78 books like First Blood

By David Morrell,

Here are 78 books that First Blood fans have personally recommended if you like First Blood. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Terminal List

Carl Michaelsen Author Of The Last of a Dying Breed

From my list on to bring on an airplane/vacation.

Why am I passionate about this?

If you’re at all like me, then finding time to sit down and read a book is incredibly challenging given how busy our everyday lives are. It seems like the only time I truly can dive into a book is on vacation. And so, all of the books I recommended I have either read on vacation or on an airplane. In my opinion, a good vacation book needs to be two things. It needs to be a quick read and it needs to be impossible to put down. When I sit down to write a book, I try to keep both of these in mind!

Carl's book list on to bring on an airplane/vacation

Carl Michaelsen Why did Carl love this book?

The ultimate thrill ride from start to finish, Jack Carr’s first novel following Navy Seal Commander James Reece is one to remember. I bought this book at the airport in Anaheim, California, and started reading while waiting for my flight. A few delays and a five-hour flight later I had finished the entire book. It is a fantastically written book, laced with complex characters, government, and corporate conspiracies, and reminds us all why you must always be wary of those closest to us.

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?

**SOON TO BE A TV SERIES STARRING CHRIS PRATT**

'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…


Book cover of Clear and Present Danger

M.H. Sargent Author Of Seven Days From Sunday

From my list on take you to a place you’ve never been with memorable characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had been a long-time screenwriter in March of 2003 when the US invaded Iraq with overwhelming air power, and the TV news showed footage of the “shock and awe.” But I remember thinking, what is it like for the Iraqi people? Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, your country is at war. What is your life now like? Seeking to focus on an ordinary Iraqi family caught up in the war, I soon realized it was too layered for a spec screenplay and wrote it as a novel. It was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. 

M.H.'s book list on take you to a place you’ve never been with memorable characters

M.H. Sargent Why did M.H. love this book?

In this novel, the US president needs a campaign issue, so he makes the Columbian cartels a “clear and present danger” and sends covert forces into that country.

I love that Clancy shows me two worlds that I don’t really know: the powerful American politicians who will do anything to stay in power and the inside workings of the Columbian cartels who deeply care about their families.

Published in 1989, Clancy dared to show US politicians eagerly using our military in covert missions to further their own political agenda and that they would also readily sacrifice those troops if it suited their political needs. In this way, he broke the glass ceiling that would later be followed by Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, and others. 

By Tom Clancy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Clear and Present Danger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don't Miss the Original Series Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan Starring John Krasinski!

In this #1 New York Times bestselling thriller from Tom Clancy, Jack Ryan gets caught in a war between the United States and a Colombian drug cartel and uncovers a shocking conspiracy.

When Colombian drug lords assassinate both the U.S. ambassador and the visiting head of the FBI, their actions trigger a covert response from the American government—a response that goes horribly wrong...

As the newly named Deputy Director of Intelligence for the CIA, Jack Ryan should be privy to operations like the one in Colombia, but he’s…


Book cover of Memorial Day

J.T. Brannan Author Of The Thousand Dollar Man

From my list on thrillers with fast-paced action scenes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a thriller author – and a former karate champion, bouncer, and soldier – and I’ve always loved action, both on the page and on the screen. My whole life, I’ve enjoyed books that deliver the same kind of visceral thrills as a blockbuster action movie. Pacing is the key here, and I feel that too many books can drag in places. And that’s why plotting is also so important – because you need a story that really hooks the reader in, to provide a reason for the action. This is what all the novels on my list accomplish so well, and also what I try and achieve in my own work.

J.T.'s book list on thrillers with fast-paced action scenes

J.T. Brannan Why did J.T. love this book?

My personal favorite of Vince Flynn’s action-packed Mitch Rapp series, this sees the CIA counter-terror agent foil a plot by al-Qaeda to detonate a stolen nuclear device in Washington D.C. Flynn knows how to write a rattling yarn, and the pace is frenetic, moving like a freight train towards its explosive climax – exactly how an action thriller should be.

By Vince Flynn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the CIA receives word about an upcoming terrorist attack, they immediately look towards their superagent Mitch Rapp to do whatever it takes to protect American lives in this “page-flipping extravaganza” (Publishers Weekly) from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Vince Flynn.

