During his long and illustrious writing career, Tom Clancy made a name for himself as a master of the techno and espionage thrillers, and many of his heart-pounding books were adapted for the big screen. The late author would have been 70 on April 12, and in honor of his birthday, we’ve compiled a list of high-octane thrillers that Clancy fans are sure to love. Publishers’ descriptions included below.
Killing Floor by Lee Child
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.
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
His memory is a blank. His bullet-ridden body was fished from the Mediterranean Sea. His face has been altered by plastic surgery. A frame of microfilm has been surgically implanted in his hip. Even his name is a mystery. Marked for death, he is racing for survival through a bizarre world of murderous conspirators — led by Carlos, the world’s most dangerous assassin. Who is Jason Bourne? The answer may kill him.
The Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor
In a daring and chilling debut, Brad Thor draws us into a sinister labyrinth of political intrigue and international terrorism, serving up an explosive cocktail of unrelenting action — and a shattering climax — as one man is pushed to the edge.
On the snow-covered slopes of Utah, the unthinkable has just become a nightmarish reality: Thirty Secret Service agents have been viciously executed and the vacationing president of the United States is kidnapped by one of the most lethal terrorist organizations in the Middle East — the dreaded Fatah.
But one man, surviving agent and exNavy SEAL Scot Harvath, doesn’t believe the Fatah is responsible for the attack. Driven by his professional code of duty and honor — and a solemn vow to avenge his fallen comrades — Scot creates his own rules to get some answers. But his search for the truth raises the blood pressure of his superiors…and casts his own life in mortal jeopardy. The deadly machinations have been set in motion by a shadowy coalition, comprising some of the highest-ranking officials in government and business — men who operate above the law, men who realize the threat Scot poses to their hidden agenda… men who will do anything to stop him.
Now framed for murder and on the run, Scot goes for broke and takes his own brand of justice to the unlikeliest place of all — the towering mountains of Switzerland. It is there that he finds an improbable ally in the beautiful Claudia Mueller of the Swiss Federal Attorney’s Office. Together they must brave the subzero temperatures and sheer heights of treacherous Mount Pilatus — and enter the den of the most notorious team of professional killers the world has ever known.
Zero Day by David Baldacci
John Puller is a combat veteran and the best military investigator in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. His father was an Army fighting legend, and his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison. Puller has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable drive to find the truth.
Now, Puller is called out on a case in a remote, rural area in West Virginia coal country far from any military outpost. Someone has stumbled onto a brutal crime scene, a family slaughtered. The local homicide detective, a headstrong woman with personal demons of her own, joins forces with Puller in the investigation. As Puller digs through deception after deception, he realizes that absolutely nothing he’s seen in this small town, and no one in it, are what they seem. Facing a potential conspiracy that reaches far beyond the hills of West Virginia, he is one man on the hunt for justice against an overwhelming force.
The Gray Man by Mark Greaney
To those who lurk in the shadows, he’s known as the Gray Man. He is a legend in the covert realm, moving silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible and then fading away. And he always hits his target. Always.
But there are forces more lethal than Gentry in the world. Forces like money. And power. And there are men who hold these as the only currency worth fighting for. And in their eyes, Gentry has just outlived his usefulness.
But Court Gentry is going to prove that, for him, there’s no gray area between killing for a living and killing to stay alive…
American Assassin by Vince Flynn
Before he was considered a CIA superagent, before he was thought of as a terrorist’s worst nightmare, and before he was both loathed and admired by the politicians on Capitol Hill, Mitch Rapp was a gifted college athlete without a care in the world… and then tragedy struck.
Two decades of cutthroat, partisan politics has left the CIA and the country in an increasingly vulnerable position. Cold War veteran and CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield knows he must prepare his people for the next war. The rise of Islamic terrorism is coming, and it needs to be met abroad before it reaches America’s shores. Stansfield directs his protégée, Irene Kennedy, and his old Cold War colleague, Stan Hurley, to form a new group of clandestine operatives who will work outside the normal chain of command — men who do not exist.
What type of man is willing to kill for his country without putting on a uniform? Kennedy finds him in the wake of the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack. Two-hundred and seventy souls perished that cold December night, and thousands of family and friends were left searching for comfort. Mitch Rapp was one of them, but he was not interested in comfort. He wanted retribution.
Six months of intense training has prepared him to bring the war to the enemy’s doorstep, and he does so with brutal efficiency. Rapp starts in Istanbul, where he assassinates the Turkish arms dealer who sold the explosives used in the Pan Am attack. Rapp then moves onto Hamburg with his team and across Europe, leaving a trail of bodies. All roads lead to Beirut, though, and what Rapp doesn’t know is that the enemy is aware of his existence and has prepared a trap. The hunter is about to become the hunted, and Rapp will need every ounce of skill and cunning if he is to survive the war-ravaged city and its various terrorist factions.
