thrillers

Tom Clancy (1947 – 2013)

Cover Art: Executive OrdersTo say that Tom Clancy was a creature of his times is not a put-down. It is a sovereign fact that he capitalized in a big way on the resurgence in capital P-style patriotism of the Reagan years, as well as the long-hoped-for healing of the nation’s wounds inflicted by the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal and the rise of the Rust Belt where our Industrial Might once stood. But that zeitgeist booster rocket he rode to vast fame and still vaster fortune would not have mattered one bit were Clancy not a first rate novelist—a master of the military thriller, a genre that if he did not invent, he made his own so thoroughly that he might as well have.

Clancy passed away Tuesday of undisclosed causes at the age of 66. To say he was an industry unto himself is not hyperbole. Seventeen of his novels sat atop the New York Times Best Seller List and one hundred million copies of his books are currently in print, but perhaps most culturally significant is that many of the movie adaptations of his books were not only wildly profitable, they were watchable as well (which probably had as much to do with Clancy's signature tight plotting, complex conflicts and memorable characters as anything the film makers did).

Back to Basics

A couple of weeks ago, a co-worker was telling me about a movie she’d recently seen. It was a romantic comedy, but she found it difficult to get involved in the story. I suggested she try some older films and gave her a couple of titles. I started wondering if maybe that’s a good idea in general for us movie fans. Perhaps there are times we think there’s nothing new that we want to see, even though there are dozens and dozens of excellent films released every year.

Top Thrillers Picked by NPR Audience

NPR asked it's listeners to nominate and vote for the Top 100 Killer Thrillers.  So, after 17,000+ ballots were cast on the 600 nominated novels, the top ten is:

"I spy with my little eye..."

A couple of weeks ago, I read that production for the next James Bond movie has been halted. That’s just not right! We’re supposed to get a big, blockbuster, special effects-laden Bond film every couple of years!
To get us through this dry spell, I tried to think of some of my favorite spies, counterspies, and ex-spies of the big and small screen.

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