"Thrillers: The 100 Must-Reads," by David Morrell and Hank Wagner
From the TheWashington Post
Review of "Thrillers: The 100 Must-Reads," by David Morrell and Hank Wagner
By Michael Dirda
Thursday, July 15, 2010; C03
By David Morrell and Hank Wagner
Oceanview. 378 pp. $27.95
With his very first novel, David Morrell created an iconic character, now as famous as Tarzan or James Bond: "His name was Rambo, and he was just some nothing kid for all anybody knew, standing there by the pump of a gas station on the outskirts of Madison, Kentucky." So begins Morrell's electrifying and morally unsettling "First Blood." Some of his other books include the horror classic "The Totem" and one of the most exciting Ludlumesque thrillers I've ever read, "The Brotherhood of the Rose."
Hank Wagner may not write novels, but he certainly knows modern horror, fantasy, mystery and science fiction. He's the co-author of "The Complete Stephen King Universe" and of "Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman." His articles have appeared in publications ranging from Cemetery Dance to Mystery Scene to the New York Review of Science Fiction.
Both novelist and critic are members of the six-year-old International Thriller Writers organization. Its goals "include educating readers about thrillers and encouraging ITW members to explore the creative possibilities of the form." To this end, the group decided to compile this annotated guide to essential thrillers. Enjoyable in itself, the book also offers 100 possible answers to that perennial summertime conundrum: What book shall I pack for the beach?
"Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads" opens with the Greek legend of Theseus and the Minotaur and, by fudging the supposed cutoff date of 2000, closes with Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code." Each of the chosen titles -- one book per author -- is accompanied by a brief biographical note, followed by a two- or three-page essay of reminiscence, analysis and appreciation by a member of ITW. Among the essayists are Lee Child, Sandra Brown, James Grady, R.L. Stine, David Baldacci, Katherine Neville and F. Paul Wilson.
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