The best thriller novels that kick terrorist butt

Seth Sjostrom Author Of Patriot X
By Seth Sjostrom

Who am I?

I have a fierce passion for justice. Studying political science in college, I keyed on moments in history where greed, power, and oppression marred human society. As a thriller writer myself (15 published titles and counting), I enjoy authors that understand the characters, settings, and combat sequences in their novels either through personal experience, training, or deep research. I work hard to ensure as wild as my characters’ adventures are, every detail is plausible. The books on this list are filled with raucous action and death-defying scenes while remaining possible. 

I wrote...

Patriot X

By Seth Sjostrom,

Book cover of Patriot X

What is my book about?

No one is untouchable.

Gunnery Sergeant Chris Masters returns home from a successful Marine special operations mission to the news that his wife and daughter were killed in a terrorist attack outside of their base in North Carolina. Information leaked on Raider Six’s actions put a target on their backs, Chris’ family was caught in the crosshairs. Politics handcuffs bringing his family’s killer to justice, driving Chris to take matters into his own hands taking the fight directly to the terrorist on his own. Following his brazen solo mission, Chris teams up with a clandestine group of operators bent on bringing down the entire terror cell or die trying.

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The books I picked & why

Act of Treason

By Vince Flynn,

Book cover of Act of Treason

Why did I love this book?

When asked about my favorite author and influences, Vince Flynn is right at the top. 

Flynn and his character Mitch Rapp aren’t afraid to take on anyone in order to wreak justice, even if the trail leads them to the oval office itself. This is what I love about the book, series, and character, that urgent, calculated versus reckless pursuit of justice.

Act of Treason, like the rest of the Mitch Rapp series, is fast-paced, irreverent at times, and hard-hitting as CIA Agent Rapp faces down anyone, foreign or domestic, to complete his mission. I enjoy Flynn’s writing style and the emotional twists he makes Rapp and the readers endure. 

By Vince Flynn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Two weeks before the election - and presidential candidate Josh Alexander's motorcade is decimated by a terrorist bomb. Alexander survives the attack, although members of his entourage are not so lucky. It appears to be the work of al-Qaeda. But then CIA director Irene Kennedy is presented with classifed information so toxic that she considers destroying it altogether. Instead she summons Mitch Rapp, the one man reckless enough to follow the evidence to its explosive conclusion...

AMERICAN ASSASSIN, book one in the series, is soon to be a MAJOR MOTION PICTURE starring Dylan…

The Last Patriot

By Brad Thor,

Book cover of The Last Patriot

Why did I love this book?

When I select a thriller, I like to find someone who has developed a deep knowledge of the subject and settings either through experience or deep research. Brad Thor is an expert on terrorism and global politics.

His character, former Navy SEAL Scot Harvath, is brash and brutal as he operates to counter-terrorism in his role as a covert Homeland Security Officer. In The Last Patriot, he chases a militant Islamic cell that is protecting a lost revelation of the Prophet Mohammed that could change derail terror forever.

I enjoy reading Brad Thor books for the intensive research and logic he weaves into his stories. Reading The Last Patriot, and other titles in the series is like having a conversation over a pair of fingers of whiskey talking global politics with my friends.

By Brad Thor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Patriot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brad Thor, master of suspense and #1 New York Times bestselling author is back with his highest-voltage thriller to date in which Navy SEAL turned covert Homeland Security operative Scot Harvath must race to locate an ancient secret that has the power to stop militant Islam dead in its tracks.

June 632 A.D.: Deep within the Uranah Valley of Mount Arafat in Mecca, the Prophet Mohammed shares with his closest companions a final and startling revelation. Within days, he is assassinated.

September 1789: U.S. Minister to France Thomas Jefferson, who is charged with forging a truce with the violent Muslim…

The Terminal List

By Jack Carr,

Book cover of The Terminal List

Why did I love this book?

I like reads that make you feel as though you are in the struggle with the protagonist.

The Terminal List, written by former Navy SEAL Jack Carr, follows Lieutenant Commander James Reece as he pulls the string on a deep seeded conspiracy that led to the death of his entire team. As he fights to uncover the truth, the target swings to his own back as the only thing worse than the death of his team is the world finding out why they died.

I enjoyed The Terminal List for the frenetic pace and the push through the unbeatable odds Reece faced to come out still alive and reveal the truth. I like reading through the eyes of those who have been in genuine conflict; the pain and urgency come through in the writing like none other. 

By Jack Carr,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Terminal List as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'With a particular line in authentic tradecraft, this fabulously unrelenting thrill-ride was a struggle to put down' Mark Dawson, bestselling author of The Cleaner

James Reece has nothing to live for and everything to kill for in the debut thriller from former Navy SEAL Jack Carr, perfect for fans of Lee Child and David Baldacci.

On deployment in Afghanistan, Lieutenant Commander James Reece's entire team is killed in a catastrophic ambush. But the deaths don't stop there, and Reece soon discovers that this was not an act of war by a…

The Gray Man

By Mark Greaney,

Book cover of The Gray Man

Why did I love this book?

I enjoy reading from authors who roll up their sleeves and dive into the same situations they have their characters do.

That is Mark Greaney delivering The Gray Man. Greaney trains with military and law enforcement to better understand combat and field medicine to apply to his books, and it shows.

The Gray Man launches the series that follows Court Gentry, a covert operator who is blacklisted by the CIA. I particularly enjoyed the twist as Gentry finds himself on the opposite end of the scope as the target of would-be assassinations. His unique skills keep him ahead of the bullets and bombs intended for him as he piles up his own kill counts. 

By Mark Greaney,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Gray Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE FIRST GRAY MAN NOVEL FROM #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR MARK GREANEY - now a Netflix original film starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans

'Hard, fast, and unflinching-exactly what a thriller should be.' Lee Child

To those who lurk in the shadows, he's known as the Gray Man. He is a legend in the covert realm, moving silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible and then fading away. And he always hits his target.

But there are forces more lethal than Gentry in the world. Forces like money. And power. And there are men who hold these…

The Bourne Identity

By Robert Ludlum,

Book cover of The Bourne Identity

Why did I love this book?

Robert Ludlum is a master of spy craft.

I enjoy reading his Jason Bourne series as it does an excellent job of traversing story and character arcs. Bourne, is a spy who lost his memory and is fighting to piece together his very existence. The closer he gets, the more dangerous the stakes. 

Ludlum, in this book and throughout the series, feeds the Bourne and the reader little triumphs matched with losses and setbacks as Bourne closes in on the truth and his identity.

I enjoyed The Bourne Identity as I felt the desperation, confusion, and at times, anger as I flipped pages furiously trying to uncover the truth. 

By Robert Ludlum,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Bourne Identity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jason Bourne is back in the forthcoming major motion picture starring Matt Damon and Alicia Vikander. Go back to where it all began for Bourne in his first adventure - The Bourne Identity

He was dragged from the sea, his body riddled with bullets. There are a few clues: a frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the skin of his hip; evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face; strange things he says in his delirium, which could be code words. And a number on the film negative that leads to a bank account in Zurich, four million dollars, and…

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