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Full Name: Jake Grafton
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: Stephen Coonts
Time Span: 1986 - 2019


Jake Grafton is an agent with the CIA.

He is also an officer in the U.S. Navy.

Really two series in one, the tale of Jake Grafton depicts the adulthood advance of a very tenacious and compelling character.

The first part, comprised of two non-spy novels, tells of the life of a Navy pilot during and immediately after tours in Vietnam. The stories are gripping and certainly autographical in nature as the author was himself a pilot in that conflict during two cruises with the USS Enterprise.

The second section comprise the international intrigue (i.e. spy) section. Grafton has been promoted to Captain and sees his career changing as he gets more and more involved in espionage matters. Never actually a spy himself, Grafton will engage in numerous adventures where spies fight with or against him.

The interesting aspect to the Grafton series is that they are not just centered around the intrigue - you get to see a well-rounded character with a life. He is even married and his wife, Callie, plays an important, albeit background, character at first but quickly becomes a prominent player in Grafton's work as well as his private life.

Each book sees progression in the life of the Graftons. He rises in rank and then retires. He takes a job with the CIA and moves up that chain of command, eventually reaching a position where he can sit with and advise the President and other government leaders.

After the tenth book, the author had taken Grafton perhaps as far as he felt reasonable for the action hero that he was. It no longer made sense for Grafton to be skulking into back rooms or down dark alleys quite as often as before. He was too public and well known. As a result, a new character was brought in as the main adventurer.

Tommy Carmellini now wears the literary trenchcoat but Grafton is still there in spirit and often in person. Tommy is a former thief and now a full-time agent with the CIA who is assigned to help Grafton on an assignment. After the two hit it off, he becomes the main agent Grafton asks for when important, dangerous work needs to be done. When Carmellini is not on an assignment, he helps run a locksmith shop with a genius in lock picking, an association that has come in handy on many occasions.


Number of Books:19
First Appearance:1986
Last Appearance:2019

1 Flight Of The Intruder Flight Of The Intruder
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 1986

Not a spy novel or even a techno-thriller, this novel is a fascinating tale of a hot-shot Navy pilot, Lieutenant Jake Grafton, and the men who served with him in the skies over Vietnam during the last few years of that conflict. The realism is startling and the characters are engaging, making this a terrific read from several angles.

2 The Intruders The Intruders
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 1994

Recently returned home from two long tours in Vietnam, Lt. Grafton was not in the mood to listen to the jeers of a drunk in a bar demeaning those who lost their lives. The drunk landed in the hospital and Grafton lands in hot water.

3 Final Flight Final Flight
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 1989

The notorious terrorist, Colonel Qafi, is planning to take control of the naval vessel on which Grafton is serving in an incredible scheme to demean the American government.

4 The Minotaur The Minotaur
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 1989

Grafton is at the Pentagon heading up a top-secret project when he learns there is a spy at the military headquarters, a mole known as the Minotaur.

5 Under Siege Under Siege
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 1990

After the President is wounded in an assassination attempt ordered by a major drug lord, the Vice President orders the cartel destroyed. Grafton must contend with a vengeful kingpin and an assassin that will not give up.

6 The Red Horseman The Red Horseman
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 1993

Rear Admiral Jake Grafton, now assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency, is in the former Soviet Union to assist in the destruction of thousands of nuclear weapons but there are considerable forces at work to stop him.

7 Cuba Cuba
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 1999

The head of the Cuban secret police has a scheme to use chemical weapons created by Cuba in warheads left by the Soviets to force a confrontation with the U.S. to get the Cuban people to follow him when Castro dies.

8 Hong Kong Hong Kong
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 2000

Hong Kong, now under the control of the Red Chinese, is where Admiral Grafton is sent to investigate a money-laundering scheme that has severe political implications embarrassing to the American government.

9 America America
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 2001

When a NASA satellite serving as the start of a new antimissile defense system just disappears, Grafton is ordered to find out how and why.

10 Liberty Liberty
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 2003

A rogue Russian general wants to sell 4 nuclear weapons. A radical Islamic group wants to buy. Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini must stop both parties.

11 Liars & Thieves Liars & Thieves
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 2004

Grafton and his CIA friend, Tommy Carmellini, must help a Russian defector survive to remember secrets worth killing for.

12 The Traitor The Traitor
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 2006

Tommy Carmellini assists Grafton in Paris to find out what a French mole in Al-Queda knows of upcoming plans.

13 The Assassin The Assassin
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 2008

The escape of a major terrorist leader convinces Grafton that there is a leak in the organization somewhere. Tommy Carmellini is sent to plug the leak and to stop the assassin who is now killing key Western officials.

14 The Disciple The Disciple
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 2009

The President of Iran is determined to start World War III. When Grafton and Carmellini are unable to stop him, they are left with the job of knocking out nuclear missiles aimed throughout the Middle East.

15 Pirate Alley Pirate Alley
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 2013

When a cruise ship is taken by Somali pirates demanding a large ransom, Jake Grafton is asked to handle the negotiations whil Tommy Carmellini leads a team to rescue the hostages. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda operatives are standing by to destroy the ship and all onboard.

16 The Art Of War The Art Of War
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 2016

With the murder of the CIA Director, Jake Grafton is given his job. The first major problem is a series of other assassinations but Grafton believes they are actually meant to hide an even bigger plot. Tommy Carmellini is put into action which will lead him to Norfolk and a plot to destroy the Atlantic Fleet.
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17 Liberty's Last Stand Liberty's Last Stand
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 2016

When the President is the target of a decorated sniper, the country is thrown into martial law. Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini, trying to find the real villains behind the attack, instead find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
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18 The Armageddon File The Armageddon File
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 2017

The election was one of the most divisive in the history of the U.S. Coming not long after the new Administration takes charge, the Chief of Staff gets evidence that voting machine may have been tampered with. Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini are asked to investigate to see how far the scheme went.
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19 The Russia Account The Russia Account
Written by Stephen Coonts
Copyright: 2019

An international conspiracy whose roots can be traced to the Kremlin and the US Capitol Building is threatening to destroy much of America's economic infrastructure. As Tommy Carmellini seeks to uncover what is happening, an assassin has his eye on the head of the CIA, Jake Grafton.
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Number of Movies:1
First Appearance:1991
Last Appearance:1991

1 Flight Of The Intruder Flight Of The Intruder
Director: John Milius
Writers: Robert Dillon, David Shaber, Stephen Coonts
Actors: Brad Johnson as Jake Grafton, Willem Dafoe as Virgil 'Tiger' Cole, Danny Glover as Cmdr Dooke Camparelli, Rosanna Arquette as Callie Joy, Tom Sizemore as Boxman
Released: 1991

Jake Grafton is pondering his current set of Naval bombing mission when a member of his crew is killed. He and another man come up with the idea of bombing a major city in North Vietnam.


I like this series a lot. I like the character. I really like his gutsy wife. I like the way the author uses the character's real job to get him involved in numerous extracurricular activities. I especially like the realism.

The stories flow incredibly easy and fast, taking you with them willingly. The plots are logical and thought-out.

The missions that Grafton gets involved in are timely but should still be readable decades later. It is the characters, both good and bad, which make the books so good. And the plots. And the locales. And the writing.

I have enjoyed immensely reading these books. I have also enjoyed listening to them on road trips. The miles disappear when you are in the Grafton/Carmellini world.

Check him out!


My Grade: A


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