The Ten Baddest Dudes in the Spy Genre Right Now!

1.) Mitch Rapp
Vince Flynn 1

Author Vince Flynn first introduced the world to CIA operative Mitch Rapp with his 1999 novel Transfer of Power. Since then, Rapp has gone on to star in thirteen more novels, with the fifteenth (currently untitled) due out later this fall. Throughout his illustrious career, Rapp has earned the nickname “The Angel of Death” from his enemies–as Mitch will stop at nothing to protect his country and countrymen.

Once a world-class athlete, Mitch is remembered as one of the greatest lacrosse players to ever play at the collegiate level. He’s also won the world-famous Iron Man competition in Hawaii and placed several other top-five finishes to go along with it. Since his days as an athlete, Rapp has become America’s greatest defense against terrorism. He’s big, strong, hot-headed, ruthless, and the absolute last person you’d want to come face-to-face with in a dark alley.

Mitch Rapp isn’t just America’s most effect weapon against terrorism, he’s also one of the country’s greatest patriots–and he’s spilled enough blood to keep the red of our flag bright and bold for many years to come.

First book in the series: American Assassin


Lions of Lucerne.jpg2.) Scot Harvath

Ever since his first novel, The Lions of Lucerne, Brad Thor has churned out Scot Harvath novels at a blistering pace. Harvath, an ex-SEAL who joined the Secret Service before heading up a top secret program designed to take the fight against terrorists straight to their doorstep, is now working with for a private black-ops firm called the Carlton Group.

During his career, Harvath has saved countless lives and doled out some serious punishment to numerous bad guys around the globe. He’s also prevented world wars and stopped several nuclear and EMP attacks aimed at America. Even African Hemorrhagic Fever is no match for Scot, who managed to torpedo a sinister plot from radical progressives who believed the world’s population must be dramatically reduced.

Bottom line: Harvath isn’t just a super agent, he’s freaking Superman!

First novel in the series: The Lions of Lucerne 


The Kill Artist3.) Gabriel Allon

Gabriel Allon, the legendary wayward son of Israeli intelligence, is a master of two crafts–restoring famous paintings and killing people. As one of the world’s most prestigious art restorers, Gabriel has touched up some of the most famous paintings the world has ever known. As a spy, he’s protected Israel at all costs, and it has cost him plenty.

While not big in stature, Gabriel relies on his intellect and foresight to outsmart opponents and enemies alike. He’s protected millions throughout his career and lost some of his closest loved ones in the process. His story is sad, action-packed, and compelling beyond words. Silva has written one of the best series the genre has ever seen. 

No matter how many famous paintings are restored, the greatest masterpiece of all will belong to Daniel Silva–for creating the beloved Gabriel Allon. 

First book of the series: The Kill Artist 


Hawke4.) Alex Hawke

Oh, to be a handsome billionaire known for your wit and charm… hey, a guy can dream right? Babes, cars, incredible mansions, and a knack for war–Alex Hawke is the most Bond-like character since Ian Fleming first introduced the world to 007. In fact, some could argue (and I will!) that Hawke is a far better character than Bond for a number of reasons. 

Lord Alex has a tragic but fascinating past. He’s descended from pirates, which readers of Ted Bell’s series know all about. No spoilers here, but if you’re not reading Bell’s Hawke series, you’re missing out in a big way. 

Bell’s novels are over-the-top fun, with a side dish of mystery and nonstop action for dessert! Hawke is truly fantastic and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

First book in the series: Hawke 


One Rough Man5.) Pike Logan

Nephilim “Pike” Logan (yes, Pike is a far better name than Nephilim) is one of the baddest dudes in the genre today. I can’t help but picture Brad Taylor, Pike’s creator, when I read the Logan series. Taylor, the former Delta Force operator, brings knowledge and experience that few others can provide–and his writing skills and storytelling ability are outstanding. 

Pike is a member of the Taskforce, a blacker-than-black-ops unit that answers to a small group of people headlined by the president. They operate outside of the law, doing whatever it takes to keep America safe. Pike is ruthless and capable of stunning violence when he deems it necessary to national security–but that’s just one side to him. He also has a great sense of humor and many other good qualities, loyalty being one of them. 

Taylor is the only author in this genre that consistently releases two books a year. Incredibly, he seems to be getting better with each book–which should scare his competition. If you’re not reading the Pike Logan books, then you’re missing out on the best pure military thriller series currently in print. 

