100 books like The Hunt for Red October

By Tom Clancy,

Here are 100 books that The Hunt for Red October fans have personally recommended if you like The Hunt for Red October. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

Merle Nygate Author Of The Righteous Spy

From my list on spy books that spies read and sometimes wrote themselves.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written and script edited in a lot of different genres, from factual drama to sitcom, children’s TV to fantasy. I’ve always loved spy stories, and I’ve always wanted to write one. Recently, at the University of East Anglia I studied for an MA in Crime Fiction, and that’s where I finally got the chance to study espionage and write a spy novel myself. I hope you enjoy my selection of books if you haven’t already read them. Or even if you have. They’re all so good that I feel like re-reading them right now. 

Merle's book list on spy books that spies read and sometimes wrote themselves

Merle Nygate Why did Merle love this book?

A gem of a book and another one that I read again and again. It’s not just the wonderful writing and the moody atmosphere; I love the way that le Carré explores the moral ambiguity in spying during this early part of the Cold War.

I read an interview in which le Carré talked about the pleasure of secrecy and enjoying the feeling that you know something that others don’t. I get that "I’ve got a secret" idea and I’ve used that thought in my own work. Le Carré was also a spy.

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Spy Who Came in From the Cold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Our Kind of Traitor; and The Night Manager, now a television series starring Tom Hiddleston.

The 50th-anniversary edition of the bestselling novel that launched John le Carre's career worldwide

In the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse-a desk job-Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered…


Book cover of Point of Impact

James Tarr Author Of Bestiarii

From my list on technically accurate thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For people who know something about a technical field, there is nothing that can ruin a book or movie faster than inaccuracies about that field. I’ve worked as an armored car driver, police officer, and private investigator in and around Detroit, and have been writing for outdoor magazines for close to twenty years, so not only do I know a lot about the featured subjects/characters of most thrillers, I care about how accurately they’re portrayed, and have brought that passion to my writing. I’ve written five thrillers set in Detroit, many of them featuring a private investigator, and when writing Bestiarii and its sequels did extensive research on dinosaurs.

James' book list on technically accurate thrillers

James Tarr Why did James love this book?

What Tom Clancy did for submarines with The Hunt For Red October, Stephen Hunter did with rifles and long-range shooting in Point of Impact, which was made into the movie Shooter with Mark Wahlberg in addition to a cable TV show of the same name. 

Hunter had already proven himself a talented thriller writer when he penned Point of Impact, but the excellent plot (a famous Vietnam sniper framed for an assassination by a shadowy conspiracy) combined with never-before-seen firearms technical detail that enhanced rather than bogged down the story made this novel a huge success and catapulted Hunter to the A-list.  

By Stephen Hunter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bob Lee Swagger is one of the best snipers in the world, but he is about to be set up. In 1963, RamDyne, the illegal sub-agency linked to the CIA, framed Lee Harvey Oswald for J.F. Kennedy's assassination. Now the FBI and RamDyne are after Bob as the potential assassin of the President.


Book cover of The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

Kevin Davies Author Of Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing

From my list on CRISPR and genome editing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a British science editor and author of a string of books on the scientific, medical, and social implications of advances in genetics research. I trained as a geneticist but found more personal satisfaction wielding a pen rather than a pipette. I’m especially drawn to science stories that have medical implications for the public and a strong narrative thread. Prior to writing Editing Humanity, I covered the race for the BRCA1 breast cancer gene (Breakthrough), the Human Genome Project (Cracking the Genome), and the rise of personal genomics (The $1,000 Genome). I’m currently writing a biography of sickle cell disease, arguably the most famous genetic mutation in human history.

Kevin's book list on CRISPR and genome editing

Kevin Davies Why did Kevin love this book?

I have seldom read a book with as much zeal as The Code Breaker, written by the famous biographer and historian, Walter Isaacson, whom I’d met on the CRISPR conference circuit.

Isaacson focuses on Doudna’s life and science, but also introduces the reader to a large cast of characters, including Doudna’s former colleague and fellow Nobelist, Emmanuelle Charpentier. He even has a crack at running a CRISPR experiment himself.

The success of this book has likely done more than anything to educate the public on the transformative promise of CRISPR.

By Walter Isaacson,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Code Breaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The best-selling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns.

In 2012, Nobel Prize winning scientist Jennifer Doudna hit upon an invention that will transform the future of the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA.

Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions. It has already been deployed to cure deadly diseases, fight the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, and make inheritable changes in the genes of babies.

But what does that mean for humanity? Should we be hacking our own DNA to make us less susceptible to disease? Should…


The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

By John Winn Miller,

Book cover of The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

John Winn Miller

New book alert!

What is my book about?

The Hunt for the Peggy C is best described as Casablanca meets Das Boot. It is about an American smuggler who struggles to rescue a Jewish family on his rusty cargo ship, outraging his mutinous crew of misfits and provoking a hair-raising chase by a brutal Nazi U-boat captain bent on revenge.

During the nerve-wracking 3,000-mile escape, Rogers falls in love with the family’s eldest daughter, Miriam, a sweet medical student with a militant streak. Everything seems hopeless when Jake is badly wounded, and Miriam must prove she’s as tough as her rhetoric to put down a mutiny by some of Jake’s fed-up crew–just as the U-boat closes in for the kill.

The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

By John Winn Miller,

What is this book about?

John Winn Miller's THE HUNT FOR THE PEGGY C, a semifinalist in the Clive Cussler Adventure Writers Competition, captures the breathless suspense of early World War II in the North Atlantic. Captain Jake Rogers, experienced in running his tramp steamer through U-boat-infested waters to transport vital supplies and contraband to the highest bidder, takes on his most dangerous cargo yet after witnessing the oppression of Jews in Amsterdam: a Jewish family fleeing Nazi persecution.

The normally aloof Rogers finds himself drawn in by the family's warmth and faith, but he can't afford to let his guard down when Oberleutnant Viktor…


Book cover of Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II

James Lindholm Author Of Calypso Down

From my list on ocean adventures, both real and imagined.

Why am I passionate about this?

The two constants in my life to date have been ocean exploration by day and reading epic adventures by night. As a Ph.D. marine scientist, I’ve had the incredible good fortune to travel the world conducting marine science research, work which to date has resulted in forty-two research articles and a textbook. But as much as I’ve enjoyed conducting the research, communicating about the sea has been even more engaging, taking me to the White House, both houses of Congress, and many countries around the world. And perhaps best of all, I’ve been able to couple my love of stories with my own research experience to produce four adventure novels. 

James' book list on ocean adventures, both real and imagined

James Lindholm Why did James love this book?

I love this book despite the incredible discomfort I experience every time I read it.

Diving in the cold waters of the North Atlantic on a good day is no picnic. But diving deep into the wreck of a mystery U-boat, not knowing if you are going to come out? Epic.

I just recently listened to the Audible book while driving back from an undersea research project in a van filled with young scientific divers. The climax had us all squirming in our seats!

By Robert Kurson,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Shadow Divers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller 

In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery–and make history themselves.

For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.
But in the…


Book cover of The Lincoln Lawyer

Vish Dhamija Author Of Bhendi Bazaar

From my list on crime fiction books to complete your MBA in murder.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wear so many hats that if I murdered you, you wouldn’t know which one of me struck. I am a crime fiction writer, a producer, a public speaker, and an entrepreneur. I have to admit I am an accidental writer who wanted to leave a legacy behind and, ergo, wrote a book in 2010. But I found writing crime fiction so addictive I became a serial killer…err…writer. In my spare time, I read—spoiler alert!—crime fiction and binge-watch crime shows. I am an avid golfer, I love music and traveling, and I find something in the sound of water that encourages me to write and murder a few more people (fictionally, of course).

Vish's book list on crime fiction books to complete your MBA in murder

Vish Dhamija Why did Vish love this book?

I wouldn’t lie; I love legal thrillers. And Michael Connelly is a crime-writing genius. The book is titled The Lincoln Lawyer because Mickey Haller, a criminal lawyer, works out of the back seat of a chauffeur-driven Lincoln.

In this first book by Connelly featuring Mickey, he has raised the bar for all legal thrillers to come. He puts Mickey, the lawyer, at the centre of the story as someone who is hoodwinked into accepting a case that can destroy him. Mickey has to run with his arms tied behind his back. Talk about being stuck between the Devil and his mother. 

A brilliant story and a fantastic trial—both in and out of the courtroom. 