Just as Washington, DC, prepares for a grand Memorial Day tribute to the veterans of World War II, the CIA receives intelligence about a potential major terrorist attack. Racing to Afghanistan, Mitch Rapp leads a commando raid on an Al-Qaeda stronghold in a remote border village—and defuses plans for a nuclear strike on the nation’s capital. But…


Book cover of Where Eagles Dare

J.T. Brannan Author Of The Thousand Dollar Man

From my list on thrillers with fast-paced action scenes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a thriller author – and a former karate champion, bouncer, and soldier – and I’ve always loved action, both on the page and on the screen. My whole life, I’ve enjoyed books that deliver the same kind of visceral thrills as a blockbuster action movie. Pacing is the key here, and I feel that too many books can drag in places. And that’s why plotting is also so important – because you need a story that really hooks the reader in, to provide a reason for the action. This is what all the novels on my list accomplish so well, and also what I try and achieve in my own work.

J.T.'s book list on thrillers with fast-paced action scenes

J.T. Brannan Why did J.T. love this book?

MacLean wrote this novel at the same time he wrote the screenplay for the movie – starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood – and you can tell; it’s almost like seeing a movie on the page. This is also how I try and write my action sequences – I want the reader to visualize everything, and feel that same kinetic sensation that you get from the cinema. MacLean achieves this beautifully with this classic novel, but not only does he sell us the action scenes, he also has a fantastic plot that keeps the audience engaged even when the bullets aren’t flying.

By Alistair MacLean,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classic World War II thriller from the acclaimed master of action and suspense.

Winter 1943, and US General Carnaby has been captured by the Nazis. He is being held in a fortress high in the Bavarian Alps. headquarters of the German Secret Service, and in his head are plans for the invasion of Normandy.

A special team of British commandos, a US Army ranger and a female secret agent is hurriedly assembled. Their mission: parachute into the area, break in to the alpine Castle, and rescue General Carnaby before the Germans can interrogate him.

But unknown to all, there…


Book cover of The Drifter

Cam Torrens Author Of Stable: Someone is Taking Them...

From my list on suspense about veterans solving problems as civilians.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I retired from the service, I wanted to be done with big decisions and just focus on family. I’d had enough war-zone drama. I’m drawn to stories where the veteran finds he/she just can’t do that. My protagonist in my debut, Stable deals with this. He’s overcome so much…the loss of his son, the loss of an aircrew, and years of depression. Now that he’s “back,” he just wants to lead a normal life. I wanted to show you can pull the veteran from the battlefield, but it’s hard to quell his or her desire to continue to serve—and the inherent conflict of service before self or family remains.

Cam's book list on suspense about veterans solving problems as civilians

Cam Torrens Why did Cam love this book?

I highly recommend Nick Petrie's The Drifter and his follow-on books in the series.

The protagonist, Peter Ash, struggles with the debilitating effects of PTSD. Despite his desire to escape from society, he finds himself drawn back into it after the suicide of a fellow Marine. As he helps the man's widow with home repairs, Ash stumbles upon a shocking discovery that thrusts him back into a society filled with deceit and intrigue.

What makes this novel stand out is Petrie's sensitive and deep portrayal of Ash's struggle with PTSD. Ash's experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have left him haunted by memories and struggling to adjust to civilian life. His white static, which he describes as a buzzing claustrophobia, is a constant reminder of the trauma he's endured.

But, as the reader will discover, Ash is a remarkably resilient character who is determined to do what's right—regardless of his personal…

By Nick Petrie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first explosive thriller featuring Peter Ash, a veteran who finds that the demons of war aren’t easily left behind...

“Lots of characters get compared to my own Jack Reacher, but Petrie’s Peter Ash is the real deal.”—Lee Child

Peter Ash came home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with only one souvenir: what he calls his “white static,” the buzzing claustrophobia due to post-traumatic stress that has driven him to spend a year roaming in nature, sleeping under the stars.

But when a friend from the Marines commits suicide, Ash returns to civilization to help the man’s widow…


Book cover of Without Sanction

T. R. Hendricks Author Of The Instructor

From my list on thrillers that capture and bring awareness to PTSD.

Why am I passionate about this?

My therapeutic journey with PTSD has been a long and bumpy road that I still work through to this day, close to fifteen years now. Given the silent suffering that so many go through, I feel that the more we talk about and advocate for seeking help the more people we can save. The common thread with my picks is resiliency. The characters face their symptoms and don’t give in to them. If a thriller novel can reach someone because they identify with the struggles discussed in the pages, then maybe that book can be the bridge to them finally getting the help they need.

