The best books by and about journalists

Thomas Kies Author Of Random Road
By Thomas Kies

Who am I?

I’m the author of the critically acclaimed Geneva Chase Crime Reporter series. I live and write on a barrier island on the coast of North Carolina with my wife, Cindy, and Annie, our Shih-Tzu. I’ve had a long career working for newspapers and magazines, primarily in New England and New York, and I’m currently working on my next novel. 

I wrote...

Random Road

By Thomas Kies,

Book cover of Random Road

What is my book about?

Veteran reporter Geneva Chase is at the end of her professional rope. Battling alcoholism and bad choices, she's lost every major news job she's had; working at her hometown newspaper is her last chance to redeem herself—and now the paper's future is in doubt.

And then she lands the story of a lifetime: Six nude bodies are found hacked to pieces in a Queen Anne mansion on the coast of Long Island Sound. The sensational headline is picked up by the metro papers, and Geneva is back in the game. As her grisly investigation leads her deeper into dangerous waters, her toxic affair with a married man and her inability to get sober threaten to undo everything she has worked so hard to achieve.

The books I picked & why

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Yesterday's News (Clare Carlson Mystery)

By R. G. Belsky,

Book cover of Yesterday's News (Clare Carlson Mystery)

Why this book?

Mr. Belsky’s media background is in newspapers, magazines, and TV/digital news. Yesterday’s News is the first in his series featuring Clare Carlson, the hard-driving and tenacious news director for Channel 10 in New York City. When eleven-year-old Lucy Devlin disappeared on her way to school more than a decade ago, it became one of the most famous missing child cases in history. The story turned reporter Clare Carlson into a media superstar overnight.

Now Clare once again plunges back into this sensational story. With new evidence, new victims, and new suspects—too many suspects. Everyone from members of a motorcycle gang to a prominent politician running for a US Senate seat seems to have secrets they’re hiding about what really might have happened to Lucy Devlin. 

I love Mr. Belsky’s Clare Carlson series because they’re fast-paced and thought out and the protagonist is easy to identify with.

The Poet

By Michael Connelly,

Book cover of The Poet

Why this book?

Mr. Connelly’s career started out as a crime beat reporter for newspapers in Florida and in Los Angeles. He’s most known for his Harry Bosch, The Lincoln Lawyer, and Renee Ballard crime novel series. But he’s also known for his Jack McEvoy, crime reporter series.

Jack McEvoy’s twin brother is found dead in his car from a self-inflicted bullet wound to the head--an Edgar Allen Poe quote smeared on the windshield. Jack doesn’t believe that his brother killed himself and while investigating, gets caught up with the FBI who are looking into a serial killer.

This was a departure for Michael Connelly and the book, while very well written, is not for the faint of heart.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

By Stieg Larsson,

Book cover of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Why this book?

The author, Stieg Larson, was a journalist who, tragically, died before even his first book was published.  This book, along with two more that Larson had written before his passing, became enormously popular.

The male protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist, is also a journalist, but disgraced, and foundering. He takes on the job as a detective of sorts, picking through clues to help discover what happened to a young woman who went missing years before.

Along with help of Lizbeth Salander, Mikael contends with the disturbing members of a wealthy dysfunctional family until he discovers a serial killer has been there all along.

Squeeze Me

By Carl Hiaasen,

Book cover of Squeeze Me

Why this book?

Carl Hiaasen was a reporter for a number of newspapers in Florida, where nearly all of his novels take place. In Squeeze Me, the book begins when Kiki Pew, a wealthy Palm Beach dowager, mysteriously disappears at an exclusive charity bash.

The mystery is solved by Angie Armstrong, a wildlife wrangler, but not before the book lampoons everything from the super-rich to the President of the United States at the time the book was written, Squeeze Me is a brilliantly hilarious piece of satire involving politics and pythons. 

Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn,

Book cover of Gone Girl

Why this book?

Flynn attributes her craft to her 15-some years in journalism. She said, "I could not have written a novel if I hadn't been a journalist first, because it taught me that there's no muse that's going to come down and bestow upon you the mood to write. You just have to do it.”

Gone Girl gives new meaning to the term “Unreliable Narrator”. Amy Dunne disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary and suspicion builds against the husband, Nick. The book is written from the point of view of both Nick and Amy, but nothing is what it seems and neither Nick or Amy are who they say they are. This is a page-turning psychological thriller that kept me guessing right up to the very end. 

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