12 Authors Like Nelson DeMille for Your Next Thriller and Suspense Fix

Check out our top selection of riveting authors like Nelson DeMille and discover your next favorite page-turners filled with action, mystery, and suspense.

Nelson DeMille’s straightforward writing, intricate plots, and captivating characters earned him a spot in the New York Times Bestselling book and author list. Plum Island is among his over 30 works entertaining fans of espionage and crime thrillers. The novel stands out for its iconic character John Corey, a retired homicide detective turned FBI agent. Later, it became a series that included The Lion’s Game, Night Fall, and Wild Fire.

Here Are The Top Authors Like Nelson DeMille

1. Steve Martini

Because he practiced law and was a legal newspaper reporter for many years before becoming a fictional author, Steve Martini’s works center around legal dramas. His knowledge and skill in writing are most apparent in his famous work, Compelling Evidence, published in 1992. His first legal thriller earned the New York Times bestselling mark. The novel introduced one of his most famous characters, Paul Madriani, who appeared in 12 of his 15 books, including The Judge, Undue Influence, and Double Tap.

If you’re also searching for thriller novels to add to your reading list, check out our guide on the best Dan Brown books!

“With books as with most things in life, when you’re successful, it’s always good to have a second act.”

Steve Martini, Shadow Of Power
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Shadow of Power: A Paul Madriani Novel (Paul Madriani Novels, 9)
  • Martini, Steve (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 03/31/2009 (Publication Date) - Harper (Publisher)

2. John Grisham

John Grisham
John Grisham, a white man with cropped black hair, smiles at the camera. He wears a suit and white polo

One of John Grisham’s remarkable feats includes selling 2.6 million copies of his 1995 book The Client in just 15 weeks. It also became a movie and two-time Harper Lee Prize winner a year later. He has 47 suspense and thriller fictional novels concerning matters in the criminal justice system that have been translated into various languages. His non-fiction book, The Innocent Man, explores the 1982 murder case that led to the execution of two innocent men.

“Don’t compromise yourself – you’re all you have.”

John Grisham, The Rainmaker
The Rainmaker: A Novel
  • Grisham, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 608 Pages - 12/27/2011 (Publication Date) - Anchor (Publisher)

3. Vince Flynn

Vince Flynn
Vince Flynn, a white man with cropped brown hair, is inside a studio. He wears a striped polo under a black suit jacket and has his mouth set in a line

Vince Flynn was a self-published New York Times bestseller author who sold 15 million book copies before he died from prostate cancer at age 47. His novel, Extreme Measures, sold over one million eBook copies. Additionally, American Assassin became a movie in 2017. Flynn’s Term Limits and DeMille’s The Charm School dive into political corruption and justice for a thrilling yet poignant tale everyone will love.

“It was war, and in war the truth was almost always the first casualty.”

Vince Flynn, Executive Power
Executive Power (Mitch Rapp)
  • Flynn, Vince (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 512 Pages - 04/27/2004 (Publication Date) - Pocket Star (Publisher)

4. Robert Crais

Robert Crais
Robert Crais, a white man with thin black hair, has his back against a yellow background. He wears a denim jacket and looks at the camera

Robert Crais was a contract writer and producer for various collaborative television series before he decided to pursue his dream of being a novelist. His writing prowess is demonstrated through his 23 published books, especially his detective fiction The Monkey’s Raincoat. This novel is the introduction to his Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series. Another excellent book from Crais is the Los Angeles and New York Times bestseller L.A. Requiem, which amuses readers with multiple storylines, changing reader perspectives, and vivid flashbacks.

“It’s easy to sound good. All you do is leave in the parts where you act tough and forget the parts where you get shoved around.”

Robert Crais, The Monkey’s Raincoat
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The Monkey's Raincoat (Elvis Cole)
  • Crais, Robert (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 237 Pages - 03/01/1992 (Publication Date) - Crimeline (Publisher)

5. Brian Haig

Brian Haig uses his 22 years of experience in the army for his military and legal thriller novels. If you’ve enjoyed DeMille’s The General’s Daughter, you will appreciate Haig’s first work, Secret Sanction, published in 2001. It’s about Major Sean Drummond and his suspicions of CIA agents, officials, and the president being involved and covering up a murder.

This novel was recognized as a Washington Post bestseller that established Haig as an up-and-coming writer in the genre. The protagonist, Sean Drummond, is an army-turned-lawyer and a recurring character in his other series. You might also like our guide to the best legal thriller novels.

“Guilt is a relative term, as are fairness, justice, and punishment.”