T. R.'s book list on thrillers that capture and bring awareness to PTSD

T. R. Hendricks Why did T. R. love this book?

A former Apache helicopter pilot with multiple deployments under his belt, Don combines his, “been there, done that” with, “write what you know.”

Fans of relentless action and adrenaline should not pass up on Bentley’s Matt Drake series. Or his Jack Ryan Jr. books carrying on the Tom Clancy legacy. Or the next installment of the Mitch Rapp series as he takes over for Vince Flynn’s legacy. Seriously, Don is a busy man. 

In Without Sanction, Bentley’s protagonist experiences both mental and physical manifestations of PTSD, but it’s Don’s description of survivor’s guilt that is truly chilling in its accuracy and moving in its portrayal.

As you read the account of what Drake now has to live with, what he wrestles with on a daily basis, it brings about in the reader a sense of foreboding as close to the real thing as you might imagine.

Only those who…

By Don Bentley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Without Sanction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After surviving a clandestine operation that went tragically wrong, Matt Drake escaped Syria with his life, but little else. Now, to save the life of another, he must return to Syria and confront his biggest failure in a debut thriller Lee Child calls "sensationally good."

Defense Intelligence Agency operative Matt Drake broke a promise. A promise that cost three people their lives and crippled his best friend. Three months later, he's paralyzed by survivor's guilt and haunted by the memories of the fallen. Matt may have left Syria, but Syria hasn't left him.

In the midst of his self-imposed exile,…


Book cover of Sleeping Bear

T. R. Hendricks Author Of The Instructor

From my list on thrillers that capture and bring awareness to PTSD.

Why am I passionate about this?

My therapeutic journey with PTSD has been a long and bumpy road that I still work through to this day, close to fifteen years now. Given the silent suffering that so many go through, I feel that the more we talk about and advocate for seeking help the more people we can save. The common thread with my picks is resiliency. The characters face their symptoms and don’t give in to them. If a thriller novel can reach someone because they identify with the struggles discussed in the pages, then maybe that book can be the bridge to them finally getting the help they need.

T. R.'s book list on thrillers that capture and bring awareness to PTSD

T. R. Hendricks Why did T. R. love this book?

I also said of Sullivan’s Sleeping Bear, “This guy gets it.”

In particular, Connor captures the internal, psychological symptoms of PTSD with his protagonist Cassie Gale, an Army veteran that experiences a soul-shattering trauma.

As a result, Gale withdraws into herself, isolates and seeks solitude away from all her friends and family, and misleads people on her wellbeing, mental state, and readjustment after the event. 

What I found particularly intriguing about Sullivan’s debut novel was the dual aspect of both Cassie’s symptoms, and that of the buried emotions and memories of her dad.

As the plot unfolds and Cassie’s father Jim is pulled into the story, he experiences his own psychological symptoms as events from his service are recollected, all while wrestling with the undeniable panic of a parent worried sick over the fate of their child.

I again was surprised to learn that Connor wasn’t a veteran, as…

By Connor Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE BARRY AWARD FOR BEST FIRST MYSTERY/CRIME NOVEL

"Sleeping Bear is...one of those rare novels that keeps getting better and better and better. Remember the author's name-Connor Sullivan." -James Patterson

A former Army veteran seeking solitude in the Alaskan wilderness after her husband's death finds herself a pawn in a deadly game with Russia in this white-knuckled and "heart-stopping thrill ride" (Chris Hauty, author of Deep State).

After her young husband's untimely death, Army veteran Cassie Gale decides to take a few days of solitude in the Alaskan wilderness before she starts her new job. But when she…


Book cover of The Guilty One

T. R. Hendricks Author Of The Instructor

From my list on thrillers that capture and bring awareness to PTSD.

Why am I passionate about this?

My therapeutic journey with PTSD has been a long and bumpy road that I still work through to this day, close to fifteen years now. Given the silent suffering that so many go through, I feel that the more we talk about and advocate for seeking help the more people we can save. The common thread with my picks is resiliency. The characters face their symptoms and don’t give in to them. If a thriller novel can reach someone because they identify with the struggles discussed in the pages, then maybe that book can be the bridge to them finally getting the help they need.

T. R.'s book list on thrillers that capture and bring awareness to PTSD

T. R. Hendricks Why did T. R. love this book?

The one book on my list that doesn’t involve a military veteran, The Guilty One isn’t that much of an outlier as the protagonist is a law enforcement officer.

