100 books like Beyond Black

By Hilary Mantel,

Here are 100 books that Beyond Black fans have personally recommended if you like Beyond Black. 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 Lincoln in the Bardo

Sarah Porter Author Of Projections

From my list on unusual ghost stories for someone who loves spooky.

Why am I passionate about this?

The uncanny slips into the gaps between the objective world and the world of human experience with all its dreams, apprehensions, and intuitions. This intermediate space is the habitat of ghosts and also the zone where my mind does its wanderings. It's where my books come, and explorations of that space in other peoples' books draw me in, deeply and inescapably.

Sarah's book list on unusual ghost stories for someone who loves spooky

Sarah Porter Why did Sarah love this book?

I honestly think this is one of the greatest books I’ve ever read.

In writing about haunting, I always confront the question of what pins ghosts to the living world. I loved the poignancy of Saunders’s ghosts and the desperate denial of their own deaths that they cling to.

I have a special love of books written in a multiplicity of voices; the way Saunders writes his ghostly chorus is so virtuosic it took my breath away. 

By George Saunders,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Lincoln in the Bardo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017 A STORY OF LOVE AFTER DEATH 'A masterpiece' Zadie Smith 'Extraordinary' Daily Mail 'Breathtaking' Observer 'A tour de force' The Sunday Times The extraordinary first novel by the bestselling, Folio Prize-winning, National Book Award-shortlisted George Saunders, about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns…


Book cover of The Little Stranger

Valentina Cano Repetto Author Of Sanctuary

From my list on horror books in which the setting is another character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fanatic of horror, especially Gothic horror since I was about eight years old when I read all of Poe’s short stories. It’s the genre I read most often and the one I’m dedicated to writing about. For me, the most effective horror novels have a setting that is as rich and fully developed as any of the characters. You can battle vampires, zombies, and all of the other delightful monsters out there, but how do you battle what’s trapped in the walls around you? How do you fight a home that hates you? Or one that loves you too much to let you go? It’s endlessly fascinating.

Valentina's book list on horror books in which the setting is another character

Valentina Cano Repetto Why did Valentina love this book?

This book is a unique take on the haunted house trope that is just so striking. It has genuinely frightening scenes that don’t depend on anything but tension and careful pacing.

Sarah Waters’ writing is always a gut-punch of beauty but this novel, in particular, has roamed around my head for years. It’s so masterfully written. I feel like I’ve seen the house, lived in it, loved it just like the protagonist. 

By Sarah Waters,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Little Stranger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

After her award-winning trilogy of Victorian novels, Sarah Waters turned to the 1940s and wrote THE NIGHT WATCH, a tender and tragic novel set against the backdrop of wartime Britain. Shortlisted for both the Orange and the Man Booker, it went straight to number one in the bestseller chart. In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable…


Book cover of Build Your House Around My Body

Sarah Porter Author Of Projections

From my list on unusual ghost stories for someone who loves spooky.

Why am I passionate about this?

The uncanny slips into the gaps between the objective world and the world of human experience with all its dreams, apprehensions, and intuitions. This intermediate space is the habitat of ghosts and also the zone where my mind does its wanderings. It's where my books come, and explorations of that space in other peoples' books draw me in, deeply and inescapably.

Sarah's book list on unusual ghost stories for someone who loves spooky

Sarah Porter Why did Sarah love this book?

This book sent me wandering through the kind of haunted labyrinth I love most. I adore a book that constantly challenges expectations and twists me into a mystery unlike any I’ve read before.

The layers of this very strange and daring story—about a hapless young English teacher gone missing in Vietnam and the ghosts behind her disappearance—came together in ways I never saw coming.

By Violet Kupersmith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Build Your House Around My Body as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part puzzle, part revenge tale, part ghost story, this ingenious novel spins half a century of Vietnamese history and folklore into “a thrilling read, acrobatic and filled with verve” (The New York Times Editors’ Choice).
 
FINALIST FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION’S FIRST NOVEL PRIZE • LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, Good Housekeeping, Kirkus Reviews

“Fiction as daring and accomplished as Violet Kupersmith’s first novel reignites my love of the form and its kaleidoscopic possibilities.”—David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas

Two young women…


The Woman at the Wheel

By Penny Haw,

Book cover of The Woman at the Wheel

Penny Haw Author Of The Invincible Miss Cust

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Storyteller Dog walker Dreamer Runner Reader

Penny's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Inspiring historical fiction based on the real life of Bertha Benz, whose husband built the first prototype automobile, which eventually evolved into the Mercedes-Benz marque.

