The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming

” The Spy Who Loved Me ” is a spy thriller written by Ian Fleming and published in the early 1960’s .

Vivienne Michel accepts a job at ” The Dreamy Pines Motor Court” after several romances gone bad . When vacation season ends , Viv is put in charge of looking over the motel at night , so the owner can take inventory and close it up for the winter . Two mobsters , who work for the owner , arrive to burn down the place for insurance money . Before they do that however , they treat Viv very cruel , and attempt to rape her but they are interrupted by James Bond coming in to get a room . The rest of the novel follows Vivienne as she watches Bond take on the two gangsters in a battle of wits, violence , and the fallout that follows .

” The Spy Who Loved Me” is a unique James Bond novel for several reasons . The first reason is that the novel takes place completely from Vivienne’s point of view . Another reason is that the book largely takes place in one location . One more reason is that Bond himself doesn’t come until the last third of the novel . It’s relatively short compared to the other novels and it’s probably the most sexually explicit as well . I find it to be a fun experimental Bond novel and if you’re a fan of the character , read it .

Octopussy and The Living Daylights by Ian Fleming

” Octopussy and The Living Daylights ” is a short story collection written by Ian Fleming and starring James Bond , originally published in the 1960’s . Seeing as all of these stories are only a few pages long , I’m going to summarize them all in one or two sentences , to avoid spoiling them too much .

” Octopussy ” : A revenge story involving Nazi gold , ice climbing , and a hungry octopus .

” The Property of a Lady ” : Using a double agent to find another double agent at an art auction .

” The Living Daylights”: James Bond has to take out a Russian sniper while saving another agent.

“007 in New York” : Bond is sent to warn a former British agent that their boyfriend is with the KGB .

Ian Fleming is one hell of a thriller writer and it shows in all these stories . ” Octopussy” is my personal favorite of these tales even though it involves James Bond the least , it’s a suspenseful revenge story with a twist ending. ” The Property of a Lady ” is a more laid back James Bond story , it trades bullets for a competitive auction. It’s a nice change of pace but if you’re looking for violence … this is not the story for you . ” The Living Daylights ” is the most action packed of the four , an intense story that deals with the dirtier parts of the spy business. “007 in New York” is a sad story that deals with love and deception in New York , I’d like to see it expanded upon which is the mark of a good short story … it’s a shame Ian Fleming isn’t around to do it . Overall , if you’re a James Bond film , I’d recommend reading all of them . If you’re just a casual fan of thrillers in general , I’d say at least read ” Octopussy ” and  ” The Living Daylights ” stories .

Tulku : A Tale of Modern Ninja by Stephen K. Hayes

” Tulku ” is a ninja thriller written by Stephen K. Hayes , published in the 1980’s .

The Matsutani Shoji company is a business like other businesses with one exception , it is actually ran by an ancient Japanese ninja clan . They look to set up a safe energy plant in India but discover phosphane gas being transported to their facility . Sabotage ! But by whom ? The ninja are sent to investigate . Meanwhile , elsewhere in the world , a Tibetan monk lives out his final days being watched over at a medical facility . Spreading his message to whomever will listen : reporters , doctors , other patients , and other monks . These seemingly two unrelated stories collide in a race against time involving terrorists , ninjas ,torture , and … possible reincarnation ?

This is a 1980’s ninja story written by an actual ninjutsu expert . If that doesn’t intrigue you , I’m not sure what will . It’s a strong thriller with a spiritual journey added in . The characters are likeable , maybe not the most sophisticated character development , but not bad at all . Check it out folks !

Dr. Phibes by William Goldstein

” Dr. Phibes ” is a mystery/horror story written by William Goldstein , originally published in the 1970’s .

Dr. Phibes died in a car crash while speeding off to see his wife as she dies on the operating table … or did he ? Several doctors in London start dying in weird and horrible ways . The first gets killed by bees , the second was ripped apart by bats , the third involved a frog mask , and a fourth was drained of all his blood . The investigators believe these murders are based off the biblical plagues of Egypt but they don’t know why the doctors have been targeted . Will the investigators find the other targets before all ten plagues have been performed ? What involvement do they have with Dr. Phibes ? Is Dr. Phibes really as dead as people think ? Come find out in ” Dr. Phibes ” ?