I thought it important to include amongst my picks not only for the PTSD symptoms present and expertly portrayed by Schweigart, but also for the reminder that a PTSD diagnosis is not relegated to veterans alone.

Military, first responders, and civilians alike that are exposed to and suffer from experiencing trauma are all susceptible to symptoms. PTSD doesn’t discriminate in who it affects. 

What I really liked about Bill’s take was how he incorporated the well-documented physiological effect of the brain’s ability to protect the host in response to trauma.

In the case of his protagonist Cal Farrell, who is the first officer to respond to an active shooter event, he comes upon a scene so horrible that his mind closes…

By Bill Schweigart,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Guilty One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A hero cop thwarts a brutal murder and can’t remember a thing about it. But memories return—and so do the nightmares in this breathlessly paced thriller for fans of David Ricciardi and Michael Connelly.

Every town needs a hero—and Detective Cal Farrell fits the bill. He stopped an active shooter six months earlier, and now he’s become the darling of the Alexandria press. The problem is that Cal remembers nothing from that day. He’s working with a psychiatrist to recover his memories, but hasn’t had much luck.

Then, on one of his morning runs, he is once again the first…


Book cover of The Love That Split the World

Isabel Strychacz Author Of Starling

From my list on capturing the magic of small towns.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a small town myself and have always loved books that create characters from the setting. I want to feel immersed and captivated by the place, as well as the people and stories within the pages. The setting of an eerie small town is one of my favorites, because of the feeling that anything magical or mysterious could happen there. My book Starling takes place in a strange small town where odd things are everyday occurrences. There are many books that use small towns as setting for a speculative story, but these are some of my favorites!

Isabel's book list on capturing the magic of small towns

Isabel Strychacz Why did Isabel love this book?

This book is small town Americana at its best—and at its strangest, and most magical. It reflects on the bittersweet moments after high school in a rural Kentucky town. When our main character starts seeing strange things that aren’t really there (or are they?) and she meets a mysterious boy, her entire future may change forever. It’s like a surrealist Friday Night Lights, full of heart and destiny and the paths not taken.

By Emily Henry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Love That Split the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Natalie's last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start...until she starts seeing the "wrong things." They're just momentary glimpses at first - her front door is red instead of its usual green, there's a pre- school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn't right. That's when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls "Grandmother," who tells her: "You have three months to save him." The next night, under the stadium…


Book cover of How the West Was Lost: The Transformation of Kentucky from Daniel Boone to Henry Clay

Melanie Beals Goan Author Of A Simple Justice: Kentucky Women Fight for the Vote

From my list on Kentucky history.

Why am I passionate about this?

When students ask me if I am from Kentucky, I say “no, but I got here as quickly as I could.”  I chose to make the state my home and raise my family here, and I have studied its history for nearly three decades.  I am drawn to Kentucky’s story and the paradox it represents: on one hand, you have the Derby, rolling hills and pastures, and fine bourbon, but set against that polished, sophisticated image are the stereotypes of a lawless, illiterate, poor state.  As a borderland, not quite north or south, east or west, Kentucky offers a fascinating lens through which to view the nation’s history.    

Melanie's book list on Kentucky history

Melanie Beals Goan Why did Melanie love this book?

Ever since John Filson wrote the first history of the state in 1784, the Kentucky frontier has captured the public’s imagination. Aron goes beyond heroic accounts and stories of triumph to understand how egalitarian aims and the sense that the West could become a “good poor man’s country” failed to pan out for so many. The west did not become the land of opportunity for Native Americans or slaves, nor did it provide a fresh start for many poor white men and women. Two iconic figures, Boone and Clay, serve as familiar bookends, neatly framing Aron’s story and tying their worlds to the one we recognize today.

By Stephen Aron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How the West Was Lost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eighteenth-century Kentucky was a place where Indian and European cultures collided-and, surprisingly, coincided. But this mixed world did not last, and it eventually gave way to nineteenth-century commercial and industrial development. How the West Was Lost tracks the overlapping conquest, colonization, and consolidation of the trans-Appalachian frontier. Not a story of paradise lost, this is a book about possibilities lost. It focuses on the common ground between Indians and backcountry settlers which was not found, the frontier customs that were not perpetuated, the lands that were not distributed equally, the slaves who were not emancipated, the agrarian democracy that was…


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