The most recommended books about sergeants

Who picked these books? Meet our 10 experts.

10 authors created a book list connected to sergeants, and here are their favorite sergeant books.
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Book cover of Soldier in the Rain

Martin Limón Author Of War Women

From my list on GI life as told by GIs.

Who am I?

I spent 20 years in the US Army with 10 of those years in Korea. Everybody thought I was crazy. Why would you like being stationed in such an odd country as Korea? Whenever I tried to explain, their noses would crinkle and they’d stare at me as if I were mad. I started collecting books that explained better than I did. To supplement it I purchased a manual Smith Corona typewriter at the PX and to assuage my angst began writing mystery stories about two 8th Army investigators in Seoul, Korea. Fifteen novels and over 50 short stories later I’m still attempting to explain the odd beauty of GI life through the eyes of a GI.

Martin's book list on GI life as told by GIs

Martin Limón Why did Martin love this book?

I’ve known plenty of GIs like Master Sergeant Maxwell Slaughter. Non-commissioned Officers who hustle and make deals and wrap military bureaucracy around their little fingers. Slaughter’s supply room had air conditioning, plenty of pristine underwear, socks, and long johns to bargain with, and his own vending machine to satisfy his addiction to cold bottles of soda. He also had a protégé, in this case, the young Eustis Clay, who tried to out-hustle his mentor but never quite made it. He did, however, introduce Master Sergeant Slaughter to the even younger Bobby Jo Pepperdine, but instead of kindling a romance, the two lost souls started a father/daughter affection that the teenage girl had never before experienced.

Ultimately tragic, Goldman shows his dramatic flair with the simple line of farewell uttered by Slaughter:  “Until that time, Eustis. Until that time.”

By William Goldman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soldier in the Rain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Unbelievable as it may sound, William Goldman has pulled off a minor miracle by writing at this late date a genuinely funny and touching novel about barracks life. If nothing else, the book is worth the price of admission for its explanation of the ground rules of a game called 'Grading Women'... There is a full, rich measure of reading pleasure in this book that expertly runs the gamut from belly laughs to tearjerking. Long after you've forgotten the details of the incidents, you'll remember the warm thread of compassion that runs through the book. Soldier in the Rain, to…


Book cover of Between Ghosts

Sarah Luddington Author Of Fortune's Soldier: Shadow Ops Alpha

From my list on gay romance thrillers with strong plots and men.

Who am I?

This is a list for those who love a tough guy with a soft heart. If you crave a story with passion, heat, and that zing of a good thriller, then this is the list for you. I love a romance wrapped around a strong plot. I need a book to stimulate my mind and give my old heart its “Aw, shucks,” moment. I’ve been fascinated by those who serve and the long-term effects it has on mental health. These books tackle the effects of PTSD, trauma, and its consequences. I believe the romance genre, when done well, is one of the best for examining this darkness.

Sarah's book list on gay romance thrillers with strong plots and men

Sarah Luddington Why did Sarah love this book?

I stumbled over this book and soon found myself hooked. It’s a romance, yes, but the research into conflict and its effects put it up there on my list of thrillers. It’s not strictly speaking a thriller, it’s more of a military action story and romance, but the characters are wonderful. The way they react to the war zone conflict, the effect it has on the unit and the reporter embedded with them, it has a wonderful ring of truth. And that’s what I’m always looking for in a good romance, the ring of truth. You have to really feel the RPGs coming in, and Garrett does an amazing job of making you really feel it.

By Garrett Leigh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There are a hundred reasons why falling for a gorgeous, tattooed soldier is a terrible idea. An office romance with tanks and guns?

No thanks.

Besides, Connor Regan has other things on his mind. After his brother’s death, he finds himself bound for Iraq to embed with an elite SAS team. He sets his boots on the ground looking for closure and solace—anything to ease the pain of James’s death.

Instead he finds Sergeant Thompson—a moody, inked Adonis with a sinfully rare smile.

Nat is a veteran commander, hardened by years of combat and haunted by the loss of his…


Book cover of Sergeant Salinger

George J. Berger Author Of Four Nails: History's Greatest Elephant and His Extraordinary Trainer

From my list on shedding new light on famous figures.

Who am I?

As a youngster, my single mom’s bedtime stories did not come out of children’s books. They came out of real history—Hannibal and his elephants, the marauding Huns, or Captain Cook. It seemed preordained that I’d have a life-long love of history, that I’ve written three published historical novels, and am on the review team of the Historical Novel Society. My immersion in history and historical novels provides constant learning and pleasure.

