The best action mystery stories that energize my writing

John Clark Payne Author Of In Defense of Patch Schubert
By John Clark Payne

Who am I?

In college I minored in Military History and spent over twenty active duty years in the military. My earlier books were primarily murder/mystery stories, and I had the urge to write a historical romance. The War between States (not civil but ruthless) has always enthralled me. I visited most of the battlefields in the East and Southeast but never in the West. I researched the war’s end and found the last battle at Palmetto Ranch near Brownsville, Texas was near my home in San Antonio. Strange things happened on this dysfunctional battlefield. Little did I realize the involvement of Mexico, France, and Spain and their attempts to influence this conflict.


I wrote...

In Defense of Patch Schubert

By John Clark Payne,

Book cover of In Defense of Patch Schubert

What is my book about?

The story starts on the Palmito Ranch battlefield in South Texas, thirty-three days after Lee surrendered to Grant. Confederate Private Patch Schubert’s best friend is killed, and Patch takes his Enfield rifle with the initial “S” carved in the rifle butt. Patch is inexperienced in matters of love and violence. He meets Rosa, his first sexual encounter when paired with a young Mexican mercenary to capture a Union prisoner. Several atrocities occur that will catch up and haunt him. The war ends and they plan to reunite after he musters out. By the time Patch arrives, the daring young Rosa had disappeared on a mission to a dangerous port city orchestrated by her adventurous and politically-wired father.

The books I picked & why

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American Assassin

By Vince Flynn,

Book cover of American Assassin

Why this book?

Vince Flynn has a unique ability of highlighting his main character in such a realistic way that the character is facing you and waiting for your next question.  His description of action-oriented scenes leaves no doubt as to the severity and authenticity of what is happening to hold you glued to the pages. I'm left with great anticipation for his next book using the same main character. My goal is consistent with Vince Flynn's.

I've been told that my characters "jump off the page and slap you in the face."

American Assassin

By Vince Flynn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Assassin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture starring Dylan O'Brien (Maze Runner), Taylor Kitsch (True Detective) and Michael Keaton.

Tensions in the Middle East are simmering when Central Intelligence Agency Director Irene Kennedy pays a visit to Syracuse University, where she hopes to recruit none other than Mitch Rapp, a student who has quickly climbed up the academic and athletic ranks. At first glance, he appears like any other smart, good-looking American college kid. Under the surface, however, a tempest rages.

Nine months later, after gruelling training, Mitch finds himself in Istanbul on his first assignment. He hits his target but quickly…

Protect and Defend

By Vince Flynn,

Book cover of Protect and Defend

Why this book?

This is Flynn’s tenth book delving more into international intrigue. Nuclear war/weaponry considerations are more of a modern threat. Mitch Rapp excels again. Unfortunately, Vince Flynn died of cancer at an early age but had written many more books after Protect and Defend. Like Flynn, I’ve tried to develop my main character to jump off the chart, slap you in the face when reading about him/her.

Protect and Defend

By Vince Flynn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Protect and Defend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF AMERICAN ASSASSIN

With Iran on the brink of developing a nuclear weapon, Israel is forced to react. In a daring raid, Israel destroys Iran's main nuclear facility, creating a radioactive tomb and an environmental disaster. An outraged United Nations condemns the attacks while Iran swears vengeance against Israel and her chief backer: the USA.

Enter Lebanese master terrorist Imad Mukhtar, who has spent the past decade picking his targets and preparing his cells for this exact moment. All he needs to launch his strike against America is approval from…

Killing Floor

By Lee Child,

Book cover of Killing Floor

Why this book?

This is Lee Child’s first book highlighting the now famous Jack Reacher as main man. Here again, I can relate with Reacher and his military background and experiences. Reacher is a carefree drifter. He’s arrested for murder passing through Georgia. How he untangles the web of circumstances to gain freedom is a refreshing read.

Killing Floor

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Killing Floor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He's just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he's arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Reacher knows is that he didn't kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn't stand a chance of convincing anyone. Not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

Die Trying

By Lee Child,

Book cover of Die Trying

Why this book?

I am now swept up with the Jack Reacher character and continue to read every book the Englishman wrote. I was born and partially raised in Chicago. I dug in here when Reacher and a woman are kidnapped off a Chicago street. The two unfortunates were destined for what we now call “human trafficking.” Yes, sale for ransom. Reacher is beyond resourceful in penalizing the bad guys.

Die Trying

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Die Trying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jack Reacher, alone, strolling nowhere.

A Chicago street in bright sunshine. A young woman, struggling on crutches. He offers her a steadying arm.

And turns to see a handgun aimed at his stomach.

Chained in a dark van racing across America, Reacher doesn't know why they've been kidnapped. The woman claims to be FBI. She's certainly tough enough. But at their remote destination, will raw courage be enough to overcome the hopeless odds?


The Hunt for Red October

By Tom Clancy,

Book cover of The Hunt for Red October

Why this book?

This was Clancy’s first book and I immediately became a fan of Jack Ryan, his unforgettable leading character. I like marine biology and much of the story takes place underwater with Ryan and cast trying to locate a Soviet nuclear submarine. Clancy is a detail man, but I got tired of reading about how many miles of wire were used to construct a submarine. Thus, I did lose some focus and committed my writing to fewer details and more discussion about how fewer details impact my stories.

The Hunt for Red October

By Tom Clancy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Hunt for Red October as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Also Available as an Audio Edition from Audible

Tom Clancy's rich imagination and his remarkable grasp of the capabilities of advanced technology give this novel an amazing ring of authenticity. It is a thriller with a new twist, a "military procedural" with an ingenious, tightly woven plot that revolves around the defection of a Soviet nuclear submarine--the USSR's newest and most valuable ship, with its most trusted and skilled officer at the helm.

A deadly serious game of hide-and-seek is on. The entire Soviet Atlantic Fleet is ordered to hunt down the submarine and destroy her at all costs. The…


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