The truth is always stranger than fiction, but political thriller books show us that it can also be much more thrilling.

Reading a good thriller is one of my favorite ways to spend my time. It's not just the suspense that hooks me, but also when the story delves into the realm of politics. As I turn each page, my mind starts to buzz with all kinds of theories. I'm aware that most of these captivating stories spring from pure imagination, but there's a part of me that can't help but feel there's a grain of truth in them too.

These novels often weave tales of espionage, clandestine secrets, and high-stakes drama set against a backdrop of political intrigue. Authors like John le Carré and Vince Flynn have a special talent for crafting such narratives. Their books provide an exhilarating and thrilling reading experience that I find irresistibly engaging.

What Are The Top Political Thriller Books?

Living Secrets (Mirror Estates Series Book 1), by S.F. Baumgartner (2023)

Lily Tso, a 22-year-old Hotel Guest Service Officer and orphan, discovers that her parents are alive and finds herself embroiled in a dangerous mission to save America from a bioterror threat. Overwhelmed by her sudden involvement in such a high-stakes operation and the prospect of meeting her biological parents, Lily teams up with an FBI Special Agent and a young tycoon.

As they work to prevent a catastrophic biological attack, they face opposition from unknown forces. With time running out, Lily must overcome these challenges to save her country and herself from impending doom.

This Christian thriller novel is a whirlwind of international espionage, blending intense action with a deep dive into political intrigue. While the book's rapid pacing and frequent perspective shifts require some initial adjustment, the compelling narrative, reminiscent of a dynamic Hollywood action movie, ultimately delivers a satisfyingly complex and engaging thriller experience.

The Devil's Ransom (Pike Logan Book 17)  by Brad Taylor (2023)

The Devil's Ransom is a riveting blend of geopolitical intrigue, high-tech espionage, and relentless action. It stands out for its meticulously crafted plot, which manages to balance a breadth of complex issues from global politics to cybersecurity.

What struck me the most was the character development of Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill. Their dynamic partnership and unique character traits provide a deeply personal perspective to the global-scale narrative, creating an engaging reading experience.

The antagonist, a former NSA specialist, is remarkably well-realized. His nostalgia for the Cold War era and desire to manipulate global power structures make him a formidable and fascinating adversary. His introduction and actions throughout the story add an extra layer of tension, creating a suspenseful race against time scenario.

The depiction of the cyber threat is not only timely but also disturbingly plausible. The narrative dives deep into the potential consequences of such attacks, highlighting the vulnerability of our increasingly interconnected world.

Burner (Gray Man Series), by Mark Greaney (2023)

Court Gentry is caught between the Russian mafia and the CIA as he tries to protect Alex Velesky, who has stolen records from his Swiss bank and uncovered a criminal conspiracy. Court and his former lover, Zoya Zakharova, are after Velesky for different reasons, and must work to keep him alive as they are all hunted by dangerous forces.

Court, Zoya and Velesky are all caught up in a dangerous game of survival as they navigate the treacherous waters of corrupt power, with everyone from the Russian mafia to the CIA after them. With Velesky's information, they must fight to stay alive and out of the hands of those who would use it for their own ends.

As they try to uncover the truth and stay ahead of their enemies, they will discover the true extent of corruption and the lengths those in power will go to protect their interests.

This political thriller book also serves the story of major Netflix series called Gray Man.

The Ridders, by Lisa Towles (2022)

The Ridders follows Brock Janoff's adventures. Known as BJ among friends, he and his brother Jonas own a private investigation company in Venice, California.

One day, a random proposal seems to change their life. While normally used to take customers after an initial discussion in an office, BJ is stopped by a stranger on the street and gets a proposition that blows his mind. He only has to bring an envelope to a hotel, get into the lobby, and deliver the envelope in time. The reward? $1 million.

However, if he fails to do it on time, his life will be in danger. Now, the question on his mind is pretty simple… Why him?

Things escalate pretty quickly, and as he digs deeper, he finds out more about the so called Bilderberg Group, his father, his past, and perhaps his fate as well…

The Ridders is an intriguing thriller that will keep you craving for more, page after page.

The Politician, by Tim Sullivan (2022)

This is one of those exciting political thriller books, when you have a few clues about who did it, but everything changes at the end with a major plot twist that no one saw coming…

The Politician follows the story behind a dead politician. Was it burglary or murder?

It is definitely a puzzle out there. Peggy has a harsh political career. Then, she decided to become a blogger and share some of the dirty secrets of the industry.

Her family is not doing great, either. Her husband is cheating on her, while her son is addicted to gambling.

There are lots of suspects who could have killed her… DS George Cross loves this kind of case. At a first glance, it looks like there was a burglary, but it might be a nicely staged murder as well.

There are countless connections and leads to check. It may seem like a dead-end puzzle, but the detective has an impeccable approach and a methodical logic.

The President Is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson (2018)

This political thriller book is written by the former president of the USA Bill Clinton, so it comes from a personal point of view. It feels like a biography or like the former politician is actually describing a situation from his career, with plenty of vivid details and exquisite plot twists.

As one of the best political thriller books out there, the story begins with a threat. Enemies of the USA are planning one of the deadliest attacks in the history of the country.

Washington is uncertain about where the attack is coming from, and everyone is trying to find some sort of defense. There are also rumors about a traitor, and everyone becomes a suspect, even the world's most powerful man… Until he disappears.

The book takes place in real time and covers three days. It has an authentic approach, and if you think about it, it describes things that could actually happen, things that are actually inspired from the country’s history.

