: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) My mystery thriller Crown of Serpents now has Chapters 1-3 available as a FREE PDF! To get the download go to www.crownofserpents.com


message 39: by K.B. (new)

K.B. Hallman (kbhallman) | 302 comments How about Allan Folsom? Sometimes he drives me nuts with the minute-by-minute detail, but I'm amazed how he can twist plot lines, yet never leave one hanging at the end. The first of his I read, which is not the first in that storyline, was The Machiavelli Covenant. I thought it worked fine as a standalone.


message 40: by C.J. (new)

C.J. (cjwest) | 2 comments Michael,

You might enjoy Through Violet Eyes, Stephen Woodworth.

It's the first of a series. In my opinion the strongest of the three.


message 41: by Vince (new)

Vince (vchile) | 163 comments Here's one I just remembered: The Good German The Good German by Joseph Kanon . Murder & intrigue in 1945 Berlin. Romance too.


message 42: by Michael (new)

Michael Karpovage (michaelkarpovage) Okay, okay, slow down. ;-) I've got alot of goodies to choose from. Gonna have some good reads for 2011! Thanks all.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 551 comments It's a great thing, having a lot of good reads to look forward to.


message 44: by stan (new)

stan (stanthewiseman) | 141 comments Good Morning
Have you read any of Matthew Reilly's Books they might fill in some of your criteria LOL


message 45: by Deb (last edited Dec 29, 2010 07:44PM) (new)

Deb (absoloodle) | 20 comments Have you read anything by Raymond Khoury? The Sign I read The Sign a few months ago and found it provocative, captivating and timely. It's definitely in the genre you're describing, albeit a completely different twist. Both religion and politics assume key roles in this novel.

Note: Raymond Khoury is a screenwriter for the excellent BBC series Spooks.


message 46: by Paul (last edited Jan 04, 2011 10:52AM) (new)

Paul Keefe (paulkeefe) | 4 comments You might try The Jesus Thief by J. R. Lankford. It's not quite as heady as a Dan Brown novel but the subject matter is intriguing. It was what spurred me on to write my own novel.

The Jesus Thief


message 47: by L.J. (new)

L.J. (ljsellers) | 17 comments Have you tried Brad Meltzer? I really liked The Zero Game.

I love these discussions, but they leave me drooling for a whole pile of books I know I'll never have time to read.

L.J.
The Sex Club ($.99)


message 48: by Kim (new)

Kim Green | 2 comments I love Meltzer....I have read all his books. I actually just finished "The Tenth Justice" last night, for the third time. I am starting his new one today, The Inner Circle. I would suggest your next read should be "The Tenth Justice".....Enjoy


message 49: by Steven (new)

Steven Belanger | 16 comments Just finished Dan Simmons' DROOD. (POSSIBLE SPOILER) It was a great read, but it also showed me something about mystery writing.

In short, this bestselling novel does what mysteries should do, what agents want mystery manuscripts to do: it poses the mysteries immediately. It advances very interesting questions that readers would want answered: Did Dickens kill someone? What was that Drood business? It sets Dickens up as the focus of the novel, despite Collins being the narrator--which astute readers will realize as another point. Collins should be the main character of Collins' narration/memoir; he is, perhaps, but Dickens is definitely the focus. This establishes another huge theme: Dickens overshadowing Collins in life, as in this "memoir." Again, this is established immediately and solidly by page 11.

Main characters; main themes; main settings; main mysteries; main questions--in short, everything, established in the first few pages, and then springboarded tremendously well using the train accident Dickens was in--with his young mistress and her mother, by the way, and not with his wife. By page 11, the reader wonders a ton of interesting things and has no choice but to read on.

If you're interested, I went into much more detail on my blog. DROOD is highly recommended as a good read and as a good primer for writing historical fiction/mystery.


message 50: by Gatorman (new)

Gatorman | 7679 comments I agree with Steven, Drood is a great read and well worth the time and effort.


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