Chappaqua Author Ben Lieberman's Top Five Crime Thriller Picks

The Chappaqua author on his five favorite crime thrillers


After working in institutional bond trading for 20 years, Chappaqua’s Ben Lieberman turned his attention back to his first love (and college major): journalism. His recently published crime thriller, Odd Jobs, received a Tommy Award for writing excellence from Here, Lieberman shares the titles of his five favorite thrillers.

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1) The Hunter (Richard Stark)
The basis for three feature films—Point Blank, Full Contact, and Payback—this book, the first in a series, opens with the protagonist being left for dead, courtesy of his wife and partner. “The couple made a huge mistake leaving him with a few breaths left,” says Lieberman, “as he recovers to become the ultimate one-person landmine.” The only thing more resilient than the lead character? “The story itself,” says Lieberman.

2) Along Came a Spider (James Patterson)
This seminal 1993 title introduced Alex Cross, a homicide detective and forensic psychologist, to the world. The strength of Patterson’s storytelling, coupled with “a good-guy character who battles serial killers, kidnappers, and miscellaneous psychos,” says Lieberman, is what continues to propel the success of this wildly popular series.

3) The Charm School (Nelson DeMille)
Lieberman says this novel, in which DeMille so skillfully creates and describes an alternative world, “unquestionably planted a seed for me to write novels.”

4) The Sicilian (Mario Puzo)
While Mario Puzo’s The Godfather remains, in Lieberman’s estimation, “the heavyweight champion of crime thrillers,” he says that this title, in which Michael Corleone appears in a supporting role, has much to recommend it. “And since most of us hardcore crime-thriller fans have memorized The Godfather,” Lieberman adds, “it’s a treat to be involved with Corleone again.”
5) No Country for Old Men  (Cormac McCarthy)
This novel, about a drug deal gone bad, “is written with an intensity that stays with readers long after they shut the book,” Lieberman says. No character is more unique, he opines, than Anton Chigurh, who “chooses to schlep an apparatus invented to stun cattle before slaughter rather than carry the forty-four Magnum more typical of the 1980 time period.”


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