57 books like A Stolen Life

By Jaycee Dugard,

Here are 57 books that A Stolen Life fans have personally recommended if you like A Stolen Life. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Couple Next Door

Kate Robards Author Of The Three Deaths Of Willa Stannard

From my list on missing children.

Why am I passionate about this?

A missing child is every parent’s worst nightmare. Emotionally driven, tense, full of despair and hope, these stories captivate me. When I decided to include a cold case mystery of a toddler’s disappearance in my debut novel, I dove deep into both true crime and fictional novels on the subject. These books represent a range of gripping mysteries about not only finding missing children, but the scrutiny and heartache their mothers face. I hope you find these stories as absorbing, powerful, and suspenseful as I do!

Kate's book list on missing children

Kate Robards Why did Kate love this book?

The Couple Next Door is an addictive page-turner. It’s clever and creative, and nearly every chapter ends with a cliffhanger that practically requires you to keep reading.

Lapena pulls you into the frenzied search for the missing baby while casting doubt onto nearly every character. The use of multiple points of view ratchets up the tension. Entertaining and fast-paced, this is perfect as a beach read. Bonus points as this is a debut novel!

By Shari Lapena,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Couple Next Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Another thrilling domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Not a Happy Family

"The twists come as fast [as] you can turn the pages." -People

"I read this novel at one sitting, absolutely riveted by the storyline. The suspense was beautifully rendered and unrelenting!" -Sue Grafton

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors-a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it…


Book cover of The Butterfly Garden

Jeannette de Beauvoir Author Of Dead in the Water

From my list on stories involving kidnapping.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of the joys of writing a mystery series is you have time to explore your characters—who they are, where they come from, what motivates them. In this particular series, I’d established a rift between the protagonist and her family, and I began to wonder why it was there. My own sister died when still a baby, yet her absence cast a long, complicated shadow over our family for decades. I wanted to explore more about the family dynamics around a missing child—and kidnapping seemed the best tool to get there. So I read everything I could about kidnapping to present that absence in both intimate and compelling ways.

Jeannette's book list on stories involving kidnapping

Jeannette de Beauvoir Why did Jeannette love this book?

This book is both absolutely gorgeous and deeply disturbing.

The premise is simple: in an FBI interview, a young woman recounts the horrific ordeal she’s survived as a member of a serial killer’s “garden” of kidnapped victims. The reading experience is considerably more complex. Much of the story is told in flashbacks, allowing the reader to explore Maya’s experience in the Garden; that’s then balanced with her FBI interview, filling in blanks and establishing her as an almost-reliable narrator.

The dual timeline—one of my favorite devices to read and write—is handled brilliantly, and Hutchinson successfully achieves a formidable tightrope act, balancing the brutality of torture and murder with an elegant and refined narrative.

Her darkness is graceful—but it’s still darkness. 

By Dot Hutchison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees...and a collection of precious "butterflies"-young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle…


Book cover of Vanishing Acts

Jeannette de Beauvoir Author Of Dead in the Water

From my list on stories involving kidnapping.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of the joys of writing a mystery series is you have time to explore your characters—who they are, where they come from, what motivates them. In this particular series, I’d established a rift between the protagonist and her family, and I began to wonder why it was there. My own sister died when still a baby, yet her absence cast a long, complicated shadow over our family for decades. I wanted to explore more about the family dynamics around a missing child—and kidnapping seemed the best tool to get there. So I read everything I could about kidnapping to present that absence in both intimate and compelling ways.

Jeannette's book list on stories involving kidnapping

Jeannette de Beauvoir Why did Jeannette love this book?

I love this book because it asks more questions than it answers.

Picoult’s approach is always about allowing the reader to enter deeply into what her characters are experiencing, and she handles the issue of kidnapping with the same grace and sensitivity she’s used in approaching other difficult and occasionally taboo subjects.

As Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can't recall. What happens when you find out you aren’t who you thought you were? How do you make sense of the people you love and trust morphing into something more sinister? How can you reach for what you’ve always wanted when it means losing something else?

You’ll think about all this—and more—for a long time after you’ve closed the book.

By Jodi Picoult,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
'She is the master of her craft . . . and humanity is what Picoult does best' Sunday Telegraph

Andrew Hopkins lovingly raised his daughter Delia on his own, allowing her to believe that they lost Delia's mother in a car accident twenty-seven years ago.

