Whenever I fly I grab a “junk” book for the flight. One with lots of gunplay. For my visit to my eldest daughter’s graduation recital in the Land of Hope and Glory, I scarfed Lee Child’s Worth Dying For. It’s the same old Jack Reacher kinda thing, only more so . . .

LOTS of fighting, wounding and killing by the ex-MP, this time without any intervention from the police or government agents. There’s a GLOCK, a Lapua-firing rifle, a couple of stainless steel Colt 1911’s and a brace of Smith & Wesson revolvers.

Worth Dying For was a bit by-the-numbers for me. A bit too violent, believe it or not. Daniel Silvia is my man for firearms escapism. Who’s your favorite gun-heavy fiction writer and do they get the stuff right?

99 Responses to Question of the Day: Who’s Your Favorite Firearms Fiction Writer?

  1. John Ringo is up there for me. He doesn’t always have firearms as we know them in his book, but when he does he does it right. I do enjoy some good cold war era Clancy for some good war porn too.

  2. I’m a big fan of Larry Correia. Guns, monsters, magic, and business operations and accounting! What’s not to love?

    • Yes! I honestly thought his books were going to be hack junk. What was I thinking? The man wrote the best essays ever on gun control. Turn out his novels are equally great. Huge imagination, great stories, great characters, and guns guns guns.

    • “I’m a big fan of Larry Correia. Guns, monsters, magic, and business operations and accounting!”

      H’mm. Business operations and accounting.

      Well, that adds up…

      *Rimshot*

      • If you like Larry Corriea….have you tried Johnathen Mayberry and his Joe Ledger series…..science fiction horror with lots of gun play….great stories….Patient Zero is the first book and it is a great read…..

      • Larry Correia is the best. Stephen Hunter and Brad Thor close second. Vince Flynn passed away but he was great as well.

    • I’m with you all on Larry Correia. I live in jealousy and awe of his imagination. He writes some of the funnest books I’ve ever read.

      But on second thought, Bernard Cornwell gives him a run for the money. Cornwell is actually (technically) a better writer than Correia, and his Richard Sharpe series does Napoleonic era arms and warfare better than anyone ever. Great stories, great characters. He has some modern thrillers too, and although guns aren’t super prominent, he writes them like he knows what they’re all about.

    • I’m sure it’s just me since he is a multi-millionaire book writer/seller but I tried to read the one set in Japan about Samurai swords and just could not get into it.

      • I read (or heard) that he tried to leave firearms behind and so he tried a sword story. He wasn’t pleased and neither was his fan base. Back to firearms he went.

      • Yeah, that one is terrible. The Nascar one is too. His best is “Dirty White Boys” and while it’s part of his universe it’s easily read as a stand alone. “Hot Springs” is good as well as “Point of “Impact”. The rest I’ve read range from meh to terrible.

        • Like most authors who are regulars on the bestseller lists, Stephen Hunter’s earlier books were much better. His original six Swagger novels are fantastic (Hot Springs, Havana, Pale Horse Coming, Point of Impact, Black Light, and Time to Hunt) as is the tie-in Dirty White Boys, but all of his other novels since he discovered that he could fart in a bag and turn it in to his publisher for cash are merely entertaining. “Soft Target” is basically the worst- a barely concealed political screed that is merely an acceptably entertaining book. And that’s from someone who actually agrees with his screed. But, you know, nobody likes preachy books.

    • How could I have left out ol’ L’Amour?

      The king of Westerns. I read everything of his I could get my hands on when I was in 8th-9th grade. I’ve been getting back into L’Amour now that I’m building an old-west tabletop roleplaying game, and he does tell a good yarn. Nobody better in terms of understanding the landscape, mindset, and weaponry of the Old West.

    • Definitely, L’Amour is on the Top 3 list, ‘The Ferguson Rifle’ being a particular favorite. Lee Child is at or near the bottom– he’s just another Brit with no knowledge of guns other than what he gleans reading other Brit writers.

      Back to L’Amour: I think most western writers were shooters before taking up writing.

      For modern day escapades, I have to give Matt Bracken a thumbs up, as well as Scott Ross (I think it is) the author of Unintended Consequences.

  3. Tom Clancy, the good classics like Patriot Games. Then new Campus novels are also pretty good but some parts just lack the feel that the original Jack Ryan series had.

    • “Tom Clancy, the good classics like Patriot Games.”

      ‘Red Storm Rising’ got me hooked.

      A fictional account of Soviet armor pouring through the Fulda gap for a little WW II payback…

      “Gimmie a HEAT round, Woody!”

