100 books like Without Sanction

By Don Bentley,

Here are 100 books that Without Sanction fans have personally recommended if you like Without Sanction. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ 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 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 Still Time To Die

John Maxwell Hamilton Author Of Journalism's Roving Eye: A History of American Foreign Reporting

From my list on by foreign correspondents.

Why am I passionate about this?

A large part of my career has been devoted to foreign affairs. Edgar Snow, Negley Farson, and others whom I read as a young man kindled my interest. I have reported from overseas and at one point developed a specialty in reporting connections between American communities and events overseas. I have published a number of foreign correspondents’ memoirs that were buried in achieves or have been out-of-print and ignored. Most recently I wrote a history of foreign reporting. So, one can say that I have made a career of enjoying books like these. 

John's book list on by foreign correspondents

John Maxwell Hamilton Why did John love this book?

Though largely forgotten, Jack Belden is one of the best war reporters in American history.

A tormented man, he had PTSD before the term existed. While recovering from wounds sustained during the Allied invasion of Italy, he wrote Still Time to Die. He wrote, “My life, more than that of anyone I know, has been spent in lonely wanderings among the dreary wastelands of war.”

He lived a raw life with regular Chinese soldiers. Of his sensations during a shelling with them, he wrote, “I was not only tingling with delirious excitement, but, to my great astonishment, I realized that I was almost panting with a sexual kind of pleasure, and I found myself leaning against the wind, surrendering to the rough caress of the sand, pulsing and throbbing and thrilling to the crashing, tumultuous orchestration of the shells which were now beating the earth about us with a…

By Jack Belden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Still Time To Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


Book cover of Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving

Laura E. Anderson Author Of When Religion Hurts You: Healing from Religious Trauma and the Impact of High-Control Religion

From my list on why religious trauma is trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

My professional work has always been inspired by the personal journey I've gone on–which means that my interest in religious trauma stems from my own healing as well as client work and research. Previous research and therapeutic interventions have suggested atheism as a cure for religious trauma which is often unhelpful and can create just as much rigidity as someone experienced in a high control religion. I approach religious trauma as trauma–which means that resolving religious trauma can occur in the same ways that we use to resolve other trauma. Understanding religious trauma this way opens the door for a decrease in shame, more compassion towards self, and ultimately living a whole life.

Laura's book list on why religious trauma is trauma

Laura E. Anderson Why did Laura love this book?

Pete Walker is most well known for introducing the fourth “F” response when it comes to trauma: FAWN.

For me personally, growing up in an environment where submission and appeasement was key, fawning became a natural state I lived in. Pete’s work helped me understand Complex PTSD on a deeper level and gives incredible tools and interventions to the reader to help navigate through a process of healing. 

By Pete Walker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A GUIDE AND MAP FOR RECOVERING FROM CHILDHOOD TRAUMA


Book cover of One Base at a Time: How I Survived PTSD and Found My Field of Dreams

Dale Scott Author Of The Umpire Is Out: Calling the Game and Living My True Self

From my list on inspirational stories from Major League Baseball.

Why am I passionate about this?

With 37 years as a professional umpire, the last 32 with MLB, you can’t help but have a ton of stories. The umpire books I recommend have those and more. Funny, entertaining, revealing, and educational, hearing what happened from the person it was happening to give a unique look to America’s pastime. Being the first active male big 5 sports official (Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey, Soccer) to come out as gay in 2014, I also understand the added stress that brings and the courage it takes to live your true self on such a big stage.

Dale's book list on inspirational stories from Major League Baseball

Dale Scott Why did Dale love this book?

A different look at the dream of being in the big leagues, this time not from an umpire but the person who puts the field in field of dreams.

David Mellor was a talented player whose aspirations were crushed, literally, after a car struck him in a McDonald’s parking lot. Setbacks, traumas, and unbelievably getting mowed down again by a deranged driver, he unwarily suffered PTSD.

Through it all he persevered to rise up as the Head Groundskeeper of his beloved Boston Red Sox, renowned as one of the best in all of baseball. 

