Thrillerguy has recently read several thrillers written by women. This is fairly rare, maybe three or four out of a hundred are written by women. Usually these books are indistinguishable from those written by men. A good example of the latter is the work of Stella Rimington who was the first female director of Britain's MI5. After retirement, she's written three thrillers, perfectly good books one supposes, though TG has only read and reviewed the second, Secret Asset. The point is, this book, and most of the other thrillers written by women, could just as easily been written by men. Even though the protagonist is usually a woman.
Not so Intelligence, a debut effort by Susan Hasler. Hasler went to work for the CIA in 1983 and stayed for 21 years. This makes her an insider, and as any reader of this blog knows, TG hates (usually) insider writers. Except in Hasler's case. Somehow, against all odds, she's that complete rarity: a female writer working a traditionally male field who not only dominates the traditional tropes but is able to put a female slant on the writing and story that makes it different from that of the usual male vantage point. And different in a good way. Hasler uses her insider knowledge in a way TG has never read in any other CIA thriller. She uses terms and categories that sound absolutely authentic, even though TG (whose knowledge of the genre is encyclopedic) was taken by surprise. This is surely the way the CIA is organized, the way they speak, the way they think. If it isn't, TG doesn't want to hear about it. TG is a believer in Susan Hasler's world.
Why aren't there more thrillers written with this special slant? Not the insider terminology, but the insider knowledge of being a woman. Books, thrillers that are written from a female POV. Because TG feels that these days that anyone who still thinks that men and women are essentially alike is a moron. Grow up. The sixties, (though oh how TG loved the Sixties) are over. TG says read Susan Hasler's Intelligence because it's good and it's different. In a world of fiction where one book seeks to copy another, any other successful book in the hope that that book will then become successful, is a world that TG is heartily sick of. (of which TG is heartily sick.) Please, no more Dan Brown copies. No more CIA thrillers just like all the other CIA thrillers. Let's have more women being smart, being tough, being women for Christ's sake. And all that implies.
As always, TG will try and contact Susan Hasler for a signed copy of Intelligence, one that will go this time to the first woman commenter. And if there are no women commenters, then a lucky guy will get the book. Trust me, this is good stuff.