  4. Tom Clancey’s “Without Remorse”. He provides background on his “Mr Clark” character. He loads specialty ammo and builds his own AOWs. Very cool.

    • “Tom Clancey’s “Without Remorse”.

      Oh, yeah.

      Using a SCUBA decompression chamber as an interrogation tool.

      If you like Clancy, try Larry Bond. Similar flavor of writing.

      ‘Red Phoenix’ is a fictional account of North Korea invading South Korea. Think ‘Red Storm Rising’ in Korea…

      • And, Larry Bond collaborated with Clancy on Red Storm Rising.

        I *loved* Red Phoenix (read it a bunch of times since it came out when I was in 8th grade!)

        Vortex was kind of meh… And after that, I just kind of stopped reading him.

        But, +1 to Lee Child and Stephen Hunter.

        Although, Lee Child does make a some small firearms related errors in the details.

    • Yeah man! I have all of Clancy’s books in hardcover, up to the time he began to…and collaborate, before his death. Without Remorse is my favorite.

      All of my novels are firearms/LEO/Title X, US Code, and, Judeo-Christian Conservative based. TMI, and not important, probably. But I have to state my position. God Bless the United States of America!

    • Don Pendleton… In Mack Bolan #1, described the Marlin 444 as the most powerful rifle ever made… even in my foxhole, I knew better than that.

      Still, I did read a great number of Bolan stories until he became a mass produced written by crowd sourced writers.

  5. Firearms “fiction”?
    Well, that would be Mike the Gun Guy. Ain’t a damn thing he writes is accurate or factual.

    • ” Ain’t a damn thing he writes is accurate or factual.”

      Yeah, but favorite fiction writer implies entertaining. Something that one looks forward to do.

      There is *zero* entertainment in reading ‘Mike the Gun Guy’…

  6. Stephen Hunter (Bob Lee Swagger series), Brad Thor (Scot Harvath series), Vince Flynn (RIP; now by Kyle Mills – Mitch Rapp series), Dalton Fury (also RIP – Kolt Raynor series)… all excellent thriller novels with almost perfect gun depictions.

  7. Actually, I have three:
    (1) Huffington Post
    (2) Violence Policy Center
    (3) Mom’s Demand Action

    What? Oh, I thought it was the firearm fiction writer that I despised the most.

  8. Big fan of Stephen Hunter and Larry Correia. But you know what, while he’s not a firearms writer per se, Dean Koontz is hugely supportive of gun rights and has the best concealed carry scene ever in Frankenstein: Lost Souls. Literally stand up and cheer great. He’s like the anti-Stephen King.

    • Yes, I remember Lightning, the female protagonist had Uzis purchased of the black market to protect her home from time Nazis, great book.

    • Speaking of Koontz, didn’t know that he was a strong supporter of gun rights but glad to hear it. I like many of his
      books but way back when, I noticed that he wasn’t particularly familiar or comfortable with firearms and how they worked or what they actually could do when I read about a main character shooting some bad guy with a .357 Magnum revolver
      and the bullet’s impact lifted him off his feet and up a wall a short distance and then he slide back down leaving a smear
      of blood on the way; have spent all of my time in law enforcement (30+ years) trying to find those magic rounds with negative results. I’ve also failed to find the safety release on either my S&Ws or Colt revolvers.

  9. +1 for Daniel Silva. Gabriel Allon the true Prince of Fire. Heads up also to Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, and Brad Taylor.

    • Is Brad Taylor “Pike” Logan? Those are pretty decent reads for sure, and at least he pays lip service to plausibility. .

        • I love the Pike Logan series! I think I reviewed the last two books on TTAG here and we interviewed Brad Taylor a year or so ago (search the site here for his name). Right now I’m ~140 pages into Operator Down, which will be released in January. Hard to put down, as usual!

  10. Lucian Cary for me in particular his J. M. Pyne stories the best collection of them was edited by Guy Lautaurd.
    in The J.M. Pyne Stories & Other Selected Writings by Lucian Cary; edited by Guy Lautaurd
    unfortunately out of print in this handy collection but an amazon search on Lucian Cary will turn up lots of good books.
    Lucien Cary was a personal friend of HM Pope. He wrote about JM Pyne, who was in fact, Pope put into fictional, and some non-fiction events and circumstances. Cary’s interest in arms, his technical writing abilities, and his relationship with Pope, come through delightfully. He talks about micrometers in a way that makes the reader seem vastly familiar with one, even if they have never held or used one. He talks about gunsmithing procedures as matter of fact, and then goes on – through Pyne (or Pope) to reveal the simple yet real need for their existence. It all melds together with a bit of drama, some wry comedy and situations from a long ago time in the early 1900’s though the mid 1930’s or so. There are references to companies also as thinly veiled as the Pyne/Pope character. It is all put on paper in a way that makes putting the book down a very hard thing to do.

