18 Bestselling Authors Who Do Not Use Profanity (And their Riveting Reads)

Published by Slanted Bookshelf Team on

There is nothing worse than getting a book recommendation from a friend, only to find out it that it is laced with cursing, graphic sex, or gratuitous violence. Our culture already bombards us with enough crud in our daily lives. We don’t want to invite dirty stories into our recreation time. Despite this, it can be just plain difficult to find a good novel that isn’t loaded with F-bombs or graphic sex. It can be especially hard to find a suspense novels by authors who do not use profanity.

That’s why I compiled this list of obscenity free, sex free, and (mostly) uplifting novelists. The genres on this list ranges from thriller to mystery to action and adventure. For each author, I have also listed their top selling novels. I hope this list can provide a good recommendation for your next clean read. Please leave a comment if I missed any prominent authors or if an author should not be on this list.

So without further ado, let’s get on with the list.

Photo by Vincenzo Malagoli from Pexels

Top Authors Who Do Not Use Profanity
(and their bestselling novels)

Kathryn Stockett 
The first on our list is Kathryn Stocket, the  #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Help. You may have seen this academy award winning film which follows a group of black housemaids during racial segregation. Kathryn is from Jackson, Mississippi and therefore paints a very realistic picture of the deep south during segregation. Aside from a handful of context-appropriate racial slurs, this book is clean. The Help was her first book, and an instant hit. Read the book and then watch the movie for comparison!

Recommended Book By Kathryn Stockett

The Help

Lee Child 
Lee Child is another #1 New York Times bestseller. He is an action-thriller writer from Birmingham, Alabama who now resides in New York. Child is known for his Jack Reacher series, which have now been turned into blockbuster movies. Lee Child is a tough-guy author similar to Tom Clancy, but unlike Tom Clancy, he uses no profanity. His main character, Jack Reacher is an ex-army policeman who is 6 feet 6 inches of bad mamma-jamma.

He helps the downtrodden and beats up the bad guys. Some of the books in this series are pure action-hero, while others are more mystery and detective themed. In any case, his stories rocket along at a blistering pace with plenty of action, twists and turns, satisfying adrenaline rushes.

Recommended Books By Lee Child
Check out Killing Floor (the first book in the Jack Reacher Series) and A Wanted man 

Edie Claire 
Edie Claire is a former veterinarian, turned best-selling novelist. She is a happily married mother of three who lives in Pennsylvania. Her books are characterized by captivating, warm, and witty personalities, with a genre that blends romance and mystery. In Claire’s writings you will find no sex, vulgarity, or swearing. 

Recommended Books by Edie Claire
We recommend Long Time Coming (the first book in the Fated Loves series). This is a story about an unfulfilled teenage love. The main character is a young woman on a journey who has buried a traumatic event from her past.
We also recommend the Pacific Horizons series – which adeptly provides captivating relationship stories in picturesque settings like Alaska.

Kate Morton
Kate Morton is another New York Times bestselling author from Queensland, Australia. Her novels are great because they each have a mystery or two (or seven) within the pages. Her writing revolves around some touching themes like the cost of promises, the meaning of motherhood, and truth vs. perception. Her books will have you utterly captivated and hanging on every word. They tend to take place in a magical setting, like an old country house. The families in her stories are usually harboring more than one secret. Kate Morton’s mysteries are worth the read.

Recommended Books By Kate Morton

Karen McQuestion 
Karen McQuestion is another clean author who writes without profanity and gratuitous violence or sex. Her stories are beautiful vignettes that pull at your heart and make you feel for the suffering of fellow human beings. Her books are great for adults as well as kids and teens. One of the books on our list, Hello Love, is an old fashioned love story about a dog. Half a heart is about a young boy that pursues lasting love with an unquenchable spirit, despite his past of abuse by his father.

Recommended Books By Karen McQuestion

Mary Higgins Clark
Mary Higgins Clark has written many standalone mysteries and is one of top crime novelists of all time in America. Known as ‘the queen of suspense,’ Clark is also a New York Times bestseller. She describes herself as a “nice Irish Catholic girl from the Bronx.” Her novels are typically in the mystery genre. They have you trying to work out who the killer is (and it is not predictable). She writes in short, fast moving chapters. Expect to see family drama, rivalry, money, and deception. Mary Higgins Clark also has a great collection of short stories. The three books we recommend below are all part of the “Under Suspicion” series. 

