The best books about police officers

1 authors have picked their favorite books about police officers and why they recommend each book.

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Bad Luck and Trouble

By Lee Child,

Book cover of Bad Luck and Trouble: A Jack Reacher Novel

Yeah, I know, naming Jack Reacher as one of the badasses of crime fiction is the equivalent of a six-inch putt. A gimme. Child has taken a totally implausible premise—a six-foot-five former Army MP wandering around the United States and finding trouble with nothing but an ATM card in his pocket—and created one of the best characters in suspense literature. When Reacher is on the hunt, the results are never in doubt, which is why we love him. He’s the fullback coming through the line, time and time again, and no one can stop him. One reviewer of Child’s books said that Reacher is never the underdog. That’s a perfect description.

Who am I?

My novels range from coming-of-age to suspense. I was an award-winning crime and investigative reporter for the Columbus Dispatch for 11 years. That background helps me with the investigative aspects of my books. I enjoy exploring the moral dilemmas often presented in real life. My characters all have morals, but I like putting them in compromising situations. It’s easy to sit back and judge others, but how far would you go to keep your own son out of jail? Would the love of your son get in the way of your morals? It’s never black or white. Most of life is spent dancing in and out of the vast gray area in the middle. 

I wrote...

The Sacrifice of Lester Yates

By Robin Yocum,

Book cover of The Sacrifice of Lester Yates

What is my book about?

Lester Yates is the notorious Egypt Valley Strangler, one of the country’s most prolific serial killers. Or, is he? Yates is two months from his date with the executioner when Ohio Attorney General Hutch Van Buren is presented with evidence that could exonerate him. But Yates is a political pawn, and forces exist that don’t want him exonerated. To do so could derail presidential aspirations and change the national political landscape. Yates’ execution will clear a wide political path for many influential people, including Van Buren, who must battle both the clock and a political machine of which he is a part.

A Strand Magazine review of The Sacrifice of Lester Yates, said, “A brilliant thriller by a master of the neo-noir thriller. This should be on your nightstand. Read it.” 

A Philosophical Investigation

By Philip Kerr,

Book cover of A Philosophical Investigation

THEME: Technically, this is not really a work of science fiction per se, even though it takes place in London 2013, twenty-one years before the book's publication. So it explores aspects of the future through a journey into the head of a serial killer and to the heart of murder itself. In the book, London at that time was a city where serial murder has reached epidemic proportions. To combat this raft of murders, the government has created a test to screen people for a predisposition to commit violent crimes. Tested at random, a man is shocked to hear that he fits the model. Yet when he breaks into the computer to erase his name, he discovers a list of his "brothers" a logical idea springs into his mind: What if to protect society he becomes a killer of serial murderers?

The inspector charged with tracking down this sociopath, code-named…

Who am I?

I've spent the last half-century researching complex systems and mathematical modeling, both at research centers including The RAND Corporation, the Santa Fe Institute, and the Int'l Center for Applied Systems Analysis (Vienna), as well with professorships at New York University, Princeton and the Technical U. of Vienna. I have also had a lifelong interest in the connection between science fiction and science fact, and have explored the relationship in several of my books including X-EVENTS, The Cambridge Quintet, and Paradigms Lost. I also served as editor for the volume Mission to Abisko, which gives an account of a week-long meeting between sci-fi writers and scientists held north of the Arctic Circle in Abisko, Sweden some years back.

I wrote...

Prey for Me: A Psychological Thriller

By John L. Casti,

Book cover of Prey for Me: A Psychological Thriller

What is my book about?

Who wins and who loses when you're playing with other people's money... and their emotions? World-renowned scientist Victor Safir can't resist his inexplicable attraction to Alex Lynne, a brilliant, beautiful financier-but his addiction to her may drive him over the edge. Thrust together as unlikely partners in the high-stakes world of London finance, their game of seduction might prove riskier than any business deal.

L.A. Requiem

By Robert Crais,

Book cover of L.A. Requiem: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel

This novel was a revelation to me. First, I’ll note that it’s a book in the Elvis Cole series, and the earlier novels were told in the first person (with a couple of exceptions for prologues). This book changed everything by going full-on multiple viewpoints, and in so doing, deepened the characters in amazing ways. It’s not necessary to read the earlier books to enjoy this one, but I predict you’ll get addicted to Crais and read all of them anyway. This novel will appeal to fantasy readers by reminding them how great books can affect us by awakening our humanity and letting us know we’re not alone in the world.