  11. Stephen Hunter is still my favorite. Despite all fluff, all improbabilities (not like he is worst in this regard, it is just that his prose and his characters deserve slightly better), the man wrote arguably most hilarious piece on mass-media’s (mis)understanding of everything guns ever.

    The late, great Tom Clancy is still respected here as a king of completely off-the-mark, GloriousMotherRussia grade tropes; but his writing is tedious, he is full of “leave country to ex-Intelligence guy” bullshit (I know a thing or two about living in such country), and to top it off, he did not do his homework. I mean, who else might have called .300 WM LESS SPEEDY than 7mm Rem Mag?

    ed: don’t start me on newer generation, like Brad Taylor. Should I feel a craving to read something that has “Mary Sue” written all over, I can find that stuff for free.

    • Aw Brad Taylor’s not that bad. Not Stephen Hunter, but certainly not terrible. I often listen to audiobooks while driving, and his are entertaining. I’ve gotten knee deep into some straight garbage before, but his have always been pretty good.

      • I like that Taylor sticks pretty close to his in-universe rules. It’s all a little super hero, but it’s consistent. I prefer action on a smaller scale myself (think Alistair Maclean, so much of his stuff is very locale/time limited) but once you commit to globe trotting adventure that’s where you are.

  12. Lee Child writes a great thriller but his descriptions and depictions of guns is actually very bad. He is a Brit and most likely knows very little about guns, but a great no deep thinking action thriller. Brad Taylor also very good.

    • Like Jack concealing a Desert Eagle with a 14″ barrel and later in the same book worrying about killing a damsel the that was at least 30 degrees of his line of fire with a shotgun. Lee Child was a gun imbecile.

    • Lee Child is the worst. Besides being a Brit who knows nothing about guns, his plots are terrible. The writing is so uneven that I suspect there are multiple people using the Lee Child name. One book involved people hypnotized to kill themselves (not possible). The worst I listened to (audio books from the library) had a sub-plot of deserter marines who acted they way they did because they had such a huge loyalty to the other deserters in the “underground railroad” (but their huge sense of loyalty didn’t keep them from abandoning their brothers-in-arms in the Corps). The main plot had concerns about groundwater contamination, but ends with Reacher setting off a dirty bomb on U.S. soil to kill the not physically threatening bad guy. I erased the rest of the borrowed Child audiobooks after that.

      Brad Thor is ok, but he’s a travel writer who seems obsessed with arming his characters with MP7s. I like Dalton Fury and Brad Taylor. Silva’s well versed in Middle Eastern politics, but his plots are pretty much all the same, and he’s not really a gun guy either. Richard Marcinko is ok, but he does a lot of false aggrandizement in his “non-fiction.”

  13. Don Pendleton and Jerry Ahern.
    Read a lot of Mack Bolan and Dan Track books when I was a kid. Favorite Mack Bolan cover had him in a vintage ww 1 biplane shooting a MANPAD at the bad guy.

    • “I was sitting at my desk with the racing papers when she walked in like I owed her something. The way she looked, maybe I should pay for a view. She had a pair of 38s and a pistol.”

  14. Larry corriea .and another….Johnathen Mayberry…science fiction horror, with lots of gun action……….Patient Zero is a great book and the rest of the Joe Ledger books are also great…..

  15. No votes for Mack Bolan? I swear, the ghost writers in the 90s described every bullet impact in gory detail.

    Deathlands was also a great gun series. Lots of killing, the hero started out with a G11 that he was always scrounging ammo for (written in the 80s when ceaseless ammo was the future). Everybody had different guns, including a battered Armalite.

    I gave up on Vince Flynn. He was always fighting Muslims who were incompetent and rarely killed anybody.

  16. Lee Child (Jack Reacher) was my favorite but I think the series has weakened. Brad Thor (Scott Horvath) if pretty good. Baldacci’s John Puller is a blatant Reacher ripoff, but still good, but if you want the best gun action, try Michael Stephen Fuchs, D-Boys. If you don’t mind zombies, read his Arisen series. Both series feature special forces action and tons of firepower.

