5 Books That Changed My Life: Jon Land

1) GOLDFINGER by Ian Fleming– I read all the Ian Fleming James Bond novels when I was around eleven years old, including this one which sticks out the most. No books had a more profound impact on my reading tastes that gave way to my writing style. Together with the early Sean Connery films, they helped define the kind of storyteller I was destined to become and established the structure pretty much all of my books have followed since the very beginning of my career, especially the Blaine McCracken series.

2) THE EXORCIST by William Peter Blatty– Storytelling at its level best and the first book I ever read cover-to-cover in a single sitting: lying on my bed on a rainy Saturday when I was around fourteen. That’s the effect I strive for with every book I write, forever trying to recreate my experience with the William Peter Blatty classic for those I’m luck enough to have read my book.

3) THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL by Ira Levin– My first experience with speculative fiction that poses the wonderful question “What if?” No one answers that query better than Ira Levin in his seminal tale that’s been oft imitated but never equaled, as Levin magically negotiates a devilishly diabolic plotline giving us just enough information to keep us hanging on every word.

4) THE HOLCROFT COVENANT by Robert Ludlum– Robert Ludlum’s quintessential paranoid conspiracy tale in a sub-genre that owes its existence to the Watergate era. Ludlum spoke to that time better than anyone and he remains the most imitated author and one who deserves a large portion of the credit (or blame) for the explosion in the popularity of thrillers.

5) MARATHON MAN by William Goldman– The William Goldman classic is the living embodiment of John D. McDonald’s definition of story: Stuff happens to people you care about. Goldman’s hero, Babe Levy, faces Nazis loosed in Manhattan as the ultimate amateur hero trapped in a web of lies and double-crosses in which he really has no part. A book I reread whenever I want to remind myself what perfection looks like.


Since The Doomsday Spiral was published in 1983, Jon Land has written more than thirty novels. He began his career as a novelist at Brown University, where he talked the faculty into accepting a technothriller as his honors thesis. His first series titles were the Blaine McCracken novels, but it was his Ben and Danielle series featuring a Detroit cop and an Israeli detective who chase murderers in the Holy Land that brought him into prominence in the thriller community. Land has also written a series featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong—a female hero in a genre which, Land has said, has too few of them. The first three books in the series—Strong Enough to Die (2009), Strong Justice (2010), and Strong at the Break (2011)—have all garnered critical praise, with Strong Justice being named a Top Thriller of the Year by Library Journal and runner-up for Best Novel of the Year by the New England Book Festival. He currently lives in Providence.

Jon Land’s new novel, PANDORA’S TEMPLE, features the much-anticipated return of McCracken. Click here to watch a new video from Open Road Media in which Land shares his thoughts on what makes a good hero and whether or not this will be the end of the line for McCracken.

To learn more about Jon, go to his web site, follow him on Twitter or visit his Facebook page.