Dave Hutchinson’s magnificent Europe In Autumn is up for yet another award this weekend – the prestigious John W Campbells Award for best science fiction novel of the year – and to celebrate we asked the author to talk us through his five favourite thrillers.
Dont’ forget you can snap up Europe In Autumn – not to mention several other equally brilliant thrillers – for only £1.99 in our eBook sale!
1 Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson
Lionel Davidson was a terrific writer and this, his final novel, is his best, a cracking late Cold War thriller about an agent infiltrating a top-secret Siberian laboratory to retrieve a Great Secret. More than anything else, it’s a wonderful romp.
2 The Small Back Room by Nigel Balchin
Published in 1943, The Small Back Room is set in the world of wartime scientific research. Its protagonist, Sammy Rice, is profoundly damaged, alcoholic, a serial avoider of responsibility forced into an act of bravery. One of the great joys of the book is its portrayal of bureaucracy and office politics, and it’s beautifully-written.
3 Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household
The (unnamed) narrator sets out to see if he can stalk and prepare to shoot the (unnamed) head of state of a foreign nation. Supposedly interested only in the hunt itself, he doesn’t pull the trigger, but he’s caught by the dictator’s guards, escapes, and makes his way back to England, where he engages in a game of cat and mouse with foreign agents. Not a long novel, but an incredibly rich one.
4 Funeral In Berlin by Len Deighton
The IPCRESS File seems to get the most attention, but for my money this is Deighton’s best novel, a ferociously cool fable set in a Europe still bearing the scars and secrets of the recent War and still freshly-divided by the Berlin Wall. As always with Deighton, the writing is a joy.
5 Night Soldiers by Alan Furst
Furst’s novels form a huge mosaic centered around what has been called ‘the midnight of the century,’ the outbreak of the Second World War. This one, though, encompasses the whole period of the war, following Bulgarian Khristo Stoianev from his recruitment into the NKVD – the forerunner to the KGB – in the 1930s. It’s a wonderful piece of writing, detailed and calm and humane.