As action-packed, fast-paced, and brutally realistic as it gets, Flynn’s latest page-turner shows readers how it all began. Behind the steely gaze of the nation’s ultimate hero is a young man primed to become an American Assassin.
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
State intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and, inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s most valuable mole in Moscow. Seeking revenge against her soulless masters, Dominika begins a fateful double life, recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington; hunt down a Russian illegal buried deep in the US military and, against all odds, to return to Moscow as the new-generation penetration of Putin’s intelligence service. Dominika and Nathaniel’s impossible love affair and twisted spy game come to a deadly conclusion in the shocking climax of this electrifying, up-to-the minute spy thriller.
Taking place in today’s Russia, still ruled with an iron fist by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Red Sparrow displays author Jason Matthews’s insider knowledge of espionage, counter-espionage, surveillance tradecraft, recruiting spies, interrogation, and intelligence gathering. As The Washington Post hails, this is a “sublime and sophisticated debut… a first-rate novel as noteworthy for its superior style as for its gripping depiction of a secretive world.”
The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
Immersed in the quiet, meticulous life of an art restorer, former Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon keeps his past well behind him. But now he is being called back into the game — and teamed with an agent who hides behind her own mask… as a beautiful fashion model.
Their target: a cunning terrorist on one last killing spree, a Palestinian zealot who played a dark part in Gabriel’s past. And what begins as a manhunt turns into a globe-spanning duel fueled by both political intrigue and deep personal passions…
The Cobra by Frederick Forsyth
Meticulous research, crisp narratives, plots as current as today’s headlines — Frederick Forsyth has helped define the international thriller as we know it. And now he does it again.
What if you had carte blanche to fight evil? Nothing held back, nothing off the table. What would you do? For decades, the world has been fighting the drug cartels, and losing, their billions of dollars making them the most powerful and destructive organizations on earth. Until one man is asked to take charge. Paul Devereaux used to run Special Operations for the CIA before they retired him for being too ruthless. Now he can have anything he requires, do anything he thinks necessary. No boundaries, no rules, no questions asked.
The war is on-though who the ultimate winner will be, no one can tell…
Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts
In Flight of the Intruder Jake Grafton is an A-6 Intruder pilot during the Vietnam War who flies his bomber on sorties past enemy flak and SAM missiles, and then must maneuver his plane, often at night, onto the relatively small deck of an aircraft carrier. Former Navy flyer Stephen Coonts gives an excellent sense of the complexities of modern air raids and how nerve-wracking it is, even for the best airmen, to technically solve sudden problems over and over, knowing that even a twist of fate like a peasant wildly firing a rifle from a field could wipe out the crew. Grafton alternates between remorse over the fate of his unseen Vietnamese victims on the ground and a gung-ho “let’s win this war” sentiment that lashes at both policymakers who select less-than-important targets for the dangerous missions and advocates for peace back in the States.
Eye of the Storm by Jack Higgins
Sean Dillon is an assassin, a hired hand who, despite working for the IRA, PLO and ETA, has not seen the inside of a prison cell. He’s just the man that Iraqi, Michael Aroun has been looking for — the kind of professional who won’t flinch from an attack on the offices of British government.
Red Phoenix by Larry Bond
In the aftermath of a series of student riots in Seoul, the U.S. Congress rushes a bill into law calling for the complete withdrawal of American troops from South Korea. This sets off a chain reaction: North Korea attacks across the DMZ, Russia supports North Korea, the Chinese remain neutral, and the United States fights again alongside its South Korean allies. The full range of ground, air, and naval forces take part in vicious combat, first to hold off the North Korean onslaught, then drive them back.
The Lieutenants by W.E.B Griffin
They were the young ones, the bright ones, the ones with the dreams. From the Nazi-prowled wastes of North Africa to the bloody corridors of Europe, they honorably answered the call. War — it was their duty, their job, their life. They marched off as boys and they came back — those who made it — as soldiers and professionals forged in the heat of battle…
At Risk by Stella Rimington
A terrorist is targeting Britain. And to make matters worse it’s an “invisible”– Mi5-speak for someone traveling under a British passport. Virtually impossible to find before it’s too late.
The job falls to Liz Carlyle, the most resourceful counter terror agent in British intelligence. Tracking down this invisible is a challenge like none she has faced before. It will require all her hard-won experience, to say nothing of her intelligence and courage. Drawing on her own years as Britain’s highest-ranking spy, Stella Rimington gives us a story that is smart, tautly drawn, and suspenseful from first to last.
Which of these books have you read? Let us know in the comments!
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