25 books like A Philosophical Investigation

By Philip Kerr,

Here are 25 books that A Philosophical Investigation fans have personally recommended if you like A Philosophical Investigation. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Permutation City

Calum Chace Author Of Surviving AI: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence

From my list on the awesome promise and peril of AI.

Why am I passionate about this?

Calum is a sought-after keynote speaker and best-selling writer on artificial intelligence. He focuses on the medium- and long-term impact of AI on all of us, our societies and our economies. His non-fiction books on AI are Surviving AI, about strong AI and superintelligence, and The Economic Singularity, about the prospect of widespread technological unemployment. He also wrote Pandora's Brain and Pandora’s Oracle, a pair of techno-thrillers about the first superintelligence. He's a regular contributor to magazines, newspapers, and radio. He is co-founder of a think tank focused on the future of jobs, called the Economic Singularity Foundation. In the last five years, Calum has given over 120 talks in 18 countries on five continents.

Calum's book list on the awesome promise and peril of AI

Calum Chace Why did Calum love this book?

Egan is an Australian science fiction writer.

To my mind, he’s written better about AI than any other science fiction writer, because he takes it seriously. He recognizes it represents enormous change.

Permutation City is about a time in history when uploading becomes possible and very rich people can upload themselves into machines that operate quickly and in real time.

Poorer people have to upload themselves into machines that process very slowly and so they live very slow versions of life. 

By Greg Egan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Permutation City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Egan is determined to make sense of everything - to understand the whole world as an intelligible, rational, material (and finally manipulable) realm - even if it means abandoning comfortable and comforting illusions. This is fundamental to the whole project of SF and it's why Egan's Best - and his Rest - is worth any number of looks. -Locus

What happens when your digital self overpowers your physical self?

A life in Permutation City is unlike any life to which you're accustomed. You have Eternal Life, the power to live forever. Immortality is a real thing, just not the thing…


Book cover of Solaris

Jools Cantor Author Of The Trellis

From my list on real-life time machines through sci fi.

Why am I passionate about this?

Science fiction lets us readers escape into space or travel through time, but I believe it is most effective when grounded in our primal anxieties. Classics like Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Handmaid’s Tale resonate because the dark futures they describe drive us to prevent their prophecy. These stories give us a window into the world that birthed them by crystalizing the authors' fears into a work of fiction. When I read each book on this list, they transported me to the time they were written. En route, they showed how much our world has changed and how much we humans haven’t.

Jools' book list on real-life time machines through sci fi

Jools Cantor Why did Jools love this book?

Published in Poland in 1961, this has been interpreted and misinterpreted a hundred different ways, and I won’t try to repeat that here. However, there is a loneliness haunting the book that I feel that it must be inspired by the social constraints behind the Iron Curtain.

The premise is that humanity has finally found a sentient being in the form of an ocean planet, but all attempts to communicate have failed (to say the least). The planet’s actions are incomprehensible and horrifying. Ultimately, humanity has found another lost soul in the universe, but we will never be friends. We won’t even be enemies. We will be two strangers shivering on a train platform, unable to share who we are or what we think, lonelier now that there are two of us waiting in the cold.

By Stanislaw Lem, Steve Cox (translator), Joanna Kilmartin (translator)

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Solaris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface he is forced to confront a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others suffer from the same affliction and speculation rises among scientists that the Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates incarnate memories, but its purpose in doing so remains a mystery . . .

Solaris raises a question that has been at the heart of human experience and literature for centuries: can we truly understand the universe around us without first understanding what…


Book cover of Truth Machine

John L. Casti Author Of Prey for Me: A Psychological Thriller

From my list on psychological thrillers that will make you think.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've spent the last half-century researching complex systems and mathematical modeling, both at research centers including The RAND Corporation, the Santa Fe Institute, and the Int'l Center for Applied Systems Analysis (Vienna), as well with professorships at New York University, Princeton and the Technical U. of Vienna. I have also had a lifelong interest in the connection between science fiction and science fact, and have explored the relationship in several of my books including X-EVENTS, The Cambridge Quintet, and Paradigms Lost. I also served as editor for the volume Mission to Abisko, which gives an account of a week-long meeting between sci-fi writers and scientists held north of the Arctic Circle in Abisko, Sweden some years back.