Recommended Books By Mary Higgins Clark
I’ve Got You Under My Skin, All Dressed in White, and The Cinderella Murder

Terri Blackstock
Terri Blackstock is yet another New York Times bestseller, with over 7 million copies sold worldwide. She writes fast-paced thrillers that also have a faith element. In fact, all of her suspense novels have a Christian aspect to them. Expect strong feminine characters that are not helpless women. The characters are believable – real people with real struggles that have ‘God moments’ in their lives that give them the grace to change. Blackstock’s novels will keep you reading in the early morning hours and turning pages to see what will happen. We recommend checking out either the Restoration series or the If I Run Series.

Recommended Books By Terri Blackstock
Last Light (Book 1 of 4) and If I Run (Book 1 of 3)

Ted Dekker 
Ted Dekker is somewhat unique from the other authors on the list, because although his books are clean from profanity, they can still be violent and scary. Nevertheless, this New York Times bestselling author makes the list. He is a fantastic storyteller who combines adrenaline laced plots with epic battles between good and evil. The best way to describe his genre would be Christian fiction. Dekker is well informed on scripture and it shows in his writings. His books are raw and real.

There is no sugar coating the evil, violent, grittiness to them. A.D. 30 is a historical novel set in the deserts of Arabia. The Circle series is an epic redemption story of good vs. evil with Christian motifs throughout.

Recommended Books by Ted Dekker
A.D. 30, The Eyes Wide Open Series, and The Circle Series

DE Stevenson
Dorothy Emily Peploe was the Scottish author of over 40 light romance novels. She passed away in 1973, but recently surged in popularity with the republishing of her books in 2009 and 2011. Her father was first cousins with Robert Lewis Stevenson. She writes funny, romantic novels that are great beach reads free of profanity. Her books are like lost literary treasures to enjoy. Stevenson’s characters are delightfully quaint.

Recommended Books by DE Stevenson
Miss Buncle’s Book (Book 1 of 4) and Mrs. Tim of the Regiment

Lis Wiehl
Lis Wiehl is an American trial lawyer who has also served as a legal analyst and reporter on Fox News for 15 years. Additionally, she is a professor of Law at NYU law school. With her free time, she writes psychological thriller novels. Wiehl puts a lot of detail into characters and their backstories, making them believable as real-life people. The triple threat series is about 3 friends (a reporter, an FBI agent, and a federal prosecutor) working together to solve murder cases. Her East Salem trilogy is a supernatural crime thriller. Her background in law and politics makes her a strong writer in this arena.

Recommended Books by Lis Wiehl
Face of Betrayal (Triple Threat Series), Waking Hours (East Salem Trilogy), and A Matter of trust (Mia Quinn Series)

Anne Perry 
Anne Perry is a British crime and detective novelist. She is the bestselling author of multiple mystery series, with a flare for Victorian England. As a word of caution, some of her stories involve violent murders, sometimes involving women. If you decide to read her books, you will not be disappointed. 

Recommended Books By Anne Perry
The Cater Street Hangman (first book in Charlotte and Thomas Pitt 32-book series), Death in Focus (first book in Elena Standish series), Twenty-one Days (first book in Daniel Pitt series), The Face of a Stranger (first book in the 24-book William Monk Series)

Noah Boyd 
Noah Boyd is the pen name for a former FBI agent whose real name is Paul Lindsey. His thriller books have a terrific pace, and are similar to the Jack Reacher series. We recommend his Steve Vail series. Boyd’s writing has no gratuitous violence or drama that will drag you down. His twists and turns in the storylines keep you thoroughly engrossed from start to finish.The main character, ex-FBI agent Steve Vail, is an interesting, compassionate, and intelligent man.

*Updated Note :  The author uses the word “damn” and takes the Lord’s name in vain the The Bricklayer.

Recommended Books By Noah Boyd
The Bricklayer, Agent X

Mary Stewart
Mary Stewart is a romantic suspense novelist that has been acclaimed by the New York Times. Some say she has built the bridge between classic literature and modern pop fiction. Each of her books is a page turner that takes you away. Her novels take place in picturesque locations like Southern France, The Greek isles, and the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

Recommended Books By Mary Stewart
Nine Coaches Waiting, The Moon Spinners

Ann B. Ross
Ross writes classic southern comic novels that are also mysterious and engaging. She writes mystery style books, but without the murders. Her main character, Miss Julia, is a newly wealthy widow with a slew of personal problems that will make you laugh and cry. The Miss Julia Series is a cozy mystery with fun characters and great villains.

Recommended Books By Ann B. Ross
Miss Julia Takes over (first book in Miss Julia series)

Randy Singer 
Randy Singer is a Christian writer and trial attorney who avoids profanity. He writes legal thrillers. His books all have a Christian worldview. However, his novels are not preachy. His writing style is a cross between Michael Connelly and John Grisham. He writes about murderers, liars, adulterers, terrorists. This is a master storyteller whose books read very smoothly. One of the books on our list, The Advocate, is a historical novel set during the early days of Christianity. It follows Theophilus, Pilate’s right hand man at the trial of Jesus Christ. 