By David R. Mellor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Base at a Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Dave Mellor has built one of baseball's most inspirational stories over the last half-century. Anchored by a love for his family and the game, he survived incomprehensible catastrophes and PTSD to become a pioneering ballfield artist and head groundskeeper for Fenway Park."

-Buster Olney, ESPN

On July 10, 1981, David Mellor was just a baseball-crazed kid, a star high school pitcher preparing to go to college and dreaming of one day taking the mound in Fenway Park for his beloved Boston Red Sox. His dream was derailed as he crossed the parking lot of a McDonald's. He heard the racing…


Book cover of Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma

Bret Lyon Author Of Embracing Shame: How to Stop Resisting Shame and Turn It into a Powerful Ally

From my list on healing shame and trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent many years deeply angry at my parents and not really understanding why. When I found out about shame, and how it was passed down from generation to generation, I was finally able to crack the code. Their “permissiveness” was actually neglect. Without meaning to, they had put their shame on me and I was still suffering from not really being seen. I made it my mission to help others heal their shame so they can be better people and better parents, and live fuller lives. I am the co-director of the Center for Healing Shame and co-author of Embracing Shame.

Bret's book list on healing shame and trauma

Bret Lyon Why did Bret love this book?

I discovered this book before almost anyone else in a New Age store that sold jewelry and cards and had a small selection of books. When I picked it up and saw two tigers on the cover, I had to buy it.

As soon as I read it, I thought, “This is the most useful way of thinking about and working with trauma that I have ever seen. When I called to try to join a training program, I was told there was no training program yet. I kept checking, then finally gave up.

It took several years before Peter Levine finally started a training program, and I signed up. Somatic Experiencing has deeply influenced my work.

By Peter A. Levine,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Waking the Tiger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in 24 languages.

Nature's Lessons in Healing Trauma...

Waking the Tiger offers a new and hopeful vision of trauma. It views the human animal as a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity. It asks and answers an intriguing question: why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized? By understanding the dynamics that make wild animals virtually immune to traumatic symptoms, the mystery of human trauma is revealed.

Waking the Tiger normalizes the symptoms of trauma and the steps needed to heal them. People are often traumatized by seemingly ordinary experiences. The reader is taken on…


Book cover of Still Beating

Anna Paulsen Author Of The Truth About Adira

From my list on romance that stay with you long after you finish.

Why am I passionate about this?

Seeing couples that are still in love after being with one another for 50+ years has always warmed my heart. Seeing my grandparents hold one another’s hands and look at each other with love always made me hopeful to find such a love. I have not been blessed to have that kind of love in my life (yet) but that does not stop me from looking for it and finding it in books. The characters in my favorite books are ones I identify with on some level. They are loyal, do not give up and they love wholeheartedly, even if they make some missteps along the way, the end destination always ends up being deeply in love. And I love cheering on characters when they deal with everyday issues and roadblocks on this journey of love. 

Anna's book list on romance that stay with you long after you finish

Anna Paulsen Why did Anna love this book?

This romance caught me off guard. It was a dark romance about a kidnapped man and a woman. The heroine and her sister's fiancé who she disliked. I have to say this book isn’t for everyone as the sensitive subject matter is written about, such as rape and also a suicide attempt. However, because of Hartmann’s amazing way with words, I can’t stop thinking about this book and the characters. Hartmann’s exquisite writing style took me into the basement where the couple was kept. I felt fear and sadness for them. I felt hope. I felt so many things that left me confused at times, but as I was struggling with emotions, I found myself falling in love with these characters. This book was unlike any I have read before. It is a must-read.

By Jennifer Hartmann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WARNING: This book contains subject matter that may be sensitive for some readers, including dark and triggering content. 18+ only. Please read responsibly.
When Cora attends her sister’s birthday party, she expects at most a hangover or a walk of shame. She doesn’t anticipate a stolen wallet, leaving her stranded and dependent on Dean—her arch nemesis and ultimate thorn in her side.
And she really doesn’t anticipate waking up in shackles in a madman’s basement.
To make matters worse, Dean shares the space in his own set of chains.
After fifteen years of teasing, insults, and practical jokes, the ultimate…


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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