Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Nine top thrillers featuring alter egos

Saul A. Lelchuk holds a B.A. in English from Amherst College and a master's degree from Dartmouth College. He divides his time between Oakland, California and New Hampshire, where he teaches graduate creative writing at Dartmouth. He has served as a PEN America Prison Writing Mentor and makes regular appearances discussing fiction writing around the country.

Save Me From Dangerous Men was the start of a series featuring bookseller and private investigator Nikki Griffin. The series was optioned for film and television and has been published in translations around the world. Save Me From Dangerous Men was named a USA Today Best Book of 2019, a Booklist Top 10 Crime Debut of 2019, a Kirkus Best Mystery/Thriller of 2019, a Hudson Booksellers Best of the Year, and was short-listed for a Barry Award.

The sequel, One Got Away, was named as a “5 Books Not to Miss” by USA Today and was published in April 2021.

At CrimeReads Lelchuk tagged nine favorite thrillers featuring alter egos, including:
Double Indemnity, James N. Cain

When talking alter egos in thrillers, it’s impossible not to include at least one classic femme fatale. There are many excellent choices, but it’s hard to do better than Phyllis Nirdlinger, James N. Cain’s deadly creation (so memorably played by Barbara Stanwyck in the film adaptation). A beautiful, bored blond housewife looking for a bit of spousal life insurance and maybe a little fun along the way… what could go wrong? As Walter Huff, Cain’s patsy of an insurance salesman learns (the hard way), just about everything. For good reason, this slender volume is one of the defining classics of the genre.
Double Indemnity is among Peter Swanson's five best fictional femme fatalesCarlos Ruiz Zafón's top ten 20th-century gothic novels, and Malcolm Jones' ten favorite crime novels.

Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue