If you want thrilling crime books featuring veterans as protagonists, check out this list. After their career in the military is over, the veterans who are the protagonists in these books still have skills to put to use. Follow their stories as they investigate murders, fight crime, collect government secrets, and much more in these crime books and thriller books. To make things even better, all of the books on this list are a part of a series. That means if you enjoy any (or all) of these veteran protagonists, there are plenty more stories to enjoy from these same characters.
In One Killer Force, author Dalton Fury returns to the character of Major Kolt “Racer” Raynor for the fourth time. Raynor is recovering from wounds from a previous mission in another book, but even if you haven’t read the other novels in this series, this book works perfectly well as a standalone read. In this book, Delta Force Commander Raynor is forced to team up with the Navy SEALs to create One Killer Force.
Owen Laukkanen’s Lone Jack Trail is the latest thriller book in the Neah Bay series, which follows Marine veteran Jess Winslow. When former professional athlete “Bad” Brock Boyd’s body washes up on the shore near Deception Cove, Jess Winslow, now a trainee deputy, is assigned to the case. But when she discovers her friend, ex-con Mason Burke, had a run-in with the Boyd on the day of his murder, Jess finds herself torn between loyalty to her friend and the facts of the case, all of which point to Burke being the murderer.
Related: The Pets of Crime Fiction
Freedom may have finally arrived in Iran. As protests break out across the country, the media rejoices over the so-called Persian Spring. Western leaders are ecstatic. Members of Congress and the Cabinet clamor to back the rebels. Only President Jack Ryan remains wary.
Meanwhile, he has plenty to handle at home. A deadly strain of flu is ravaging the United States as spring floods decimate the Southeast. An unethical senator wants to bring down the Ryan presidency and is willing to lean on fabricated bot-planted stories to do it.
The Kyle Swanson Sniper series, written by Sgt. Jack Coughlin and Donald A. Davis, begins with protagonist Kyle Swanson as a top marine sniper. By the time we get to Long Shot, the ninth book in the series, Swanson is now a veteran working as a special contractor with the CIA. In Long Shot, Swanson must meet with a Russian intelligence agent who has defected. The agent has top-level secrets about the Russian president and refuses to speak to anyone but Swanson. And yet to Swanson, something about this whole deal feels off.
Author Charles Todd’s crime books star protagonist Ian Rutledge, a World War I veteran now working as an inspector for Scotland Yard. In the first book of this Edgar and Anthony award-nominated series, A Test of Wills, Rutledge investigates the death of an army colonel who appears to have been murdered by a war hero with ties to the Royal Family. As Rutledge dives further into the case, the inspector also struggles to come to terms with his own horrific experiences in the war.
In Devil in a Blue Dress, author Walter Mosley introduces the world to an iconic new crime fiction protagonist: World War II veteran Easy Rawlins. In this, the first book in the Easy Rawlins series, Rawlins has just been fired from his job a defense plant. He’s having a drink at a bar, trying to figure out what his next move will be, when in walks a man who offers Rawlins good money if he’ll track down Miss Daphne Monet, a blonde woman who is known for hanging out in Black jazz clubs.
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Emily Martin has a PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi. She’s a contributing writer for Book Riot.