70 books like American Homicide

By Randolph Roth,

Here are 70 books that American Homicide fans have personally recommended if you like American Homicide. 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 Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century American South

James M. Denham Author Of A Rogue's Paradise: Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861

From my list on crime and punishment in the Antebellum South.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of history and Director of the Lawton M. Chiles Jr. Center for Florida History at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. I am a specialist in Southern, social, criminal justice, and legal history. I am the author or co-author of seven books, including three that address criminal justice at the state and federal level. My articles and reviews on criminal justice history have appeared in the America Historical Review, American Journal of Legal History, Journal of Southern History, Florida Historical Quarterly, Florida Bar Journal, and Georgia Historical Quarterly.

James' book list on crime and punishment in the Antebellum South

James M. Denham Why did James love this book?

This is a classic, pioneering study of the major elements of southern crime and punishment at a time that saw the formation of the fundamental patterns of class and race—and how they shaped the South’s criminal justice system.  Ayers studies the inner workings of the police, prison, and judicial systems, and the nature of crime, while at the same time adeptly linking the antebellum with the post-bellum criminal justice system. 

By Edward L. Ayers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Exploring the major elements of southern crime and punishment at a time that saw the formation of the fundamental patterns of class and race, Ayers studies the inner workings of the police, prison, and judicial systems, and the nature of crime.


Book cover of Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South

James M. Denham Author Of A Rogue's Paradise: Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861

From my list on crime and punishment in the Antebellum South.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of history and Director of the Lawton M. Chiles Jr. Center for Florida History at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. I am a specialist in Southern, social, criminal justice, and legal history. I am the author or co-author of seven books, including three that address criminal justice at the state and federal level. My articles and reviews on criminal justice history have appeared in the America Historical Review, American Journal of Legal History, Journal of Southern History, Florida Historical Quarterly, Florida Bar Journal, and Georgia Historical Quarterly.

James' book list on crime and punishment in the Antebellum South

James M. Denham Why did James love this book?

No book was more fundamental in shaping and revolutionizing our understanding of the mores and values of the Antebellum South than Bertram Wyatt-Brown’s Southern Honor. Using legal documents, letters, diaries, and newspaper columns, this book reveals how the South’s honor system shaped and influenced how southerners lived, worked, and fought with one another. “Primal Honor” also influenced the way that Southerners made, enforced, or did not enforce the law.  Southern men adopted an ancient honor code that shaped their society from top to bottom. By claiming honor and dreading shame, they controlled their slaves, ruled their households, established the social rankings of themselves, kinfolk, and neighbors, and responded ferociously against perceived threats. Honor required men to demonstrate their prowess and engage in fierce defense of the individual, family, community, and regional reputation by duel, physical encounter, or war. Subordination of African-Americans was uppermost in this Southern ethic. Any threat, whether…

By Bertram Wyatt-Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award, hailed in The Washington Post as "a work of enormous imagination and enterprise" and in The New York Times as "an important, original book," Southern Honor revolutionized our understanding of the antebellum South, revealing how Southern men adopted an ancient honor code that shaped their society from top to bottom.
Using legal documents, letters, diaries, and newspaper columns, Wyatt-Brown offers fascinating examples to illuminate the dynamics of Southern life throughout the antebellum period. He describes how Southern whites, living chiefly in small, rural, agrarian surroundings, in which everyone knew…


Book cover of Criminal Injustice: Slaves and Free Blacks in Georgia's Criminal Justice System

James M. Denham Author Of A Rogue's Paradise: Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861

From my list on crime and punishment in the Antebellum South.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of history and Director of the Lawton M. Chiles Jr. Center for Florida History at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. I am a specialist in Southern, social, criminal justice, and legal history. I am the author or co-author of seven books, including three that address criminal justice at the state and federal level. My articles and reviews on criminal justice history have appeared in the America Historical Review, American Journal of Legal History, Journal of Southern History, Florida Historical Quarterly, Florida Bar Journal, and Georgia Historical Quarterly.

James' book list on crime and punishment in the Antebellum South

James M. Denham Why did James love this book?

Of the many books that explore African-Americans’ experience in the South’s antebellum Criminal Justice System this work stands out.  In this comprehensive study of the criminal justice system of a slave state. Glenn McNair traces the evolution of Georgia’s legal culture by examining its use of slave codes and slave patrols, as well as presenting data on crimes prosecuted, trial procedures and practices, conviction rates, the appellate process, and punishment. Based on more than four hundred capital cases, McNair’s study deploys both narrative and quantitative analysis to get at both the theory and the reality of the criminal procedure for slaves in the century leading up to the Civil War.

