Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

Top 40 books of all time chosen by Lee Child

Easter is here for another year. I like to celebrate this time of year with bacon (for peace) and chocolate eggs and bunnies. Actually, interesting fact, the reason we celebrate Easter with eggs and bunnies is because they were fertility and sex symbols of the goddess Ishtar (pronounced Easter). In honour of the event, we clearly need the chocolate eggs and bunnies to keep us fuelled up for the fertility long weekend. In some of the spare hours, it might be worth reading a good book.

So, have you read any of Lee’s favourite books and will you be reading any of them this long chocolate fueled sex weekend?

1 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
“The greatest legal thriller ever written.”

2 Revolution in the Head by Ian MacDonald
“If you were there, you can’t remember – so read this.”

3 Roots by Alex Haley
“A tragic story we should all know.”

4 Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
“If you read only 10 novels in your life, make this one.”

5 Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
“Started a brief but glorious period of dissent in the United States.”

6 The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
“The best what-if sci-fi ever.”

7 Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
“An elegant saga and a double love story.”

8 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
“A novel that described and defined an era.”

9 Nice Work by David Lodge
“Social realism from a recent but almost forgotten era.”

10 Goldfinger by Ian Fleming
“Iconic, for a reason.”

11 Ragtime by EL Doctorow
“What great novels used to be – and could be again.”

12 The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
“The best of the US golden age of crime writing.”

13 Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
“The finest writing EVER.”

14 The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
“How we used to live, think and write.”

15 Churchill by Roy Jenkins
“The best one-volume biography ever.”

16 The Dam Busters by Paul Brickhill
“Guys my age grew up on stuff like this.”

17 Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
“A Californian writing about Russia in a Scandinavian way.”

18 Los Alamos by Joseph Kanon
“My current favourite writer’s debut – excellent.”

19 Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
“There’s a reason she became so popular – and this is it.”

20 Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham
“An amazing debut with an early ‘reveal’ that will shock you.”

21 The Glittering Prizes by Frederic Raphael
“A time, a place – how we used to live, who we used to be.”

22 Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
“The first in an amazing new series.”

23 The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carré
“The unfairly neglected jewel in le Carré’s crown.”

24 City of Thieves by David Benioff
“Powerful, entrancing, tough, wonderfully imagined.”

25 Have His Carcase by Dorothy L Sayers
“The best of ‘golden age’ mystery fiction.”

26 The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
“An example of King’s genius – he can make a story out of the simplest premise.”

27 A Place of Execution by Val McDermid
“Everything plus that vital x-factor that makes you cross when you have to stop.”

28 The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn
“A heartbreaking work of personal history that reads like a thriller.”

29 Debt of Honour by Tom Clancy
“The best from the man who dominated the genre for a decade.”

30 The Golden Rendezvous by Alistair MacLean
“His first dozen books are all great – why not start here?”

31 The Female Eunoch by Germaine Greer
“That rare thing – a book that changed the world.”

32 Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama
“I read this 7 years ago and wanted him for president right then.”

33 The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow
“A huge multi-generational crime saga – a book of the decade.”

34 The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
“ ‘Book Zero’ in terms of recent thriller evolution.”

35 Green River Rising by Tim Willocks
“Maybe the best-ever prison novel – terrific suspense.”

36 The Runaway Jury by John Grisham
“Much more than it seems – a masterclass in narrative drive.”

37 Brilliant Orange by David Winner
“My favourite sport explains one of my favourite cultures.”

38 Night Sky by Clare Francis
“The multitalented Ms Francis unleashes terrific suspense and a great ‘OMG’ moment.”

39 On the Beach by Nevil Shute
“The best of 1950s style – with 1950s concerns.”

40 The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
“A big meaty epic, sprawling and inclusive – like novels use to be.”

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