The best books featuring kick-ass females of sea and sky

Who am I?

My wife is a beautiful, intelligent, and determined woman. She took up rock climbing in her forties. She rides a motorcycle on and off-road. She scuba dives with sharks, she’s jumped out of an airplane, and she strapped crampons on her feet when I said we’re climbing a snow-covered mountain. One of my best friends in the world is from Finland. Typical of Finns, and Scandinavians in general, he has a dry wit and keen observations and thoughts which he delivers matter-of-factly in few words. Combining these two with a sprinkling of my own imagination produced Nora Sommer.


I wrote...

Deadly Sommer: Nora Sommer Caribbean Suspense - Book One

By Nicholas Harvey,

Book cover of Deadly Sommer: Nora Sommer Caribbean Suspense - Book One

What is my book about?

One missing girl. Two lives on the line. Four treacherous challenges. Nora Sommer's first case for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is one she'll never forget - if she survives.

When I decided to create a second series, I recognized the logical and most commercial path which checked all the genre boxes, would be a male protagonist in the Florida Keys. But Nora Sommer, a nineteen-year-old Norwegian runaway who’d appeared in several of my AJ Bailey novels, wouldn’t leave me alone. Her personality had become so engaging, her struggle to leave her past behind so motivating; I couldn’t deny her. Nora doesn’t think, act, react, or interact like most people. I fell in love with her character and haven’t regretted the choice for a moment.

The books I picked & why

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Low Tide

By Dawn Lee McKenna,

Book cover of Low Tide

Why this book?

Once I finished Low Tide, I binge read Dawn’s series. A year later she kindly steered and guided me in my author career, and a year after that we lost her to cancer. She was a beautiful soul, which shone through in her books.

Her protagonist, Maggie Redmond, is a police detective in the small Florida town of Apalachicola. Having lost her husband, she’s raising her two children and doing the best she can. Dawn drip-feeds us background and character arcs throughout the series, while taking the reader on an exciting journey, case by case.

I’m a sucker for normal people doing extraordinary things, and Dawn makes you feel like Maggie could be your neighbour down the street, who happens to overcome great odds while solving crimes.


Spitfire Women Of World War II

By Giles Whittell,

Book cover of Spitfire Women Of World War II

Why this book?

I have an obsession with WWII, submarines of the era, and especially the Battle of Britain. As women in dangerous and often traditionally masculine roles also appeal, it makes sense that true stories of these gallant pilots are right in my wheelhouse. Or cockpit…

During the war, female pilots were recruited to ferry planes for the Air Transport Auxiliary to RAF bases, freeing up male combat pilots.

Unarmed, without instruments or radios, the women often flew over the hostile skies of southern England in new or repaired aircraft, flight testing them on the way. Navigation was done by compass headings and visual references on the ground.

This book does a wonderful job of shining a light on the relatively small group of brave souls who did their part during dark times.


The Russian's Pride: Avenging Angel - Seven Deadly Sins

By Cap Daniels,

Book cover of The Russian's Pride: Avenging Angel - Seven Deadly Sins

Why this book?

Cap Daniels's marvellous character Anya Burinkova takes us all around the Caribbean by both sea and air throughout the series. And like Nora Sommer, she’s full of deep thoughts and observations, but never wastes words.

The former Russian SVR Captain has defected to the US, but to earn the freedom she seeks, the federal government coerces her into using her deadly skill sets against the Russian mob.

Partnered with Special Agent Gwynn Davis, the two build a relationship that is perfectly cultivated throughout the series, and if you’re looking for guns, knives, and explosions, this series does not come up short.


Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog

By Stephen Davis,

Book cover of Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog

Why this book?

Have you heard of Alex Honnold? The guy who climbs shear-faced mountains without a rope… Steph Davis does that too. She also skydives and flies in a wingsuit. This book took me on an amazing voyage into the life and mind of a woman with nerves of steel, yet a loving and beautiful soul. A life brimming with achievements, yet littered with tragedy. I spent half the book with my jaw dropped open, and parts with tears streaming down my face.

Steph Davis is undoubtedly a kick-ass female.


Merciless Charity: A Charity Styles Novel (Caribbean Thriller Series Book 1)

By Wayne Stinnett,

Book cover of Merciless Charity: A Charity Styles Novel (Caribbean Thriller Series Book 1)

Why this book?

Former Olympian and U.S. Army helicopter pilot, Charity is another heroine who is as comfortable under sail as she is behind the collective of an AH-64 Apache. An operative used for dangerous tactical ‘kill’ missions, Charity battles her demons borne out of captivity and torture in Afghanistan, to keep her aggression under control.

An emotionally tormented loner, Charity kicks some serious ass.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in murders, the British Royal Air Force, and the Caribbean?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about murders, the British Royal Air Force, and the Caribbean.

Murders Explore 334 books about murders
The British Royal Air Force Explore 24 books about the British Royal Air Force
The Caribbean Explore 75 books about the Caribbean

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like A Spitfire Girl, Defending the Motherland, and Women Who Fly if you like this list.