By Glenn McNair,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Criminal Injustice: Slaves and Free Blacks in Georgia's Criminal Justice System is the most comprehensive study of the criminal justice system of a slave state to date. McNair traces the evolution of Georgia's legal culture by examining its use of slave codes and slave patrols, as well as presenting data on crimes prosecuted, trial procedures and practices, conviction rates, the appellate process, and punishment. Based on more than four hundred capital cases, McNair's study deploys both narrative and quantitative analysis to get at both the theory and the reality of the criminal procedure for slaves in the century leading up…


Book cover of Twice Condemned: Slaves and the Criminal Laws of Virginia, 1705-1865

James M. Denham Author Of A Rogue's Paradise: Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861

From my list on crime and punishment in the Antebellum South.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of history and Director of the Lawton M. Chiles Jr. Center for Florida History at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. I am a specialist in Southern, social, criminal justice, and legal history. I am the author or co-author of seven books, including three that address criminal justice at the state and federal level. My articles and reviews on criminal justice history have appeared in the America Historical Review, American Journal of Legal History, Journal of Southern History, Florida Historical Quarterly, Florida Bar Journal, and Georgia Historical Quarterly.

James' book list on crime and punishment in the Antebellum South

James M. Denham Why did James love this book?

Philip J. Schwarz’s Twice Condemned adeptly analyzes the history of enslaved African Americans' relationship with the criminal courts of the Old Dominion from roughly 1700 to the end of the Civil War.  Based on over four thousand trials from the colonial, early national, and antebellum periods, no other book does such a comprehensive job of analyzing the prevalence, longevity, and variety of behavior attributed to slave convicts. This book also provides a detailed picture of how one slave society evolved, and along the way, it uncovers previously unexamined aspects of slave culture, and of slave owners' attitudes toward the "domestic enemy" in their midst.  Schwarz argues that the judicial system for slaves served two purposes: it helped slave owners control slaves and enabled authorities to sanction criminal behavior. This dual function of slave trials mirrored the two kinds of slaves' behavior judges tried to suppress.

When focused on slave…

By Philip J. Schwarz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Schwarz, Philip J. Twice Condemned: Slaves and the Criminal Laws of Virginia, 1705-1865. [Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press]. [1988]. xvi, 354pp. Reprinted 1998 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. LCCN 98-4424 Hardcover. New. Analyzes the history of enslaved African Americans' relationship with the criminal courts of the Old Dominion during a 160 year period. Before Twice Condemned was first published in 1988, historians often focused primarily on isolated or dramatic examples of the sometimes deadly conflict present in societies based on slave labor. But Twice Condemned analyzes the prevalence, longevity, and variety of behavior attributed to slave convicts. In doing…


Book cover of The Ranger

Mike Attebery Author Of Firepower

From my list on crime novels if you appreciate style and humor.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved mysteries and crime thrillers since I worked at the legendary R.J. Julia Booksellers in high school. A lifelong love of books and movies led me to pursue a career in screenwriting and later in indie publishing. My most popular books, including Seattle On Ice, Chokecherry Canyon, and The Grimwood Trilogy all mix fast-paced action with film references and plenty of humor.

Mike's book list on crime novels if you appreciate style and humor

Mike Attebery Why did Mike love this book?

Ace Atkins is a master of the crime genre. It’s no wonder Robert B. Parker’s estate tapped him to carry on the Spenser series. He’s great at capturing places and the internal monologues of weary men. He’s also able to tell stories just seedy enough to keep readers curious, without making them cringe. The first book in Atkins’ Quinn Colson series is on par with Elmore Leonard’s Raylan Givens books. Quinn seems entirely real, the small town he returns to after a years-long absence feels lived in and believable. And the pacing is masterful. Whereas Perry drags readers along for the action, Atkins makes you feel as though you’re sitting in the backseat, riding down the winding roads of Tibbehah County in northeast Mississippi as Quinn uneasily approaches another backcountry crime scene.    

By Ace Atkins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Northeast Mississippi is hill country, rugged and notorious for outlaws since the Civil War, where killings are as commonplace as they were in the Old West. To Quinn Colson, just back from a tour of Afghanistan, it's home. But home has changed.

