100 books like The Guilty One

By Bill Schweigart,

Here are 100 books that The Guilty One fans have personally recommended if you like The Guilty One. 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 First Blood

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 that started it all.

Prior to being officially recognized, PTSD went by many names. Shell shock for World War I. Combat fatigue/exhaustion in World War II. Vietnam Veterans suffering after returning home were diagnosed with Vietnam syndrome or Post-Vietnam syndrome.

Morrell’s story and the subsequent film adaptation are the earliest recollections I have of a thriller novel and action movie incorporating, and accurately portraying, PTSD in veterans. 

As a boy I loved the story of Rambo and the movie franchise. It’s what fueled my desire to become a Green Beret, and although I never made it into Special Forces, I still proudly served my country. It wasn’t until coming back from Iraq that First Blood really resonated with me on a whole new level.

Morrell paints acute and gripping depictions of what so many Vietnam Veterans experienced; homelessness, aimlessness, joblessness, the inability to reintegrate, flashbacks, anger, resentment, and…

By David Morrell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?



From New York Times bestselling author, David Morrell, comes a classic thriller that introduced the character of Rambo, one of the most iconic action heroes of the twentieth century.

Called “the father of the modern action novel,” FIRST BLOOD changed the genre. Although the book and the film adaptation have similarities, they are very different, especially its unexpected ending and its greater intensity.If you’ve only experienced the film, you’re in for a surprise.

Once they were soldiers. Rambo, the ragged kid whose presence in town is considered a threat. And Teasle, the Chief of Police of Madison, Kentucky. Both have…


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 Clementine's Shadow

Max China Author Of The Night of The Mosquito

From my list on serial killers to stay with you long after you’ve read them.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fascinated by American True Crime magazines from an early age. I used to buy them with my pocket money from a second-hand bookstore near my home. I graduated to reading novels by the age of ten, sneaking my father’s book collection into my bedroom one at a time to read after lights out. His books covered everything from The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins to The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley. By seventeen, I promised myself I’d write a novel one day. Most of my books are crime themed with a supernatural flavour. My debut, The Sister was published in 2013 and since then I’ve completed three more novels and several short stories.

Max's book list on serial killers to stay with you long after you’ve read them

Max China Why did Max love this book?

A great debut novel that slowly picks up pace as we get to know the local characters. When a young girl disappears from a fair, Casey, a female cop suffering from PTSD, is called in to pick up the trail of a spooky suspect who calls his victims Dollies. I loved the way the tensions ramp up until the book becomes unputdownable. 

By Peggy Rothschild,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Clementine's Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“If you like Harlan Coben novels you will definitely be happy with this read.”
“A great read for mystery fans. Loved it!”
“I stayed up much too late to finish it because I didn't want to put it down.”

After moving to the California High Desert for a new start, Deputy Casey Lang faces a hard truth: She must work through her fear of shooting another child or kiss her career goodbye. The disappearance of a six-year-old girl from a summer concert in the park puts Casey's resolve to the test. The only member of the force with experience working…


Book cover of The Imaginary Corpse

Sarah J. Sover Author Of Fairy Godmurder

From my list on dicks in urban fantasy (detectives, that is).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Sarah J. Sover, and I adore smashing genres together, especially when there’s magic involved. My first book, Double-Crossing the Bridge, is a comedic fantasy about drunk trolls pulling a suicidal heist, and my new release, Fairy Godmurder is like Jessica Jones with sparkle. The novels are wildly different from each other, but they both exist in the crime-fantasy sphere, where I can delve deep into character motivations, explore wrongs in the world through a fantastical lens, and play with well-loved tropes, inverting and subverting in unexpected ways. I love that this is a growing genre, and I hope I get an influx of suggestions added to my own TBR tower because of this list!

Sarah's book list on dicks in urban fantasy (detectives, that is)

Sarah J. Sover Why did Sarah love this book?

There is nothing else in the world like The Imaginary Corpse. Tippy is a stuffed triceratops detective trapped in the Stillreal after he is no longer needed. But there’s a serial killer targeting imaginary friends, and Tippy must work through his trauma to save the Stillreal. This book is somehow both dark and warm—like a needed hug after a traumatic experience. Anyone who suffers from PTSD should give it a shot. Or anyone who just likes a completely unique story.

By Tyler Hayes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Most ideas fade away when we're done with them. Some we love enough to become Real. But what about the ones we love, and walk away from?

Tippy the triceratops was once a little girl's imaginary friend, a dinosaur detective who could help her make sense of the world. But when her father died, Tippy fell into the Stillreal, the underbelly of the Imagination, where discarded ideas go when they're too Real to disappear.

Now, he passes time doing detective work for other unwanted ideas - until Tippy runs into The Man in the Coat, a nightmare monster who can…


Book cover of Play Dead for Me

Roxie Key Author Of The Deadly Spark

From my list on strong kick ass female lead characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, most books seemed to feature strong and adventurous boys but rarely were the female characters cast in the same roles. Remember Anne in the Famous Five? Bless her. Even non-gendered animal characters in books were almost always called ‘he.’ And, as I look for books to empower my daughter, I’m so happy to see that things are moving in the right direction. Nowadays, I actively seek out books that feature strong female leads, which, thankfully, are many in the crime fiction world. These are just five of my favorites, but there are so many to choose from!

Roxie's book list on strong kick ass female lead characters

Roxie Key Why did Roxie love this book?

I was thrilled to stumble upon another brilliant female detective series, and I zipped through this twisty little number in two days! When a woman is found hanging in her Dublin home, all signs point to suicide. Enter DCS Frankie Sheehan, a detective with a sharp eye, a potty mouth, and an innate ability to climb inside the heads of the victims. She’s brilliant!

