12 Best Authors Like Nick Petrie

Discover new crime and thriller books with our list of authors like Nick Petrie. Get ready for fresh mystery and action novels to bolster your collection.

Authors like Nick Petrie are celebrated for their talent in maximizing suspense. As a graduate of the University of Washington, Nick Petrie didn’t let his Master of Fine Arts in Fiction go to waste.

His debut novel, The Drifter, won the ITW Thriller and Barry Awards. Now, he’s a national bestselling author with eight novels dedicated to his award-winning Peter Ash Series.

On the topic of why he’s writing under the crime fiction genre, Petrie shares, “I’ve always been drawn to the extremes of human behavior, and crime fiction is a great way to explore the lives and stories of fascinating people.”

Check out our roundup of the best books for teenagers!

Best Authors Like Nick Petrie Ranked

1. C.J. Box, 1958 –

C.J. Box
C.J.Box Shadows Reel debuted at #1 on the WSJ and #2 on the New York Times bestseller lists

Charles James Box, a.k.a. C.J. Box, is a bestselling author of over 30 books. This multi-awarded novelist is well-known for his Joe Picket Series. In fact, it already has a T.V. adaptation on Paramount+ (Joe Picket). Box has sold over 10 million copies of his books, which are translated into 27 languages.

Like Nick Petrie, Box combines mystery with a strong dependence on the novel’s settings. In Box’s case, he often uses the wild landscape of the American West. That’s why it’s unsurprising for this Wyoming native to imbue his books with his love for wildlife. If you’re looking for a “gripping family drama and fight for justice,” read Box’s Winterkill.

“In Wyoming, the people owned the game animals, and they took their ownership to heart.

C.J. Box, Open Season
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02/09/2024 08:22 am GMT

2. Ace Atkins,1970 –

Ace Atkins
Ace Atkins was a crime-beat reporter before being a full-time novelist

Born in Alabama as William Ellis Atkins, Ace Atkins is a 53-year-old award-winning New York Times Bestselling author. Atkins earned his notoriety for penning true crime novels based on famous crooks and killers, like his 2006 novel, White Shadow. It’s based on the unsolved murder of Charlie Wall — a crime boss from Tampa, Florida.

In 2010, Robert B. Parker’s estate picked Ace Atkins to continue his Spenser Series. Atkins honored his fellow mystery author’s request, completing ten novels for the franchise. From there, he introduced Quinn Colson. The Ranger then became the series’s first New York Times bestselling book. You might also be interested in our guide on authors like Lucy Foley.

“The music reminded me of times I’d failed to recognize as being the best I’d ever known.”

Ace Atkins, Dark End of the Street

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02/08/2024 11:47 pm GMT

3. Gregg Andrew Hurwitz, 1973 – 

Gregg Andrew Hurwitz
Gregg Andrew Hurwitz penned stories for D.C. (Batman, Penguin), Marvel (Wolverine, Punisher), and AWA

Gregg Andrew Hurwitz is a multi-awarded author and New York Times bestseller of over 20 thriller novels published in 33 languages. Besides fiction, Hurwitz crafted screenplays for The Book of Henry (2017) and Sweet Girl (2021). Moreover, he’s a New York Times bestselling comic writer. He even writes poetry and editorials and produces commercials on different digital T.V. platforms.

This American author likes to create intense and action-packed thrillers featuring well-developed characters. He grew up in the Bay Area, San Francisco, where he wrote his first novel, The Tower, while still studying. It’s a psychological thriller where maniac Allander Atlasia kills every inmate and escapes an offshore maximum security prison. Then, he meets ex-FBI Agent Jade Marlow.

“Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.”

Gregg Andrew Hurwitz, Orphan X
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02/08/2024 11:46 pm GMT

4. Mark Greaney, 1967 – 

Mark Greaney
Mark Greaney doesn’t like writing story outlines.

Marc Greney is often compared to Nick Petrie. Both of them love to weave their novels with spies, wars, and suspense. 

