Since the debut of his first novel in 2002, Brad Thor has become the gold standard for fans of military fiction, terrorism thrillers and political thrillers. But what happens when ravenous fans polish off Thor’s terrific back catalogue?
I’m often asked by our readers: what are the best writers like Brad Thor?
If you love Brad Thor, here are some writers you should check out, along with their signature books.
Signature Book: American Assassin
Here, we get a Mitch Rapp prequel – essentially the story of how Rapp was trained and other events leading up to the Beruit Embassy bombing of 1983. There are scenes featuring Rapp and a psychologist that have the potential to flesh out Rapp’s character, during which Rapp has the opportunity to define patriotism, revenue, retribution, and more.
Before he was considered a CIA superagent, before he was thought of as a terrorist’s worst nightmare, and before he was both loathed and admired by the politicians on Capitol Hill, Mitch Rapp was a gifted college athlete without a care in the world . . . and then tragedy struck.
Two decades of cutthroat, partisan politics has left the CIA and the country in an increasingly vulnerable position. Cold War veteran and CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield knows he must prepare his people for the next war. The rise of Islamic terrorism is coming, and it needs to be met abroad before it reaches America’s shores. Stansfield directs his protégée, Irene Kennedy, and his old Cold War colleague, Stan Hurley, to form a new group of clandestine operatives who will work outside the normal chain of command—men who do not exist.
Signature Book: The Night Trade
Like many longtime Barry Eisler fans, my entry point was A Clean Kill in Tokyo. To be honest, I never truly loved Eisler’s John Rain, whose dispassionate outlook on life added little narrative thrust. But Eisler’s insider knowledge of spycraft was blatantly obvious on every page, and together with his ingeniously drawn landscapes, I was hooked anyhow.
With The Night Trade, Eisler’s second Livia Lone book, his heroine has finally outclassed John Rain completely. The sex crimes detective earns a position with a government anti-trafficking task force, returning to Thailand to look for evil-doer Rithisak Sorm. Livia’s pain is palpable, but never overly sentimental. It just works.
For added fun, Eisler has airlifted former Marine sniper Dox from his previous series and teamed him up with Livia.
This is a crime thriller at its darkest. Highly recommended.
Signature Book: The Rescue
Decker, an ex-CIA operative turned mercenary, specializes in rescuing kidnap victims. Hired by an influential US senator to liberate her daughter from a human-trafficking ring, Decker never anticipated sabotage or that the assault could go so disastrously wrong. The hostage is dead. His team is wiped out, and so are their families, including Decker’s own wife and son—eliminated one by one by the Russian mafia. And he’s survived to take the fall.
When he’s inexplicably freed soon into a ten-year sentence in federal prison, Decker suspects another setup. And private investigator Harlow Mackenzie knows he’s right. She has evidence that a power greater than the Russian mob was behind the raid that ruined Decker’s life.
The next move in a nationwide cat-and-mouse game of high-level sedition is up to them. Fueled by revenge and an obsession to clear his name, Decker has only one mission: to destroy a growing conspiracy before it’s too late.
Signature Book: Field of Fire
This is one book that Brad Thor even endorsed!
The first target is Dallas, Texas.
A deadly nerve gas called New Archangel is unleashed upon the City of Angels, claiming innocent lives, spreading nationwide panic, and fueling global fears of another attack.
In the icy reaches of rural Alaska, special agent Jericho Quinn is enlisted to hunt down the man who created the bioweapon—a brilliant Russian scientist who is trying to defect and hiding in the Alaskan wilderness.
But time is running out.
The scientist is beginning to lose his mind to dementia.
If Quinn doesn’t find him before the Russians do, the entire western seaboard and beyond will feel the wrath of New Archangel—and darkness will fall upon the earth.
Signature Book: Dawn of the Assassin
Assassins are made, not born. And yet despite countless novels dedicated to professional killers, true origin stories are rare. First-time novelist Bill Brewer delivers the goods in Dawn of the Assassin, a no-frills thriller about the making of a truly lethal asset.
Convenience store employee David Diegert might be the unluckiest person in Minnesota. Born into dysfunction, his brother is a drug dealer, and his mother, who is half-Native American, is hopelessly bullied by her sadistic husband. Accordingly, David, who has suffered the racist nickname “Tonto” throughout his small town upbringing, has developed serious anger management issues that will both plague him and fuel him for the rest of his life.
After a run-in with the local sheriff and a nearly fatal encounter with his own father, the young, unpolished hothead joins the U.S. Army. During his first deployment to Afghanistan, his anger issues get the best of him once again, as he assaults a superior officer. David’s turning point comes after a dishonorable discharge, when he wanders into a bar called The Dark Horse in Austin, Texas. There, he takes a job as a doorman, never suspecting that it will be a portal into a new life as a globetrotting killer that will take him to places he never dreamed of.
Brewer’s prose is extremely spare, reading more like a screenplay than a novel. Readers looking for lush descriptions of the book’s exotic locales should look elsewhere. Nevertheless, when it comes to David, Brewer’s stripped-down characterization feels gritty, authentic and most importantly, earned. Brewer has created a series-worthy anti-hero who ends this installment on a high note.
Signature Book: The Other Woman
Already one of the best espionage thriller novelists of all time, The Other Woman is proof that Daniel Silva keeps getting better with age.
In an isolated village in the mountains of Andalusia, a mysterious Frenchwoman begins work on a dangerous memoir. It is the story of a man she once loved in the Beirut of old, and a child taken from her in treason’s name. The woman is the keeper of the Kremlin’s most closely guarded secret. Long ago, the KGB inserted a mole into the heart of the West—a mole who stands on the doorstep of ultimate power.