I first heard about this book after watching the movie version of it that starred the legendary horror film actor Vincent Price ( which I also recommend )  . This is a fun , smooth , mad scientist story with plenty of twists and sympathetic characters . By the end of the story  , you’ll understand everything . Overall , I’d say check this one out if you’re into mysteries and old school mad scientist stories .

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

” The Godfather ” by Mario Puzo is a crime epic novel originally published in the late 1960’s .

The novel opens up with a false trial dealing with sexual assault . The father of the girl who was assaulted promises to go to the local crime Don , Vito Corleone , to get justice . A washed up singer loses control of his marriage and decides he needs the advice of his godfather to get his life back together . These two men and more decide to go to the wedding of Don Corleone’s daughter to ask their favors because apparently a Sicillian cannot say no on their daughter’s wedding day . Favor after favor is granted by the wise Don and everything seems to go fine up until The Don takes his eldest son ( Sonny ) with him to a meeting with a representative of another crime family in New York . The rival family wants to work out a deal involving political protection for their drug deals , Vito turns the deal down but Sonny shows some opposition to his fathers position . Sonny’s outburst leads to Vito and the middle brother (Freddie ) being shot . Vito survives but is unable to continue as the Don , so Sonny takes over and convinces the youngest brother ( Michael ) to join him . Michael eventually assassinated the man whom ordered the hit on his father and this sets off a war between all five of the main mafia families in New York . Believe it or not , this is still pretty much the beginning of the novel .

Just a fair warning , this novel is indeed very graphic and violent . That probably goes without saying for a crime novel but felt it should be said anyways . Let me say that this is a true epic tragedy with a 50’s and 60’s mafia backdrop . It is like a more modern Shakespeare play . Mario Puzo is truly a great character writer , we feel intimate with every important ( and some of the minor ) characters in this story . He takes some breaks from the main story to tell other short stories about each characters past and it helps make this a deeper story than your typical mafia exploitation type novel . Overall , I’d highly recommend it to any crime novel enthusiast as well as tragedy/drama fans . Hell , I’d even pay full price and I don’t pay full price for anything .

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress By Robert A. Heinlein

” The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress ” is a science fiction novel originally published in the 1960’s , written by the legendary author Robert A. Heinlein .

In the future , the Luna is a penal colony built underneath the moon , being ran by the united government of Earth . The story is told from the point of view of a computer technician called Mannie . A small group of the colonist join together to start a rebellion against the Warden after one of their meetings get violently interrupted by the prison guards . With help from a self aware computer named HOLMES IV , the small group grows and plans the overthrow of the penal government but certain events force them to act before their ideal time . They have success but now have to deal establishing a stable government on the moon while having to prepare for potential war with Earth . Will this new society survive or will they fall underneath the pressure from the Earth’s power ?

First off , this novel is great old school science fiction . It keeps a good pace throughout once you get used to the style of speech . This novel is heavily political and normally I’d say that takes points off but this novel does it in a smart way . By telling the story from the point of a view from a character that doesn’t care much about politics and having a clear focus on his friendship with the computer ( whom treats the situation like a game ) , it keeps the story from becoming a political essay .

Favorite quote : ” Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve . Nor is this a source of dismay; a lost cause can be as spiritually satisfying as a victory . “

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

” The Manchurian Candidate ” is a political thriller written by Richard Condon , published in 1959 .

Sergeant Raymond Shaw and the rest of his platoon are captured during the Korean War . They are taken to Manchuria where they get worked over and brainwashed by communist scientist . The scientist put on a demonstration of their brainwashing abilities by having Shaw kill two of his fellow soldiers in front of Chinese and Soviet officials . They then proceed to brainwash Shaw and his group, telling them that they were ambushed by Chinese soldiers but Shaw heroically took out every single one of the people who had attacked them . This leads to Raymond Shaw winning the medal of honor . Now the communist have a brainwashed sleeper agent going around with a medal of honor , what evil deeds do they have planned ?

This novel feels like a time capsule of the 1950’s in America . Dealing with issues such as the Korean War , the threat of political assassination , Joseph McCarthy , the red scare , etc . It benefits you if you have some knowledge of the era but it gives you enough knowledge inside so you don’t get lost . One hell of a thriller , I can see why it made such a big impact back in the day . Would not recommend it to everyone though , most of the characters throughout the novel are evil people and there is some fairly taboo stuff in there dealing with incest , but if that doesn’t affect you then by all means check it out .