"Unfortunately, only a girl again."

From a young age, Cäcilie Bertha Ringer is fascinated by her father's work as a master builder in Pforzheim, Germany. But those five words, which he wrote next to her name in the family Bible, haunt Bertha.

Years later, Bertha meets Carl Benz and falls in love—with him and his extraordinary dream of building a horseless carriage. Bertha has such faith in him that she invests her dowry in his plans, a dicey move since they alone believe in the machine. When Carl's partners threaten to withdraw their support, he's ready to cut ties. Bertha knows the decision would ruin everything. Ignoring the cynics, she takes matters into her own hands, secretly planning a scheme that will either hasten the family's passage to absolute derision or prove their genius. What Bertha doesn't know is that Carl is on the cusp of making a deal with their nemesis. She's not only risking her marriage and their life's work, but is also up against the patriarchy, Carl's own self-doubt, and the clock.

Like so many other women, Bertha lived largely in her husband's shadow, but her contributions are now celebrated in this inspiring story of perseverance, resilience, and love.

The Woman at the Wheel

By Penny Haw,

What is this book about?

Inspiring historical fiction based on the real life of Bertha Benz, whose husband built the first prototype automobile, which eventually evolved into the Mercedes-Benz marque.

"Unfortunately, only a girl again."

From a young age, Cacilie Bertha Ringer is fascinated by her father's work as a master builder in Pforzheim, Germany. But those five words, which he wrote next to her name in the family Bible, haunt Bertha.

Years later, Bertha meets Carl Benz and falls in love-with him and his extraordinary dream of building a horseless carriage. Bertha has such faith in him that she invests her dowry in his…


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Book cover of The Walls Around Us

Stacy Stokes Author Of The Darkness Rises

From my list on thrillers with a dash of magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was in fifth grade when I brought home my first paranormal thriller from the library. It was love at first read. Since then, I’ve broadened my reading horizons to many fiction genres, but fast-paced stories grounded in our world with a dash of magic continue to be my favorite. The same can be said of my viewing habits—give me shows like Severance or Black Mirror, and I’ll be glued to the screen all day long. It probably doesn’t surprise anyone that it is my favorite entertainment genre and writing genre. Many of the books on this list have served as inspiration—I hope you love them too!

Stacy's book list on thrillers with a dash of magic

Stacy Stokes Why did Stacy love this book?

This book is utterly unique. While not a traditional paranormal thriller per se, Suma weaves together two distinct stories that come together in a jaw-dropping conclusion.

I’m a sucker for books with dancers as main characters, so the dance-infused narrative was all the more satisfying. Add in beautiful prose, a spooky prison, and a little competition between ballerina friends, and you’ve got a winner. No wonder I’ve read this book three times. 

By Nova Ren Suma,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Walls Around Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.


Book cover of The Lying Game

Alice Hunter Author Of The Serial Killer's Sister

From my list on psychological/crime that feature disturbing games.

Why am I passionate about this?

After completing a psychology degree, I became an interventions facilitator in a prison and worked with offenders who'd committed serious violent crimes. It was while I was in this role that my fascination for criminal psychology grew. Once I left the profession, I put my experiences to good use in fiction, going on to write The Serial Killer series of three psychological thrillers. With the most recent, The Serial Killer’s Sister, I incorporated my love of puzzles and games into a twisted story of a serial killer who uses a childhood game known to his sister as ‘The Hunt’ to track her down and torment her.

Alice's book list on psychological/crime that feature disturbing games

Alice Hunter Why did Alice love this book?

This story centres on four friends who met and forged their friendship at boarding school where they played a lying game – targeting others and gaining points for an elaborate lie successfully believed. These were sometimes harmless… but sometimes not. 

Years later, summoned by one of the friends, they reunite. A buried secret from their past now threatens to resurface. I thought this was an intense read with the tension slowly building and with some great revelations that kept me turning the pages. I love the way the author paints such a vivid, atmospheric picture so you can become fully immersed in the story.