Who am I?

My mother instilled a love of reading in me, and from an early age, I read everything from Agatha Christie to Edgar Rice Burroughs to Louis L’Amour to Marvel Comics. Stories are stories no matter how they’re classified, and genre is primarily a marketing tool to help readers find things they like. When I started writing, I often blended genres because I liked so many things. As I type this, I have 29 novels published with #30 on the way. The novels include science fiction, fantasy, horror, and thriller under my name, westerns as Dan Winchester, and a cozy mystery as Angie Cabot. Go figure.

I wrote...

Modern Sorcery: The First Jonathan Shade Novel

By Gary Jonas,

Book cover of Modern Sorcery: The First Jonathan Shade Novel

What is my book about?

Modern Sorcery at its core is about friendship. On the surface, it blends fantasy with mystery. The hero, Jonathan Shade, is a private investigator who handles cases dealing with magic and the supernatural. His protector, Kelly Chan, is a magically engineered assassin devoted to Jonathan because he showed her she could be more than just a killer. Esther, his secretary, is a ghost from the 1920s flapper era bound to her typewriter, and not-so-secretly in love with Jonathan. It’s the first of twelve novels about these characters. They’re loaded with action and humor.

Low Tide (The Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense Series)

By Dawn Lee McKenna,

Book cover of Low Tide (The Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense Series)

Dawn Lee McKenna is no longer with us, but she left a legacy of great thriller writing. This is the start for me to delve into her great characters and settings and really fall in love with what she wrote. You cannot go wrong with this series, which is 10 amazing books. Still one of my favorite series of books, set in Apalachicola Florida (where I’ve vacationed a few times and got to meet the author at one of her signings years ago, too!)

Who am I?

I am such a huge fan of Thrillers. Always have been, since I started reading Dean Koontz at 12. The Tropical Authors listed are some of my favorites, but they are a stepping stone to other great authors who write unique thrillers as well. I hope you’ll check them out, and let me know if you find a new favorite. I also love suggestions as well. (Of other authors, please don’t be tacky and suggest your own book!) 

I wrote...

Shake Down (First Coast Thriller Series Book 1)

By Armand Rosamilia,

Book cover of Shake Down (First Coast Thriller Series Book 1)

What is my book about?

Ex-cop Clayton Conway has made some mistakes. He's trying to work hard with a repo company, hooking cars and boats. Raise his daughter and stay friendly with his ex-wife. Make enough money to pay the rent on his tiny apartment over a bar in Jacksonville Beach. But when one of the Orenato Cartel's speedboats gets repossessed, they come looking for it. Putting Clayton, his family, and friends, in danger.

Can he protect them, or will the cartel get what they came for? And will his own weaknesses get the best of him... again?

This book is currently available for pre-order.

The Lion's Game

By Nelson DeMille,

Book cover of The Lion's Game

John Corey is a wise-cracking NY cop who joins an FBI task force where he works with FBI Agent Kate Mayfield to take custody of a Libyan terrorist known as the Lion. The Task Force is at JFK waiting for the terrorist who is flying in from Libya on a 747. When they lose communication with the pilot, they realize something is wrong. The rest is a rollercoaster ride all the way to the end. You will not be disappointed.

Who am I?

From a very early age, writing has always been my one true passion. Ever since I was in eighth grade and my teacher would pass out copies of my journal assignment for that week, I was hooked on the idea of writing. I could create my own world where no one could tell me how my characters should behave. Well, two Pushcart Prize nominations and many awards later, I’m grateful I pursued my dream to become a writer. I hope you’ve enjoyed the list I provided and please feel free to pick up one of my Nick Bracco thrillers about a Sicilian FBI agent who uses his Mafia-connected cousin to track terrorists. 

I wrote...

A Touch of Terror (A Nick Bracco Thriller Book 6)

By Gary Ponzo,

Book cover of A Touch of Terror (A Nick Bracco Thriller Book 6)

What is my book about?

