Best Books Like John Wick: 7 Revenge Fiction Stories

Posted on Oct 1, 2023

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The John Wick franchise is nothing short of a phenomenon, with huge revenue, fandom and critical acclaim.

For avid readers who crave heart pounding sequences, stoic yet formidable protagonists and a world teeming with danger and retribution, finding the perfect literary match can be a tricky task. 

That is where this curated list comes in as we unveil the best books tailored for fans of John Wick, where lethal skills, unyielding determination and a hunger for justice collide in pages that mirror the intensity of the cinema. 

What is the John Wick franchise?

The John Wick film franchise is an action packed odyssey through a dark, clandestine world of assassins and retribution. It introduces us to John Wick, portrayed by Keanu Reeves, a former hitman seeking solace after losing his beloved wife.

However, his quest for peace is shattered when a group of mobsters break into his home, steal his car and kill his beloved dog, a final gift from his late wife. Fuelled by grief and a thirst for vengeance, Wick reverts to his lethal skill set, setting off a relentless vendetta against the criminal underworld.

What sets the John Wick franchise apart is its unparalleled choreography and a unique world building that immerses viewers into a universe governed by a complex set of rules and alliances.

The action sequences are a mesmerizing choreography of violence, showcasing Wick’s proficiency with firearms, martial arts and sheer tactical brilliance. The films also feature an array of intriguing characters, each adding depth to the series of films.

The franchise has garnered immense acclaim for Keanu Reeves’ stoic yet charismatic portrayal of John Wick, as well as its high octane action, breathtaking visuals and the mythic depiction of the assassin society. 

7 books like John Wick for revenge fiction fans

Here is our curated list of 7 books like John Wick:

1. The Gray Man by Mark Greaney

In Mark Greaney’s pulsating thriller, “The Gray Man,” readers are thrust into the treacherous world of Court Gentry, a lethal assassin known as the Gray Man. Fleeing his past, Gentry seeks a chance at redemption by vanishing into the shadows, but fate has other plans.

The story unfolds as he becomes the target, hunted by both his former employers and a deadly adversary. Gentry’s relentless quest for survival, paired with his unparalleled combat skills, propels the narrative into a whirlwind of action and intrigue.

The book paints a vivid picture of a merciless world of espionage, double crosses and survival. With non stop suspense and a charismatic yet enigmatic protagonist, “The Gray Man” is a compelling read for fans of high octane action.

2. Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

Gregg Hurwitz’s “Orphan X” takes readers into the adrenaline fueled life of Evan Smoak, a highly trained assassin seeking redemption for his dark past. Known as Orphan X, he is a government trained killer turned rogue who now uses his lethal skills to help those in desperate need.

The novel grips readers as Smoak receives a chilling assignment that hits close to home, forcing him to confront his own history and the shadows of his former life. Filled with action, moral dilemmas and a relentless pace, “Orphan X” echoes the intense and relentless nature of the John Wick films.

Evan Smoak’s complex character, combining lethal abilities with a moral compass, creates a compelling narrative that leaves readers on the edge of their seats.

3. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Terry Hayes’ “I Am Pilgrim” takes place in a world of espionage, deception and relentless pursuit, mirroring the action packed stories of the John Wick films. The story follows a retired intelligence operative who pens a book on forensic pathology, seeking a quiet life.

However, he is drawn back into the shadows when a mysterious case with global implications emerges. As he races against time to unravel a complex web of terrorism, Hayes creates a gripping tale that includes relentless action, intricate plotting and a tense chase.

The book’s intense narrative and the protagonist’s deadly skills resonate with John Wick’s world, making “I Am Pilgrim” an ideal read.

4. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

Robert Ludlum’s “The Bourne Identity” introduces readers to Jason Bourne, an enigmatic figure with a dangerous past and remarkable skills. The story unfolds as Bourne awakens with amnesia, setting off a harrowing journey to reclaim his identity and unearth the secrets of his shadowy past.

Ludlum’s narrative is a thrilling exploration of espionage, assassination and the struggle for survival, reminiscent of the relentless action and intrigue in the John Wick films. Bourne’s transformation from a man with no memory to a deadly operative seeking the truth is an enthralling journey that keeps readers enticed throughout.

Filled with heart pounding encounters and unpredictable twists, “The Bourne Identity” is likely to be a great read for fans of John Wick.

5. Killshot by Elmore Leonard

In Elmore Leonard’s “Killshot,” readers will be fixated by a world of crime, survival and unexpected alliances. The narrative unfolds as an ex convict and a hitman find their lives entangled through a witness protection program, setting off a chain of events that grips readers with relentless suspense.

Leonard paints a vivid picture of characters navigating danger, moral ambiguity and the consequences of their own choices. The book captures the essence of the John Wick franchise through its complex characters, dark underworld and attempt to survive. 

6. The Killer Collective by Barry Eisler

“The Killer Collective” by Barry Eisler presents a high octane thriller featuring a team of skilled operatives, showcasing a world of danger, alliances and relentless pursuit.

As disparate storylines converge, the novel unfolds into a relentless chase, resonating with the intensity and action akin to the John Wick franchise. Eisler’s portrayal of lethal characters and their intricate connections immerses readers into a world where loyalties are tested and justice is pursued with unyielding determination.

The book’s fast paced narrative, intricate plotting and morally complex characters offer readers a thrilling read as Eisler skillfully creates a tale that will captivate fans of action packed adventures.

7. The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer

“The Tourist” by Olen Steinhauer focuses on Milo Weaver, a clandestine operative navigating the murky world of espionage with the finesse of a spy and the ruthlessness of an assassin. Milo is part of a secret organization called “Tourism,” skilled in eliminating threats with cold precision.

However, after years in the shadows, Milo longs for a life free from the moral ambiguity of his profession. Yet, he finds himself dragged back into a perilous mission involving a colleague’s betrayal and a web of deceit that threatens not only his life but the secrets he holds.

Steinhauer’s narrative unfolds like a complex puzzle, blending espionage with a character driven story. Milo Weaver is a captivating protagonist, torn between loyalty to his organization and a desire for normalcy.

The novel offers a deep dive into the moral struggles of a spy / assassin, painting a realistic and often grim portrayal of the intelligence world.

Filled with suspense, unexpected twists and an exploration of the human cost of living a life steeped in shadows, “The Tourist” is a thrilling espionage novel that captivates fans of action packed narratives akin to the John Wick films.

Best books like John Wick – final thoughts

It is no surprise that there are some world renowned books on this list as action and thriller themes will always be popular on both the page and silver screen.

This list is by no means exhaustive either and fans of this type of work will find an endless supply to dig into once they start reading these authors and uncovering new works.

Finally, reading new books as they are released will allow readers to be ahead of the curve for when inevitably some of these books transition into films.

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