Suffering from PTSD driven by a vicious attack during a previous investigation, Frankie soon learns that the lines between killer and victim are becoming increasingly blurred. This atmospheric and immersive police procedural just blew me away. Olivia's writing style is compelling and absorbing, with a strong sense of setting and characters I will never forget.

By Olivia Kiernan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Play Dead for Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This novel was previously published as Too Close to Breathe.

Perfect for fans of Tana French, Jane Casey and Gillian Flynn

'Truly first class. Just knock-out' C. J Tudor, author of The Chalk Man
'Fantastic . . . Compelling, chilling and brilliant' Karen Hamilton, author of The Perfect Girlfriend
'Mesmerizing . . . murder, betrayal, and secret lives . . . Everything you need in a great thriller' Lisa Gardner, author When You See Me

Respected scientist Dr Eleanor Costello is found hanged in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.

DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed…


Book cover of Mental Health Effects of Covid-19

Sharon L. Cohen Author Of Disaster Mental Health Community Planning: A Manual for Trauma-Informed Collaboration

From my list on helping individuals respond to traumatic events.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sometimes you need to search for the next roads to take in your life; other times these roads approach you. I was looking for new ways to use my long-term communication and mental health advocacy skills and then, sadly, the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. I immediately wanted to help community members ease their pain and assist cities nationwide to greatly improve their disaster mental health response. I never expected a pandemic would arrive only two months after I published, making my book all the more important. Now climate change is exacerbating our already stressful times, and we must act to stem mental health issues before they become out of hand.  

Sharon's book list on helping individuals respond to traumatic events

Sharon L. Cohen Why did Sharon love this book?

This comprehensive book provides information on the impact of COVID worldwide as it is currently understood, so future researchers will have a basis for comparison. The book’s authors address factors such as lockdowns, job loss, grief, and uncertainty that have led to depression, distress, anxiety, and PTSD. Also covered is how different world populations as refugees, at-risk populations as the elderly and frail, and roles as parents have been both mentally and physically impacted. This information will help communities develop programs to help relieve mental health concerns and protect people against similar threats in years to come. The book also includes wellness activities like meditation that help reduce the negative effects of COVID on mental health.

By Ahmed A. Moustafa (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mental Health Effects of Covid-19 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The physical effects of COVID-19 are felt globally. However, one issue that has not been sufficiently addressed is the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens worldwide are enduring widespread lockdowns; children are out of school; and millions have lost their jobs, which has caused anxiety, depression, insomnia, and distress. Mental Health Effects of COVID-19 provides a comprehensive analysis of mental health problems resulting from COVID-19, including depression, suicidal thoughts and attempts, trauma, and PTSD. The book includes chapters detailing the impact of COVID-19 on the family's well-being and society dynamics. The book concludes with an…


Book cover of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Immaculata De Vivo Author Of The Biology of Kindness: Six Daily Choices for Health, Well-Being, and Longevity

From my list on the science behind our current behavior and health.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m reading books that are centered on science and behavior and health. After decades of research on the interplay between genes and the environment, I had a strong foothold on the genetic part, but I needed to understand the environment part to make any sense of it all. This research has broadened my horizons exponentially. We know that genes are immutable, for the most part… but parts of the genome are mutable—and we can shape our lifestyle/behavior to improve our health. 

Immaculata's book list on the science behind our current behavior and health

Immaculata De Vivo Why did Immaculata love this book?

Van der Kolk argues that trauma is one of the West’s most urgent public health issues. The trauma caused by childhood neglect, sexual or domestic abuse, and war wreaks havoc on our bodies.

Over time, traumatic stress is associated with lasting functional and chemical changes in the brain. But healing is still possible.

By Bessel Van Der Kolk,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Body Keeps the Score as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times bestseller

"Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding and treating traumatic stress and the scope of its impact on society." -Alexander McFarlane, Director of the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies

A pioneering researcher transforms our understanding of trauma and offers a bold new paradigm for healing in this New York Times bestseller

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der…


Book cover of Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

Donna Jenson Author Of Healing My Life: from Incest to Joy

From my list on pathways to healing from sexual abuse.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. Since 1998, I have encouraged them to find their voice and use it through my organization, Time To Tell. Being isolated is foundational to our experience, and our culture perpetuates the isolation by often refusing to address it, acknowledge it, or expose it, as well as not listening tonor believing–survivors. This forces us to remain silent. I am certain that telling is healing. I lead writing circles for survivors to experience community and get support and encouragement. I recommend all these books not only for the wisdom offered but also the direct experience of not being alone in the reading.

Donna's book list on pathways to healing from sexual abuse

Donna Jenson Why did Donna love this book?

This was by far the most essential book in supporting my healing. Reading it at age 45, eight years into my recovery, so many times Herman described the exact thing I was either going through or had to go through to recover.

Explaining that being abused in a family was like being a prisoner of war blew my mind. Like a POW, seven-year-old me couldn’t escape. She helped explain so much of my trauma, my reactions, and my struggle and gave me a mountain of hope to climb!

By Judith Lewis Herman,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Trauma and Recovery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Trauma and Recovery was first published in 1992, it was hailed as a ground-breaking work. In the intervening years, Herman's volume has changed the way we think about and treat traumatic events and trauma victims. In a new afterword, Herman chronicles the incredible response the book has elicited and explains how the issues surrounding the topic have shifted within the clinical community and the culture at large. Trauma and Recovery brings a new level of understanding to a set of problems usually considered individually. Herman draws on her own cutting-edge research in domestic violence as well as on the…


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