Stephen Coonts

Stephen Coonts (born July 19, 1946) is an American thriller and suspense novelist.

Early life, education, and military career

Stephen Coonts grew up in Buckhannon, West Virginia, a small coal-mining town. Following high school graduation, he earned a B.A. degree in political science at West Virginia University in 1968.[1] After joining the Navy upon graduation and then going to Officer Candidate School, Coonts went to flight school at Naval Air Station Pensacola and earned his wings as a Naval Aviator in 1969.

Coonts was later assigned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and VA-128 to train in the A-6 Intruder, a medium attack, all-weather and carrier-based jet. After training, Coonts was attached to and deployed with VA-196 to Vietnam. With 196, he served aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) on two cruises and accumulated 1600 flying hours in the A-6. Coonts was awarded several commendations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After Vietnam, Coonts served as an A-6 flight instructor for two years, then was assigned as an assistant catapult and arresting gear officer aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68). Coonts separated from the active duty Navy as a lieutenant in 1977 but remained as reserve officer, retiring as a commander with a total of 21 years of service.

Post military career


After leaving active duty, Coonts pursued a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree at the University of Colorado, graduating in 1979. He then worked as a lawyer for several oil and gas companies, pursuing his writing interests in his free time.


Coonts began writing Flight of the Intruder in 1984, with the book being published by the US Naval Institute Press in 1986. The novel, based in part on his experiences as an A-6 pilot during the Vietnam War, remained for 28 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and later (1991) was made into a movie. This launched his career as a novelist, and he continued writing adventure-thrillers, most of them based on the main character from his first book, Jake Grafton. Coonts has also written several other series and stand-alone novels, but is best known for the Grafton books. In 1992, he was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni at his alma mater, West Virginia University.[2][3] In 2014 West Virginia University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.

Today, Coonts continues to write, having had sixteen New York Times bestsellers (out of 36 books). He lives in Colorado with his third wife, Deborah Jean.[4] He is divorced from romantic mystery novelist Deborah Coonts.


Jake Grafton Series

Note: The list below represents Stephen Coonts' suggested reading order.[5]
# Title Publication Date ISBN Notes
1 Flight of the Intruder 1986 0-87021-200-1 filmed in 1991
2 The Intruders 1994 1-59114-128-1
3 Final Flight 1988 0-385-24555-6
4 The Minotaur 1989 0-440-20742-8
5 Under Siege 1990 0-671-72229-8
6 The Red Horseman 1993 0-671-74887-4
7 Cuba 1999 0-312-20521-X Also featuring Tommy Carmellini
8 Hong Kong 2000 0-312-25339-7 Also featuring Tommy Carmellini
9 America 2001 0-312-25341-9 Also featuring Tommy Carmellini
10 Liberty 2003 0-312-28361-X Also featuring Tommy Carmellini

Jake Grafton & Tommy Carmellini Series

Note: The list below represents Stephen Coonts' suggested reading order.[6]
# Title Publication Date ISBN Notes
1 Liars and Thieves 2004 0-312-28362-8 Also known as: Wages of Sin
2 The Traitor 2006 0-312-32359-X
3 The Assassin 2008 0-312-99446-X Also featuring Jake Grafton
4 The Disciple 2009 0-312-37283-3 Also featuring Jake Grafton
5 Pirate Alley 2013 0-312-37284-1 Also featuring Jake Grafton
6 The Art of War 2016 1-786-48363-8 Also featuring Tommy Carmellini
7 Liberty's Last Stand 2016 1-621-57507-8 Also featuring Tommy Carmellini
8 The Armageddon File 2017 1-621-57659-0 Also featuring Tommy Carmellini
9 The Russia Account 2019 1-621-57660-0 Also featuring Jake Grafton

Saucer Series

# Title Publication Date ISBN
1 Saucer 2002 0-312-98321-2
2 Saucer: The Conquest[7] 2004 0-312-99448-6
3 Saucer: Savage Planet[8] 2014 1-250-06198-9


# Title Publication Date ISBN
1 Combat 2002 0-8125-7615-2
2 Combat Vol. 2 2002 0-8125-7616-0
3 Combat Vol. 3 2002 0-8125-7617-9
4 On Glorious Wings 2005 0-8125-7863-5
5 Victory 2003 0-7653-0581-X
6 Victory: Call To Arms 2004 0-8125-6167-8
7 Victory: Into The Fire 2004 0-8125-6168-6
8 Victory: On The Attack 2004 0-8125-6169-4
9 War in the Air 1999 0-6718-8191-4

Deep Black Series

# Title Publication Date ISBN Co-authored with:
1 Deep Black 2003 0-312-98520-7 Jim DeFelice
2 Biowar 2004 0-752-86117-4 Jim DeFelice
3 Dark Zone 2004 0-752-87785-2 Jim DeFelice
4 Payback 2005 0-312-93698-2 Jim DeFelice
5 Jihad 2007 0-312-93699-0 Jim DeFelice
6 Conspiracy 2008 0-312-93700-8 Jim DeFelice
7 Arctic Gold 2009 0-312-94695-3 William H. Keith
8 Sea of Terror 2010 0-312-94696-1 William H. Keith
9 Death Wave 2011 0-312-67113-X William H. Keith


  • Fortunes of War (1998), ISBN 0-312-18583-9, ISBN 0-312-96941-4
  • The Garden of Eden (2006) (writing as Eve Adams)
  • The Sea Witch (May 2012), ISBN 0-7653-3231-0, ISBN 978-0-7653-3231-8

As editor

  • The 17th Day (1999)
  • Combat (2001) ISBN 0-312-87190-2
  • Victory (2003) ISBN 0-312-87462-6 OCLC 51322993


  • The Cannibal Queen: A Flight into the Heart of America (1992), ISBN 0-671-74884-X
  • War In The Air: True Accounts (1996), ISBN 0-671-88190-6
  • On Glorious Wings: The Best Flying Stories (2003), ISBN 0-312-87724-2
  • Victory (2003), ISBN 0-312-87462-6


  1. Author Journal About Page from Author Webpage. Accessed 31July2013.
  2. Coonts Entry Archived 2011-09-18 at the Wayback Machine at the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni. Accessed 31July2013.
  3. Class Years Entry Archived 2005-10-28 at the Wayback Machine at the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni. Accessed 31July2013.
  4. Biography from Author Webpage. Accessed 31July2013.
  5. "Reading Order of the Jake Grafton Series as Suggested by The Author".
  6. "Reading Order of the Tommy Carmellini Series as Suggested by The Author".
  7. "Saucer: The Conquest: Stephen Coonts: Books". 2004-09-02. Retrieved 2014-04-28.
  8. "Saucer: Savage Planet: Stephen Coonts: 9781250061980: Books". 2014-04-15. Retrieved 2014-04-28.
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