But as Delia is preparing herself for the next chapter in her life, a policeman knocks on the door and reveals a terrible secret: that Andrew kidnapped his four-year-old daughter and led Delia's mother to believe she was dead.

As he sits behind bars, there is no doubt in anyone's mind that…


Book cover of The Face on the Milk Carton

Jane Buckingham Author Of A Lie for a Lie

From my list on YA books for any age reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a BIG reader of mysteries and thrillers, but I hate it when you read a thriller and guess who did it on page 20, or it turns out it’s a character so obscure you could never have guessed it! But it’s easy to criticize! I’ve wanted to write a young adult thriller since I was young, and over the last few years, I found myself more able to try. For me, writing my book was like running a marathon…I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but now I’m really happy that I did! 

Jane's book list on YA books for any age reader

Jane Buckingham Why did Jane love this book?

Caroline B. Cooney instantly drew me in with her book's gripping premise: Janie Johnson, your typical high school girl, spots her three-year-old self on a missing child alert on a milk carton during lunch. Suddenly, she's swept into a deep, psychological journey filled with doubt and fear about her own family. Could the parents she loves actually have kidnapped her? I was hooked by the exploration of identity and belonging, as Janie's turmoil—her fear, confusion, and anger—felt really real and relatable.

I found it impossible to put down because you're desperate to uncover the truth alongside Janie. Each revelation about her past tests her relationships and challenges her understanding of love and family. This novel is so unforgettable for me because it blends intense personal drama with the thrill of a mystery. It's not just a story about a potential kidnapping; it's a journey into what defines a family and…

By Caroline B. Cooney,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Face on the Milk Carton as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In the vein of psychological thrillers like We Were Liars and One of Us Is Lying, bestselling and Edgar Award nominated author Caroline Cooney’s JANIE series seamlessly blends mystery and suspense with issues of family, friendship and love to offer an emotionally evocative thrill ride of a read.

No one ever really paid close attention to the faces of the missing children on the milk cartons. But as Janie Johnson glanced at the face of the ordinary little girl with her hair in tight pigtails, wearing a dress with a narrow white collar—a three-year-old who had been kidnapped twelve years…


Book cover of Dear Child

Ivar Leon Menger Author Of What Mother Won't Tell Me

From my list on thriller books with strong female protagonists as well as strong twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

The dark side has fascinated me since I was a child. I've always had a love for the villains in movies and books. I particularly like Alfred Hitchcock's thrillers. Because the tension is not created through bloodshed but through twists and psychology. As a full-time thriller writer, I write my stories in such a way that my main character has to overcome the dangers on their own, mostly without the help of the police. I live in Germany, but I grew up with stories from the USA. If you like stories with a twist, feel free to check out my recommendations, which also feature two German authors.

Ivar's book list on thriller books with strong female protagonists as well as strong twists

Ivar Leon Menger Why did Ivar love this book?

Do children always tell the truth?

With so many perspectives and so many puzzles, this thriller had me excited. The chapters from the child's perspective, in particular, stuck with me. I loved how you understood the story through a child's eyes. The naïve narrative makes the worst things particularly horrific. And all without bloodshed!

I can only heartily recommend this page-turner of my German author colleague, which was even made into a series by Netflix.

By Romy Hausmann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

You escaped. But he will never let you go.

NOW A MAJOR NETFLIX SERIES: A page-turning thriller perfect for fans of Room and Gone Girl

A windowless shack in the woods. Lena's life and that of her two children follows the rules set by their captor, the father: meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. He protects his family from the dangers lurking in the outside world and makes sure that his children will always have a mother to look after them.

One day Lena manages to flee - but the nightmare continues. It seems as…


Book cover of The Invitation-Only Zone: The True Story of North Korea's Abduction Project

Paul Fischer Author Of A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power

From my list on North Korea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by niche film world stories, and the kidnapping of Shin Sang-Ok and Choi Eun-Hee was my way in to North Korea, a country I was a layman about until I started researching A Kim Jong-Il Production. One thing I’ve found, through the writing of that book, traveling to North Korea, and the ensuing book tour, is that it’s a country it’s impossible not to be obsessed with once you’ve scratched the surface. The struggles and lives of ordinary people – in the face of such a repressive authoritarian regime – are unforgettable.

