David Morrell is a Canadian-American bestselling thriller author of books like The Brotherhood of the Rose, as we as First Blood, which made possible the entire Rambo franchise. His books have been sold over eighteen million copies around the world, with translations into over 22 languages so far. With close to 30 books so far, he can safely be named one of America’s top contemporary thriller writers.
Here are the David Morrell books in order for his series, along with his numerous standalone novels written over the years.
New David Morrell Book
First Blood Series
Frank Balenger Series
Thomas De Quincey Mystery Series
- Murder as a Fine Art (Thomas De Quincey #1), 2013
- The Opium-Eater (Thomas De Quincey #1.5), 2015
- Inspector of the Dead (Thomas De Quincey #2), 2015
- Ruler of the Night (Thomas De Quincey #3), 2016
Standalone David Morrell Books
- Testament, 1975
- John Barth, 1976 (non-fiction)
- Last Reveille, 1977
- The Totem, 1979
- Blood Oath, 1982
- The Hundred-Year Christmas, 1983
- Fireflies, 1988 (non-fiction)
- The Fifth Profession, 1990
- The Covenant of the Flame, 1991
- Assumed Identity, 1993
- Desperate Measures, 1994
- Extreme Denial, 1996
- Double Image, 1998
- Burnt Sienna, 2000
- Long Lost, 2002
- Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing, 2002 (non-fiction)
- The Spy Who Came For Christmas, 2008
- The Successful Novelist, 2008 (non-fiction)
- The Shimmer, 2009
- Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads, 2010 (non-fiction with Hank Wagner)
- The Architecture of Snow, 2013 (novella)
- The Interrogator, 2013 (novella)
- The Abelard Sanction, 2017 (novella)
- Rambo on Their Minds, 2018 (novella with Gayle Lynds)
- Before I Wake, 2019 (short story collection)
David Morrell Biography
David Morrell was born in 1943 in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. As a child, he didn’t have it easy. His father had died in WWII, thus David never met him. His mother was working as a seamstress, but she had a tough life. At some point, David was put in foster homes from which he always escaped. When his mother remarried, his stepdad didn’t like children, so there was always tension at home.
At the age of 17, after watching Route 66, the classic American TV series, he decided to become a writer. He attended St. Jerome’s University from where he got his B.A. in English in 1966. Next, he decided to move to the U.S. as he could study there further for his goal of becoming an author. He enrolled at the Pennsylvania State University to study with the Hemingway scholar Philip Young. After studies, he graduated with an M.A. and Ph.D. in American literature. He became an American citizen in 1993.
While studying at Penn University, he met science-fiction author Philip Klas who was teaching fiction writing at the time. In 1968, Morrell got an offer of teaching Freshman level composition, which in turn would pay his tuition. Thus, David Morrell began working as an English professor at the University of Iowa. During this time, he began writing his first novel. It was around the time he was learning how to write stories. In an interview, he mentioned that it took him that many years to finish it as he wanted the book to be an action novel with real characters, where it didn’t feel full of cliches.
The story of how he came to write about Rambo took place while he was teaching this Freshman course. Several returning studies were of his own age who also returned form the war. They were asking him why he spent his time teaching when he could have fought in Vietnam. When he explained that he was a Canadian citizen and he also had a family with a child, they understood. Eventually, they started opening up to him about their horrible war experiences, as they all came back to what eventually was defined as PTSD.
Thus, in a way, all these experiences related to him helped him create the iconic character of Rambo in the trilogy that he wrote.
Just two years later, in 1972, he got his debut novel published. Unlike many authors whose first novels are hardly remembered, the first David Morrell book turned out to a classic that started the whole Rambo franchise. Ten years later the book was turned into the popular movie with Sylvester Stallone playing as John Rambo. During those early days, the New York Times Bestseller list was not full of thrillers, so Morrell was not sure he could make it.
While initially, the first Rambo book was a standalone (Rambo dies in the book), the second and third book became the Rambo novelization series, as the movie producers asked the author (who has the full writes to anything written Rambo related) to write the books based on the movies. The problem was, however, that Rambo had died in the first book, and by the end of the first movie, Rambo was alive. Still, the series came out really well, and it’s worth a read.
Another book of his became the start of a 1989 NBC miniseries featuring Robert Mitchum. The book was The Brotherhood of the Rose.
Just a few years later, in 1986, David Morrell left his job as a teacher to devote his full time to writing novels. In addition to a gular college, he also graduated from the National Outdoor Leadership School for wilderness survival, along with the G. Gordon Liddy Academy of Corporate Security.
Through his extensive training, he is proficient in firearms, crisis negotiation, defense driving, and executive protection. All these skills served him well in plotting his thriller novels.
In 2015, Morrell was contacted by Sylvester Stallone to work with him on Rambo 5. While eventually, nothing became of this (the producers didn’t accept the idea), Rambo 5 was indeed created, to be released September 20, 2019.
While most of the David Morrell books are crime and thriller stories, his books about Thomas De Quincey are Victorian mysteries. Also, the author’s collection of short stories titled Before I Wake has science-fiction elements in it as well. In the 1970s, his books were mostly action stories (Rambo). Next, in the 1980s, he moved on to spy-themed thrillers (the Mortalis series), followed by modern thrillers in the 1990s.
While most of the David Morrell books are fiction novels, he also wrote several non-fiction books. Fireflies, a creative fiction memoir was inspired by the loss of his 15-year-old son Matthew, who died in 1987 due to a rare form of bone cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma. The same illness took his granddaughter as well several years later, when she was just 14.
For his books, he was nominated for an Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity awards, and he won three Bram Stoker awards and the prestigious Thriller Master award from the International Thriller Writers organization.
Currently, David Morrell lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is the co-founder and co-president of the International Thriller Writers organization.
Praise for David Morrell
An absolute master of the thriller. (Dean Koontz)
David Morrell is, to me, the finest thriller living today, bar none. (Steve Berry)
Spectacular action backed by the author’s hands-on research . . . a horrifying climax . . . twists and turns . . . one of the best of the genre. (Associated Press)
Everything [Morrell} writes has a you-are-there quality, and that, coupled with his ability to propel characters through a scene, makes reading him like attending a private screening. (Washington Post)
David Morrell is a master of suspense. He wields it like a stiletto—know just where to stick it and how to turn it. If you’re reading Morrell, you’re sitting on the edge of your seat. (Michael Connelly)
Fast-paced, intelligent, exciting and hard-hitting. (Nelson DeMille)
- David Morrell official author website
- International Thriller Writers
- Interview with Sarie Morrell, David Morrell’s daughter