Books for PTSD Awareness Day

June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day.

For millions of people around the world, the most traumatic events of their lives have never ended. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a lingering reminder that turns every day into a potential minefield, with flashbacks and triggers potentially hidden around every corner. (From

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are psychiatric disorders that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault.

Old names for this disorder are shell-shock and combat fatigue, but they occur in many more people than just war vets. Victims of domestic and sexual assault and first-responders are two other classes of people who may be affected. Even something like a car accident can result in flashbacks and other symptoms.


A more detailed listing of the signs and symptoms of PTSD is included in the resources listed below.

Symptoms of PTSD fall into four categories. Specific symptoms can vary in severity.
Intrusive thoughts such as repeated, involuntary memories; distressing dreams; or flashbacks of the traumatic event. Flashbacks may be so vivid that people feel they are re-living the traumatic experience or seeing it before their eyes.
Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event may include avoiding people, places, activities, objects and situations that bring on distressing memories. People may try to avoid remembering or thinking about the traumatic event. They may resist talking about what happened or how they feel about it.
Negative thoughts and feelings may include ongoing and distorted beliefs about oneself or others (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted”); ongoing fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame; much less interest in activities previously enjoyed; or feeling detached or estranged from others.
Arousal and reactive symptoms may include being irritable and having angry outbursts; behaving recklessly or in a self-destructive way; being easily startled; or having problems concentrating or sleeping.

What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?

Symptoms may occur immediately following the traumatic event(s) or may not appear until years later.

Some Resources

Statistical prevalence

PTSD is a much more common disorder than previous studies have suggested, occurring throughout all age groups – including children under the age of one. The lifetime risk for developing PTSD in U.S. adults is 3.5%. The lifetime prevalence of PTSD is lower for those of European, African, Asian, and Latin American cultures at 0.5%-1.0%. Increased rates of PTSD are notable in those who have jobs that place them at risk for being a part of a traumatic event, such as police officers, nurses, and firefighters. The highest rates for PTSD occur among sexual assault survivors, military veterans who have been in combat, and survivors of genocide.

Books about PTSD

I have gathered together some books, mostly fiction with characters with PTSD and/or written by authors dealing with PTSD.

Before I get into the fiction, I want to link to a book list of non-fiction books studying or about treating PTSD, and highlight one non-fiction book recommended to me by a friend.

Here is the non-fiction book list provided by Questia:

Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A Guide and Map for Recovering from Childhood Trauma

A writer friend of mine recommended this book as the only practical guide to overcoming c-PTSD that he had been able to find. This was the book that helped him to start working through is c-PTSD issues.

Amazon description
I have Complex PTSD and wrote this book from the perspective of someone who has experienced a great reduction of symptoms over the years. I also wrote it from the viewpoint of someone who has discovered many silver linings in the long, windy, bumpy road of recovering from c-PTSD. 

I felt encouraged to write this book because of thousands of e-mail responses to the articles on my website that repeatedly expressed gratitude for the helpfulness of my work. An often echoed comment sounded like this: At last someone gets it. I can see now that I am not bad, defective or crazy…or alone!

The causes of c-PTSD range from severe neglect to monstrous abuse. Many survivors grow up in houses that are not homes – in families that are as loveless as orphanages and sometimes as dangerous.

If you felt unwanted, unliked, rejected, hated and/or despised for a lengthy portion of your childhood, trauma may be deeply ingrained in your mind, soul and body. 

This book is a practical, user-friendly self-help guide to recovering from the lingering effects of childhood trauma, and to achieving a rich and fulfilling life. It is copiously illustrated with examples of my own and my clients’ journeys of recovering. This book is also for those who do not have c-PTSD but want to understand and help a loved one who does.

Writing a lot of books about abuse, I tend to have a lot of characters with PTSD or c-PTSD. I don’t want to take up too much space with my own, so I will just mention a couple with details, with links to some others.

About Loose the Dogs

Starting with a first responder with PTSD, I have Loose the Dogs:

You’ll never look at your dog the same way again.

Seven dogs are adopted by families all across the country who do not know their history…

“Of one thing I am sure,” Glenn declares. “These dogs are perfectly harmless.”

Frank knew it wasn’t true.

He would never forget walking into that trailer. He saw it in his mind every time he closed his eyes. He woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, seeing those eyes and those teeth, screaming soundlessly, gasping for breath.

“He never saw those dogs. How could anyone make such a stupid decision, knowing what they did?”

Click the red button to buy direct, or find the store links here.