Paul's book list on North Korea

Paul Fischer Why did Paul love this book?

Starting in the 1970s, several dozen Japanese civilians – everyday people – were abducted by North Korean commandos and sent to detention centers known as Invitation-Only Zones, where the Kim regime attempted to brainwash and turn them into spies in their service. When that failed, the abductees were turned into teachers instead, to teach North Korean agents how to live undercover in Japanese society. It’s the kind of thing so crazy a lot of people don’t even believe it can be true – Kim Jong-Il only admitted to some of the abductions in 2002, and even then only to thirteen of them – and Boynton tells it meticulously and captivatingly.

By Robert S. Boynton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For decades, North Korea denied any part in the disappearance of dozens of Japanese citizens from Japan's coastal towns and cities in the late 1970s. But in 2002, with his country on the brink of collapse, Kim Jong admitted to the kidnapping of thirteen people and returned five of them in hopes of receiving Japanese aid. As part of a global espionage project, the regime had attempted to reeducate these abductees and make them spy on its behalf. When the scheme faltered, the captives were forced to teach Japanese to North Korean spies and make lives for themselves, marrying, having…


Book cover of Bring Back Our Girls: The Untold Story of the Global Search for Nigeria's Missing Schoolgirls

Kenneth Dekleva Author Of The Last Violinist

From my list on hostage negotiation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My book recommendations reflect my experience as a former US government physician-diplomat, based overseas in Russia, Mexico, Europe, and South Asia, where I was involved in working closely with law enforcement and diplomatic negotiators in several highly sensitive, delicate, and dangerous hostage situations, both as a consultant and in providing medical support/care coordination to released hostages. I always found this work to be exhilarating and demanding, and it left me with the highest respect for law enforcement, diplomatic, and mental health professionals who work in this space. As a result, I’ve had additional formal training in hostage negotiation, negotiation psychology, and medical/psychological support to victims.

Kenneth's book list on hostage negotiation

Kenneth Dekleva Why did Kenneth love this book?

This book is an incredible story of the behind-the-scenes efforts to locate and free the 276 young Nigerian [Chibok] schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014, a kidnapping which attracted worldwide media attention. 

It’s a story of 2 tales: first, of the incredible courage and Christian faith of those young girls, which in many cases, sustained them, keeping them alive physically, psychologically, and spiritually as they underwent immense hardships and tortures. Second, it’s a tale of two other heroes, a Nigerian lawyer, Zanna Mustapha, and a Swiss diplomat, Pascal Holiger, who worked tirelessly over many years to free many of the hostages. 

A gripping read about Nigeria, Christian faith, hostage negotiation, terrorism, and redemption.

By Joe Parkinson, Drew Hinshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bring Back Our Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What happens after you click tweet?. . . The heart-stopping and definitive account of the rescue mission to free hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls, and their heroic survival, after their 2014 kidnapping spurred a global social media campaign that prompted the intervention of seven militaries, showing us the blinding possibilities-for good and ill-of activism in our interconnected world.

In the spring of 2014, American celebrities and their Twitter followers unwittingly helped turn a group of teenagers into a central prize in the global War on Terror by retweeting #BringBackOurGirls, a call for the release of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls who'd been kidnapped…


Book cover of Bad Marie

Madeline Stevens Author Of Devotion

From my list on in protest of women’s “likability”.

Why am I passionate about this?

“I didn’t like the characters.” “I couldn’t relate.” Whenever I hear someone bring up the matter of “likability” a single thought roars through my head: How ‘likable’ do you really think you are? A main purpose of fiction is to illuminate those nasty thoughts we all have but are rarely willing to admit. A book should be intimate, uncomfortably so, just as to actually occupy another person’s mind and body would be. It also seems to me “the characters” referenced by these kinds of critiques are always women. We expect fictional men to shock us and to struggle with their own desires; why should we expect women to only charm?

Madeline's book list on in protest of women’s “likability”

Madeline Stevens Why did Madeline love this book?

