The best books about cops, reporters, and even artists who bring bad guys to justice

Rod Kackley Author Of Empty Minute: A Murder Mystery
By Rod Kackley

Who am I?

Crime fiction, true crime, mystery, and suspense books allow us to brush up against the worst society has to offer without getting hurt. There’s a lot to be said for vicarious thrills, isn’t there. I am just a simple man telling simple stories about good vs. evil. And sometimes, in my stories, fiction or not, the bad guys win. But I do love telling stories, and when I find a good one, I can’t wait to tell you aboutit. That’s what I have done here.


I wrote...

Empty Minute: A Murder Mystery

By Rod Kackley,

Book cover of Empty Minute: A Murder Mystery

What is my book about?

Corruption. Conspiracy. Caviar. The patriarch of one of the most powerful families in Kentucky politics is dead. Murdered. And it’s up to private investigator Ron Delaney to figure out who killed his hero. With a $25,000 check from the dead politician’s mistress in his pocket, Ron sets off on a journey that will lead him into conflict with one of the most powerful families in the Russian Mafia.

Along the way, Ron’s illusions about his hero are shattered, his prized Corvette is nearly totaled by a speeding blonde, and he falls in love with a woman half his age who gets kidnapped. And, that’s just the beginning of this wild, action-packed thriller.

The books I picked & why

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There Are No Saints

By Sophie Lark,

Book cover of There Are No Saints

Why this book?

The two books in the Sinners Duet series—There Are No Saints (Book 1), and There Is No Devil (Book 2)—are fascinating and mind-bending crime thrillers.

How could you not love this:

You’ve got two artists, both murderers, competing with each other in San Francisco’s hotbed of art and in the world of murder. 

Add in a young, beautiful woman, an artist, who is desired by both artists for different reasons.

The Sinner Duet books—and you do have to read both to get the whole story—are sexy, romantic, blood-soaked crime thrillers that you will never forget.

There Are No Saints

By Sophie Lark,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked There Are No Saints as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cole Blackwell values control. He’s the hottest sculptor in San Francisco, wealthy, successful, and respected. His only weakness is the dark impulse he carefully conceals…

Mara Eldritch is a nobody. Broke and damaged, she works three jobs while creating paintings no one will ever see.

A chance encounter throws Mara into Cole’s path. When Mara escapes what appears to be certain death, Cole is intrigued. He starts stalking her, realizing there’s more to the struggling misfit than he ever would have guessed.

Cole becomes obsessed with Mara, breaking the rules that keep his true nature hidden. Mara knows he’s dangerous,…


In Cold Blood

By Truman Capote,

Book cover of In Cold Blood

Why this book?

This is the ultimate crime thriller. Yes, I know it is of the true crime genre, but there is no better crime thriller than In Cold Blood, as far as I am concerned. 

This book proves that true crime doesn’t have to read like it was lifted from the pages of your grandmother’s detective magazines. Nor does true crime have to be written like something from the Encyclopedia Britannica

Capote brings the characters to life—murderers, victims, and survivors. And even though you know how it will end, In Cold Blood reads like a thriller because that is just what it is.

In Cold Blood

By Truman Capote,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked In Cold Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The chilling true crime 'non-fiction novel' that made Truman Capote's name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative published in Penguin Modern Classics.

Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote's comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly…


Whiskey River

By Loren D. Estleman,

Book cover of Whiskey River

Why this book?

You have to love this book if only because the author, Loren D. Estleman, pounded out the words on a manual typewriter. Why would he do that in the 21st century? So he can keep working during power outages, that’s why.

There’s not a single one of Estleman’s books or stories I would not recommend. However, I chose Whiskey River for this review because it is historical crime fiction, taking place in the days of Prohibition. 

Whiskey River is the story of a young, ambitious reporter who risks his life to expose police and city hall corruption.

As always, Estleman brings his characters and settings to life in a way few others can.

Whiskey River

By Loren D. Estleman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Whiskey River as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Detroit in 1925 prohibition has been in force for a year longer than the rest of the States, police corruption is so rampant no-one notices the stench in City Hall. Into this scene comes Constantine Minor, a young and ambitious reporter. The author has twice won the Shamus Award.


Killer Thriller

By Lee Goldberg,

Book cover of Killer Thriller

Why this book?

This is one of the wildest crime thrillers I have ever read. It is a fantastic, hectic, thrill-a-page story in which author Ian Ludlow finds himself in the middle of the plot of one of his best action novels. 

Except this time, it’s not fiction; the madness is really happening to him. Here’s the plot: Chinese intelligence agents have devised a plan to wreck the United States. The CIA figures nobody, but Ludlow can stop them because he’s already done it in one of his books.

Killer Thriller is an excellent example of how an author can take a real-life scenario and, by asking, “what if,” turn the world on its head with the answer and create an incredible story.

Killer Thriller

By Lee Goldberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Killer Thriller as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Goldberg's action-packed sequel to the Washington Post bestseller True Fiction, a hapless writer is pitted against an enemy nation mounting a treacherous plot lifted from one of his thrillers.

Everybody loves Ian Ludlow's action novels-especially the CIA-because the spies know something the public doesn't: his fictional plots have a frightening tendency to come true. Ian is in Hong Kong with his resourceful assistant Margo French to research his wildest story yet-a deadly global conspiracy by Chinese intelligence to topple the United States.

What Ian doesn't know is that his horrifying scenario is…


The Yiddish Policemen's Union

By Michael Chabon,

Book cover of The Yiddish Policemen's Union

Why this book?

I’ve read this book so many times that I had to buy a hardcover edition to replace the paperback I wore out.

Michael Chabon creates an alternative world where the Jewish people didn’t last long in Israel after World War Two. They wound up in the Federal District of Sitka, Alaska, with a lease for the land from the U.S. government, but now the lease is up, and they have to move. Somewhere. Almost anywhere.

Good story if it ends there, right?

But wait, this one doesn’t.

In the middle of this political conundrum, homicide detective Meyer Landsman finds a neighbor in the fleabag hotel he calls home murdered. And get this; the dead man might be the Messiah the Jewish people have been waiting for.

Good story, End it here? Nope.

Guess who shows up unexpectedly. Meyer’s ex-wife! And now she’s his boss. Awkward!

And it’s also a hell of a good crime thriller. There’s that too.

The Yiddish Policemen's Union

By Michael Chabon,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Yiddish Policemen's Union as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The brilliantly original new novel from Michael Chabon, author of THE ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY and WONDER BOYS.

What if, as Franklin Roosevelt once proposed, Alaska - and not Israel - had become the homeland for the Jews after the Second World War? In Michael Chabon's Yiddish-speaking 'Alyeska', Orthodox gangs in side-curls and knee breeches roam the streets of Sitka, where Detective Meyer Landsman discovers the corpse of a heroin-addled chess prodigy in the flophouse Meyer calls home. Marionette strings stretch back to the hands of charismatic Rebbe Gold, leader of a sect that seems to have drawn its…


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