The Paladin

David Ignatius, WW Norton, RRP$27.95

Standout thriller by the veteran author, intelligence expert and prizewinning columnist for the Washington Post. Key lesson: never take an off-the-books assignment from the CIA — especially in the age of internet deep fakes. When the bosses say they will disown you if it all goes wrong, believe them, as the book’s hero Michael Dunne learns the (very) hard way.

Curse the Day

Judith O’Reilly, Head of Zeus, RRP£18.99

Rip-roaring, Tarantino-esque adventure featuring haunted former assassin Michael North and his mini-crew on the trail of terrorists who have kidnapped “Syd” — a virtual assistant housed in a glove puppet who takes artificial intelligence to new limits. Team North’s road trip soon takes them into the dark heart of the British establishment — where intruders are decidedly unwelcome.

Deep State

Chris Hauty, Simon and Schuster, RRP£12.99

Fast-paced political conspiracy thriller introducing Hayley Chill, a White House intern with more smarts than her enemies credit as well as a knockout left hook. Hauty is a Hollywood scriptwriter and the story is skilfully engineered with a vivid, engaging cast, lashings of Washington insider details and plenty of plot twists. The final, eye-opening reveal, is especially well delivered.

The Useful Idiot

John Sweeney, Silvertail Books, RRP£8.99

Great read set in 1930s Stalinist Russia by an intrepid former BBC correspondent. Gareth Jones, an idealistic journalist, sets up in Moscow ready to believe in the Soviet experiment — until reality intrudes. The pall of terror, hunger and misery is evocatively drawn as Jones decides whether to be a “useful idiot” and serve the cause, or do his duty as a reporter.

Making Wolf

Tade Thompson, Constable, RRP£8.99

When Weston Kogi, a London store detective, returns to west Africa for his aunt’s funeral he is quickly drugged, kidnapped by rebels and press-ganged into finding the fate of a local politician — until a rival militia abducts him with the same mission. Thompson is an award-winning science fiction writer and his storytelling skills shine in the blinding light, stifling heat and casual, brutal violence of his fictional country.

All this week, FT writers and critics choose their favourites — from politics, economics, science and history to art, tech, food and wellness. Novels, poetry and audiobooks feature too. Explore the series here

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