jay1ess wrote:A Coffin for Dimitius, Eric Ambler 1939--An adventure into Turkey, Istanbul well written by an author well known in his day for screenplays. This actually was made into a fairly good movie.
Briar Patch, Ross Thomas 1985--a quickly read tightly written with a fast pace and intersting characters. Enjoy
Jackpot!If you have tapped into Eric Ambler and Ross Thomas then you are into a rich lode of ore, indeed. The Fools in Town are on our side. Chinaman's Chance, etc.
The early Amblers are all pretty good, Coffin for Dimitrios (or Mask of Demetrios) is about the best. Ambler was (pre Stalin Show Trials) a communist, and so his heroes include a pair of Soviet secret agents, brother and sister, who pop up to aid his various hapless heroes when they get in trouble with pre WW2 fascists. He rather invented that genre (where the hero is hapless and blunders into trouble, rather than James Bond like goes looking for it) and Len Deighton (The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin
etc.) would take it forward. The Michael Caine films based on the Deighton novels are pretty good, too.
Alan Furst is consciously aping Ambler-- he's not as good, and the earlier Fursts (Night Soldiers, The World at Night
etc.) are better. The animated film 'Porco Rosso'
is curiously, set in a similar genre (1930s Italy). But I read every Furst when it comes out (the last 2-3 just seem less inspired).
And there's Charles McCarry or rather 'Tears of Autumn'
which, I think, we could call the most literary of spy novels (at least up there with John Le Carre).
You might also try Newton Thornburgh (To Die in LA
- Cutter & Bone/ Cutter's Way
is more famous because of the movie). To Die in LA then got an (uncredited) superb remake as 'The Limey'
by Steven Soderbergh with Terence Stamp, Barry Newman, Peter Fonda.
Sitting on my list, not yet read, is Robert Stone 'Dog Soldiers'
which takes us to similar places as Cutter & Bone and Briarpatch (Vietnam Vets delving into dark places in 1970s America). And George V Higgins 'The Friends of Eddie Coyle'
about early 70s Boston, with an extraordinary ear for language-- the Robert Mitchum movie was pretty good, too.
I am not sure I have yet found the definitive American writer about the 1970s. The 1960s it is probably James Elroy (but I find that trilogy impenetrable). But the 1970s, in the shadow of Vietnam, Watergate, SLA etc. is such a fertile ground for the noirish thriller.
There's something of the paranoia of the time in Philip K Dick-- particularly A Scanner Darkly
and the Keanu Reeves movie.