Nelson DeMille has been writing crime thrillers and action-adventure novels since the late 1970s. Needless to say, that’s a lot of books! Many of his bestsellers feature insidious international conspiracies, grisly murders, epic treasure hunts, and the occasional hint of romance. Some of his works (The General’s Daughter, Word of Honor, and Mayday—all of which are featured on this list) have even been adapted for the screen.
If you love danger and suspense of all kinds, you may have just found your new favorite author in Nelson DeMille! But which captivating DeMille thriller should you start with? The ones listed below are a good cross-section of his expansive body of work. Whether you are in the mood for Cold War espionage, a criminal law thriller, or anything in between, you are sure to find a book that will have you biting your nails from the first chapter to the last.
By the late 1980s, the end of the Cold War is approaching but still not inevitable. Greg Fisher, an American tourist visiting Russia, is more concerned with having a good time than getting involved in politics. But when he stumbles across evidence of a conspiracy called "the Charm School"—a facility where American POWs are forced to teach KGB agents how to integrate into American society—he may not have much choice. With so much at stake, can even the CIA act swiftly enough to rescue the POWs and protect the nation from a hostile foreign power?
John and Frank meet at a plant nursery. But this is no ordinary meeting between fellow garden enthusiasts: John Sutter is a high-powered New York attorney married to the beautiful but dangerous Susan, while Frank Bellarosa is a ruthless mafioso determined to cut a swath through the exclusive Long Island area known as the Gold Coast. When their paths cross again, friendly patter will be the last thing on any of their minds. The first of the "John Sutter" duology, The Gold Coast is a legal suspense novel that combines humor with intrigue, seduction, and deadly vengeance.
The Holy Grail has been lost for millennia — and Father Giuseppe Armano knows where it is. After escaping a decades-long imprisonment in an Ethiopian prison, Giuseppe joins forces with a small group of journalists who agree to help him out. From the sweltering jungles of eastern Africa to the ancient cities of southern Europe, the group will risk everything and more to recover the most sought-after artifact in world history. The Quest was originally written in the 1970s and has since been updated by the author to include more excitement, more danger, and more romance.
The Holy Grail has been lost for millennia—and Father Giuseppe Armano knows where it is. After escaping a decades-long imprisonment in an Ethiopian prison, Giuseppe joins forces with a small group of journalists who agree to help him out. From the sweltering jungles of eastern Africa to the ancient cities of southern Europe, the group will risk everything and more to recover the most sought-after artifact in world history. The Quest was originally written in the 1970s and has since been updated by the author to include more excitement, more danger, and more romance.
Captain Ann Campbell was intelligent, determined, ambitious, and hiding a secret life like no other. After her rape and murder, criminal investigator Paul Brenner must dig deep into the captain's unorthodox personal relationships while contending with the shattered remnants of his own: his ex, Cynthia Sunhill, has also been assigned to the case. The trail of evidence leads them ever farther up the chain of command—and into the crosshairs of someone who has already killed once to protect themselves. DeMille, himself a Vietnam vet, adds plenty of authentic detail to The General's Daughter, the first of the two-part "Paul Brenner" series.
En route to Japan, an ordinary passenger liner is blown out of the sky by a missile. Who shot them down, and why? The three survivors have little time to think about it: they have to figure out how to land the damaged plane before they, too, fall victim to the inexplicable drone strike. Cowritten by Thomas Block, a pilot who would go on to write many bestsellers of his own, Mayday was updated in 1998—nearly twenty years after it was first published—to up the stakes through the inclusion of new (or new at the time) technology.
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Eileen Gonzalez is a freelance writer from Connecticut. She has a Master’s degree in communications and years of experience writing about pop culture. She contributes to Book Riot and Foreword Reviews, and she occasionally tweets at @eileen2thestars.