Why Spy Novels Matter, with Joseph Kanon

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John interviews Joseph Kanon, a former publishing executive who became a bestselling author in his 50s. Joseph’s spy novels take place in the aftermath of World War II and the Cold War that followed. He published his debut novel, “Los Alamos,” in 1997, and the story of a murder set against the backdrop of the Manhattan Project won the Edgar Award for best first novel. His third novel, “The Good German,” was adapted to the big screen by director Steven Soderbergh and starred George Clooney and Cate Blanchett.


Joseph’s stories are told through characters navigating ethically fraught terrain. “There was a reviewer who said at one point that my books were novels of moral intrigue,” Joseph said. “And I thought it was a perfect description that I hadn't thought of, or otherwise I would have told it to the publisher, to put it on the jacket.”


John and Joseph talk about his midlife career change; his tenth novel, “The Berlin Exchange,” which comes out in January; and what he’s writing next.



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