10 of the Greatest Cold War Spy Novels

Before his death, legendary crime writer Mickey Spillane entrusted the completion of his unfinished work to his longtime friend, Max Allan Collins — a top-notch writer in his own right. This month, Collins has completed and released Complex 90, Spillane’s unfinished sequel to The Girl Hunters. To celebrate its publication, Flavorwire asked Collins to sound off on a few of his favorite Cold War thrillers. Bone up on your spy skills with his picks, and be sure to add any favorites that Collins missed to the list in the comments.


From Russia With Love, Ian Fleming (1957)

“Though Ian Fleming himself had worked in intelligence during the Second World War, James Bond was a fantasy figure in the tradition of Bulldog Drummond, the Saint, and Mike Hammer, and Fu Manchu provided the pattern for Bond’s uber-foes (specifically, in the case of Dr. No, 1962). But in this, his fifth Bond novel, Fleming plays a straight espionage game, with Russia’s counter-intelligence agency SMERSH out to kill Bond in the context of a contrived sexual scandal. The first section of the novel depicts the planning of the mission and the training of Soviet assassin Red Grant. The 1963 film version with Sean Connery is the most faithful of Bond adaptations, rivaled only by On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and Casino Royale (2006).”