First book in the series: One Rough Man


Power Down6.) Dewey Andreas 

I’ll be honest and admit that when I first heard of Dewey Andreas, “Dewey” didn’t seem like a tough-guy name. But don’t let the name fool you, Andreas is a former Delta Force operator who is highly skilled in the art of killing bad guys–which he does a lot.

Ben Coes’ first novel (Power Down) came out in 2010 and was instantly one of the best books in the genre that year, a trend that’s continued each year with each new novel. Coes is a superb writer and crafts his stories so the plot builds with excitement and suspense, leading to action-packed endings that will most certainly get your blood pumping. 

First Strike, the sixth novel to star Dewey Andreas, comes out on June 28th and might be Coes’ best novel yet. Say it with me, In Dewey we trust!

First book in the series: Power Down


The Innocent7.) Will Robie

When the Unites States government needs someone killed, they call Will Robie. He’s the best there is, and he has the resumé to prove it.

Robie is known for following orders without question and never missing a target. That is, of course, until he begins to question things in David Baldacci’s The Innocent. In doing so, Robie put a target on himself and was forced to slip away into the shadows. Eventually, he returns to his old violent ways, but only when he’s forced to. 

Far too many men learned the hard way that the absolute last place you want to put one of the baddest dudes on the planet is with his back up against a wall and a weapon in his hand. Robie is a compelling protagonist and a ton of fun to follow and root for. This is Baldacci’s best series by far, and maybe the best character he’s ever created. 

First book in the series: The Innocent


The faithful spy8.) John Wells

Bestselling author Alex Berenson has created a hero like no other in John Wells, his series protagonist who has starred in ten novels to date. What makes Wells unique from the other characters in this genre, other than his wise-cracking responses and sarcastic tendencies, is that he’s a devout and practicing member of Islam. 

Wells was first intrigued by the religion when he was working for the CIA and went underground to infiltrate al Qaeda. However, he believes in peace, rather than killing and waging war against infidels. For that reason, he’s still willing to help stop the terror group and anyone else that poses a threat to national security. 

Not only is Wells one of the baddest dudes in the genre, but Berenson oozes talent and has been remarkably consistent in churning out high-octane thrillers. If you haven’t tried this series yet, start at the beginning with The Faithful Spy–which is one of the best spy novels written in the last fifteen years.

First book in the series: The Faithful Spy


Killing Floor.jpg9.) Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher is a former Major in the United States Army Military Police Corps, turned mysterious drifter. Reacher, who at 6’5″ is an intimidating presence, is a man who owns nothing and has no place to call home. He has no luggage, no vehicle to drive himself around it, and no cell phone. But don’t feel bad for Reacher, this is exactly how he wants it. 

Reacher is impossible to locate, as he travels mostly by bus from various locations. Often times he arrives in a town, spends a fee nights, then makes his way to the next stop on his never-ending journey. While he often chooses his destinations at random, he has a knack for finding trouble. Reacher, you see, hates bad guys–and not just big-time criminals, but even the petty thugs and purse-snatchers. When he see’s injustice, he deals with it–usually in brutal, devastating fashion. 

Reacher is also a brilliant detective and has an eye for seeing things that others routinely miss. Over the course of twenty novels, most of them best-sellers, author Lee Child has earned a loyal following. His next Reacher novel, Night School, comes out on November 8, 2016. 

First book in the series: Killing Floor


THe killer10.) Victor the Assassin

Victor the Assassin is a chillingly brilliant creation by author Tom Wood. Victor has no past, no record of anything, and no last name to go by. He’s a contract killer working for whoever can afford him, and he’s a master of his craft. He’s also skilled in the arts of deception and blending in–changing his appearance when necessary–and is versatile with a variety of weapons. 

If someone takes out a hit on you and they hire Victor to complete the job, well, it’s been nice knowing you. 

Victor is mysterious, and the truest killer on the list–meaning he doesn’t care about the target, law enforcement, innocent lives, nothing… He’s a total anti-hero, which can make it hard to root for him. That’s where Wood’s skilled writing comes into play, sucking the reader in until they can’t help but follow Victor around as he does what he does best. 

