The best action adventure books for the individualist

Miles A. Maxwell Author Of Loss Of Reason
By Miles A. Maxwell

Who am I?

I love these books because they hold thinking as the highest virtue, and they value the rights of the individual. I like to challenge the norm. These stories seek to preserve and enhance human life through art and science.


I wrote...

Loss Of Reason

By Miles A. Maxwell,

Book cover of Loss Of Reason

What is my book about?

Distant for many years, Franklin out of Pennsylvania and his step-brother Everon out of Nevada are connected by a single link: Their sister Cynthia. Enter The Nightmare—A nuclear bomb is detonated in New York. Banker, wife, mother, Cynthia lives in New York.

The military has quarantined the city, its bridges and tunnels destroyed or blocked. Easterly winds have forced the bomb's radiation cloud out over Long Island. But the wind is about to change. Franklin climbs mountains and truly understands people. Everon can fly anything. And Cynthia's brothers are determined to find her. If it were your sister, what would you do?

The books I picked & why

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Nightmare in Pink: A Travis McGee Novel

By John D. MacDonald,

Book cover of Nightmare in Pink: A Travis McGee Novel

Why this book?

MacDonald wrote twenty-one novels in his classic Travis McGee series, which has been praised by many best-selling writers, from Dean Koontz to Lee Child, Sue Grafton to Stephen King, as foundational to their own careers. This one’s my favorite.

Travis is in New York City to find out what happened to his old friend’s sister’s fiancé. Her fiancé is dead. She’s prickly and resistant to dredging up the past.

As Travis untangles a massive financial crime, he’s drugged and put in a mental hospital. Can he free himself and expose the truth?

I guess I like this one best because chemically-induced hypnosis is a frequent subject of my own series. Full of action, serious questions about the human mind, romance, and fun.


Worth Dying for

By Lee Child,

Book cover of Worth Dying for

Why this book?

Of all twenty-some books (and counting) in Child’s Jack Reacher series, this one stands out. In an interview, Lee once said, "I just wrote this one by the numbers." To me his final solo effort feels like he finally figured out how to say what he always wanted. It’s personal, yet geopolitical. Empathetic, yet very tough. In this tale of two half-cities run by rival gangs, the Armenians and the Ukrainians, he does so simply and brilliantly.

The story’s government is corrupt, as so many are, full of bribe-taking politicians who are unable to protect the citizenry from organized crime. To fill that void, in steps Jack Reacher with some intuitive detecting, a little romance, and a lot of bad-guy killing.


The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Book cover of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Why this book?

The people of Luna (Earth’s moon) want to be free, no longer vassals of Earth. When they realize survival has become a life-and-death situation, the revolution begins.

Earth’s government may have atomic weapons and space ships, but Luna’s revolutionaries have Mike, a brilliant and humorous sentient computer, and another secret weapon. An obvious one when you consider the potential energy at the top of a gravity well thirty-two feet per second deep.

I love the iconoclastic feel of this story. Rational anarchists wanting to be left alone to live, love, and prosper. There’s a reason this book has remained in hard-cover print for so many years. Probably Heinlein’s greatest work, it’s full of political philosophy and thrilling action. Mike are you still out there somewhere?


The Fountainhead

By Ayn Rand,

Book cover of The Fountainhead

Why this book?

This classic’s background is integrity, while its foreground is architecture.

Howard Roark is an innovative architect who always follows his own ideas over what other people think, even when everyone turns against him.

Reading this story never fails to motivate me. Achievement, striving for perfection, and determination are qualities I love. There’s a powerful message here for any individual who prizes these values and an exciting demonstration of how human thought, like the form of a building, must always follow function.


The Thinking Machine

By Jacques Futrelle,

Book cover of The Thinking Machine

Why this book?

Based on a simple question: “Can a man escape from a high-security prison cell using only his mind?” The Problem of Cell 13 is everyone’s favorite. The story offers a convincing answer and a mind-bending ending you just don’t see coming.

This collection of short stories demonstrates how someone can solve even the most impossible mysteries if one harnesses the formidable power of one’s mind. As I walk mentally side-by-side with Futrelle’s protagonist, Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen, I find myself consistently unable to solve each puzzle first.

Unfortunately, Futrelle died young on the Titanic, taking several new stories down with him. At least we can still enjoy what he left behind, one of the greatest collections of mysteries you’ll find anywhere.


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