A rogue Russian agent known as The Machine has infiltrated the U.S. border with a case of uranium powerful enough to destroy the entire west coast. FBI agent Nick Bracco recruits his Mafia-connected cousin Tommy to help track down the case and try to save the nation from the devastating attack. But this time Nick and his partner, Matt McColm, have met their match.


By Ken Follett,

Book cover of Whiteout

One of my all-time favourites I’ve read this book 3 times now and, after this review, I’m sure I’ll be tempted to indulge myself for a fourth time. Follett is the master of knife-edge thrillers, if you’ve never read him, start now. Full of treachery and violence, twists and revelations. It’s a scary, but utterly brilliant read.

Who am I?

As a published author, Debra’s passion for fast-paced, unputdownable novels is unquenchable. She can be ruthless in her criticism, applying the rule, “three strikes and you’re out!”  A firm believer that life is too short to read mediocre books, if she isn’t grabbed by chapter 3, she puts the book down and moves on. She wants a book to make her life better, she wants to feel excitement at picking it back up again, and burying herself in the characters and moods, twists and turns, of a great story. Her writing reflects this same trait, if her words won’t keep the reader totally engrossed, then she won’t write them.

I wrote...

What Goes Around

By Debra Hinkley,

Book cover of What Goes Around

What is my book about?

Sarah is beautiful, virtuous, and talented but, as a teenager, she loses her mother in sudden and tragic circumstances. Determined not to let the loss define her, she leaves everything behind in search of something better. Befriended by sexy and exuberant Lori, she believes she’s on the right track but Lori has problems of her own and when the two girls are introduced to rich, spoilt Harry and his troubled cousin James, they become led by lust and jealousy. 

Four lives brought together by chance; changed by desire and controlled by a dangerous secret. How far will they go to get what they want and who will be left to pick up the pieces? What Goes Around is a powerful story of love, violence, and shattered dreams.

Low Tide

By Dawn Lee McKenna,

Book cover of Low Tide

Dawn Lee was a friend and an inspiration to me. Cancer took her from us way too soon, but she left behind a large legacy of great books that were set on the Gulf coast in the panhandle of Florida. Low Tide is the first book in her Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense series which launched her into the bestseller ranks. If you ask anyone who’s read her what makes her writing so special, they’ll all tell you it’s her uniquely crafted characters. The plots and the twists of her stories are top-notch as well, but the characters are simply amazing.

Who am I?

I’m an entrepreneur who was born literally within sight of the Intracoastal Waterway in South Florida. Got my first boat (a dinghy) when I was six. I used to drive an airboat on Lake Okeechobee and learned to fly back when I was a teenager. Since then, I’ve flown over a dozen different types of planes and even a helicopter. As a kid, I spent a lot of time in the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, and the Antilles. In my late teens I worked on various private sportfishing boats in Florida, Georgia, and the Bahamas. With this much time spent on, in, under, or around the water, I was destined to write coastal novels. 

I wrote...

Coastal Jury: Coastal Adventure Series Number 9

By Don Rich,

Book cover of Coastal Jury: Coastal Adventure Series Number 9

What is my book about?

Some crime figures consider avoiding indictments to be a deadly serious business, with murder as the best solution to the problem. One recently reformed man is determined to save the lives of his friends as well as the new woman in his life, even though it means exposing his own criminal past. He could end up going to prison, though first, he’ll need to survive. But sometimes people with everything to lose can be more dangerous than those with nothing to lose at all. “Rut” Rutledge is determined to prove it.

Worth Dying for

By Lee Child,

Book cover of Worth Dying for

Of all twenty-some books (and counting) in Child’s Jack Reacher series, this one stands out. In an interview, Lee once said, "I just wrote this one by the numbers." To me his final solo effort feels like he finally figured out how to say what he always wanted. It’s personal, yet geopolitical. Empathetic, yet very tough. In this tale of two half-cities run by rival gangs, the Armenians and the Ukrainians, he does so simply and brilliantly.

The story’s government is corrupt, as so many are, full of bribe-taking politicians who are unable to protect the citizenry from organized crime. To fill that void, in steps Jack Reacher with some intuitive detecting, a little romance, and a lot of bad-guy killing.

Who am I?

