7 Modern Military Thrillers - Featuring Characters with Former Military or Intelligence Skills

Welcome to seven heavyweight thrillers, where each of the main characters formerly worked in the military or world of intelligence. Interestingly some of these authors also have military backgrounds, including Matt Johnson, David Gilman, James Deegan, and Brad Taylor, the authenticity of their knowledge hits home as you read. While most of these novels feature characters who live and operate in the shadows, I have also included Matt Johnson’s Robert Finlay, Finlay is a Metropolitan Police Officer (formerly of the SAS). Hayley Chill joins the men in this pack of novels, she operates in Deep State by Chris Hauty, Chris is a screenwriter and his ability to stamp a vivid sense of reality over proceedings makes Hayley a force to be reckoned with. Every single one of these novels is a high-octane read full of action and adrenaline and they come with my highly recommended stamp of approval. 

The Englishman

The Englishman

Author: David Gilman Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/02/2021

Klaxon alert! Discover full-on heart-pounding action, plus smart, sharp writing in this absolute reading feast of a book. Travelling from Africa to the UK and ending in Russia, former Foreign Legion Commando Dan Raglan is on a hunt that guarantees death. This is the first in what promises to be a smash-hit spy thriller series and I already can’t wait for the next book. The prologue throws you straight into October 2019 with a man running through a frozen Russian forest while bullets whip towards him. Chapter one turns to 2013 and from here we get to know Dan Raglan. As an introduction, it’s spot on, within pages I was on board and by his side. Author David Gilman is a former firefighter, paratrooper, and photographer and now writes full time. His words build a vivid picture, this world feels authentic and I read with full confidence. I was so involved in the unfolding story that my thoughts didn’t skim backwards or forwards, I purely existed in each moment as it hit. And boy, each moment lands with ferocious intensity. Shockwaves of action expanded and the storyline tripped me with unexpected developments. Even though I had read the prologue, the ending still came with a whammy. LoveReading Book of the Month - tick, LoveReading Star Book - tick, one of my personal Picks of the Month - tick! The Englishman comes with a tremendous thumbs up from me, more please!

Star Books
Once A Pilgrim

Once A Pilgrim

Author: James Deegan Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/01/2018

February 2018 Debut of the Month. Simply superb, this is a dark, gritty and stormingly fast read with real attitude. Formerly of the SAS, John Carr is now working in private security for a Russian, however the past is stalking him, ready to take his legs, and his life. If I tell you that the author James Deegan spent 17 years in the SAS and was described by his commanding officer as one of the most operationally experienced SAS men of his era, it should tell you all you need to know about the validity of his voice. The book begins with the CV of John Carr, it really sets the tone, gives you an understanding of his background, allowing the story to explode from the get-go. James Deegan delivers short punchy sentences, simply told, yet the words took hold of me, dumped me in the middle of the action, made my breath stop and my heart race. Once A Pilgrim bristles with energy and authenticity, it is an addictive, absolute whammy of read and I loved it - highly recommended.

Star Books
Hunter Killer

Hunter Killer

Author: Brad Taylor Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/01/2021

A full-on “wrecking machine” from the get go, take a deep breath and just fall right on in to this action thriller. Taking place over a week, the Pike Logan series continues with Pike under threat; his team are being targeted and he will do anything to protect them. This is my first foray with The Taskforce and it won’t be my last. Even though I joined an already established series, I felt right at home. If you are also new, let me tell you a little about the author Brad Taylor, and you will know all you need to about the tone and authenticity of these novels. He served for more than 21 years in the US Army, retiring as a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel. He has conducted operations all over the world, and his final assignment was as the Assistant Professor of Military Science at The Citadel in Charleston. He holds a Master’s of Science in Defence Analysis with a concentration in Irregular Warfare. If you are looking for a new action series and haven’t yet met The Taskforce, then look no further. In 2011 Brad Taylor published his debut One Rough Man which launched the Pike Logan series and now contains over twenty books and novellas. I was sucker-punched at the outset of this novel and as a newbie may have been racing to catch up, but that only added to the tension. The notes at the end are fascinating reading as the author explains how the novel came into being.  Hunter Killer allows you to enter a hidden world of fast moving action from the comfort of your armchair, it’s a whammy of a novel and thoroughly entertaining.

eBooks of the Month
Wicked Game

Wicked Game

Author: Matt Johnson Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/03/2016

