5 Essential books
These are not necessarily the greatest novels I’ve ever read, but they are the most important to me, and the books I’d bring with me to my desert island. Three of them are thrillers, the genre that I write, but also the genre I love the most. I am always a little suspicious of a book that doesn’t begin with a corpse.
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. This is my favorite novel of all time, even though there are no corpses in it. It never fails to make me laugh out loud.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Christie’s masterpiece is the most ingenious murder story ever told. Ten strangers arrive at an island, and get bumped off one by one. The final pages chill me to the bone.
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. James Bond’s origin story. This slim, cynical tale shocked me at the age of twelve when I first read it. Even though I’ve since read better spy novels by the likes of John le Carré and Len Deighton, this is still my favorite of the genre.
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. Charles Ryder’s recollections as he falls in love with successive members of an aristocratic family. It’s got Waugh’s sharp writing with the extra bonus (depending on your point of view) of sentimentality. The ending brings me to tears, and I’m not even a Catholic.
A Flash of Green by John D. MacDonald. MacDonald is my favorite thriller writer, and, in some ways, this is an arbitrary pick, since I love so many of his books. But this one has everything you want in a MacDonald novel: dripping Florida atmosphere, a crooked land deal, and complex heroes and heroines. The writing, as always, is first-rate. He is the writer I read when I need a lesson on how to put together a perfect paragraph.
Het Meisje met een Klok als Hart (The Girl with a Clock for a Heart) van uitgeverij Cargo is nu verkrijgbaar