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NB Picks - Michelle's Top Five Spy Novels!

Michelle is one of our booksellers, and though her main interests lie within literary fiction, she often finds herself in the mood to get lost in a well-crafted spy novel. The twists! The turns! The secret files! Here's her recommended TOP FIVE: 


The Spy Who Came in from the Cold Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143124757
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - September 3rd, 2013

The first of the George Smiley trilogy. Fairly scathing look at espionage during the Cold War. Cynical British Intelligence officer is commanded to take part in a plot against East German spies by feeding them misinformation, only to find himself on the outs and struggling to unravel the threads. Fantastic read - be prepared to head down the blind alley more than once. 

Le Carre just released his newest book in the Smiley series, A Legacy of Spies - available now in hardcover

Our Man in Havana Cover Image
By Graham Greene, Christopher Hitchens (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780142438008
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - August 1st, 2007

The ever-wonderful Graham Greene created this just after his work with British Intelligence. A former vacuum salesman turned spy finds his assignment so dull he ends up faking reports of activity - with interesting consequences. 

From Russia with Love Cover Image
ISBN: 9781612185477
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Thomas & Mercer - October 16th, 2012

You simply can't leave a classic James Bond novel off of this list - and this one is the best. 

The Gun Seller Cover Image
ISBN: 9780671020828
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Washington Square Press - October 1st, 1998

A witty send-up of the spy genre, written by the brilliant, talented Hugh Laurie (yes, Dr. House). A "freelance" soldier of fortune has a change of heart when ordered to assasinate an American businessman - which soon brings down the house as intelligence agents from all over the world are looking for him. 

The Bourne Identity Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553593549
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bantam - January 5th, 2010

Full disclosure: I started this series because of how much my husband LOVES the Matt Damon movies. Luckily, this first in the Bourne series is just as fun as the films indicate, though they do differ in some major plot points. Jason Bourne is a man suffering from amnesia, though soon finds that he possesses a lethal set of survival skills. He is soon led down the garden path by former and current CIA, and discovers he is also the target of a skilled assasin named Carlos the Jackal. Good character development, and I do recommend the next in the series (The Bourne Supremacy).