A breathless and perfectly-paced thriller of a particularly explosive nature, introducing Royalty Protection Team cop Robert Finlay whose own SAS past returns to the surface after a series of colleagues are murdered. The author's own previous real-life experience in the military and then the police provides the book with a thick veneer of realism which it wears lightly but keeps the plot on the right side of credibility, unlike so many SAS action adventure-type thrillers publishers have been deluging the market with. Finlay is a fascinating character with a deceptively normal home life and quickly attracts the reader's sympathy. Anchored in the uncertainties of the present and recent past (terrorism, political turmoil, Ireland, Iran) but with a strong moral compass, this could be the beginning of a great series and a likeable British action character. Maxim Jakobowski One of our Books of the Year 2016. Longlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2016.   The LoveReading view... Fall headlong into a gripping and absolutely cracking story, featuring an ex-SAS, turned Met Police Officer, battling for his life. This is the first in the ‘Robert Finlay series’ and the debut novel by Matt Johnson, who has experienced one hell of a career himself. In fact, when you read the information about the author at the beginning of the book, it immediately puts a whole new spin on what you're about to read. The whammy of a prologue sets the story in 2001, you are then introduced to Bob Finlay, who is settling down into family life and a new role within the police when events take an unexpected and horrifying turn. Johnson turns his knowledge into the most fabulous and readable story that just zings along with authenticity and exhilarating attitude. I’m excited to be in at the start of what promises to be a fabulous new series, and honestly can’t wait for the next! ~ Liz Robinson April 2016 Debut of the Month. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'Wicked Game was written by ex-Met Police Officer Matt Johnson as therapy for the PTSD he suffered after witnessing several horrific London bombings, and being present at the murder of his colleague Yvonne Fletcher. He subsequently self-published this book, and achieved extraordinary sales and reviews. We’ve worked with Matt to rewrite and polish this thriller for the trade, and the results are staggering. Not only is this a compelling, revealing and action-packed thriller, but the authentic dialogue and the inside knowledge that Matt invests in the highly orchestrated plot and well-drawn characters are simply spine-tingling. Telling the story of an ex-SAS man whose carefully concealed past comes back to haunt him, putting his family, his colleagues and his new life in jeopardy, this is a vividly written novel that has bestseller written all over it.' ~ Karen Sullivan, Publisher, Orenda Books Books in the Robert Finlay Trilogy: 1. Wicked Game 2. Deadly Game 3. End Game Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.

eBooks of the Month
Deep State

Deep State

Author: Chris Hauty Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/07/2020

A booky health warning should be stamped on this cover… once you start you won’t want to stop! I read right through to 03:30am, until I had devoured every single and absolutely wonderful last drop. Hayley Chill, ex-military and champion boxer, is a new West Wing intern in the White House. When she finds the body of the Chief of Staff, she also finds a clue that it wasn’t the reported heart attack, and everything now points to an assassination plot on the president. The first few pages really sum up Hayley Chill, she is courageous, honourable, and can kick some serious ass. In other words, she is someone you would most definitely want on your side. Chris Hauty has the ability to highlight a life in just a few sentences, adding to the vivid overall picture in my mind. Deep State is a fast-moving, full-on adrenaline hit. Please, please tell me that this is the start of a new series, because I want more! Chosen as a Liz Robinson pick of the month and LoveReading Star Book, because Deep State really is that addictive. Find out more in our Q&A with Chris Hauty!

Star Books
Orphan X

Orphan X

Author: Gregg Hurwitz Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/09/2016

Prepare yourself… for the dramatically intense and exciting new kid on the block, except Evan Smoak isn't a kid, he's a highly trained killer with his humanity surprisingly intact. Smoak has left a top secret programme, he is prepared to put his life on the line to help those in need. The first few chapters completely set the scene, allowing you immediate access to Evan’s mind, to the way he thinks, the way he has to live. The in depth detail of the security and secrecy, and the occasional glimpses of Evan’s past with his mentor, add a compelling new dimension. Gregg Hurwitz has created a ballsy, out there, wonderful hit of escapism, that non the less feels as though it could be real. I punched the air when I realised ‘Orphan X’ is the first in a series, there is most definitely more to come from Evan Smoak and this has all the hallmarks of a series to rival Bourne. This was such an exceptional and exhilarating ride, and I loved every single micro second of it!  Books in The Orphan X Series: 1. Orphan X 2. The Nowhere Man 3. Hellbent 4. Out of the Dark 5. Into the Fire Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.

eBooks of the Month
Crisis

Crisis

Author: Frank Gardner Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/01/2017

January 2017 Debut of the Month. This is a fabulous, heavyweight whammy of a debut novel. The BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner has entered the world of the spy thriller, and with his background, knowledge, and experience, a dramatic, fiercely captivating novel awaits. Ex Special Boat Service commando turned MI6 operative Luke Carlton fights to save his country from catastrophic attack. This feels incredibly authentic, Luke isn't a perfect spy, mistakes are made, yet the pages ring with attitude and conviction. Frank Gardner moves around the world seemlessly, I found myself completely immersed in the sights and sounds of each country. If this is the start of a series (please say it is), with a likeable and charismatic leading man, and a fabulous supporting cast, it could run and run. I read ‘Crisis’ in one breathtaking sitting, powerful and mesmerising, the action runs full tilt through the storyline, making for one heck of a read. ~ Liz Robinson Click here to read a Q&A with Frank Gardner about this book.

Debut Books of the Month

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