John's book list on psychological thrillers that will make you think

John L. Casti Why did John love this book?

By the early twentieth century, violent crime was the number one political issue in America. In response, Congress passed the Swift and Sure Anti-Crime Bill, which gave a previously convicted violent criminal one fair trail, one quick appeal, then immediate execution. But to prevent abuse of the law, it was necessary to create a machine that could detect lies with one-hundred percent accuracy. It was clear that such a Truth Machine would change the world. But the race to perfect the Truth Machine forces one man to commit a shocking act of treachery. Now he must conceal the truth from his own creation---or face execution.

The conflict here is truth versus justice, as is often the case in human affairs. I was extremely interested in seeing how the author would balance these two seemingly irreconcilable factors. The book does a startingly job in resolving this conflict, in the process creating…

By James Halperin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Prepare to have your conception of truth rocked to its very foundation.

It is the year 2004. Violent crime is the number one political issue in America. Now, the Swift and Sure Anti-Crime Bill guarantees a previously convicted violent criminal one fair trial, one quick appeal, then immediate execution. To prevent abuse of the law, a machine must be built that detects lies with 100 percent accuracy.

Once perfected, the Truth Machine will change the face of the world. Yet the race to finish the Truth Machine forces one man to commit a shocking act of treachery, burdening him with…


Marriage and Fatherhood in the Nazi SS

By Amy Carney,

Book cover of Marriage and Fatherhood in the Nazi SS

Amy Carney Author Of Marriage and Fatherhood in the Nazi SS

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Historian Professor Curl up with a good book reader Traveler – Berlin is my happy place!

Amy's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

When I was writing this book, several of my friends jokingly called it the Nazi baby book, with one insisting it would make a great title. Nazi Babies – admittedly, that is a catchy title, but that’s not exactly what my book is about. SS babies would be slightly more on topic, but it would be more accurate to say that I wrote a book about SS men as husbands and fathers.

From 1931 to 1945, leaders of the SS, a paramilitary group under the Nazi party, sought to transform their organization into a racially-elite family community that would serve…

Marriage and Fatherhood in the Nazi SS

By Amy Carney,

What is this book about?

From 1931 to 1945, leaders of the SS, a paramilitary group under the Nazi party, sought to transform their organization into a racially-elite family community that would serve as the Third Reich's new aristocracy. They utilized the science of eugenics to convince SS men to marry suitable wives and have many children.

Marriage and Fatherhood in the Nazi SS by Amy Carney is the first work to significantly assess the role of SS men as husbands and fathers during the Third Reich. The family community, and the place of men in this community, started with one simple order issued by…


Book cover of Timescape

Andrew Fraknoi

From my list on science fiction books that use good astronomy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an astronomer and college professor who loves science fiction. For many years, I have kept a webpage recommending science fiction stories and novels that are based on good astronomy. I love explaining astronomy to non-scientists, and I am the lead author of OpenStax Astronomya free online textbook for beginners, which is now the most frequently used textbook for astronomy classes in the U.S. I actually learned English at age 11 by reading science fiction comics and then books for kids,  After many decades as a fan, I have recently realized a long-held dream and become a published SF author myself.

Andrew's book list on science fiction books that use good astronomy

Andrew Fraknoi Why did Andrew love this book?

I think this novel, by physicist Gregory Benford, is one of the best fictional representations of how science is really done and of the real world of scientists and graduate students.

It is also an early exploration of the concept of tachyons, particles that cannot move slower or as slow as the speed of light but always have to go faster. (These have been proposed only in theory, but what makes them exciting is that they would travel backward in time.) In the book, that property enables people in the future to communicate with us in their past.

Another thing I like about this book is that some of his characters are thinly disguised (or not disguised) versions of real astronomers of the time.

By Gregory Benford,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Timescape as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The year is 1998, the world is a growing nightmare of desperation, of uncontrollable pollution and increasing social unrest. In Cambridge, two scientists experiment with tachyons - subatomic particles that travel faster than the speed of light and, therefore, according to the Theory of Relativity, may move backwards in time. Their plan is to signal a warning to the previous generation.

