12 Action-Packed Books for Fans of Tom Clancy

Go beyond Jack Ryan.

thriller books for fans of tom clancy

No one wrote a thriller like Tom Clancy. He first became famous with The Hunt for Red October and then Patriot Games, both of which featured Clancy’s trademark character, Jack Ryan. The ”Ryanverse” is so popular that Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine have all played the cunning Marine/CIA Agent/President on the big screen. Now John Krasinski is starring as Jack Ryan on a television series with the same name.

Related: A Desk Agent Joins the Field in First Trailer for Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan 

If you love Tom Clancy and are looking for even more thrillers similar to his riveting work, take a spin through the list below. From gunmen and secret agents to presidents in mortal danger, this list covers it all.  

Buy Confessional at Amazon


By Jack Higgins

From the author Tom Clancy called “the master” comes Confessional, a thriller about Irish gunman Liam Devlin. Devlin has been asked by British Intelligence to take out Cuchulain, a KGB-trained assassin who has been terrorizing Northern Ireland for more than 20 years. If Devlin fails, Cuchulain may succeed in killing his most shocking target yet: the pope. 

Related: The Eagle Has Landed: 13 Riveting Jack Higgins Books 

Buy Charlie Wilson's War at Amazon

Charlie Wilson's War

By George Crile

Though it reads like a novel—and is captivating enough to have been turned into a movie starring Tom Hanks in 2007—this story is completely true. In the early 1980s, congressman Charlie Wilson and CIA operative Gust Avrakatos bent a lot of rules to pull off one of the most successful covert operations in American history. By getting money and weapons into the right hands, the men played a key role in helping Afghan “freedom fighters” resist the Soviet invaders. 

Related: Trust No One: 11 Best Political Thriller Books 

Buy A Gathering of Spies at Amazon

A Gathering of Spies

By John Altman

Nazi spy Katarina Heinrich is the stuff American nightmares are made of in this WWII thriller. After years spent secretly collecting intel from behind enemy lines while married to a Princeton scientist, Heinrich has finally gathered the atomic bomb plans she needs to return to Germany and tilt the odds in her country's favor. Enter Professor Harry Winterbotham, an MI5 agent tapped by the Allies to stop Heinrich before she can fulfill her mission.

Related: 16 of the Best Spy Novels for Espionage Lovers 

Buy Echo of War at Amazon

Echo of War

By Grant Blackwood

Any true fan of Tom Clancy is likely familiar with Grant Blackwood. Blackwood is the author of two books in the Jack Ryan, Jr. series, including 2016’s bestselling Duty and Honor. Blackwood delivers the same fast-paced action in Echo of War. CIA Agent Briggs Tanner is tasked with going to the Alps to rescue the former CIA director’s wife, who has been kidnapped by bioterrorists hoping to get their hands on a deadly biological weapon.

Buy Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea at Amazon

Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea

By Gary Kinder

Described as “Titanic meets Tom Clancy technology” by People, this true tale tells the story of the 1875 wreck of the SS Central America and its discovery over a century later. More than 400 people died and 21 tons of gold were lost at sea, and it wasn’t until engineer Tommy Thompson used cutting-edge sonar technology and a robot of his own design that the remains were found—he finally located the wreck, including gold and steamer trunks full of artifacts, in 1989. While there’s no terrorists or gunfights in this historical account, it’s all the more thrilling for the fact that it actually happened.

Related: 9 Mystery Books with Surprise Plot Twists 

Buy Under Siege at Amazon

Under Siege

By Stephen Coonts

The unhinged Colombian drug lord Chano Aldana has been extradited to the U.S. for a trial, but he didn’t come alone—Aldana brought along a troop of hit men, and they have their sights set on the president of the United States. With D.C. in danger and the president’s life at stake, fighter pilot Jake Grafton must stop Aldana’s men before they can do irreparable damage. And while he does have help from an undercover agent and investigative journalist, the clock is ticking.

Buy Murder in Georgetown at Amazon

Murder in Georgetown

By Margaret Truman

A corpse has been found in Washington’s C&O Canal. The citizens of the city are stunned to learn it’s none other than Valerie Frolich, a senator's daughter who was starting a promising career as an investigative journalist. When Washington Post reporter Joe Potamos is put on the story, he soon realizes Frolich’s death wasn’t an accident or random crime—her murder is tied to bribery, kidnapping, and international espionage. And though Potamos continues to put the pieces together, he knows whoever killed Frolich will try to keep him from publishing the truth.

Related: Murder in the White House: 11 Gripping Margaret Truman Books 

Buy Atlantic Fury at Amazon

Atlantic Fury

By Hammond Innes

Iain Ross’s family believes he was lost at sea during the war, but his brother Donald soon finds out he’s been living under a dead man’s name at a British army outpost on the island of Laerg. Based on the Hebridean island of Hirta, the island is inhospitable, and the impending winter means the soldiers must soon evacuate. But Iain won’t leave just yet—he’s looking for something in the island’s rocky cliffs, and he’s willing to risk his own life and everyone else’s to get it. 

Buy Binary at Amazon


By Michael Crichton and John Lange

The president is a target in this early thriller from Michael Crichton. Criminal mastermind John Wright is a radical millionaire who has an insane plan to attack the Republican National Convention with the deadliest nerve gas known to man. If he pulls it off, he'll have murdered hundreds of innocent people and the Commander-in-Chief. The only person who can stop Wright is John Graves, a U.S. federal agent who’s had Wright in his sights for a long time. Graves will only have one chance to foil Wright—and for the country's sake, he better not mess it up.

Related: 24 Best Thriller Movies You Can (and Should) Stream Right Now 

Buy Hard Target at Amazon

Hard Target

By Alan Jacobson

Alan Jacobson, the best-selling author of the Karen Vail novels, has crafted yet another electrifying thriller. It’s election night and the new president-elect’s helicopter has just been blown up—thankfully, he wasn’t inside when it happened. But it would be foolish to assume his would-be assassins are no longer a threat. They have a deeper reach than the FBI Joint Terrorism Force has ever encountered, and their plan is to completely overturn the U.S. political system.

Related: 6 Twisty Tales That Thrilled Alan Jacobson 

Buy House Justice at Amazon

House Justice

By Mike Lawson

D.C. insider Joe DeMarco has just been given a new mission: Figure out who leaked the sale of missile technology in Iran to a reporter, causing the CIA’s own spy in Tehran to be blamed, tortured, and killed. DeMarco’s assignment is further complicated by the fact that he once had a fling with the reporter who broke the story, and she refuses to give up her source. DeMarco’s hunt for the mole leads him deeper into the underbelly of U.S. intelligence operations—and deeper into danger.

Related: Fixer Joe DeMarco is Holding Out for a Hero(ine) in the Latest Mike Lawson Thriller 

Buy Jig at Amazon


By Campbell Armstrong

When a ship in service to the Irish Republican Army transporting millions of U.S. dollars is hijacked, the terrorists send “Jig,” an assassin known for both his dancing skills and his refusal to harm the innocent, to recover their money. But Jig isn’t the only one on the case—detective Frank Pagan is on Jig’s trail, and he thinks there’s a good chance the theft was an inside job. Soon enough, Jig and Pagan will be forced to work together to solve the mystery. 

If you’ve already read Jig, try one of the other books in Armstrong’s Frank Pagan novels—you can read them in any order.

This post first appeared on Early Bird Books. 

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Published on 17 Sep 2019