President Obama may have squeaked past several rocks and hard places in recent months, but compared to the hairy situations in these political thrillers, from "The Hunt for Red October" to "The Pelican Brief," he's had it easy.
While the idea of brainwashing might seem quaint, evoking images of elaborate, octopus-shaped helmets and crazed evil scientists, there was a time when it was terrifyingly real. Published in 1959, Richard Condon’s novel imagines a scenario in which American soldiers are captured by the Chinese and reprogrammed into political assassins.
Losing Your Valuables
The Soviet super-submarine Red October is among the country’s most prized assets in the Cold War, and when it goes AWOL in the Atlantic, CIA operative Jack Ryan is convinced it’s trying to defect to “the good guys.” The ensuing 18-day search for the fleeing vessel has the world teetering at the edge of nuclear war, in Tom Clancy's classic.
Getting the Facts Straight
The narrator of this 2007 Robert Harris novel has taken a new job as a ghostwriter for Adam Lang, the former British Prime Minister who stepped down amidst accusations of war crimes. Lang is now devoted to setting the record straight. But it’s a tricky record. The previous ghostwriter has mysteriously died, and the new one must be careful what truths he uncovers, lest he become a ghost himself.
Crossing the Wrong Tycoon
It’s a sad day for justice when two Supreme Court judges are murdered on the same day. But what’s the connection? Liberal Justice Rosenberg and conservative Justice Jensen were on opposite sites of nearly every issue. But law student Darby Shaw discovers that they had one unlikely passion in common, one that gave them a common enemy.
Walking in at the Wrong Moment
All burglar Luther Whitney wanted to do was to break into a rich dude’s house and steal a bunch of his valuables. But when he does, he sees the rich dude’s wife fornicating with none other than the President of the United States. When things take a turn for the kinky, the Secret Service bursts in and kills the woman. Whitney flees, but not before the g-men see him and pin the woman’s murder on the hapless housebreaker.
A parent’s nightmare: your two teenaged children are kidnapped. But it’s even more complicated if you’re also the leader of the free world, and you’ve learned of an imminent terrorist threat to the nation’s water supply. Luckily for mega-seller Patterson’s President, Detective Alex Cross is on the case.