Quinn returns to a place overrun by corruption. His uncle, the county sheriff, is dead - officially it was suicide, but others whisper murder. In the days that follow, it will be up to Colson, now an Army Ranger, to discover the truth - not only about his uncle, but also about his family, friends, hometown and himself.…


Book cover of Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8?

Bruce Siwy Author Of Jailing the Johnstown Judge: Joe O'Kicki, the Mob and Corrupt Justice

From my list on for journalists by journalists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Today's reporter inhabits an environment ranging from hostile to apathetic. Somewhere beyond the blistering criticism and rabid mistrust is the writer's haunting suspicion that today's revelatory art will line the reader's birdcage before his or her lunchtime McChicken. I get it. My entire professional career has been spent filing Right-to-Know and other public information requests, working the phones, chasing the perfect photo, and hammering at the keyboard in the hopes of something legible. On occasion I've mined something of both meaning and impact. That's what the writers I've featured have done as well as anyone I've ever read. May you find their journalism as inspiring as I do.

Bruce's book list on for journalists by journalists

Bruce Siwy Why did Bruce love this book?

Real-life P.I. Ethan Brown pulls no punches with this wrenching exposé of deep-South police corruption.

Murder in the Bayou parts the curtain on inescapable connections between eight women killed in a rural Louisiana parish between 2005-2009..

Clocking in at less than 250 pages, this one is thick as swamp fog with the backgrounds and rap sheets of all players, indicted and unindicted. Brown's boots-on-the-ground approach to this story is evident in the interviews he scored with the central characters of this backwoods underworld.

The result is not just a triumph of journalism; it's a triumph of courage. I was inspired by Brown's devotion to the story and, more importantly, to the families and friends of these marginalized women.

By Ethan Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Murder in the Bayou as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A SOUTHERN LIVING 2016 BOOK OF THE YEAR

An explosive, true-life southern gothic story, Murder in the Bayou chronicles the twists and turns of a high-stakes investigation into the murders of eight women in a troubled Louisiana parish.

Between 2005 and 2009, the bodies of eight women were discovered around the murky canals and crawfish ponds of Jennings, Louisiana, a bayou town of 10,000 in the heart of the Jefferson Davis parish. Local law enforcement officials were quick to pursue a serial killer theory, opening a floodgate of media coverage—from CNN to The New York Times.…


Book cover of Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

Aubrey Fox Author Of Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age

From my list on how government works in practice – and when it doesn’t.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father advised me that to be a good writer, I should first learn a trade and particular subject matter from the inside out. As a working criminal justice practitioner for the last two decades, I’ve been lucky to work with some of the smartest people and best run organizations in the country. I’ve always been a big reader and someone who likes to link the sometimes brutally practical, day-to-day work of running an organization (I lead New York City’s main pretrial services agency) to larger philosophical issues. My life’s goal is to show how big ideas play themselves out in the day-to-day practice of public policy. 

Aubrey's book list on how government works in practice – and when it doesn’t

Aubrey Fox Why did Aubrey love this book?

I am a huge fan of mystery novels written by Michael Connelly featuring the detective Harry Bosch, so I was delighted to read Jill Leovy’s account of real-life homicide detectives in Los Angeles working under very difficult circumstances to provide a measure of justice to otherwise ignored crime victims and their families.

The book does a wonderful job of documenting the craft of good police work and shows how poorly functioning formal legal systems – a legacy of Jim Crow – negatively impacts Black communities.

As the fictional detective Harry Bosch likes to say, “everyone counts or no one counts.”

Leovy’s book shows what it takes for that vision of everyone counting to become a reality. 

By Jill Leovy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, USA TODAY, AND CHICAGO TRIBUNE • A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder, a relentless detective, and the great plague of homicide in America

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Economist • The Globe and Mail • BookPage • Kirkus Reviews

On a warm spring evening in South Los Angeles, a…


Book cover of A Great Reckoning

N.L. Blandford Author Of The Perilous Road To Her

From my list on thrillers you won't want to put down.

Why am I passionate about this?

I devour dark, gripping, thrillers which take readers on a journey alongside the characters. People who battle their own demons on whatever road they travel. It’s with this passion that I write stories which do the same. I bring readers into the story to the point where they are cheering for both the hero and the villain. Throw in a few twists and cliffhangers and voila – readers don’t sleep, or do their chores ;) The books on this list fuel my need to be thrilled. I hope you grip the pages like I did…and forget those chores!

