Assassinations, wars, massacres, murders, and death are a few motifs that are widely associated with political thrillers. These motifs together can create an exhilarating and intriguing story. There are many fascinating political thriller books, and here is the list of 7 best political thrillers to read.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

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Political Thriller Books (Book 1)

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon is a Cold War thriller about the son of a prominent U.S. political family who is brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin in an international Communist conspiracy. The story follows Sgt. Raymond Shaw, a hero of the first order, a former prisoner of war who saved the life of his entire platoon, a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor and the stepson of a powerful senator.

He is brainwashed during his time as a prisoner of war. He is turned into a sleeper, a living weapon to be triggered by a secret signal. Raymond Shaw acts without question, no matter what order he is asked to carry out. Bennett Marco is Shaw’s former commanding officer, and to stop Shaw and those who control him, Marco has to uncover the truth behind a twisted conspiracy of torture, betrayal, and power that includes the highest levels of the government.

The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy

Best Political Thrillers To Read
Best Political Thrillers To Read (Book 2)

The debut novel, The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy is part of the famous Jack Ryan series. This classic political thriller is set during the Cold War. The book has themes of spycraft, action, an insider’s view of behind-closed-doors political maneuvering, and global stakes. The story is about a highly advanced nuclear submarine, that both the Americans and the Russians want. A rogue Soviet submarine captain planning to steal the experimental sub he’s been assigned to and he makes decision. The Red October, the submarine is heading west. While the Americans want the submarine for them, the Russians want it back. Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst finds himself in the middle of this high stakes hunt.

House Of Cards by Michael Dobbs

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Political Thriller Books (Book 3)

House of Cards by Michael Dobbs is the first book in Francis Urguhart series. It is the story of Francis Urquhart, a cynical and manipulative Chief Whip of the Conservative Party. He manipulates his way to the top spot in the U.K. Government as he uses secrets he knows and every dirty trick in the book. He is willing to betray everyone to become the Prime Minister. Francis Urquhart uses his position to leak inside information to the press, and resorts to blackmail and even murder.

The President Is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton 

Best Political Thrillers To Read
Best Political Thrillers To Read (Book 4)

The President is Missing is a political thriller by famous thriller writer James Patterson and former President Bill Clinton. The book is set in real time, over the course of three days. When the President of the United States disappears, it shocks the world and sets in motion an unpredictable string of events. The novel is about a country in crisis, and what happens when rumors of spying and cyber warfare have spread in the Cabinet, and as the president goes missing the suspicion falls on him. 

All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

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Political Thriller Books (Book 5)

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Wilson is a classic political novel. It is a story of power and corruption in the Depression-era South. The novel describes the career of Willie Stark and the story is narrated by Jack Burden. Willie Stark is a back-country lawyer whose idealism is overcome by his lust for power and Jack Burden is a political reporter who comes to work as Stark’s right-hand man. In All the King’s Men the course of Stark’s career is interlinked with Burden’s own story and philosophical reflections. . All the King’s Men reveals the dark underbelly of politics and portrays how the lust for power can overcome idealism.

Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee 

Best Political Thrillers To Read
Best Political Thrillers To Read (Book 6)

Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee is a political thriller, but it is also a story of cultural identity and alienation and the difficulties of being an immigrant in America. Native Speaker is the story of Henry Park. All his life Park has tried to become a true American, a native speaker. However, as the quintessence of his adopted country continues to slip away from him, his Korean heritage drifts farther away.

His rough Korean upbringing has taught Park to hide his emotions, to remember everything he learns, and most of all to feel an enormous sense of alienation, but it has shaped him to become a natural spy. However, the very qualities that help him to excel in his profession put a strain on his marriage and stand in the way of his coming to terms with the death of his young son. When Park is assigned to spy on a rising Korean-American politician, his very identity is tested, and he must discover who he is amongst the conflicts within himself and within the ethnic and political tensions of the New York City streets.

Too Bad To Die by Francine Mathews

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Political Thriller Books (Book 7)

Too Bad to Die by Francine Mathews is a political thriller set in actual moment in political history, the Tehran Conference in 1943. The story is set in November, 1943 and follows intelligence officer Ian Fleming. Fleming is tired of his desk bound job in the Royal Navy and he spends his spare time creating stories in his head that are much more exciting than his life. That is, until the critical Tehran Conference, when Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Josef Stalin are meeting to finalize the D-Day invasion. Fleming discovers that Hitler’s top assassin has infiltrated the conference and to kill off the Big Three. Fleming seizes this chance to go undercover and stop the Nazi killer.

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