George's book list on shedding new light on famous figures

George J. Berger Why did George love this book?

This fictionalized, but mostly true, account covers enigmatic author J. D. Salinger’s little-known WWII years (1942-47). Salinger is conscripted by the US Counter Intelligence Corps. These hard-edged soldiers interrogate captives, seek out hidden danger (poisoned pretzels, booby-trapped toilet seats), and uncover traitors. Salinger absorbs deeply the carnage close to him. At war’s end, he has become “a guy made of glass” with a facial tic and trembling hand. In the novel’s last scenes, his older sister helps him set up in the suburban loft where he can live alone, write, and heal. J. D. Salinger’s time immersed in the horrors of War helps explain his reclusive life and out-of-the-mainstream but best-selling creations. 

By Jerome Charyn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Charyn skillfully breathes life into historical icons." -New Yorker

J.D. Salinger, mysterious author of The Catcher in the Rye, is remembered today as a reclusive misanthrope. Jerome Charyn's Salinger is a young American WWII draftee assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps, a band of secret soldiers who trained with the British. A rifleman and an interrogator, he witnessed all the horrors of the war-from the landing on D-Day to the relentless hand-to-hand combat in the hedgerows of Normandy, to the Battle of the Bulge, and finally to the first Allied entry into a Bavarian death camp, where corpses were piled…


Book cover of Sorry for the Inconvenience/Going Your Way

Paul Levinson Author Of It's Real Life: An Alternate History of The Beatles

From Paul's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Singer-songwriter Professor Podcaster Time travel fan

Paul's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Paul Levinson Why did Paul love this book?

I rode the New York City subways on a daily or more frequent basis as a kid and through my 20s. There’s a culture all its own on those subway platforms and trains – do you hold the door open, and how long for people rushing to board in rush hour? Do you eat a slice of pizza on the train? Do you complain when someone squeezes into the seat you’re sitting in? 

R. J. Nobleman treats us to the treasure trove of his own experience in this under- and above-ground world, and will have you laughing, shaking your head in disbelief, and even sometimes crying.

By R. J. Nobleman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sorry for the Inconvenience/Going Your Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Well, I hope you enjoyed the stories—all are TRUE—that I wanted to share with you in this book! I promise to keep tabs on things that occur from this point on so that I can put them into the ‘sequel’.
Like I stated in the Preface, anyone can write a book of this kind—about the crazy, exotic experiences they have experienced or witnesses on subways, buses, cruises, tour buses, elevators, and the like. It’s just a matter of putting your experiences to paper, or computer files.
Throughout this book, I made references to the fact that many people who also…


Book cover of Unbreakable

'Nathan Burgoine Author Of Faux Ho Ho

From my list on queer audiobooks to walk your dog by.

Who am I?

As someone who’s never been allowed to drive, but gets motion-sick reading in a bus or car, I’ve been a lover of audiobooks since I had my Walkman and a backpack full of audiobook cassettes. As a queer man, I’m always looking for more immersive stories about people like me. Finding queer voices and queer narratives is so important to me as a way to offset how queer people don’t have an inherited continuance of our culture as most marginalized people do; books are a way to fill that gap. I do own a rescued husky, and there’s nothing like an engrossing audiobook to get me through those minus-forty Canadian winter walks with a dog.

'Nathan's book list on queer audiobooks to walk your dog by

'Nathan Burgoine Why did 'Nathan love this book?

Cari Hunter never fails to invoke Northern England with every sense, and Nicola Victoria Vincent’s performances continue to be among the absolute best experiences. This story starts off with an EMT, Grace, being taken hostage by a wounded woman at gunpoint, and then manages to twist and shift the entire time you’re listening. Hunter’s ability to weave in a secondary romantic plot while people are dodging bullets, outwitting villains, and desperately trying to stay alive is brilliant, and my dog always gets a longer walk while I’ve got a Hunter thriller to listen to. If you’re a fan of thrillers and audiobooks, and have yet to bump into Hunter or Vincent, thank me later, once you’ve enjoyed the whole backlist.

By Cari Hunter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dr. Grace Kendal never stands a chance. The injured woman comes out of nowhere, bleeding heavily and holding a gun. Compelled to help her, Grace is dragged into Elin Breckenridge’s nightmare. Their fight to survive will take them across the country and to the limits of their endurance. But who is Elin running from? As Grace struggles for answers, one thing becomes clear—Elin is somehow connected to a dead man, and Grace could be next.