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Lincoln Lawyer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

They're called Lincoln Lawyers: the bottom of the legal food chain, the criminal defence attorneys who operate out of the back of a Lincoln car, travelling between the courthouses of Los Angeles county to take whatever cases the system throws in their path.

Mickey Haller has been in the business a long time, and he knows just how to work it, how to grease the right wheels and palms, to keep the engine of justice working in his favour. When a Beverly Hills rich boy is arrested for brutally beating a woman, Haller has his first high-paying client in years.…


Book cover of Killing Floor

Maurice Holloway Author Of Steal a Diamond

From my list on detective books with the most memorable protagonist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for writing, and whenever I can, I try to help new writers improve their expertise so that one day they’ll complete their first book. My first book, born from a few-hundred-word short story at my writing group, turned into a three-book thriller series called FAVOURS. Since then, I’ve branched out by publishing a rom/com, a humorous ghost story as well as a standalone thriller. Agatha Christie published her first book as the result of a dare, which proves you can do it if you really want to.

Maurice's book list on detective books with the most memorable protagonist

Maurice Holloway Why did Maurice love this book?

This was Lee Child’s first Jack Reacher novel written after leaving a lengthy career in television. I read it years before I got the writing bug. Along with the rest of the world, I loved Reacher from the outset, a no-nonsense ex-US Army military policeman. A loner who believes in justice, he freewheels around America, walking into trouble and bumping into people with problems that he helps to solve. He’s a big man you can’t forget or miss; Reacher is six feet five.

I knew the theme was familiar, but the character was original, exciting, and tough. Frequently called hardboiled, Reacher hurts people if he has to, sometimes has to kill the ones who want him dead, but he’s a man you want on your side. He doesn’t pussyfoot around. He gets things done. A genuine hero.

I found, like the man, that the writing was sharp, tight, and concise.…

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Killing Floor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He's just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he's arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Reacher knows is that he didn't kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn't stand a chance of convincing anyone. Not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.


Book cover of The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour

Becky Van Vleet Author Of Unintended Hero

From my list on our greatest generation: heroes from World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m passionate about sharing our family stories for the next generations. Everyone has a story. They are powerful and we bond through them. As a baby boomer, I’m especially ardent about preserving WWII stories. So much so that I wrote a book, Unintended Hero, about my father’s experiences and battles aboard his ship, the USS Denver, in WWII. These first-hand account stories, not found in classroom history books, must be preserved. I believe we owe a debt of gratitude to the Greatest Generation, whose sacrifices have made our nation what it is today, and I enjoy speaking to high school students about the Greatest Generation’s zealous patriotism.

Becky's book list on our greatest generation: heroes from World War II

Becky Van Vleet Why did Becky love this book?

A very compelling and action-filled account of the naval military in WWII in the South Pacific, I appreciated Hornfischer's excellent research.

He not only includes background information about the construction of the ships, but adds accurate personal details of specific sailors. The harrowing scenes are riveting, especially knowing they actually took place. The author describes the incredible battle of Samar like no other.

The Greatest Generation sailors demonstrate their courage and patriotism beyond description, and I believe you’ll admire them even more after reading this book.

By James D. Hornfischer,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.”

With these words, Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Copeland addressed the crew of the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts on the morning of October 25, 1944, off the Philippine Island of Samar. On the horizon loomed the mightiest ships of the Japanese navy, a massive fleet that represented the last hope of a staggering empire. All that stood between it and Douglas MacArthur’ s vulnerable invasion force were the Roberts and the other small ships of a tiny American…


Book cover of A Perfect Spy

Curtis C. Chen Author Of Waypoint Kangaroo

From my list on spy books that show how and why we spy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong science fiction fan, and that genre has proved to be a potent gateway to others: espionage thrillers, fantasy horror, category romance, and more. “Spy-fi” in particular has always fascinated me, since it often deals with the intersection (sometimes collision) of new technologies with age-old human needs and wants. And spies operate in the margins and gray areas of society, basically committing crimes while still claiming to be in the service of a greater good. Sometimes HOW and WHY we do things is just as important as WHAT we’re doing.

Curtis' book list on spy books that show how and why we spy

Curtis C. Chen Why did Curtis love this book?

So, yeah, I saved the big gun for last. I read a lot of Le Carré in high school before I was ready to understand the full texture of his stories, but the vibes have stuck with me to this day.

