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Authors like Tom Clancy: Top-Notch Techno-Thrillers

Mel Candea itcherSome say Tom Clancy is the father of the techno-thriller. His military descriptions, the unforgettable Jack Ryan and the political power struggles are page-turning and addictive. Looking for more good authors like Tom Clancy? Our list includes: Craig Thomas, Frederick Forsyth and Tom Avatabile. See what you think-? ~ Mel Candea

You don’t have to be former military to enjoy a Tom Clancy book. You just have to like flipping pages as quickly as you read; getting attached to an unlikely (and bloody) hero; and holding your breath as you try to figure out how he’ll survive. Finding authors like Tom Clancy is challenging.

Since my first Clancy book (Patriot Games, 1987), I’ll own to having a slight fancy for the main character, Jack Ryan. I’ve gone through many more since then and I’ve enjoyed them.

That doesn’t mean I’m not always on the lookout for good techno-thrillers by others. These are a few suggestions for what authors are similar to Tom Clancy:


Craig Thomas

Image Source: The Bookshop

Craig Thomas is a former schoolteacher who many feel was the originator of the techno-thriller genre, not Clancy. His books are mainly Cold War Era based, and might feel a little dated- but still a great read.

Book Recommend: ‘Firefox’ (1977)

‘Firefox’ is the codename for a fictional MiG-31 that is undetectable, super fast and has thought-impulse firing. Of course it’s Russian and of course the CIA and MI6 plan on stealing it. The only problem? The only pilot (Mitchell Gant) who’s able to fly it is heading toward a breakdown.

Similarity Match: 90%
His books are similar to Tom Clancy because he includes everything you expect from Clancy: a stoic hero; detailed military ops; political intrigue; and loads of action. Exactly what a techno-thriller ought to be.


Frederick Forsyth

Image Source: Crime and Publishing

Frederick Forsyth was an RAF pilot and a journalist before he began writing novels. He’s considered ‘the thinking reader’s techno-thriller’ author because of his in-depth and highly detailed research included in his books.

Book Recommend: ‘The Cobra’ (2010)

“Give me $2bn, an island in the Atlantic, a crack squad of US Navy Seals and UK SAS, two warships, a former Brazilian fighter ace, the world’s best computer hacker and my old mucker, Cal Dexter, then it can be done.” –Paul Deveraux

Former CIA director Paul Deveraux gets called out of retirement to stop the cocaine trade. He’s given ‘any means necessary’ leeway to get it done. He works through cocaine interceptions; shoot downs of carriers; and threats to dirty officials. He doesn’t stop- even when he’s ordered to.

Similarity Match: 85%
Forsyth, like Clancy, delivers intricate military descriptions with a determined (anti) hero and engaging plots on an international stage. He’s also an author like Tom Clancy because of the precise plotting and the hectic pace that doesn’t let up.


Matthew Reilly

Image Source: Blandmine

“Now, I know what you’re thinking: Matthew Reilly books aren’t exactly known for their character development. Hey, one reviewer once said that the characters in my books don’t live long enough to warrant any development.” Matthew Reilly

This driven Australian writer self-published his first book before getting picked up by a publisher. His main character, Shane ‘Scarecrow’ Schofield, is a commander of a marine recon unit with courage and cajones under duress. Action with a touch of sci-fi.

Book Recommend: ‘Ice Station’ (1998) 

Shane Schofield and his Marine recon unit answer a distress call from a science station based in Antarctica. They aren’t the only ones as the station becomes a deadly international playground of intrigue, assassination attempts and a mysterious ship that everyone’s after.

Similarity Match: 80%
Shane Schofield could give Jack Ryan a run for his money. Maybe. Reilly’s a similar author to Tom Clancy because of the fast pace of the writing, the development of the detailed technology and political backdrop. He’s a close match.


Tom Avitabile

Tom Avitabile is a writer/director/producer and has worked with the House Committee on Science and Technology. His thrillers are known for being informative about military and technology, without alienating the reader or slowing the suspense. 

Book Recommend: ‘The Eighth Day’ (2008)

“Our politicians had moved this undiminished nuclear threat to the back burners of America’s collective consciousness, primarily by negotiating away atmospheric and below-ground testing. It was good public relations but it did nothing to reduce the stockpile of overkill both nations stored away like dangerous nuts for a nuclear winter.”     –Tom Avitabile, The Eighth Day

An explosion kicks off a manhunt for terrorists who are tech-savvy. William ‘Wild Bill’ Hiccock is the Science Advisor to the President, and he’s called in to create the team to investigate- and to prevent more attacks.

Similarity Match: 65%
While Clancy’s focus is more military-based, Avitabile’s is also on science, technology and political intrigue. He’s an author like Tom Clancy because of his writing style- pretty sparse and direct- with breakneck action interwoven.


Jack Higgins aka Harry Patterson

Image Source: Goodreads

Jack Higgins is from Jersey in the Channels and was once a teacher. His books are more historical techno-thrillers and he tends to add interesting surprise twists via ‘false document.’

 Book Recommend: ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ (1975)

 “Words become meaningless, the mind cuts itself off from reality for a little while, a necessary breathing space until one is ready to cope.” –Jack Higgins, The Eagle Has Landed

 A German commando unit is secretly sent to England to kidnap Winston Churchill while he’s on holiday in Norfolk. The book primarily focuses on the planning and execution of the op, with the disgraced Lieutenant Colonel Kurt Steiner as the leader.

Similarity Match: 60%
Jack Higgins is a writer similar to Tom Clancy with his techno-thriller edge. He also uses a lot of the same elements (sympathetic and strong protagonist; military action)- but the historical aspect of World War II might not be for some Clancy readers.


That’s Our List of Authors like Tom Clancy

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Do you have any to add to our list?

Let us know in the comments below!

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