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Greaney is a New York Times bestselling author — specifically for his The Gray Man Series. The Gray Man features the world’s most dangerous assassin, who never misses his mark. It also has a 2022 Netflix adaptation starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. 

Greaney dedicates much time to research when he’s writing. For instance, he usually visits military bases and intelligence agencies. He even trained alongside military and law enforcement to add authenticity to his craft. Another accolade of his is co-authoring the late Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Series.

“Any mission you can’t afford to walk away from is a mission you should run away from.”

Marc Greaney, On Target
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02/09/2024 05:03 am GMT

5. Joseph Finder, 1958 – 

Joseph Finder
Joseph Finder’s first-ever novel, The Moscow Club, is named one of the 10 Best Spy Novels of all time by Publishers Weekly

Joseph Finder is an award-winning mystery and thriller author. He has bagged the Barry Award, International Thriller Writers Best Novel, and Strand Critics. This suspense novel bestseller has published over 60 books in 35 countries worldwide. Finder’s books High Crimes (2002), Paranoia (2013), and Suspicion (2018) were adapted into films.

Like Petrie, Finder often features relatable characters in extraordinary situations. For example, his bestselling Nick Heller Series (Guilty Minds) features a quick-witted, funny, and intelligent protagonist. He’s a private spy who likes to do things his own way, often to explosive effect. 

“When everything’s coming your way, maybe you’re driving in the wrong lane.”

Joseph Finder, Paranoia
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02/08/2024 11:42 pm GMT

6. Don Winslow, 1953 – 

Don Winslow
Don Winslow is the son of a librarian

Don Winslow draws experience from his life experience. Aside from his Military History degree, he worked as a private investigator and trial consultant. As a result, it’s not unusual to see his tales imbued with the complexities of the criminal underworld. 

Winslow is not only a New York Times bestseller but a multi-awarded author in and out of the U.S. In fact, he earned the Raymond Chandler Award in Italy and The RBA Literacy Prize in Spain.

Winslow only became a full-time novelist when he got a film and publishing deal for The Death and Life of Bobby Z. It’s a story of a fugitive impersonating a deceased drug dealer, Bobby Z. The novel was published in 2006 and adapted into film a year later. In addition, Winslow published anthologies, magazine short stories, and columns in Esquire, CNN online, and more.

“They got the absolute freedom to choose what we want them to.”

Don Winslow, The Power of the Dog
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02/08/2024 11:42 pm GMT

7. Steve Hamilton, 1961 –

Steve Hamilton
Steve Hamilton’s A Cold Day in Paradise won the St. Martin’s Press Award for Best First Mystery as an unpublished writer

After winning an award even before officially debuting as a novelist, Steve Hamilton went on to become a two-time winner of the MWA Edgar Awards and a New York Times bestseller. He was also awarded by the American Library Association and received the Alex Award — honors that are only given to those whose books successfully appeal to adult and young adult readers.

Hamilton has many notable novels, but his The Second Life of Nick Mason had the most engagement. In 2016, Lionsgate announced its film adaptation, which is currently in development. Petrie fans who love action-packed scenes with well-rounded protagonists should definitely read Hamilton’s series.

“I didn’t know that once you’ve proven yourself useful to the wrong people, you’ll never be free again.”

Steve Hamilton, The Lock Artist
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02/08/2024 11:47 pm GMT

8. John Sandford, 1944 –

John Sandford
When not writing mysteries and thrillers, John Sandford writes articles about art and photography

Sandford’s first two novels were published close together by different publishers (Rules of Prey and The Fool’s Run). Given the almost simultaneous publication and difference in style, G.P. Putnam’s Sons asked John Roswell Camp to create a pseudonym to avoid a marketing issue. And so, John Sandford was born. 

Today, over 50 Sandford novels are listed as New York Times bestsellers, with many debuting at #1.