First book in the series: The Hunter 

Honorable Mentions: 

Cotton Malone (by Steve Berry), Court Gentry (by Mark Greaney), Kolt Raynor (by Dalton Fury), John Corey (by Nelson DeMille), Scott Coleman (by Vince Flynn), Mason Kane (by Joshua Hood), Logan West (by Matthew Betley), Sam Capra (by Jeff Abbott), Jericho Quinn (by Marc Cameron), Jonathan Grave (by John Gilstrap) and Gil Shannon (by Scott McEwen). 

 

 

 

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  • Tony Murello

    How about Kirk McGarvey.He is awesome in David Harberg books

    • I thought about it, but I didn’t really like his most recent novel The Fourth Horseman. He almost made it!

    • Daniel Silva is by far the best of this bunch.

      • He’s a super talented writer, no doubt. But let’s be honest… Gabriel and Mitch Rapp have to have a fight to the death, you really think Allon comes out of that one alive? If you do, more power to you and I respect that. But that was one of the things I thought about making this list–especially at the top!

  • I think you missed a couple: Justin Hall and Carrie O’Connor from the Canadian Intelligence Service 🙂

    • Thanks for the tip… these lists are SO HARD because you know going into it that not everyone will agree. Someone will always have their favorite character that isn’t high enough for their liking or whatever. I do it too! I truly agonized over making the list, and spent a few days trying to slot everyone.

  • michael

    One on my list is Ryan Kealey created by Andrew Britton.

  • Mike Castle

    I would also include Bob Lee Swagger by Stephen Hunter.

  • E. Prus

    I would add Dalton Fury’s Kolt Raynor.

  • James Steck

    I vote for Alex Hawe’s buddy who drives the.e GTO. He might not be the main character…but who cares? He’s got THE car!

  • James Steck

    Stokely. Mountain of a man with a GTO!

  • Terry Phipps

    How about John Rain??

    • Close! Which is your favorite book with him in it?

      • N T

        John Rain yes i will agree as he really has good recce n technique, has a distinct style abt himself.

  • Frank Green

    I would have included Jack Higgins’ Sean Dillon.
    Also Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt and Juan Cabrillo.

  • Traci

    I’m not sure how Court Gentry, Gray Man, failed to make the list. In his first book he whups five top-tier operators in a plane. He drives cars with an arrow in his back, He takes down four armed drug dealers in a drug house. The list is long.

    Your list is good. Really good. Just missing that one character.

    • I hear ya, and I did give him an honorable mention! Court Gentry is a bad dude, no doubt. But, who would you take off the list to add him? That was my problem. I gave it to a few guys over him on their pedigree alone, and the fact that they have more books-giving them a higher body count. I’m a big fan of Mark Greaney, and I love what he’s doing. Maybe he’ll make it next year? Anyhow, thanks for checking out the list and taking the time to comment. Have a great weekend!

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  • Art James

    Thanks for the list. I just exchanged emails with Brad Taylor after becoming a big fan, and have read all the Baldacci, Thor, Flynn, Coes, Berry, Greaney, DeMille, novels. Will give Misters Silva and Berenson a try next.

  • Joe Kuul

    Interesting list. I’d have arranged things differently, of course. Couple of additions for people in search of good spy reads: David Slaton series by Ward Larsen; Micah Dalton series by David Stone (series seems to have ended at 4 books, sadly).

  • Max Lambright

    You missed the baddest of all…Milo Weaver the Tourist trilogy by Olen Steinhauer.

  • Eddie Hobbs

    Reacher number nine? If I was in trouble and needed help and if I could find him…he would be my first choice. Hard list to write.

  • Maxie Lambright

    Milo Weaver….he’s coming back. Olen has publicly admitted as much.

    • Joe Kuul

      That’s good news. I like that trilogy, though the last half of book 3 was a little weak, imo.

  • Vanessa Michael Munroe by Taylor Stevens is a fantastic series as well.

  • Along with Logan West, I think Nick Mason and Evan Smoak are knocking on the door.

  • Tucker Wayne

  • Eric

    They don’t come much badder than Ben Hope in the Scott Mariani series

    • I totally agree with Ben Hope, second to none in the badass world and right there with Mitch Rapp and Dewey Andreas

  • X

    Tanner by remington kane

  • TC

    Mitch Rapp is the best period

  • jon Mark

    Will Robie,
    Talk about a bad name for a tough guy. Might as well named the character Peter Pan. (forgive the caps)

  • Peter

    Can add Luke Stone and Ben Hope