For Detective Sergeant Safia Faris, the case should have been easy: one dead body, one suspect. But the deeper she digs, the more obvious it…


Book cover of Dead Ground

Wray Vamplew Author Of Games People Played: A Global History of Sports

From Wray's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Professor Sports economist Sports historian Cynic

Wray's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Wray Vamplew Why did Wray love this book?

I picked this up cheaply in a second-hand bookstore. What a bargain it was. It introduced me to Detective Sergeant Washington (there is a subplot here) Poe of the National Crime Agency’s Serious Crime Analysis Section and his offsider Matilda ‘Tilly’ Bradshaw, a brilliant mathematician and programmer extraordinaire.

I immediately spent much more per copy (see homo economicus in my third choice entry) buying all of Craven’s books: and consuming (I am an economist at heart) them avidly.

I appreciated the anti-authority stance of Detective Poe but fell in love with the socially naïve Tilly: it was good to see a role-model female geek taking center stage.

The writing is outstanding: the darkest crimes are lightened by humor, and clever solutions are thrown by unexpected twists.

By M.W. Craven,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the prestigious CWA IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER AWARD 2022

Longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2022

'Heart-pounding, hilarious, sharp and shocking, Dead Ground is further proof that M.W. Craven never disappoints. Miss this series at your peril.' Chris Whitaker

'Dark and entertaining, this is top rank crime fiction.' Vaseem Khan, Author of the Malabar House series and the Baby Ganesh Agency series

'M. W. Craven is one of the best crime writers working today. Dead Ground is a cracking puzzle, beautifully written, with characters you'll be behind every step of the way. It's…


Book cover of In This Bright Future

Lia Matera Author Of Star Witness: A Willa Jansson Mystery

From Lia's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Recovering lawyer

Lia's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Lia Matera Why did Lia love this book?

I'm completely charmed by Peter Grainger's D.C. Smith, a seemingly (but only seemingly) mild-mannered police detective whose understated style and sly humor remind me of John le Carré's George Smiley. This book, although part of a series, is close to being a stand-alone, with Smith far from home and work.

Thirty years earlier, Smith was a British officer in Belfast, undercover with the IRA. He barely escaped with his life when his cover was blown, and he's had no contact with anyone there since, including people he'd grown to love. That changes when a young Belfastian tracks him down, blaming him for the disappearance (unbeknownst to Smith) of his uncle right after Smith fled. Smith returns to Belfast to try to discover what happened that night.

The story emerges as Smith risks his life to confront and question members of the IRA cell he betrayed.

By Peter Grainger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In This Bright Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two weeks of rest and recuperation – that’s what the doctor ordered. Detective Sergeant DC Smith could listen to some music, make some of his own and maybe even catch up on his reading; he is almost looking forward to it. And then there is a knock on the door. It’s only his next-door neighbour but it is the beginning of a sequence of events that will bring him face to face with some of the darkest episodes and the most dangerous people from his own past. This is Smith’s fifth investigation but this time it’s personal.


Book cover of I Was Dora Suarez

John Bowie Author Of Weston-super-Nightmare: A Hellbent Riff Raff Thriller

From my list on gritty noir full of poetic lines and dark humour.

Who am I?

I am the author of the Black Viking and Hellbent Riffraff Thrillers and several volumes of dirty realism poetry. I am also the Founder and editor-in-chief of Bristol Noir, an indie publisher and ezine specialising in curiously dark fiction and crime noir. Since 2017 Bristol Noir has been publishing up-and-coming and best-selling authors from around the world. I’m a writer originally from Northumberland in Northern England. In the late 90s, I studied in Greater Manchester when the IRA bomb went off and during the infamous years of the Hacienda club. I now live in Bristol. I’ve devoted my writing to exploring my heritage and the environments I’ve been in.

John's book list on gritty noir full of poetic lines and dark humour

John Bowie Why did John love this book?

Derek Raymond’s 4th book in his Factory Series is sublimely dark and poetic. It’s brit-grit with an industrial, dirty backdrop and hard feel. Some lines are funny in their harshness with a cliched bad PI turned up to max.

This is a British hard-boiled, hard-drinking, and damaged detective with all the atmosphere of a French noir clashing with Ted Lewis’ Get Carter.

I Was Dora Suarez is a prime example of brit-noir with a flawed protagonist chasing clues and signs in an equally damaged world. Despite the bleakness of the characters and situations it’s impossible not to be gripped and have your face thrust against the glass to see.