I love these books because they hold thinking as the highest virtue, and they value the rights of the individual. I like to challenge the norm. These stories seek to preserve and enhance human life through art and science.

I wrote...

Loss Of Reason

By Miles A. Maxwell,

Book cover of Loss Of Reason

What is my book about?

Distant for many years, Franklin out of Pennsylvania and his step-brother Everon out of Nevada are connected by a single link: Their sister Cynthia. Enter The Nightmare—A nuclear bomb is detonated in New York. Banker, wife, mother, Cynthia lives in New York.

The military has quarantined the city, its bridges and tunnels destroyed or blocked. Easterly winds have forced the bomb's radiation cloud out over Long Island. But the wind is about to change. Franklin climbs mountains and truly understands people. Everon can fly anything. And Cynthia's brothers are determined to find her. If it were your sister, what would you do?

The 20th Victim

By James Patterson, Maxine Paetro,

Book cover of The 20th Victim

This book grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go until the very end. I loved the pacing of this murder mystery novel. The book starts out with three murders that have happened at the exact time, one in Chicago, one in L.A., and the third in San Francisco. The main character, SFPD sergeant Lindsey Boxer attempts to solve them with the help of the Women’s Murder Club. The interaction between the women as they go about their investigation is the best I’ve ever read. 

Who am I?

I’m a mystery writer and I’ve had 16 award-winning novels published. I also love to read mystery and thriller novels, and I read them voraciously. I’m best known for my highly-acclaimed J.T. Ryan mysteries and I was a Finalist for the Author Academy Award. Also, many of my books were Featured Novels of the International Thriller Writers Association. I’m also a multi-year nominee for the Georgia Author of the Year Award. 

I wrote...

The Media Murders

By Lee Gimenez,

Book cover of The Media Murders

What is my book about?

Before breaking an explosive story, a famous New York Times reporter dies under suspicious circumstances. Then a well-known TV reporter commits suicide. Suspecting foul play, the FBI’s John Ryan and Erin Welch investigate. As they probe the mysterious deaths, they uncover a shocking truth: Reporters are being murdered to suppress the news. More shocking is who they suspect is responsible for the killings. Can John Ryan and Erin Welch survive as they try to expose the conspiracy? Or will they be murdered by the assassins sent to keep them from revealing the truth?

Girl Waits with Gun

By Amy Stewart,

Book cover of Girl Waits with Gun

Okay, this one is a stretch because it takes place during the years just prior to the Roaring Twenties. But it’s such a winner, I couldn’t resist including it. Stewart is a gifted writer and her research is impeccable. I was fascinated to learn that, unlike the fictional characters in the books mentioned above, the three Kopp sisters were very real. Constance Kopp was New Jersey’s first female deputy sheriff and her sisters led similarly unusual lives for their time. Her notes at the end where she explains her research are, for me, as entertaining as the story itself. So far the Kopp sisters have seven books, and I’m betting that the eighth will push the timeline into the 1920s. Do not miss this marvelously entertaining historical series! 

Who am I?

Historical fiction, specifically historical mysteries, is my favorite category whether I’m reading for pleasure or writing my own stories, and the decade of the Roaring Twenties is certainly the most colorful era in American history. As a historian, I want to learn; as a writer, I want to teach. But—and this is a big “but”—it’s critical that historical novels are both accurate and subtle. If I find the author has misrepresented the history or larded the story, I’m done. Which is why I can recommend the following five Roaring Twenties series. All feature characters that grow as the series progresses so it’s best to begin at the beginning and proceed mostly in order.

I wrote...

The Mystic's Accomplice

By Mary Miley,

Book cover of The Mystic's Accomplice

What is my book about?

It's 1924, and Maddie Pastore has it made. A nice house, a loving husband with a steady job - even if it is connected to Chicago's violent Torrio-Capone gang - and a baby on the way. But then Tommy is shot dead, and she learns her husband had a secret.

Penniless and grieving, Maddie is only sure of two things: that she will survive for the sake of her baby, and that she'll never turn to the mob for help. So when she's invited to assist a well-meaning but fraudulent medium, she seizes the chance. When Maddie unearths potential evidence of a dark crime she faces a terrible dilemma: keep quiet and let a murderer go unpunished, or follow the trail and put herself and her baby in danger . . .

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