Brian Haig, The Night Crew
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The Night Crew
  • Audio CD – Audiobook
  • Haig, Brian (Author)
  • (Playback Language)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 03/10/2015 (Publication Date) - Brilliance Audio (Publisher)

6. Alex DeMille

Although Alex DeMille intends to follow in his father, Nelson DeMille’s footsteps, he wants to do so in his way. Eventually, DeMille published a novel he co-wrote with his father, titled The Deserter, in 2019 that became a New York Times bestseller. The story is about Scott Brodie’s mission to find Captain Kyle Mercer, who went AWOL, and the corruption involved in his sudden disappearance.

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”

Alex DeMille, The Deserter
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The Deserter: A Novel (1) (Scott Brodie & Maggie Taylor Series)
  • Hardcover Book
  • DeMille, Nelson (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 544 Pages - 10/22/2019 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster (Publisher)

7. David Baldacci

David Baldacci
David Baldacci, a white man with brown and white hair, wears a black suit jacket and smiles away from the camera

David Baldacci is a lawyer who has been passionate about writing since childhood. His first and bestselling novel, Absolute Power, revolves around a thief who witnesses the murder of a billionaire’s wife and delves into the abuse of power. Baldacci’s books have been adapted to the big and small screens and have been translated into other languages. If you liked DeMille’s The Whole Truth, you’ll appreciate Baldacci’s The Cuban Affair.

Looking for more suspense novels to read? Check out our round-up of the best books like Da Vinci Code.

“Why can’t people just sit and read books and be nice to each other?”

David Baldacci, The Camel Club
The Camel Club (Camel Club Series)
  • Baldacci, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 624 Pages - 09/01/2006 (Publication Date) - Vision (Publisher)

8. Jonathan Kellerman

Jonathan Kellerman won his first fiction writing award at 22. While his initial published works were medical books, they trained him to create excellent psychological crime thrillers, his first being When the Bough Breaks. It was soon adapted into an award-winning movie in 2016. The novel launched the Alex Delaware series, with the main character working as a child psychologist and consultant to the LAPD.

“To trust someone is to take the greatest risk of all.”

Jonathan Kellerman, Blood Test
Blood Test: An Alex Delaware Novel
  • Kellerman, Jonathan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 01/01/2013 (Publication Date) - Ballantine Books (Publisher)

9. John Sandford

John Roswell Camp, aka John Sandford, is an influential writer who won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize in journalism, among other awards. He’s a prolific writer with 54 novels, including Virgil Flowers and The Investigator. He’s best known for his series Prey, which follows the adventures of Lucas Davenport.

“When any worthwhile thing is done in the world, it’s usually done by somebody weird.”

John Sandford, Outrage
Outrage (The Singular Menace, 2)
  • Sandford, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 06/21/2016 (Publication Date) - Ember (Publisher)

10. Brad Thor

Brad Thor
Brad Thor, a white man with dirty blond hair, wears a striped blue polo under a black suit jacket. He looks at the camera with his mouth set in a line

Brad Thor excels in espionage and legal thrillers as he has a background in national security and laws. He’s most celebrated for his character Scot Harvath, an ex-Navy SEAL who became a Secret Service agent, and his escapade narrated through 21 books, starting with The Lions Of Lucerne. Thor is a talented writer who combines fiction and real-life international politics and relations. You might also enjoy these authors like Sidney Sheldon.

“Power perceived is power achieved.”

Brad Thor, The Athena Project
The Athena Project: A Thriller
  • Thor, Brad (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages - 10/18/2011 (Publication Date) - Pocket Books (Publisher)

11. Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly, a white man with cropped white hair and a circle beard, looks at the camera. He wears black-rimmed circle glasses

Spurred by Raymond Chandler’s works when he was 12, Michael Connelly was encouraged to take a minor in creative writing with his journalism degree while working for a newspaper company. He’s now a bestselling author with 37 novels and one non-fiction. He also has a movie and drama adaptation of his character Harry Bosch in Amazon studios and The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix. You might also like these authors like Tom Clancy.

“There is nothing you can do about the past except keep it there.”

Michael Connelly, The Brass Verdict
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The Brass Verdict
  • Hardcover Book
  • Connelly, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 422 Pages - 10/14/2008 (Publication Date) - Little, Brown and Company (Publisher)

12. Lee Child

Lee Child
Lee Child, a white man with light brown hair, looks at the camera. He wears a black long-sleeved shirt

Lee Child is famed for his Jack Reacher (Killing Floor, Die Trying, and Tripwire) novels that sold over 100 million copies. He also frequently occupies the top lists for bestseller writers worldwide. Despite his success, Child announced his retirement in January 2020 and declared his support for his younger brother, Andrew Grant, to continue the Jack Reacher series. The series’ movie adaptations are available on Prime Video and Apple TV. If you liked this post, check out our guide to the best political fiction authors.

“I don’t want to put the world to rights… I just don’t like people who put the world to wrongs.”

Lee Child, 61 Hours

Author

  • Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.