Two of Sandford’s most notable books are from his Lucas Davenport Series, Mind Prey and Certain Prey. Later, they were also adapted into movies. 

In 2023, Sandford combined two of his series — Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers — to create Judgement Prey. The novel is centered around the unsolved murder case of Alex Sand.

“You gotta try harder to be kind, man. We’re all trapped on this earth together.”

John Sandford, Holy Ghost
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02/09/2024 09:42 am GMT

9. Robert Crais, 1953 –

Robert Crais
Robert Crais was inspired to write crime fiction by Raymon Chandler’s The Little Star

Robert Crais worked as a scriptwriter in the 1970s for known television series like Hill Street Blues. Though he was nominated for awards for his career then, Crais didn’t debut successfully as a novelist until the mid-eighties.

Then, he introduced Elvis Colethe protagonist of his successful series. Crais drew upon aspects of his own life, including his father’s death, to create the character Cole.

The first book in the collection, The Monkey’s Raincoat, was nominated for the Edgar Awards and won the Anthony and Macavity Awards. Another breakthrough moment for Crais was when his 2001 book, Hostage, was adapted into a 2005 movie of the same title.

“The arrows. What they mean is, you control who you are by moving forward, never back; you move forward. That’s what I do. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Robert Crais, The Watchman
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02/09/2024 09:45 am GMT

10. Patrick Lee, 1976 –

Patrick Lee
Partick Lee’s first novel was released in 2009

Patrick Lee’s interest in games and technology is evident in his novels, making them attractive to read. Currently, Lee only has six books in his repertoire. But he is already a New York Times bestseller. His thriller novel, The Breach, is about an ex-con and ex-cop. 

In contrast, his bestseller Signal narrates a protagonist’s adventure as a special agent needing to deal with an unfamiliar device. It was well-received, selling 100,000 copies on its first printing. 

Both Lee and Petrie create strong and compelling main characters who thrive in quick plot developments that engage their readers. Check out our guide on authors like Riley Sager for more.

“There were sectional concrete barriers along each side of the chasm, plastered with orange warning signs for those who didn’t grasp the concept of gravity.”

Patrick Lee, Deep Sky 
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02/08/2024 11:46 pm GMT

11. Marc Cameron, 1961 –

Marc Cameron
Watching Indiana Jones and James Bond movies triggered Marc Cameron’s interest in writing novels

Like Nick Petrie, Marc Cameron delivers action, suspense, and conspiracy novels. Their series format lets readers easily follow their charismatic protagonists as they handle multiple adventures. The fast-paced narratives and intense scenes keep the audience on the edge of their seat.

The New York Times bestseller’s Jericho Quinn Series (National Security, Act of Terror, etc.) is Cameron’s most popular yet. It’s attracted and received praise from readers, critics, and other authors in the genre. According to author Brad Thor, Cameron is one of the hottest new authors in the thriller genre.”

“When two tigers fight, one is injured beyond repair — and the other one is dead.

Marc Cameron, Act Of Terror
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02/08/2024 11:46 pm GMT

12. David Baldacci, 1960 –

David Baldacci
David Baldacci’s catalog of work caters to readers of all ages, including adults, young adults, and children

David Baldacci is a prolific novelist who publishes adult books with complex plots and strong characters. He aims to balance mystery, suspense, and action in his works. He’s a New York Times bestseller author of suspense novels and also a children’s writer.

Baldacci achieved recognition through his 1996 debut novel, Absolute Power. A year later, it was adapted into a film starring Clint Eastwood.

He has over 40 novels for adults and seven for his young readers. Baldacci is a national and international bestseller, with his entire works published in 45 languages and selling over 150 million copies. Baldacci’s Zero Day is a safe bet to read next if you like Nick Petrie’s thriller novels. You can also check out our list of authors like Ottessa Moshfegh.

“Life was a shell game. The winners could just hide the truth better than everybody else.”

David Baldacci, Simply Lies
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02/08/2024 10:37 pm GMT

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.