In this episode of the Spybrary spy book podcast we talk about our best spy books. Host Shane Whaley invites guest Jeff Circle, author, veteran, avid spy novel reader and the head honcho behind The Writers Dossier to embark on a clandestine mission behind the Iron Curtain. As part of the Dead Drop 5 series, Jeff Circle shares his top five best spy thriller books that he would take with him to East Berlin. From classic spy thrillers to lesser-known gems, Jeff Circle's picks promise to keep any thriller enthusiast on the edge of their seat.
Listen to Jeff Circle share his 5 best spy books on your podcast app or watch our conversation on the Spybrary YouTube Channel!
Best Spy Books #1 – The Peacock and The Sparrow by I.S.Berry. Jeff praises the book's realism and cultural immersion, particularly highlighting the dynamic between the CIA officer protagonist and his station chief. He appreciates the authenticity that Berry, a former CIA officer herself, brings to the depiction of CIA officers working in hot spots.
Best Spy Books #2 The Bitter Past by Bruce Borgos –
Porter Beck is the sheriff in the high desert of Nevada, north of Las Vegas. Born and raised there, he left to join the Army, where he worked in Intelligence, deep in the shadows in far off places. Now he's back home, doing the same lawman's job his father once did, before his father started to develop dementia. All is relatively quiet in this corner of the world, until on old, retired FBI agent is found killed. He was brutally tortured before he was killed and clues at the scene point to a mystery dating back to the early days of the nuclear age. If that wasn't strange enough, a current FBI agent shows up to help Beck's investigation.
In a case that unfolds in the past (the 1950s) and the present, it seems that a Russian spy infiltrated the nuclear testing site and now someone is looking for that long-ago, all-but forgotten person, who holds the key to what happened then and to the deadly goings on now.
Best Spy Books #3 – Charm School by Nelson DeMille – Jeff Circle reminisces about discovering this book while stationed in Germany
Something very strange — and sinister — is going on in the Russian woods at Borodino. In a place called Mrs. Ivanova's Charm School, young KGB agents are being taught by American POW's how to be model citizens of the USA. The Soviet goal — to infiltrate the United States undetected. When an unsuspecting American tourist stumbles upon this secret, he sets in motion a CIA investigation that will reveal horrifying police state savagery and superpower treachery.
Best Spy Books #4 – The Defector by Daniel Silva – Jeff discusses how Silva's protagonist, Gabriel Allon, balances his life as an art restorer in Italy with his clandestine activities for the Israeli Mossad. The book's European settings and the character's depth are particularly appealing to Jeff.
Best Spy Books #5 – Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews – Jeff is impressed by the tradecraft and the relationship between the characters Dominika Egorova and Nate Nash.
Page by page, veteran CIA officer Jason Matthews’s Red Sparrow delights and terrifies and fascinates, all while delivering an unforgettable cast, from a sadistic Spetsnaz “mechanic” who carries out Putin’s murderous schemes to the weary CIA Station Chief who resists Washington “cake-eaters” to MARBLE, the priceless Russian mole. Packed with insider detail and written with brio, this tour-de-force novel brims with Matthews’s life experience, including his knowledge of espionage, counterintelligence, surveillance tradecraft, spy recruitment, cyber-warfare, the Russian use of “spy dust,” and covert communications. Brilliantly composed and elegantly constructed, Red Sparrow is a masterful spy tale lifted from the dossiers of intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Authentic, tense, and entertaining, this novel introduces Jason Matthews as a major new American talent.
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Best Spy Books and Dead Drops…what is this series exactly?
This riveting series is a crowd favorite, but be warned, your bank balance may take a hit based on these spy book recommendations. In these episodes, our brave podcast guests are dispatched on a clandestine mission behind the Iron Curtain, where danger lurks at every shadowy corner.
But fear not, they won't embark on this perilous journey unequipped.
Our intrepid agents can request five spy novels to be stashed in the East Berlin dead drop.
But that's not all.
Beyond these spy books, our guests are granted a selection of diverse items, each carefully curated to make their stay in East Berlin more manageable, perhaps even a touch more comfortable.
Join host Shane Whaley as he interviews spy thriller readers about their upcoming mission to East Berlin and the five books they would like to take.
Get ready to dive into ‘Dead Drop 5', only on Spybrary, but be warned this series could seriously damage your bank account!
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