In 1962, a young Californian scientist, Gordon Bernstein, finds his experiments are being spoiled by unknown interference. As he begins to suspect something near the truth it becomes a race against time - the world is collapsing and will…


Book cover of The 20th Victim

Lee Gimenez Author Of The Media Murders

From my list on murder mystery from award-winning thriller author.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a mystery writer and I’ve had 16 award-winning novels published. I also love to read mystery and thriller novels, and I read them voraciously. I’m best known for my highly-acclaimed J.T. Ryan mysteries and I was a Finalist for the Author Academy Award. Also, many of my books were Featured Novels of the International Thriller Writers Association. I’m also a multi-year nominee for the Georgia Author of the Year Award. 

Lee's book list on murder mystery from award-winning thriller author

Lee Gimenez Why did Lee love this book?

This book grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go until the very end. I loved the pacing of this murder mystery novel. The book starts out with three murders that have happened at the exact time, one in Chicago, one in L.A., and the third in San Francisco. The main character, SFPD sergeant Lindsey Boxer attempts to solve them with the help of the Women’s Murder Club. The interaction between the women as they go about their investigation is the best I’ve ever read. 

By James Patterson, Maxine Paetro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 20th Victim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sergeant Lindsay Boxer tackles an ambitious case that spans San Francisco, L.A., and Chicago in this pulse-pounding thriller of "smart characters" and "shocking twists" (Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author).
Three victims, three bullets, three cities. The shooters' aim is as fearsomely precise as their target selection. When Lindsay realizes that the fallen men and women excel in a lucrative, criminal activity, she leads the charge in the manhunt for the killers. As the casualty list expands, fear and fascination with this suspicious shooting gallery galvanizes the country.
The victims were no angels, but are the shooters villains…


Book cover of The Mermaids Singing

Stephen B. King Author Of Forever Night

From my list on catching a serial killer and how they became monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like most people I know, I have always been fascinated with serial killers, and more importantly why they do what they do. What makes one man murder multiple victims while another with a similar upbringing sells white goods and wouldn’t attract a traffic ticket. In my books, I am as interested in showing my readers why a killer kills, as I am in the hunt to catch him. My goal is to not so much get the reader to ‘like’ the antagonist but to understand, and dare I say even feel sorry for him. We are all products of our environment and upbringing, yet some of us murder others for fun.

Stephen's book list on catching a serial killer and how they became monsters

Stephen B. King Why did Stephen love this book?

Tony Hill is one of the finest literary characters in print. He is an emotionally troubled psychologist brought in by police to profile a serial killer who is using medieval torture methods to murder his victims. His skill is to understand why the killer is killing, and to empathize with him. This book spawned the British TV series The Wire in the Blood, book 2 in the series.

By Val McDermid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this special 20th anniversary edition, Lee Child introduces the Gold Dagger award-winning serial killer thriller that began the Number One bestselling crime series featuring clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill, hero of TV's much-loved Wire in the Blood.

You always remember the first time. Isn't that what they say about sex? How much more true it is of murder...

Up till now, the only serial killers Tony Hill had encountered were safely behind bars. This one's different - this one's on the loose.

Four men have been found mutilated and tortured. As fear grips the city, the police turn to…


Book cover of The Jigsaw Man

Sam Holland Author Of The Echo Man

From my list on fictional serial killers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having always been fascinated with the dark and macabre, I grew up hanging out in the library, forging a love of reading through Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and James Herbert. To write The Echo Man, I read more serial killer books than should be deemed healthy – anything from biographies to first-person accounts to psychology and profiling. So who better to recommend serial killer fiction, then a self-confessed serial killer nerd?!

Sam's book list on fictional serial killers

Sam Holland Why did Sam love this book?

The Jigsaw Man introduces us to DI Anjelica Henley and the Serial Crimes Unit as they investigate body parts found along the River Thames. Matheson pulls no punches with her portrait of her gritty East London, combined with pacey action and characters that quickly feel like old friends.

By Nadine Matheson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A heart-pounding roller coaster ride."—Tami Hoag, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boy

*A Crime Reads Most Anticipated Book of 2021*

A serial killer and his copycat are locked in a violent game of cat and mouse. Can DI Anjelica Henley stop them before it’s too late?

