Number One on his list:
Crime and PunishmentRead about the other four titles on Klavan's list.
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Destitute and depressed in St. Petersburg, the former student Raskolnikov conceives the idea that an "extraordinary man" should be free of socially constructed moral constraints. Working off that theory, he brutally ax-murders a pawnbroker and her sister -- and discovers, to his horror, that he has violated not a mere social construct but the unfathomable Moral Law Within. His escape from the crime scene is as suspenseful as anything in Hitchcock. The scenes of his psychological duel with the canny police detective Porfiry Petrovich have been imitated endlessly yet never matched. But if Dostoevsky had written only the heart-wrenching scene in which the prostitute Sonya reads to the murderer from the Gospels, he could have retired after a life's work well done.
Klavan's latest novel, Empire of Lies (Harcourt), has just been published..