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About Chloe

The Between the Cracks series deals extensively with abuse, so you will see a lot of traumatic symptoms in all of them, but Chloe suffers particularly heinous abuse and has a lot of dissociation and depersonalization. She is helped by a child victims investigator (who is also at risk for PTSD with the cases he is exposed to on a daily basis) and an emotional support animal.

Chloe had always been the perfect daughter. Diligent, obedient, good at caring for the other children when Mom wasn’t home. She always worked hard and did everything she was asked.

But she couldn’t please her mother and the parade of stepfathers. It seemed like the harder she tried, the worse the abuse got.

Chloe had known for a long time that she was two people. The Chloe who watched and the Chloe who experienced. She had been watching for so long, she wasn’t sure she could feel anything anymore. But if she can’t overcome her past and start living in the real world, she knows she will lose herself forever.

Click the red button to buy direct, or find the store links here.

Placed on the In the Margins Committee Recommended Reads, 2018 by Library Services for Youth in Custody.
Read sample Buy Now
Buy Kindle or ePub via PayPal $5.99

Other books of mine with PTSD/c-PTSD characters:

And more books

Murder on Perry’s Island

One terrible night Detective Sergeant Marcus Lear exchanged gunshots with a 16-year-old burglary suspect. The boy was left a paraplegic. Marcus suffered PTSD and could no longer bring himself to carry a gun. Forced to resign the job he loved, Marcus returned to his historic family home on Perry’s Island to try to put his life back together.

Marcus had grown up there listening to the police chief’s stories of crime solving in the city. The chief’s stories inspired Marcus to leave the island and become the youngest detective in PD’s history. Marcus’s childhood best friend had been Jenny Gibbons, the Chief’s daughter, who was now an Ohio Wildlife Officer assigned to the island’s state park. She is determined to help Marcus face his pain and to reestablish their relationship. As they return home from an evening out, Jenny learns that the wife of an island businessman has been brutally murdered.

With Chief Gibbons away for the night, a desperate Jenny turns to Marcus to use his experience to preserve the crime scene. Marcus refuses at first, unwilling to have anything to do with police work that might force him to re-live recent events. Finally, he gives in to her pleas and agrees to supervise the crime scene just until the Chief can take over. Despite himself, Marcus is drawn deeper into the investigation. When a witness identifies a youth camp chaperone as the last person to be with the victim before her death, Marcus believes the man’s story of innocence.

Marcus is proven correct when the elderly housekeeper who helped raise him is left for dead in his own house and the historic mansion set on fire. The attack provides a personal aspect to the case that drives him to narrow down the suspects. Marcus’s single-minded pursuit of the killer while fighting his personal demons might cost him his own life!

What Happened to Lori

Three people.
Each has a secret.
Each has an agenda.
All three are liars.

One of them committed a terrible crime.
One of them is on the run.
More than one of them is a killer.

These three people are about to find out what happened to Lori.
And they’re going to wish they never did…

Crawford Hill

Protagonist with PTSD, written by an author dealing with PTSD.

Derek Crawford smiles pleasantly at the anger management counselor as the voices in his head beckon him into spiraling madness.                                 

A burned-out and now unemployed child psychologist, Derek lives alone in the Victorian mansion on Crawford Hill. From his great-grandmother’s widow’s walk on the fourth floor he can watch the lights of Centerville blinking on as the sun sets over Lake
St. Clair.

From the basement he can enter his great-grandfather’s network of caves, and prowl beneath the homes of the unsuspecting town.

As he nears his 29th birthday, one voice is getting louder. More persistent. It’s the gravelly voice
of his old man, dead a dozen years but no less demanding than when he whipped his belt across Derek’s back.

Broken Monarch

In 1979 Glenn is a chef at the Silver Lake Inn when his experiences of lost time become inhabited by a violent and dangerous part of himself he doesn’t know. 

A week before the First Lady of The United States visit to the restaurant, he meets Lindsey who holds the key to understanding what’s happening. 

The clock is ticking as he uncovers the mystery of their shared past, his part in Project Monarch and the plot to kill the First Lady. 

In the Canyon of Shadow and Light

In the bitter winter of 2004, New York Homicide Detective Alex Boswell finds himself juggling a trio of cases. There is the armed robbery of a Harlem grocery store, an autistic child dead in a care home, and an assistant district attorney found shot in an Upper West Side apartment.

Already a tattered veteran of the NYPD, Boswell is a man beset: the combined weight of his caseload and personal life grinding him down and destroying his health. Soon darker shadows and flashes of his past begin plaguing him, and he is terrified reality is crumbling away, while the criminal justice system itself seems ever more absurd and bewildering.