By Ruth Ware,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'To read [The Lying Game] is to have your nerves slowly but inexorably shredded as, over and again, the tension builds and then evaporates until the final, unexpected denouement' Metro

'A gripping, unpredictable narrative that shifts like sand underfoot, and a plot that turns like the tide.' ERIN KELLY bestselling author of HE SAID SHE SAID

'Thank goodness for Ruth Ware...[The Lying Game is] gripping enough to be devoured in a single sitting' Independent

Four friends. One promise. But someone isn't telling the truth. The twisting new mystery from bestselling phenomenon Ruth Ware.

The text message arrives in the small…


Book cover of 77 Shadow Street

Vicki-Ann Bush Author Of Alex McKenna and the Geranium Deaths

From my list on paranormal books for talking with the dead.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was very young, I’ve had experiences with the paranormal. Whether it be a soft graze along my cheek or a spirit standing in front of me, I’ve always been drawn to things behind the veil. Joining the world of the living with the dead comes natural for me, and reading the genres of paranormal and fantasy is like a cup of hot tea on a chilly winter afternoon.

Vicki-Ann's book list on paranormal books for talking with the dead

Vicki-Ann Bush Why did Vicki-Ann love this book?

I’m an avid Koontz reader and long time fan, but I particularly liked this book because of the elements of paranormal mixed with time travel, two of my favorite genres.

The characters were just what you’d expect they might be like in a disturbing, confusing, and terrifying situation, which was extremely relatable. I felt as if this were really happening, I might do the same exact thing as one of the residents of the tower, a component I really enjoy in books.

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 77 Shadow Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Heart-stopping thriller from the master of suspense. Bad things are starting to happen at the Pendleton, an eerie building with a tragic past.

The Pendleton stands on the summit of Shadow Hill, a palace built in the late 19th century as a tycoon's dream home. But its grandeur has been scarred by episodes of madness, suicide and mass murder. Since being converted into luxury apartments in the 70s, however, the Pendleton has been at peace. For its fortunate residents - among them ex-marine Bailey Hawk, songwriter Twyla Trahern and her young son Winny - the Pendleton is a sanctuary, its…


Book cover of Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less

Paddy Hirsch Author Of The Devil's Half Mile

From my list on glimpse into the dark heart of the financial markets (without being bored to tears).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a career financial and business journalist, only recently turned novelist. I’m obsessed with the way that history repeats itself in the financial markets and that we never seem to learn our lessons. Fear and greed have always driven the behavior of bankers, traders, and investors; and they still do today, only barely inhibited by our regulatory system. I want to help people understand how markets work, and I like combining fiction with fact to explain these systems and how they’re abused. With that in mind, I work during the day as a reporter at NPR and by night as a scribbler of historical fiction with a financial twist.

Paddy's book list on glimpse into the dark heart of the financial markets (without being bored to tears)

Paddy Hirsch Why did Paddy love this book?

I love the way that Archer turns the dry ins and outs of the workings of the British stock market into an adventure tale. I can’t quite believe how many explanations of market activities he manages to describe and explain in the simplest, most easy to understand terms. All while keeping the action going.

I learned from Archer what short selling is, how Ponzi schemes work, the meaning of insider trading, and how pump and dump schemes are set up and executed. I also learned how flawed the British financial markets were until their reform. A fascinating, highly entertaining romp through the city of London.

By Jeffrey Archer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jeffrey Archer's first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, is page-turning tale of fraud, revenge and determination as four men stop at nothing to get back what was stolen from them.

One million dollars - that's what Harvey Metcalfe, lifelong king of shady deals, has pulled off with empty promises of an oil bonanza and instant riches. Overnight, four men - the heir to an earldom, a Harley Street doctor, a Bond Street art dealer and an Oxford don - find themselves penniless. But this time Harvey has swindled the wrong men. They band together and shadow…


Book cover of Mouth to Mouth

Matt Witten Author Of Killer Story

From my list on thrillers you'll devour in one sitting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing crime novels and TV shows for years. For TV, I wrote for Law & Order, Pretty Little Liars, CSI: Miami, and several other crime shows. In the book world, I used to write amateur sleuth novels, and now I write thrillers. My favorite form of relaxation is to get a cup of tea, put my feet up, and read a great thriller. They inspire me. As I read, I study how they’re structured. There’s nothing I appreciate more than a twist I didn’t see coming, a morally good character who turns out to be evil, or a flawed character who ultimately turns out to be good.

Matt's book list on thrillers you'll devour in one sitting

Matt Witten Why did Matt love this book?

