The best “what if” books that will have you thinking “WTF”

William M. Hayes Author Of Save Him
By William M. Hayes

Who am I?

I love reading and writing "what if" stories. When I came up with the idea for my book, I thought, that's one whopper of an idea. Then I thought, how the heck will I pull this off? An elite military unit sent back in time to when Jesus walked the earth. And one of the members of the unit decides to save Christ. With that crazy concept, the result is my book Save Him, which has won seven writing awards as I write this. As a kid, I always tried to tell the best stories around the campfire, and I guess that's what I'm still trying to do now.

I wrote...

Save Him

By William M. Hayes,

Book cover of Save Him

What is my book about?

Save Him is a seven-time award-winning what-if novel that leaves readers on the edge of their seats.

The book involves a brilliant scientist who accidentally discovers time travel while working from a military base on a project designed to save wounded soldiers in the field. His sister, a nun, tells him that she has received a message from God telling him to go back in time to save Jesus from the cross. Crazy right? I love what-if novels and I’ve gone out of my way to give this one the biggest wow factor possible.

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The books I picked & why

The Road

By Cormac McCarthy,

Book cover of The Road

Why did I love this book?

What if the world as we know it came to an end? And what if you had a child to care for in this new merciless land? I'd just become a father when I picked up this book after hearing all the buzz about the novel. A story about a father and son traveling through an apocalyptic world: I read it in one night. The story is heartbreaking and unforgettable. And that's what great stories are supposed to do—they make you feel and bring out unexpected emotions. Author Cormac McCarthy is a master of doing just that.

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked The Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…


By Bob Springett,

Book cover of Bones

Why did I love this book?

What if the remains of Jesus Christ were discovered? What would happen to everyone involved in the archaeological discovery? And this premise is what makes for such an enticing read when it comes to Bones by Bob Springett. Everyone involved from a scientific, religious, and even a political point of view would have clashing opinions if the news got out about such a discovery. And Springett sets up all these scenarios amazingly. A terrific story by a very gifted author.

By Bob Springett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An archaeological dig in Palestine unearths a document. But this is a document with a difference! Could this be one of the eye-witness accounts' that Luke used when writing his Gospel?

Another dig finds two skeletons. Could one of these be the bones of Jesus of Nazareth?

Christians of all persuasions, Muslims, Israelis, archaeologists, atheist politicians, all try to bend the evidence to suit their own agendas. Conspiracy theories abound and war is imminent.

What is the truth here? Or is seeking the 'Truth' the most elusive agenda of them all?

The Outsider

By Stephen King,

Book cover of The Outsider

Why did I love this book?

What if a thing could replicate a living person and cause havoc on humans in a doppelgänger body? As with most King stories, you get the chills and thrills here. However, what readers don't talk enough about with King are his characters and why we care about them. And he's in top form here in not rehashing characters as some authors do—they are so unique and on point. 

A vintage King story. Very good.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town's popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man.

Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day.

As Anderson and the District Attorney trace the clues, the investigation expands from Ohio to Texas.…

Book cover of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Why did I love this book?

What if the next war in the world was against zombies? Did the book World War Z spark the interest again in zombie books, movies, and television series? Maybe. An agent from the United States government begins to gather information after the zombie plague. I really got into the narrative regarding the agent and the flashbacks—great premise and execution by author Max Brooks.

By Max Brooks,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked World War Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginning of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse.

Faced with a future of mindless man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the ten-year fight against the horde, World War Z brings the finest traditions of journalism to bear on what is…

One Second After

By William R. Forstchen,

Book cover of One Second After

Why did I love this book?

What if an EMP attack brought the world back to primitive times? How will people survive and interact? The story starts fast, and then it takes its time to reel you in—and it does. How people change and the circumstances to keep loved ones alive are depicted gracefully and horrifically by author William R. Forstchen. Such a good read. And the book will make you think about what it would be like if the world went dark.

By William R. Forstchen,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked One Second After as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A post-apocalyptic thriller of the after effects in the United States after a terrifying terrorist attack using electromagnetic pulse weapons.

New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real...a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages...A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies.

Months before…

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