Near Dark, by Brad Thor (2020)

A massive bounty has been placed on the head of America's top spy, and the only way for them to survive is to outmaneuver, outrun, and outlast their enemies long enough to uncover the truth.

To succeed in their most perilous mission yet, which has already cost the lives of their loved ones, including their newly-wed spouse, the spy must seek the help of others.

But with no one they can trust, they find an unlikely ally in Sølvi Kolstad, a Norwegian intelligence operative. She is equally intelligent, lethal, and determined, and shares a similar troubled past with the spy.

As soon as the action kicks off, I immerse myself in the fast-paced espionage that keeps me hooked. But the action is slow and sluggish, almost as if it is being weighed down by Harvath's numerous hangovers. Despite this, the technical details in the narrative are intriguing and the seemingly reckless tactical operations are actually well-planned and realistic.

One Minute Out, by Mark Greaney (2020)

One Minute Out tells the story of one of the greatest assassins of all times – the so called Gray Man. Court Gentry discovers an impressive network of human traffickers while on a mission in Croatia. But the network seems to go further than the Balkans – all way to the USA.

It has links to Hollywood as well. Court tries his best to put it out, but the CIA has different plans. With no intel, no one will do anything at all to help Court.

Savage Son, by Jack Carr (2020)

This political thriller book is part of the Terminal List series, but you do not have to read previous volumes, as they are not related. This time, James Reece has to infiltrate the rough Russian mafia. His experience as a former Navy SEAL does help in the process, but will he succeed in a completely different environment?

The story follows a woman on the run in Siberia – chased by a man who wants to kill her. It looks like you go through two separate stories at some point, but everything will make sense when they clash.

Camino Winds, by John Grisham (2020)

Anything is possible on the Camino Island. Prior to a book related event, Hurricane Lee threatens to hit the island. The local governor orders everyone to be evacuated, as the hurricane heads towards the island. Everything seems to be ruined in front of it, as well as a few lives.

Nelson Kerr is dead and his friend Bruce realizes the storm was not the actual cause of his death. Another question pops up now – who would want Nelson out of the scenario?

This political thriller book received some controversial reviews because of the slow start but the story itself is unique and recommended if you are a thriller lover.

Dragonfire, by Ted Bell (2020)

Alex Hawke is a British lord who also operates as a spy. He is in hospital recovering after a previous mission when he gets a sudden call from the Queen. Her grandson is gone – somewhere in the Bahamas. The mission is quite sensitive and the Queen can only trust someone like Lord Hawke. The last thing she knows is he was seen at a nightclub known as Dragonfire.

There are a few historical connections involved in this thriller as well.

To Kill A Man, by Sam Bourne (2020)

A woman is attacked in her own home, but she manages to kill the attacker. Natasha Winthrop is a prolific politician who is tipped to become the next president of the USA. Initially, she is tagged as a #MeToo hero, as she was able to fight back.

However, there are a few things in her story that do not really make sense. Some clues simply do not come up together, so inconsistency leaves room for interpretation. What is she trying to hide?

The Paladin, by David Ignatius (2020)

This is one of the best political thriller book if you love American spying stories. CIA officer Michael Dunne has to infiltrate an Italian news company. It seems to be more than just a news agency, as those people manage to find secrets that CIA could never get.

Moreover, they expose one thing after another – hard to understand how. Michael gets in, but his cover is blown away and the CIA leaves him on his own. After spending time in jail, he goes out to seek revenge.

The Mountain, by Steven Konkoly (2020)

Someone disappears on Murder Mountain – nothing unusual so far, as it happens all the time. The mountain is lawless – lots of illegal drug harvests and deaths. However, the missing person is Senator Steele's friend, so investigator Ryan Decker has to complete the mission.

One thing leads to another and mysteries start unveiling, only for the investigator and his partner to discover some of the country's best puppet masters.

The Warsaw Protocol, by Steve Berry (2020)

This story will take you to some of the most beautiful places in the world. Relics of the Arma Christi – the weapons of Jesus Christ – keep disappearing from museums and sanctuaries. Agent Cotton Malone is the unfortunate witness of such an event.

He learns about a private auction that will bring in incriminating information on the Polish president, but the entry price is one of the relics. In other words, he will have to steal the Holy Lance in order to join the action.

Three Hours, by Rosamund Lupton (2020)

The story takes you to the rural areas of Somerset, where a school is under siege. The headmaster is injured, while the police will have to establish contact with the gunmen. Everyone else is barricaded inside classrooms. The whole action spreads over three hours and everyone must do what they can to save their loved ones. But the story is not just an action scenario, as things get an unusual turn at some point. Nothing seems to be real after all, as the action unveils.

As a short final conclusion, these are some of the most intense and best political thrillers in 2020. The list could be longer, but these names can definitely hook you in, keep you busy for a few days and leave you craving for more.

Final Thoughts on Political Thriller Books

Political thriller books really have a way of pulling you into the complex world of politics and government. They're exciting, and at the same time, they give you a glimpse into how things work in the corridors of power. You get to see how big decisions are made, how people in charge use their influence, and how even one person can make a big difference.

These books are also great for bringing up tough topics like race, gender, and class. They make you think about these issues in a new way, which I find really valuable.

If you're into political thrillers or just want a good story set in the world of politics, you should definitely check out some of these books. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy is a personal favorite of mine. It's a great read with a lot of twists and turns that keep you hooked.

If you enjoy political thriller reads, most likely you will also love some of the top spy thriller books.

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