On the day she returns to active duty with the Serial Crimes Unit, Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley is called to a crime scene. Dismembered body parts from two victims have been found by the river.

The modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer, who has…


Book cover of Abuse of Power

JJ Savaunt Author Of Barren

From my list on detecting bullsh*t.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing is my life. As a child I wrote poems, scripts, and short stories. A couple of decades, a BCALA literary award, and a three-book deal later, my wild imagination has grown into a passion for exposing the truth. In 2020, a third of the 300,000 missing women in the United States were Black, and in that same year, I was almost a victim of human trafficking myself. With this second chance, I write to bring awareness and attention to women who cannot speak for themselves. I write to shed light on the truth and these five books have helped me on my journey.  

JJ's book list on detecting bullsh*t

JJ Savaunt Why did JJ love this book?

One of my favorite reads of all time is Abuse of Power because it gave birth to my inner conspiracy theorist. When a routine check turns violent, a reputable police officer does the unthinkable, and even worse, his brothers in blue follow suit, leaving the heroine trapped between telling the truth or staying alive. From this novel I learned if you want the truth out of someone, you have to ask the right questions, probing questions that require a specific answer other than yes or no, but even more than that, listen for inconsistencies. 

By Nancy Taylor Rosenberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Racing through scenes of danger and excitement, ABUSE OF POWER reaches a shattering conclusion that will make you think hard about issues of police corruption and personal integrity. This is Nancy Taylor Rosenberg at her finest - a bestselling author on top form.


Book cover of A Share in Death

Catherine Maiorisi Author Of A Matter of Blood

From my list on mysteries that feature two detectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write the NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli Mystery series featuring Corelli and her partner Detective P.J. Parker. Most mysteries have a single main character so I’m passionate about finding other authors who write mysteries with two professional investigators as main characters. It’s fascinating to see how authors writing the same type of characters handle them and what they do about character growth over the course of the series. To me, watching two characters react to each other, seeing their relationship change over the course of a book or a series is much more interesting than reading about a single detective.

Catherine's book list on mysteries that feature two detectives

Catherine Maiorisi Why did Catherine love this book?

As a writer I look to Crombie’s Constable Duncan Kincaid/Sergeant Gemma James series for guidance on how to have your characters grow professionally and personally, to age and experience the kind of changes people go through in real life. I recommend book one of the nineteen in the series, A Share in Death, because it sets up the relationship between the two detectives.

By Deborah Crombie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Share in Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this “thoroughly entertaining mystery with a cleverly conceived and well-executed plot” (Booklist), Edgar Award-nominated author Deborah Crombie introduces us to Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard and his partner, Gemma James.

A week's holiday in a luxurious Yorkshire time-share is just what Scotland Yard's Superintendent Duncan Kincaid needs. But the discovery of a body floating in the whirlpool bath ends Kincaid's vacation before it's begun. One of his new acquaintances at Followdale House is dead; another is a killer. Despite a distinct lack of cooperation from the local constabulary, Kincaid's keen sense of duty won't allow him to ignore the…


Book cover of Mallory's Oracle

Christa Loughlin Author Of The Pallbearer

From my list on mystery thrillers that keep you glued to the pages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always had a passion for anything crime fiction—books, movies, podcasts, or TV shows. It didn’t matter. I loved it all. It was probably because I grew up in a family with six police officers that seldom talked about anything unrelated to policing. I was like a sponge and picked up some terminology and learned about different police procedures they would discuss. There was rarely a family gathering that didn’t have some type of story or anecdote being shared by each of them and I always found myself being drawn right in. For those reasons, I fell in love with trying to figure out the who’s, how’s and why’s of any story. 

Christa's book list on mystery thrillers that keep you glued to the pages

Christa Loughlin Why did Christa love this book?

Kathy Mallory is a character unlike any other. Kathy was a child of the streets who had the good fortune of being adopted into the loving home of a police officer who saw her brilliance and resourcefulness even at a young age. Years later, Kathy has become an NYPD officer who brings justice to victims through her own sense of right and wrong. She is a street-hardened, lone wolf who doesn’t stop until she gets what she wants. I love the complexity of this tough-as-nails female officer who bends all the rules in her pursuit of justice. This book is so well written I immediately read every book I could find by this author.

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…


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