The best books mysteries featuring feisty females

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a family of strong women, and have always been drawn to women with brains and a sense of humor. When I worked in theater as an actor, director, and designer, my favorite stage manager and designers were women because they looked at the production challenges from a different angle than mine, so we both learned something while coming up with the best possible ideas and solutions. I can’t stand fluffy “victim” females. The women in my stories are always looking for a better way and a better world. Both my detective series feature several strong, resourceful women that complement the male detective, adding humor and insight, and—I hope—more humanity.


I wrote...

Oh Lord, Won't You Steal Me a Mercedes Benz

By Steve Liskow,

Book cover of Oh Lord, Won't You Steal Me a Mercedes Benz

What is my book about?

Hot Rod Lincoln is known throughout Detroit for his love of high-end cars, which he steals as often as most people brush their teeth. But when he steals a Mercedes Benz that has the keys still in the ignition, he discovers that it comes with a dead body in the trunk. In his haste to flee, he forgets to wipe his fingerprints. Now the Detroit cops want him for murder. 

PI Chris “Woody” Guthrie is hired by Lincoln’s lawyer to clear him and finds that the dead man was embezzling…from the Detroit Mob. He was also cheating on his wife, whose uncle runs the mob. And his stripper girlfriend is pregnant. Then there’s that cute babysitter….

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Bat

Steve Liskow Why did I love this book?

Although it’s 100 years old, The Bat ages remarkably well with a mysterious stranger, a tough detective, a missing fortune, and an indomitable “old lady,” Cornelia Van Gorder, who rents the house where all these characters come together and where death and menace hover nearby. The book, later a play, and later still filmed twice, has humor, suspense, romance, and a surprise twisty ending that should satisfy any mystery reader.

By Mary Roberts Rinehart, Avery Hopwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For months, the city has lived in fear of the Bat. A master criminal hindered by neither scruple nor fear, he has stolen over one million dollars and left at least six men dead. The police are helpless, the newspapers know nothing—even the key figures of the city's underworld have no clue as to the identity of the Bat. He is a living embodiment of death itself, and he is coming to the countryside. There, he will encounter the only person who can stop him: adventurous sixty-five-year-old spinster Cornelia Van Gorder. Last in a long line of New York society…


Book cover of Skinny Dip

Steve Liskow Why did I love this book?

Joey Perrone was a college swimmer, a fact her husband apparently forgets when he tosses her off the cruise ship so he can claim her fortune. Joey makes her way to shore, where Mick Stanahan, six-time divorced ex-cop, agrees to help her. But Joey doesn’t want her husband Chaz arrested right away. Joey wants revenge, first. She wants to drive Chaz to the brink of insanity and take his bimbo girlfriend along with him. She’s got money, brains, and enough anger to fuel a small revolution, and Mick’s just the guy who can help her do it.

By Carl Hiaasen,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Skinny Dip as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joey Perrone is a woman with a mission. She's just been pushed overboard from a cruise liner by Chaz, her scumbag husband, and survived to tell the tale. But rather than reporting him to the police, she decides to stay dead and - with a little help from her friends and a few of Chaz's enemies - instead of getting mad, she's going to get even.

Filled with a host of endearingly offbeat characters, and a narrative that is hilarious, romantic and thought-provoking by turns, Skinny Dip takes us on a journey through the warped politics of Southern Florida and…


Book cover of Mallory's Oracle

Steve Liskow Why did I love this book?

When N.Y. detective Lou Markowitz is found stabbed next to the body of a Gramercy Park woman, it looks like the third in a series of murders. Lou’s adopted daughter Kathleen Mallory, who goes by Mallory, takes up the case. Mallory is a tech wizard and possible genius, but also a borderline sociopath who doesn’t play well with others except for her father’s old friends who can “almost” keep her in line. She colors outside the lines and terrifies the other cops with her singleness of purpose, but she gets the job done, all the way to the ending you won’t see coming at all. O’Connell’s prose and keen sense of irony make this one of my all-time faves.

By Carol O'Connell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mallory's Oracle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jonathan Kellerman says Mallory's Oracle is "a joy." Nelson DeMille and other advance readers have called it "truly amazing, " "a classic" with "immense appeal." It is all of that, and more: a stunning debut novel about a web of unsolved murders in New York's Gramercy Park and the singular woman who makes them her obsession.

At its center is Kathleen Mallory, an extraordinary wild child turned New York City policewoman. Adopted off the streets as a little girl by a police inspector and his wife, she is still not altogether civilized now that she is a sergeant in the…


Book cover of Shadow Woman

Steve Liskow Why did I love this book?

American Indian Jane Whitefield rescues people the police can’t protect and helps them find new identities and new homes. But now her job is complicated because Pete Hatcher, a Vegas gambling executive, is the target of Earl and Linda, a lethal tag team who will become very rich if Hatcher dies. The job is even more complicated because Jane has recently married Corey, a successful local surgeon, so it’s harder to maintain a low profile in the town. When Earl and Linda hone in on Corey, Jane realizes she has to protect her own family as well as her client, and her foes know every trick that she knows, too.

By Thomas Perry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In her latest adventure, Jane Whitefield, who helps people in trouble disappear from one life and establish a new identity, is hired by a Las Vegas gambling casino executive running from contract killers. But the killers are on the trail of the shadow woman and soon Jane becomes the principle target of their rage and revenge.


Book cover of The Last Widow

Steve Liskow Why did I love this book?

Doctor Sarah Linton, the star of an earlier series before this one, is now a medical examiner and her partner is Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. When a group of domestic terrorists and survivalists bomb two hospitals and the office of the Center for Disease Control, Sarah rushes to the scene to help. The group kidnaps her and she’s forced into a male-dominated commune where she has to rely on her wits and her acting skills to survive, while trying to get word out to Will and his colleagues where the group is hiding…hopefully, before they strike again to unleash an environmental disaster that will kill millions of people. 

By Karin Slaughter,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Last Widow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller!

It begins with an abduction.
The routine of a family shopping trip is shattered when Michelle Spivey is snatched as she leaves the mall with her young daughter. The police search for her, her partner pleads for her release, but in the end...they find nothing. It's as if she disappeared into thin air.

A month later, on a sleepy Sunday afternoon,
medical examiner Sara Linton is at lunch with her boyfriend Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. But the serenity of the summer's day is broken by the wail of…


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Subjugation: Zanchier

By SG Boudreaux,

Book cover of Subjugation: Zanchier

SG Boudreaux

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Harper Brinley is running for her life.

After escaping from a government holding facility where she, along with other scientists, was being forced to build a deadly weapon. She headed for the most remote place she could think of, the wild Xantifal Mountains.

The one place where no one would think to search for her. There, she found a massive hollowed tree in which to survive the harsh mountain winter. If she can survive the four-legged, fire-breathing firebirds and the equally large wildcats of the mountain ridge, then maybe she can find her way back to her children. She was…

Subjugation: Zanchier

By SG Boudreaux,

What is this book about?

Harper Brinley is running for her life. After escaping from a government holding facility, where she along with other scientists were being forced to build a deadly weapon, she headed for the most remote place she could think of, the wild Xantifal Mountains. The one place where no one would think to search for her. There she found a massive hollowed tree in which to survive the harsh mountain winter. If she can survive the four-legged, fire-breathing firebirds, and the equally large wildcats of the mountain ridge, then maybe she can find her way back to her children. She was…


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