Murder Ready to Eat

This one features a murder victim with PTSD and the plight of homeless vets.

Crime fighting foodie, Scotti Fitzgerald, has found her sweet spot in life – running her dessert food truck by day and sleuthing for P.I. and mentor, Joe Enders, by night.

During the week she and wise-cracking sidekick Zelda, ramble around the San Fernando Valley hawking their home baked goods. They end their week by taking the left-over goodies to a few homeless vets who gather at the local park.

While working a boring divorce case for Joe, the girls stumble upon a connection between their target and the vets in the park. So when homeless buddy Ron, turns up dead a couple days later, Scotti’s inner investigator cries foul. The more she digs into Ron’s death, the more a mysterious person named Jody pops up. And though her relentless pursuit of justice for Ron puts a strain on her personal relationships she can’t seem to stop herself.

Past Aghast

This series features a main character with chronic, severe PTSD and is being developed into a TV series.

Is he the killer they say he is… or is he being framed?

Even Jack isn’t certain. While deployed to Iraq, Jack helplessly witnessed his true love, Major Lori Darden, RN, being ruthlessly murdered. Jack is left emotionally traumatized with severe PTSD and the Army forces him to retire. Jack’s PTSD flashbacks sometimes leave him unaware of his actions while under the influence of his unwelcome mental demon.

As the new Chairman of Anesthesia at Southern Medical Center, Jack thought he’d retired into the tame civilian job he’d dreamed of, but a series of bizarre murders and deaths have occurred at Southern Medical Center. Because of his mental health issues Jack becomes a person of interest and is swept into the investigation.

But an anonymous tipster helps Jack understand there’s something much more sinister going on than what he’s become aware of.

Red Hot

PTSD put her behind a desk. Now her new desk job might get her killed. 

Fresh from the Afghan front, ex-military Emily Patrick is sent to the Mexican coast south of San Diego to extract an injured American firefighter.

But she’s not the only one looking for him.  

And when her support system goes AWOL, things escalate quickly.

Now they’re outrunning the local cartel and to get them both out alive may just take a miracle. And a whole lot of bullets. 


It takes the perfect student to commit the perfect crime.

Brooke Walton is a thriving medical student at Rothaker University, until she has a serious conflict with Rachael, a rival classmate. When Rachael mysteriously disappears, detectives descend on campus and the hunt for the truth begins.

Warning: this is a DARK thriller. Brooke Walton is brilliant, ambitious, and twisted.

365 Marks on the Wall

One bad decision leads to consequences that Lila couldn’t begin to fathom.

It was just a tube of lipstick. Lila didn’t think too much about it when she slipped it into her pocket at the mall. When a man grabbed her arm and accused her of shoplifting, her only thought was for the trouble she was going to be in with her parents over one stupid impulse.

But then she woke up chained to the wall in a dank, dark cellar. 
In growing panic, she begins to understand the hell her world has just become. 

Soon she won’t be the only one imprisoned in that cellar… but is that a good thing? Or will it just make everything worse? Can Lila survive the abuse and the torture? Will the other girls be strong enough to survive what Lila has already lived through? 

Warning: contain some pretty serious abuse/dissociating/near death experiences

Rock-a-Bye Baby

An aunt’s worst nightmare…

In the city of Denver, a series of baby kidnappings has the town devastated. With no ransom demands and no contact from the perpetrators, local law enforcement is at a dead end. No motive equals no answers.

A cop’s personal obsession…

Charlene Taylor’s niece becomes a victim, and the LAPD detective is thrown headfirst into a whirlwind case with similarities to one from seven years earlier. Out of her jurisdiction, and with no friends or leads, Charlene must walk-the-line between cop and sister.

Who can she trust?

Charlene has to decide who’s an ally, and when an unlikely partner steps forward, they must race against the clock: because that critical 48 hour window has come and gone.

Read an Excerpt

My Daddy has PTSD

Written by a disabled vet with PTSD and his wife.

PTSD is a very serious condition that affects many veterans and other individuals. It can have an impact on the entire family, including the children.This book follows a little girl and her Daddy to explain what PTSD is to a child. It aids in building empathy for the condition and opens the door to helpful conversations.

Any other recommendations? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I’m so glad to see someone putting all of this together. Great post.

  2. Great post! PTSD is very serious. I really appreciate how this was put together. Sometimes reading a fiction novel which has this disorder within the pages can help people identify and make them feel less isolated. Thank you.

  3. Great post, Pam. I don’t think people realize how prevalent this problem is and how devastating it is to the victims and their loved ones. Thanks for making people aware.

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