I was working as a nanny in New York City when I discovered this wild novel, and I consumed it in short order. Marie, fresh from prison, is hired out of pity to watch a high school friend’s daughter. “The situation would’ve been humiliating had Marie any ambition in life. Fortunately, Marie was not in any way ambitious.” Marie is instead selfish, culpable, hungry, and smitten—first with her friend’s life, then her friend’s husband, and most dangerously, her friend’s daughter. Dermansky’s novel could easily slip into thriller territory, and while it is as fast-paced and compulsively readable, instead we discover unpredictably that Bad Marie is really a love story.

By Marcy Dermansky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Bad Marie" is the story of Marie, tall, voluptuous, beautiful, thirty years old, and fresh from six years in prison for being an accessory to murder and armed robbery. The only job Marie can get on the outside is as a nanny for her childhood friend Ellen Kendall, an upwardly mobile Manhattan executive whose mother employed Marie's mother as a housekeeper. After Marie moves in with Ellen, Ellen's angelic baby Caitlin, and Ellen's husband, a very attractive French novelist named Benoit Doniel, things get complicated, and almost before she knows what she's doing, Marie has absconded to Paris with both…


Book cover of Blaze

Charles Ardai Author Of Death Comes Too Late

From my list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears.

Why am I passionate about this?

I created Hard Case Crime 20 years ago to revive the look, feel, and storytelling style of the great paperback crime novels of the 1940s and 50s: slender, high-velocity tales with irresistible premises, crackling dialogue, and powerful emotions, all presented behind gorgeous painted covers in the classic pulp style. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to publish Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, James M. Cain, Erle Stanley Gardner, Mickey Spillane, Brian De Palma, Ed McBain, and many more extraordinary authors.

Charles' book list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears

Charles Ardai Why did Charles love this book?

Early in his career, Stephen King wrote half a dozen books under the pen name “Richard Bachman,” and decades later, he revived Bachman for one last novel about a small-time crook who depends on advice from his deceased partner in crime when attempting to pull off the kidnapping of a millionaire’s baby.

It reminds me of Steinbeck, with its pairing of a hapless, brutish soul and a smarter, slicker partner who can’t save him from himself, and the windings of fate as King spins them out broke my heart.

Does a kidnapper deserve sympathy? No, but then again, yes, and the amazing thing is how powerfully Stephen King puts you in this unfortunate man’s shoes and makes you feel what he’s feeling. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Master storyteller Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) presents this gripping and remarkable New York Times bestselling crime novel about a damaged young man who embarks on an ill-advised kidnapping plot—a work as taut and riveting as anything he has ever written.

Once upon a time, a fellow named Richard Bachman wrote Blaze on an Olivetti typewriter, then turned the machine over to Stephen King, who used it to write Carrie. Bachman died in 1985 (“cancer of the pseudonym”), but this last gripping Bachman novel resurfaced after being hidden away for decades—an unforgettable crime story tinged with sadness and suspense.…


Book cover of 24 Hours

Bronwyn Rust Author Of Angellove: We Were the Lucky Ones.

From my list on realistic horrifying thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was always addicted to the true crime shows on late at night; the real stories of good and evil in everyday life, around every corner. I was fascinated by why people do the things they do. It wasn’t always about the nature of crime itself, but how we get through it and overcome it, and survive it, and ultimately how it changes us… And what the power of love and hate can lead you to do, or to become. I now write about the harrowing and horrifying possibilities that could await any of us. And give you knowledge and food for thought that may help you, if hell finds you.

Bronwyn's book list on realistic horrifying thrillers

Bronwyn Rust Why did Bronwyn love this book?

This was a fun and thrilling read about an intricate kidnapping plot. A seemingly perfect crime with the picture-perfect family; ‘Picture Perfect’, is only ever for the picture.

It taught me that even if the odds are stacked against you, you are not captive to your circumstance. This was a psychological and active fight for survival, not only for one’s own survival but for those whom you love.

Courage is contagious.

By Greg Iles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 24 Hours as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Will Jennings, his wife and little girl are a happy American family, living in Mississippi. Hickey is a conman and kidnapper. He targets his victims very carefully and takes great pains to make sure no one is ever hurt. He has yet to kill. All his victims have come up with the money and the authorities have never been involved. His perfect record is down to two things: One, he always stays with the parents or person with the money. Two, he never asks for more than they can afford. But when he tries to rip Will's family apart, he…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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