N.L.'s book list on thrillers you won't want to put down

N.L. Blandford Why did N.L. love this book?

Another author first for me…I know what is wrong with me! I wish Three Pines was real and I could meet all of the residents.

Each character is endearing, even the foul-mouthed Ruth, and reaches into the heart of the reader. I look forward to getting to know them over the numerous books in the series.

This book isn’t as dark as I typically read; however, the mystery of who the caped person on the golf course was, why they were there, and the side mystery of the history of the town had me losing track of time. 

Forget walking the dog. Take a walk through Three Pines and just try to leave town before you’ve finished the book!

By Louise Penny,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Former Chief Inspector Gamache has been hunting killers his entire career and as the new commander of the Surete Academy, he is given the chance to combat the corruption and brutality that has been rife throughout the force. But when a former colleague and professor of the Surete Academy is found murdered, with a mysterious map of Three Pines in his possession, Gamache has an even tougher task ahead of him.

When suspicion turns to Gamache himself, and his possible involvement in the crime, the frantic search for answers takes the investigation to the village of Three Pines, where a…


Book cover of Murder and the Making of English CSI

Katherine D. Watson Author Of Medicine and Justice: Medico-Legal Practice in England and Wales, 1700-1914

From my list on the history of forensic medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work on topics where medicine, crime, and the law intersect, aided by an undergraduate degree in chemistry and stimulated by my fascination with how criminal justice systems work. I have published on the history of poisoning, vitriol attacks, assault, child murder, and the role of scientific expertise in criminal investigations and trials, focusing on Britain since the seventeenth century. I’ve contributed to many TV documentaries over the years, and enjoy the opportunity to explain just why the history of crime is about so much more than individual criminals: it shows us how people in the past lived their lives and helps explain how we got where we are today.  


Katherine's book list on the history of forensic medicine

Katherine D. Watson Why did Katherine love this book?

This is an important resource for anyone interested in the history of twentieth-century forensic practice, because it explains the rise of forensic science as a discipline separate from forensic medicine. Forensic scientists, based in laboratories, analyse trace evidence found at crime scenes, while forensic pathologists focus on the dead body in the mortuary. An analysis of the 1953 serial murders committed by John Christie at his infamous London address, 10 Rillington Place, shows how murder investigations had by then become team efforts centred on the crime scene itself. 

By Ian Burney, Neil Pemberton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Murder and the Making of English CSI as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Crime scene investigation-or CSI-has captured the modern imagination. On television screens and in newspapers, we follow the exploits of forensic officers wearing protective suits and working behind police tape to identify and secure physical evidence for laboratory analysis. But where did this ensemble of investigative specialists and scientific techniques come from? In Murder and the Making of English CSI, Ian Burney and Neil Pemberton tell the engrossing history of how, in the first half of the twentieth century, novel routines, regulations, and techniques-from chain-of-custody procedures to the analysis of hair, blood, and fiber-fundamentally transformed the processing of murder scenes. Focusing…


Book cover of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Andrew Amelinckx Author Of Satellite Boy: The International Manhunt for a Master Thief That Launched the Modern Communication Age

From my list on narrative non-fiction that interweave crime and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been enthralled with history since childhood thanks to my late father, a college professor with a passion for the past. Our house was always filled with history books of all types and my father was a veritable encyclopedia who enjoyed answering my questions. When I became a crime reporter in the early 2000s, my predilection for history merged with my interest in crime and I ended up writing four books centered around historical crimes ranging in time from the 1700s to the 1960s. 

Andrew's book list on narrative non-fiction that interweave crime and history

Andrew Amelinckx Why did Andrew love this book?

David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon gives the viewer a window into a piece of Native American culture in 1920s Oklahoma as well as the inner workings of the brand-new FBI under its narcissistic and despotic head J. Edgar Hoover.

For me, the heart of the story is the Osage people and their struggle to prosper in the face of racism, corruption, and murder. That’s not to say that Grann doesn’t do a brilliant job with the FBI investigation into the killings. 

By David Grann,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Killers of the Flower Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. As the death toll climbed, the FBI took up the case. But the bureau badly bungled the investigation. In desperation, its young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. Together with the Osage he and his undercover…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in homicide, the Antebellum South, and the American Revolution?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about homicide, the Antebellum South, and the American Revolution.

Homicide Explore 38 books about homicide
The Antebellum South Explore 16 books about the Antebellum South
The American Revolution Explore 237 books about the American Revolution