A New Direction for Espionage Thrillers by guest author Terrence Crimmins
Back in the day, as they say, the principal backdrop for espionage novels was the Cold War. John Le Carre’s thriller, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, had a memorable title that brings up the fears and feelings of that genre, where the reader was enthralled with curiosity about the mysterious world behind the Iron Curtain, spy missions, moles, double agents and the like. The Cold War, of course, is over, so novelists need a new stage for their characters’ adventures. The new international challenge, obviously, is Middle Eastern terrorism, as there is a new enemy for diplomats and law enforcement agencies worldwide that is equally dangerous and mysterious as its predecessor.
Like the Cold War, the War on Terror, if we may call it that, has a mélange of locations throughout the world for writers to plot adventures, as conflicts involving Islamic terrorism take place in the Middle East, Indonesia, and across northern Africa, with incidents of domestic terrorism in Europe and North America. Intelligence agents and law enforcement officers can face the possibilities of a wide world of espionage and romance, or ordinary citizens can suddenly find themselves thrust into being the pawns of a game of propaganda in international publicity, as terrorists and governments fight to gain the upper hand in world opinion.
Such is the case in the debut novel, Hostages, by Terrence Crimmins, reviewed here: https://bookreviewstoday.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/hostages-by-terrence-crimmins/. In Hostages a young man who has just graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, DC is finishing up his job as a pizza deliverer and gets into the wrong place at the wrong time and finds himself the captive of a Middle Eastern terrorist at the agency where he had been fated to deliver a pizza. The novel attempts to look not only at Middle Eastern terrorists but also the perception of foreign nationals who live in the United States on their host nation. It is safe to say that many people consider the USA to be a rather insulated nation, as the wide oceans and wealth generated by the avaricious capitalism here shield its citizens from the variety, danger and poverty of much of the rest of the world. My novel has a number of characters from the Middle East and Latin America who view the USA with what might be perceived as fresh eyes, giving American people a new point of view as to what their nation looks like on a global scale. Henry Adams once observed that actions within a nation are boring, as people in different camps work against each other in predictable formats, but that relations between nations are much more lively, exciting and unpredictable. The new tableau for thrillers, with Middle Eastern terrorism, therefore, has a whole world of possibilities for exciting reading.
Have a look at Terrence’s website too: www.terrencecrimmins.com