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Raymond Chandler (1988) The Big Sleep. (First published in 1939)

First published in 1939, Chandler's book created the archetypal character of street-smart private investigator Philip Marlow. He works a case of blackmail in the underbelly of San Francisco, populated by con men, weird ladies, mobsters, cheap sluts, pornographers, gamblers, drunks, and other despicable characters. In this tough world, Marlow is the straight and loyal guy.

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Lee Child (2006) Killing Floor (Jack Reacher Series, No. 1)

Child's ex-military policeman, Jack Reacher, finds himself arrested for murder in the tiny town of Margrave, Georgia. But soon he is out and hunting down a gang of vicious criminals who have spun a network of conspiracy to cover up their scheme of counterfeiting. Child's brisk dialogs, economic prose, three-dimensional characters and fast pace make a terrific read.

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Lee Child (2009) Nothing to Lose (Jack Reacher Series, No. 12)

Ex-military policeman, hitchhiking into Colorado, teams up with local female cop to fight a religious fanatic and megalomaniac entrepreneur who processes damaged M1 Abrams battle tanks from Iraq in his metal processing plant and builds a dirty bomb. Cartoon thriller filled with stereotypes.

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Agatha Christie (2001) And Then There Were None: A Novel. (First published in 1939)

Agatha Christie's version of the nursery rhyme is often considered the best mystery novel ever written. 10 strangers are trapped in an Indian island, where the sinister Mr. Owen is accusing them of murder. One by one is found dead, until ... (the resolution of the novel is very different from that of the movie versions).

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Agatha Christie (2000) Hercule Poirot's Christmas. (First published in 1938)

In Christie's complex plot a happy family meeting turns into a nightmare as the family's wealthy patriarch is found murdered in his closed bedroom. There are plenty of suspects, but most puzzling is the question how the man could be murdered in a closed room. You will keep on tormenting your brain, until Hercule Poirot solves the mystery.

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Agatha Christie (2009) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: A Hercule Poirot Mystery - BBC Dramatization. (First published in 1927)

This novel, written in 1927, is considered the best and most successful of the early Hercule Poirot mysteries. A classic of the genre and essential for any fiction collection.

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Tom Clancy (1992) The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan Series).

Somewhere under the Atlantic, a Soviet submarine commander has made a fateful decision: the Red October is heading west. This trademark military thriller has launched Tom Clancy's phenomenal career.

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Tom Clancy (2002) The Sum of All Fears.

The trademark of Tom Clancy's series of Jack Ryan action thrillers is the accurate description of military hardware and procedure. But there is more than a dramatic story line and nail-biting tension: Clancy has a deep understanding of international political conflicts and he is able to realistically paint fundamental human responses to extreme danger and unbearable pressure.

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Tom Clancy / Mark Greaney (2013) Command Authority (A Jack Ryan Novel).

Clancy, the undisputed master of authentic, razor-sharp military and action suspense, has not written this book. But Mark Greaney, who is the real author, has delivered a decent yarn that will be read by many in memoriam of Tom.

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Tom Clancy / Mark Greaney (2012) Threat Factor (A Jack Ryan Novel).

One of those assembly-line books with a "Tom Clancy" trademark. If you really have nothing else to read, and if you are a bit obsessed with technical details, it might be an acceptable way to waste a lot of time.

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