My Top 5 Thriller Heroes

5. James Bond

He’s become a bit of cliche, but Bond has to be on any list of thriller heroes. Heroic, selfless, dashing and always impeccably dressed. I’ve loved the darkness of the recent Daniel Craig movies too which do reflect his flawed character more than the comedic hero played by Roger Moore when I was growing up.

4. Clarice Starling

We need more female heroes in thrillers, more heroes like Clarice Starling. While Hannibal Lecter was the character everyone things about when you mention Silence of the Lambs, Clarice deserves better recognition. She’s brave, independent, strong – and ultimately saves the day to stop serial killer Buffalo Bill and refuses to give up when she’s effectively been used and abandoned by her FBI bosses.

3. Tweed

Another throw-back to my youth. I was hooked on the spy novels of Colin Forbes when I was a kid, and loved the Secret Intelligence Service agent Tweed and his team, Paula Grey and Bob Newman. Charasmatic, enigmatic and absurdly British, he’s the thinking man’s hero, without the swagger and ego of James Bond. And that’s precisely why he makes my list.

2. Pilgrim

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes was one of the best thrillers of recent years in my opinion. A thoroughly modern plot, a unique story telling voice and a compelling hero in the eponymous Pilgrim, a former CIA operative brought out of retirement by a NYPD cop to solve a gruesome case in which the killer used the Pilgrim’s textbook to plot a murder. An utterly compelling character, understated, cool, ruthless and definitely willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good.

1. Jack Reacher

Could there be anyone else to top this list? Reacher is cool, tough and an absolute stickler for justice. What’s not to love? Okay, we don’t think Tom Cruise should have played him in the films, but I’m talking about the character Lee Child created. I started out with 61 Hours after stumbling across the book in the local library, and never looked back, consuming Child’s back catalogue veraciously. For me, Reacher is the ultimate good guy, someone you’d want fighting your corner. And that’s all you can ask.

© Adrian Wills / Cherry Tree Publishing 2020