When I was a kid, I used to love W. Somerset Maugham short stories. Often they were about two strangers, usually men, meeting in a remote colonial outpost, and one of the two would then proceed to tell the other a strange, violent, heartbreaking, life-altering story that had happened to him or that he had witnessed. Mouth to Mouth, which I loved, reminded me of those stories.

I listened to it on audiobook, and the narration is pitch-perfect. This novel is about two men who meet at an airport when their plane is delayed. They go into a lounge, where one of them, a rich art dealer named Jeff, proceeds to tell the other his life story.

It’s gripping. I sat in my car after I got home so I could listen to the last twenty minutes.

By Antoine Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Crimes of Jordan Wise

Timothy J. Lockhart Author Of Evil Intentions Come

From my list on American noir fiction taking you to the end of a one-way street.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved crime fiction since encountering it in college. After seeing the Bogart-Bacall version of The Big Sleep, I read the underlying Raymond Chandler novel and was hooked. I devoured Chandler’s other works and moved on to James M. Cain, Jim Thompson, John D. MacDonald, and others. Later I discovered the crime novels of Charles Williams, Day Keene, Gil Brewer, and other “pulp masters.” Loving those novels led me to try my hand at writing crime fiction, and Stark House Press has now published five of my novels with another on the way. My crime-writing career is an unusual path for someone whose M.A. thesis is on Jane Austen!

Timothy's book list on American noir fiction taking you to the end of a one-way street

Timothy J. Lockhart Why did Timothy love this book?

I like The Crimes of Jordan Wise for several reasons.

First, the author accomplishes the difficult task of making us care about a male protagonist who, although smart and capable, is weaker in some ways than a typical noir “hero.” Second, the author takes the unusual tack of portraying a female protagonist who, while physically attractive and commendably frank, is not as irresistible as femmes fatales usually are. 

We know the two are not right for each other, but we cannot help following them as they go down their intersecting paths of darkness with Jordan Wise’s three perfect crimes—a theft and two murders—as plot points along the way. 

Third, the lovely Caribbean setting and Wise’s intriguing and mysterious sailing partner add some island spice and make the tale stand out from more prosaic noir novels.  I think this book is another one that rewards re-reading.   

By Bill Pronzini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jordan Wise is a mild-mannered accountant with a large San Francisco
engineering firm in the late 1970s. By his own admission, the first
thirty-four years of his life were dull, empty. But that all changes
when he meets and falls in love with Annalise Bonner, an ambitious
young woman who craves excitement, a life on the edge.

With her as the catalyst, Wise concocts and executes a meticulous
plan to steal more than half a million dollars from his firm. They
escape to the Virgin Islands, but their plans to live a life of quiet
luxury are beset by unexpected…


Book cover of Jackal

Steph Nelson Author Of The Final Scene: A Thriller

From my list on unputdownable horror thrillers with badass female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love feeling scared in a controlled situation—like on my couch with a soft blanket and a book—so horror thrillers are my jam. I absolutely love it when a female protagonist is so smart and courageous that I genuinely don’t know what I would do differently. This gives me someone to truly root for. Over time, I’ve discovered all the ways scary books help me manage my anxiety. Reading about all my worst fears but knowing I can set the book down if I need to is empowering. (Spoiler alert: I never set the book down.)

Steph's book list on unputdownable horror thrillers with badass female protagonists

Steph Nelson Why did Steph love this book?

When a horror thriller can straddle mystery and true crime and stick the landing like this book does, I’m in.

I was immediately invested in Liz’s journey back to her hometown. I love the reunion trope, but what Liz comes up against is so strange and intriguing that I knew after the opening I wasn’t putting this one down until I devoured this book. Her inner strength and determination to solve the town’s big mystery had me cheering for her every step of the way.

Oh, and I did not see that ending coming, OMG.

By Erin E. Adams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

RECOMMENDED BY GILLIAN FLYNN ON THE TODAY SHOW • A young Black girl goes missing in the woods outside her white rust belt town. But she's not the first—and she may not be the last. . . .

“I read this thriller that is Get Out meets The Vanishing Half in one night.”—BuzzFeed

“Extraordinary . . . A terrifying tale of fears and hatreds generated by racism and class inequality.”—Associated Press

EDGAR® AWARD FINALIST • BRAM STOKER® AWARD FINALIST • SHIRLEY JACKSON AWARD NOMINEE • PHENOMENAL BOOK CLUB PICK

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Esquire, Vulture, PopSugar,…


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