10 Authors Like David Baldacci
If you’re a fan of David Baldacci, these are the top audiobooks to listen to by authors similar to this masterful writer of political thrillers, historical mysteries, and more.
June 25, 2020
David Baldacci is the best-selling author of dozens of novels for adults, plus a handful of books for kids and teens. His best-known titles are mystery novels starring FBI and Secret Service agents, and his plots run the spectrum from historical mystery to political thrillers. He's even written general fiction, romantic fiction, kidlit, and YA. If Baldacci is one of your favorite authors, but you listen faster than he can write, never fear! We’ve got you covered with some suggestions of 10 great authors like David Baldacci who write mysteries, thrillers, and fast-paced stories that you’ll love.
James Patterson may be the most obvious go-to, and he's a great choice if you want an author with a (very) deep backlist of books in a variety of genres and subgenres to marathon listen. He's best known for his Alex Cross and Women's Murder Club series, both of which are great picks if you love series and want to try Patterson's work. If you’d like to start out with a one shot, he's also the author of numerous standalone thrillers, and even romantic fiction! For a political thriller, pick up The First Lady—or try Invisible, if you're in the mood for an FBI thriller. Bonus: James Patterson also writes books for teens and kids, so you and the young listeners in your life can enjoy the same author. You can see a list of some of his best work here.
John Grisham is the author of legal thrillers that often border on politics, so he's also a great choice for fans of David Baldacci. Grisham has very consistent output, publishing a title (sometimes two!) per year. Most of his titles are also standalones, so you get the added benefit of being able to dive in with whichever audiobook interests you the most. His debut, A Time to Kill, is one of his most popular books and a great place to start. Check out The Broker if you're looking for something with a bit of high-stakes espionage, or if you're into heists and undercover work, pick up one of his more recent releases, Camino Island. We also have a great guide to the best John Grisham audiobooks according to fans.
Lee Child is best known as the creator of Jack Reacher, an American military man who has left the service and now wanders the US getting caught up in mysteries, political disputes, and even international espionage. Although some fans recommend starting with the first in the series, Killing Floor, you can also hop around a bit with the Jack Reacher novels as each audiobook is its own contained story. This lengthy series is great if you get a charge out of the political thriller subgenre, as the Reacher novels tend to involve politics and American organizations of power. Most of these listens are narrated by Dick Hill, so you can enjoy a consistent narrator throughout the 23 (and counting!) novels, plus you'll find a good number of novellas and short stories about Reacher.
If political and espionage thrillers are your jam, then Brad Thor is your man. He's written more than 20 books, most of which are in his Scot Harvath series. Scot Harvath is an ex-Navy SEAL and current Secret Service agent, and his first appearance is in The Lions of Lucerne. Since then, Thor has faithfully released nearly a listen per year, which means that he's a great author to follow if you like reliable releases and long, ongoing series! Plus, nearly every audiobook in the series is narrated by Armand Schultz, who has performed many thrillers over the years.
Although Michael Connelly might be more on the mystery and procedural spectrum, he's got a long list of great novels, multiple series, and multiple entry points if you'd like to give his work a try. His best-known works are the Harry Bosch novels, which were adapted into an Amazon television series. Start with The Black Echo (you can choose either the edition where Dick Hill narrates or the Audible Special Edition) and then listen to the audiobooks in order to follow Harry's life from the 1990s to the present. If you're looking for something with more of a legal slant, then pick up The Lincoln Lawyer, the first in the Mickey Haller series. Many of Connelly's series share characters and feature cameo appearances, so be on the lookout and connect the dots as you listen.
For more great procedural audiobooks, check out Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli and Isles series, which follows a detective and medical examiner duo. Plus, if you like the medical thriller angle, check out Gerritsen's standalone titles. Her breakout hit Harvest launched her career as a thriller writer, and since she's a retired doctor, you can be sure that Gerritsen really knows her stuff. But not all of her thrillers are necessarily about the medical or medical examiner's fields—her latest, The Shape of Night is a classic standalone thriller.
For more procedural books with an emphasis on medical examiners and forensic science, check out Patricia Cornwell's work. She's written more than 30 books, and she’s an excellent researcher—her work has even brought to light new perspectives on the Jack the Ripper murders. Kay Scarpetta is her best-known character, with more than 20 titles in that series. Start with Postmortem, and enjoy a long-running series about medical mysteries. But if you get hooked on her gritty procedurals, be advised: Cornwell appears to be taking a break from writing real-world mystery thrillers and has lately turned her hand to writing sci-fi thrillers. Her sci-fi debut was Quantum, with a sequel forthcoming.
If you enjoy Baldacci's post-WWII historical mystery series, then consider checking out Walter Mosley's audiobooks. An Edgar Award-winning novelist most widely recognized for his crime fiction, Mosley is a dynamic author who has written in many different genres. Perhaps his most popular work is a historical series about Easy Rawlins, a Black private investigator in Los Angeles in the late 1940s. Start with Devil in a Blue Dress, which was an Audie Award winner, and follow the books in order. If contemporary is more your speed, then definitely pick up one of his standalone mysteries (we recommend Down the River Unto the Sea) or his Leonid McGill series, which is about a New York PI trying to get his life together. The first listen in that series is The Long Fall.
Although Joe Ide might not be as prolific as most authors on this list, what his canon lacks in quantity is more than made up for in quality. He's the author of the IQ series, which stars Isaiah Quintabe, a young private detective with Sherlock Holmes-like tendencies who people turn to when justice goes unserved in his LA neighborhood. He charges only what people can afford, which means that sometimes he has to take sketchier high-paying cases that get him into more than a few scrapes. This is an ongoing series with four audiobooks out so far, each winning an AudioFile Earphones Award for the narration by Sullivan Jones and Zeno Robinson. IQ, the first in the series, was also an Edgar Award finalist, and won the Anthony, Shamus, and Macavity Awards.
Want to try something a little outside of your Baldacci comfort zone? Pick up an audiobook by Raymond Khoury, which will satisfy your desire for high-stakes thrillers that involve crime and politics—with a few speculative elements thrown in. We recommend Empire of Lies, a standalone listen that imagines a world where the Ottoman Empire never fell; in 2017, Paris is under Turkish rule, facing threats from the Christian Republic of the United States. In the Last Templar series, narrated by Richard Ferrone, present day anti-terrorism agents must deal with threats stemming from the mysterious secrets of the Templars from centuries earlier. Start with The Last Templar, or pick up any one of Khoury's fascinating standalone novels.
Tirzah Price is a YA writer and contributing editor at Book Riot.