Only one man can unravel the conspiracy: Gabriel Allon, the legendary art restorer and assassin who serves as the chief of Israel’s vaunted secret intelligence service. Gabriel has battled the dark forces of the new Russia before, at great personal cost. Now he and the Russians will engage in a final epic showdown, with the fate of the postwar global order hanging in the balance.
Gabriel is lured into the hunt for the traitor after his most important asset inside Russian intelligence is brutally assassinated while trying to defect in Vienna. His quest for the truth will lead him backward in time, to the twentieth century’s greatest act of treason, and, finally, to a spellbinding climax along the banks of the Potomac River outside Washington that will leave readers breathless.
Signature Book: The Prisoner
When you’ve written what is arguably the very best post-911 espionage novel, which Alex Berenson did with The Faithful Spy, sequels can be a rocky road. After all, the fate of the western world was at stake in Berenson’s debut, as was Wells’ identity. Subsequent books, however, saw Wells settle in a relationship, get a dog, and at times, carry a single plotline over the course of two books. You have to have a character arc, right?
There should be no complaints this time around, as Wells returns to his roots. But instead of the Taliban, Well is focused on ISIS.
Evidence is mounting that someone high up in the CIA is doing the unthinkable—passing messages to ISIS, alerting them to planned operations. Finding out the mole’s identity without alerting him, however, will be very hard, and to accomplish it, Wells will have to do something he thought he’d left behind forever. He will have to reassume his former identity as an al Qaeda jihadi, get captured, and go undercover to befriend an ISIS prisoner in a secret Bulgarian prison.
Many years before, Wells was the only American agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda, but times have changed drastically. The terrorist organizations have multiplied: gotten bigger, crueler, more ambitious and powerful.
Wells knows it may well be his death sentence. But there is no one else.
Signature Book: The President is Missing
The Bottom Line: Easily the best James Patterson novel in years. Highly recommended.
On a recent Stephen Colbert show appearance, Stephen King mused that James Patterson spends approximately 12 hours working on each book. True, Patterson has become notoriously prolific in recent years as more than 100 books a year are churned out in his name (Patterson still does the outlines).
Nobody’s saying how much time Patterson put into his collaboration with Bill Clinton, but the result is an astonishingly good piece of fiction.
Rogue U.S. President Jonathon Duncan faces impeachment for persistently escaping from the eyes of the Secret Service. Duncan is convinced that he is the only man with the insider information to stop an imminent cyberterror attack on the U.S.
To say much more would spoil the fun.
Set over the course of three days, The President Is Missing sheds a stunning light upon the inner workings and vulnerabilities of our nation. Is it filled with information that only a former Commander-in-Chief could know?
You be the judge. One thing is for sure: this is one thriller that is well worth reading.
Signature Book: Rogue Empire
Rogue Empire is the third installment in William Tyree’s bestselling Blake Carver series.
But his plan to extract an embedded CIA operative turns disastrous when the mistargeted attack reduces the Chinese Embassy to rubble.
All signs point to an inside job, and Carver finds himself on the wrong end of an internal investigation.
Forced into exile, he watches helplessly as Beijing erupts in riots, an American diplomat is murdered and cyber attacks are unleashed on Wall Street. The two superpowers teeter on the brink of all-out war.
With only the help of a renegade hacker and an old flame with powerful friends, Carver must act alone to thwart the most ingenious conspiracy the world has ever known.
Michael Byars Lewis
Signature Book: Retribution
This high-flying thrill ride is the perfect entry point to Lewis’ Jason Conrad USAF series.
When budding student pilot Jason Conrad is offered the trip of a lifetime, big aerospace company Century Avionics sets to influence a few key elections, making for some not-so-friendly skies. Maniacal Philip Ashford, bent on avenging the death of his family, is on a continent-spanning killing spree. Though he sees his actions as justifiable, Jason is set on stopping Philip’s self-appointed position as judge, jury and executioner. But as you might expect, Jason finds himself in the crosshairs.
The perfect entry point for newcomers to Michael Byars Lewis’ Jason Conrad series, Retribution is book zero, a prequel to Surly Bonds and Veil of Deception. It’s not often that an author can combine business and bombings without overstuffing a plot, but Lewis is up to the task. At times, the Clinton-era politics and personal vendettas seem like a lot to juggle within a relatively fast read, but Lewis reigns in any flights of fantasy, making every word count. The narrative bounces between London, Washington and New Orleans, making for a fun- and action-filled adventure that spans everything from Mardi Gras beads to back-alley dealings.
As always, Lewis’ real-world experience as a combat pilot renders every piece of Jason’s story fully realized. Carefully crafted and thoughtful in its build-up, Retribution is a joy for fans of military and political thrillers alike.
Joel C. Rosenberg
Signature Book: The Persian Gamble
Exceptional pacing and a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller make this a top pick for military thriller fans.
Shot out of the air in enemy territory in the middle of the greatest international crisis since the end of the Cold War, former U.S. Secret Service agent Marcus Ryker finds himself facing an impossible task.
Not only does he have to somehow elude detection and capture by Russian special forces, but he must convince his own government to grant safe harbor to the one man responsible for the global mayhem―Russian double agent and assassin Oleg Kraskin. While frantically negotiating with his contacts in the White House, Marcus learns that the unstable North Korean regime plans to use the international chaos as a smokescreen to sell nuclear weapons to Iran.
With the fate of the entire free world on the line, Marcus makes a deal with the U.S. government―he will go back to work as an international operative and track down the WMDs before they end up in the hands of those with the determination and the means to use them. Marcus and Oleg worked together once before to avert a world war. Can they now find a way to stop world destruction?