By Derek Raymond,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Was Dora Suarez as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An axe-wielding psychopath carves young Dora Suarez into pieces and smashes the head of Suarez's friend, an elderly woman. On the same night, in the West End, a firearm blows the top off the head of Felix Roatta, part-owner of the seedy Parallel Club. The unnamed narrator, a sergeant in the Metropolitan Police's Unexplained Deaths division, develops a fixation on the young woman whose murder he investigates. And he discovers that Suarez's death is even more bizarre than suspected: the murderer ate bits of flesh from Suarez's corpse and ejaculated against her thigh. Autopsy results compound the puzzle: Suarez was…


Book cover of Deception on His Mind

Aime Austin Author Of Judged

From my list on crime fiction that made me love the human race.

Who am I?

I’m agnostic to book genre. If I see it, I will try it. I read all over the place. I just finished a book on online dating and race, the buzzy fiction of the moment, and a self-help book. There are two genre’s that are my absolute favorites, though, women’s fiction, and police procedurals. I’ve read Elizabeth George, Julia Spencer Fleming, Michael Connelly, and Tana French since they started publishing. While I enjoy the whodunit nature of the books, my favorite parts are those quiet moments of pure, unfettered relations between people who care for each other in an otherwise chaotic world. It’s what I write and what I read.

Aime's book list on crime fiction that made me love the human race

Aime Austin Why did Aime love this book?

In this ninth installment of the Inspector Lynley series, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is recovering from a broken nose and ribs she earned on the job.

Throughout the series, Havers, has become friendly with the neighbors who lives in the front house, single father Taymullah Azhar, and his eight-year-old daughter Khalidah Hadiyyah. After the book’s opening scene of murder, there’s this lovely moment where Havers and Hadiyyah discuss the latter’s invitation to take the police detective for ice cream.

The little girl comes over, reads about ‘throbbing members’ in one of Haver’s romance novels, then announces she has to take back her invitation because she and her father are traveling to an Essex seaside town.

This scene, and this book, really delve into the relationship between a motherless girl and a loner cop, two people who unexpectedly need each other.

By Elizabeth George,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deception on His Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Balford-le-Nez is a dying seaside town on the coast of Essex. But when a member of the town's small but growing Asian community is found dead near its beach, the sleepy town ignites. Working without her long-time partner, Detective Inspector Lynley, Sergeant Barbara Havers must probe not only the mind of a murderer and a case very close to her own heart, but also the terrible price people pay for deceiving others . . . and themselves.


Book cover of Pictures of Perfection

Jude Tresswell Author Of A Right To Know

From my list on M/M for asexuals.

Who am I?

I chose the ‘Best’ title with trepidation: there are many sorts of aces and reading tastes will differ. I’m a cis-gender female, sex averse, verging on sex-repulsed. So, why M/M? Firstly, because reading about other females is too much like being involved myself. Secondly, because I’m het-romantic so I like my MCs to be male. And sex? I can take sex on the page as long as it isn’t gratuitous; it must be meaningful. I’ve chosen five very different books, but they all have gay protagonists and they meet my ace-based needs. In case it’s an issue, I’ve commented on the flame count.   

Jude's book list on M/M for asexuals

Jude Tresswell Why did Jude love this book?

I very much doubt that Reginald Hill intended Pictures of Perfection to appear on a Best M/M list! It’s a quintessentially English tale with a backdrop of class-based snobbery and the threat to rural life from development. It’s also the sole book in Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe mystery series wherein Hill’s gay detective sergeant, Edgar Wield, takes centre stage. Wield finds more than a missing policeman when he’s sent to the village of Enscombe! Nothing to worry even the most sex-repulsed asexual here although, with hindsight, these stories can seem problematic in other ways: Dalziel is so non-woke. However, it was being a fan of Wield and Hill’s books that got me writing my own gay mysteries, so I’m ever grateful.

By Reginald Hill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For suspense, ingenuity and sheer comic effrontery this takes the absolute, appetizing biscuit' Sunday Times

High in the Mid-Yorkshire Dales stands the traditional village of Enscombe, seemingly untouched by the modern world. But contemporary life is about to intrude when the disappearance of a policeman brings Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel and DCI Peter Pascoe to its doors.

As the detectives dig beneath the veneer of idyllic village life a new pattern emerges: of family feuds, ancient injuries, cheating and lies. And finally, as the community gathers for the traditional Squire's Reckoning, it looks as if the simmering tensions will erupt…