Recommended Books By Randy Singer
Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales, The Advocate, The Last Plea Bargain

Randy Alcorn 

Randy Alcorn is a well-known Christian author who does not use profanity. His novels are packed with themes from his Christian worldview. Despite this, his characters are real and believable, not holier-than-thou people. His novels have minimal violence and no explicit sexual content. They are hard to put down. The Ollie Chandler series is a heart-pounding murder mystery that follows a 1930s homicide detective in a true jack Bauer/Chuck Norris style. This Ollie Chandler is instantly likeable, and the dialogue between his characters is superb. 

Recommended Books by Randy Alcorn
Ollie Chandler series (starts with Deadline)

Sandra Dallas
Sandra Dallas is an American author who writes historical fiction with themes of friendship, human dignity, and loyalty. She gravitates towards quintessential American stories. The Persian Pickle Club is a heartfelt tale of friendship between women in a small town in Kansas in the 1930s depression era. Another book, Prayers for Sale depicts the life and friendship of Colorado women in a mining town. Her books are trips down memory lane for old America.

Recommended Books by Sandra Dallas
The Persian Pickle Club, Prayers for Sale, The Last Midwife, and The Diary of Mattie Spenser

Erin Healy
Erin Healy is last (but certainly not least) on our list. She writes supernatural suspense novels with a Christian worldview that grapple in the battle between good and evil. Though her books may be categorized as horror, you will not feel dirty after reading them. There’s no nasty sex scenes or language. Some of her books were co-written with Ted Dekker (who appeared earlier on this list).

Recommended Books by Erin Healy
Kiss, Burn, The Baker’s Wife

I Hope you enjoyed our list of modern fiction authors who do not use profanity. Drop a comment if you have some others to recommend!

See Also : Classic American Authors Who Do Not Use Profanity.
And : Classic English Authors Who Do Not Use Profanity

!Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels


Michael Maxwell · January 26, 2021 at 8:57 pm

I love the list! When you expand it to 20 I would love to be included.
I now have 25 books all of which fir the criteria you laid out in you article!
I just might be the best author you have never heard of! Here is my Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Micheal-Maxwell/e/B00F20MDCG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1378671759&sr=1-1
If you would like a sample of what I do, here is a copy on me! https://dl.bookfunnel.com/5gn9e6y6tn
1,895 reviews with 4.5 Stars!
In any case I would love to chat sometime.


Kelly · May 12, 2021 at 8:30 pm

Loved your list but was disappointed when I selected a Sandra Dallas novel and it had horrific violence and sexual violence scene in chapter 4. Not reading any more of it. Maybe she doesn’t use cuss words but I would rather read a cuss word than be exposed to that description.

    Rob · January 24, 2023 at 6:37 am

    I appreciate this list and am going to start reading right away.

Catherine MURPHY · June 22, 2021 at 11:06 pm

Search for profanity free thrillers.

Jeff Friesen · August 6, 2021 at 5:20 pm

You are mistaken about Noah Boyd (whose real name is Paul Lindsay — https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/noah-boyd/). He uses “damn” and takes the Lord’s name in vain the “The Bricklayer.”

Thomas · December 23, 2021 at 3:39 pm


Thanks for the details in the list… However, I must say, I did try 1 novel by Terri B. and was disappointed… She writes well and, I must say, is a ‘page-turner’… however, she described a young girl being raped in rather horrific and gruesome detail.. something I believe a ‘christian’ author shouldn’t ever do. But that may have been just that 1 book of hers… maybe the rest are all okay… not sure about that… but the 1 I did read was disappointing enough to not want to try any more of hers….

And about Ted Dekker…. I did try one or two of his books…. To say the least, his books are rather disturbing…. along with Frank P. I think such men write ‘thrillers’ under the guise of a ‘christian’ book, but they seem to have all the ‘essentials’ of a secular horror. And really, should a ‘Christian’ write such stuff.

Any day, I’d sooner recommend Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist or Great Expectations (the original editions) than either of the above mentioned 2 men! And just for the record, Charles Dickens does not use profanity or any ‘vulgar’ scenes; and his writings are still a true ‘classic’.

But thank you so very much for taking time out to put down this list….really appreciate this very much. Thanks again.

Joseph Robbins · February 9, 2023 at 4:04 pm

Lee Child The Killing Floor Jack Reacher novel 1 chapter two had a cuss word. stopped reading it. Well, it was a nice try.

Crystal M · February 11, 2023 at 2:45 am

Thanksgiving for the suggestions! I loved The bakers wife!!!

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