  17. Ian Fleming. Very “nostolgic” ballistic testing.

    Major Boothroyd to 007, “Walther PPK. 7.65 mm, with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window. Takes a Brausch silencer with very little reduction in muzzle velocity. The American CIA swear by them.”

    M, “Leave the Beretta Commander Bond….”

  18. I can’t believe nobody has mentioned The Survivalist series by Jerry Ahern. Maybe that’s because they’re long out of print.

  19. Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series, Alex Berenson’s John Wells, and Jack Higgins Sean Dillon et al.
    Can’t wait for American Assassin!

  20. Airport novels.. I got my first taste of something enjoyable that wasn’t sci-fi from an airport novel. Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt. some guns, lots of cars, history, pretty women. Inca Gold is still my favorite.
    what can I say? it’s “Hardy Boys” for big kids.

  21. John Ross ~ Unintended Consequences
    Hands down the Best book about firearms, gun control, and freedom
    If you are a firearms aficionado you should seek this book
    Not that readily available
    I have read the majority of the writers mentioned all pale in comparison

  22. Ok, this may feel like I’m pushing the boundary since he’s a science fiction writer, but David Weber writes excellent “gun” (I hesitate to say firearms because personal weapons in one universe operate akin to gravitational mass drivers) scenes. In his “Honor” series he writes many great close quarters scenes, and gets it right in that many people die, die quickly, and people don’t fly around when hit by hyper velocity rounds, they just get very, very, chunky.

    And his safehold series literally takes you from sea battles fought with galleys, crude cannons with the crudest form of gunpowder, to now introducing approximately ww1 era firearms. Including all the appropriate tactics and support necessities for warfare with these technologies. The twist is that it’s a planet founded by humanity, deliberately pushed back into a pseudo-renaissance era technology, that has to be pushed through to future tech asap by a lone figure that knows what is coming for them.

  23. “Favorite Firearms Fiction Writer” you ask?

    Of course it’s Gersh Kuntzman (I wonder if his shoulder has healed), second prize goes to Shannon Watts, her humor is infectious and as funny as HIV/AIDS.

  24. Larry Correia is my favorite as others have mentioned.

    Are we going to have an opposite “worst authors for gun handling in a gun-oriented book” post?

    Faith Hunter would have to take the prize for the “worst” category. The main character in her “Jane Yellowrick” series is a vampire hunter whose handguns of choice are
    1) Benelli M4 (good choice)
    2) Some 9mm handguns (can’t remember brand)
    3) Some .380 handguns, matched set, that she seems to generally carry in preference to the 9mms because they’re more compact. I’m always shaking my head. She fights incredibly strong supernatural creatures and she carries .380? Given what she encounters she seriously needs to be carrying 10mm at least. The main character is stronger than human normal so recoil shouldn’t be an issue, and she’s licensed to carry, so “compactness” shouldn’t be her first concern.

    The author makes a big deal out of the main character and her team carrying condition 3 all the time. These aren’t typical normal concealed carry humans, either. They are an elite force that is subject to sudden unexpected attack by massively powerful supernatural beings virtually 24×7. She didn’t use to do that in the earlier books, but it seems like some self-appointed “gun person” taught her at some point that condition 3 was the “right” way to carry. There are so many slide racking and then later chamber-clearing scenes that I just want to yell at the author “Don’t you know that the time you’re most likely to have an ND is when you’re manipulating the gun? And you have your characters engage in all sorts of unnecessary gun manipulation!”

    She describes someone firing “.30-06 buckshot” in one scene. Nuff said. There have been a few other instances nearly as cringeworthy as that.

  25. C.J. Box. It’s unusual when the hero struggles with his handgun accuracy to the point where he can barely qualify to use a sidearm as a game warden.

    I miss Vince Flynn.

    Lee Child is very uneven on guns. Some times he seems to have done his homework, and other times he makes you slap your forehead. I’m not tempted to stay up late to finish his books like I am with Flynn or Box.

  26. Stephen Hunter, a shame the TV Swagger series gets off track from the books.

    Lee Child is great, but Tom Cruise ain’t Jack Reacher !

    Louis L’Amour one of the all time greats

    Roy Chandler’s limited edition books are some of the ABSOLUTE best !

  27. They are not primarily about guns but all the good guy characters in W. E. B. Griffin’s many series and novels have always been very knowledgeable, and able to use firearms. (Particularly versions of the Colt 1911. His quality has suffered as he has aged but in his Corps Series Gunnery Sargent (later Lt. Colonel) Jack NMI Stecker was a wonderfully drawn expert on firearms and firearm safety.

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