Magnus Pym both embodies and subverts many tropes from the spy fiction genre, and experiencing this book as a teenager helped me start to make sense of the very personal real-world tensions between “who I am” and “who I appear to be” and “who I want to be.”

I still wrestle with those questions, but my reasons for doing or not doing things haven’t changed all that much. As a wise woman once said: “That’s how we’re going to win. Not fighting what we hate. Saving what we love.”

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Perfect Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"The best English novel since the war." -- Philip Roth

Over the course of his seemingly irreproachable life, Magnus Pym has been all things to all people: a devoted family man, a trusted colleague, a loyal friend-and the perfect spy. But in the wake of his estranged father's death, Magnus vanishes, and the British Secret Service is up in arms. Is it grief, or is the reason for his disappearance more sinister? And who is the mysterious man with the sad moustache who also seems to be looking for Magnus?

In A Perfect Spy, John le Carre has crafted one…


Book cover of Gorky Park

James Tarr Author Of Bestiarii

From my list on technically accurate thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For people who know something about a technical field, there is nothing that can ruin a book or movie faster than inaccuracies about that field. I’ve worked as an armored car driver, police officer, and private investigator in and around Detroit, and have been writing for outdoor magazines for close to twenty years, so not only do I know a lot about the featured subjects/characters of most thrillers, I care about how accurately they’re portrayed, and have brought that passion to my writing. I’ve written five thrillers set in Detroit, many of them featuring a private investigator, and when writing Bestiarii and its sequels did extensive research on dinosaurs.

James' book list on technically accurate thrillers

James Tarr Why did James love this book?

As a child of the eighties I grew up in the Cold War, where the Soviet Union was the enemy…but most Americans didn’t know anything about it. 

Gorky Park peeled back the curtain on the day-to-day lives of a few not-so-average Russians. The hugely successful novel features Moscow policeman Arkady Renko investigating a murder that has international repercussions. This novel opened a window into a foreign world that few people in the West had ever seen—in addition to being very smartly written. 

Even today this novel is fascinating, and it spawned half a dozen more sequels starring Renko.

By Martin Cruz Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Don't miss the latest book in the Arkady Renko series, THE SIBERIAN DILEMMA by Martin Cruz Smith, 'the master of the international thriller' (New York Times) - available to order now!

THE NOVEL THAT STARTED IT ALL - ARKADY RENKO NOVEL #1

'One of those writers that anyone who is serious about their craft views with respect bordering on awe' Val McDermid

'Makes tension rise through the page like a shark's fin' Independent

***
Three bodies found frozen in the snow. And the hunt for the killer begins...

It begins with a triple murder in a Moscow amusement center: three…


Book cover of The Complete Hammer's Slammers

Nathan W. Toronto Author Of Rise of Ahrik

From my list on military science fiction and fantasy by veterans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I care about military SFF because it has the potential to contribute to a just and prosperous society by building bridges of understanding between military professionals and civilians. I've never served in the military, but I taught operations and strategy to US Army officers for six years, after which I went to Abu Dhabi as one of the founding faculty members of the UAE National Defense College. I wrote a book, How Militaries Learn, which is one of the few academic books on civil-military relations to use large-n statistical analysis. I’ve lived in ten countries and I speak four languages, including Arabic.

Nathan's book list on military science fiction and fantasy by veterans

Nathan W. Toronto Why did Nathan love this book?

Drake served in an armor unit in Southeast Asia in the 1970s, so it’s no coincidence that Hammer’s Slammers, a collection of short stories, revolves around a tank unit. So many military SFF stories focus on knuckle-dragging ground-pounders, so it’s refreshing to see war from a tank turret. Drake has been accused of writing gun porn, but I find a lot of nuance in his writing, especially on combat motivation and small-unit leadership. He was one of the first military SFF authors to write an openly gay character, and women fight right alongside men without the misogynistic or objectifying undertones that sometimes afflict the subgenre. To get a sense for Drake’s writing, “But Loyal to His Own” and “Caught in the Crossfire” are two of my favorite stories.

By David Drake,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Complete Hammer's Slammers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling series that rocketed David Drake to Military Science Fiction stardom is collected in this first of three volumes.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in submarines, intelligence agency, and the CIA?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about submarines, intelligence agency, and the CIA.

Submarines Explore 35 books about submarines
Intelligence Agency Explore 119 books about intelligence agency
The CIA Explore 123 books about the CIA