10 books like Blackwater

By Michael McDowell,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Blackwater. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Talented Mr. Ripley

By Patricia Highsmith,

Book cover of The Talented Mr. Ripley

This suspense novel is a leader in the field of deceptive protagonists. Ripley adapts another’s persona alongside his own, but even as he plays both roles he knows that it will all have to end at some point. He is aware of what he’s doing, yet this is coupled with great self-deception: ‘I’m a good person really.’ His vulnerability is shown in his fear of being judged. At heart he is a lonely man, driven by obsession and jealousy. Ripley is a complex, well-drawn character - I’d love to see his personality profile!

The Talented Mr. Ripley

By Patricia Highsmith,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Talented Mr. Ripley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's here, in the first volume of Patricia Highsmith's five-book Ripley series, that we are introduced to the suave Tom Ripley, a young striver seeking to leave behind his past as an orphan bullied for being a "sissy." Newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante, and Ripley begins a deadly game. "Sinister and strangely alluring"…


Tess of the D Urbervilles

By Thomas Hardy,

Book cover of Tess of the D Urbervilles

Tess of the D'Urbervilles has the dual quality of a being great work of literature, and a polemic which faces the issues of poverty and oppression—an incredibly honest, balanced portrayal of all aspects of rural life. Many of my personal problems reflected the traumas faced by the tragic heroine.

Tess of the D Urbervilles

By Thomas Hardy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tess of the D Urbervilles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

HarperCollins is pround to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics.

'My life looks as if it had been wasted for want of chances! When I see what you know, what you have read, and seen, and thought, I feel what a nothing I am!'

Challenging the hypocrisy and social conventions of the rural Victorian world, Tess of the D'Urbervilles follows the story of Tess Durbeyfield as she attempts to escape the poverty of her background, seeking wealth by claiming connection with the aristocratic D'Urberville family. It is through Tess's relationships with two very different men that Hardy tells…


The Big Sleep

By Raymond Chandler,

Book cover of The Big Sleep

The week I started working as a private investigator, a friend gave me The Big Sleep. I fell in love – with Raymond Chandler. To me, as a new PI, every word rang true. The book is set in Los Angeles, starring detective Philip Marlowe – “I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it” – and I read it in Los Angeles, too, amid the sunstruck tangle of ambition and envy and deception and longing that makes the city such an easy place, I was learning, to be a private eye. Marlowe’s droll observations and his exquisite detachment were a fascinating introduction to PI life, and every so often now I read it again just to remember the thrill of when my world was new. 

The Big Sleep

By Raymond Chandler,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Big Sleep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Raymond Chandler's first three novels, published here in one volume, established his reputation as an unsurpassed master of hard-boiled detective fiction.

The Big Sleep, Chandler's first novel, introduces Philip Marlowe, a private detective inhabiting the seamy side of Los Angeles in the 1930s, as he takes on a case involving a paralysed California millionaire, two psychotic daughters, blackmail and murder.

In Farewell, My Lovely, Marlowe deals with the gambling circuit, a murder he stumbles upon, and three very beautiful but potentially deadly women.

In The High Window, Marlowe searches the California underworld for a priceless gold coin and finds himself…


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

By Stieg Larsson,

Book cover of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Lisbeth Salander is, for me, one of the most kick-ass characters in crime mystery fiction and, ever since Stieg Larsson wrote her, clones have been popping up everywhere in books and film. I like that she is seen as a misfit and an outcast, victimised and brutalised by the establishment, who is often misjudged as being stupid, worthless, weak, but who is in fact, acutely intelligent, insightful, and someone not to be messed with—a gutsy fighter who refuses to quit. For me, it's Salander who makes the Millenium trilogy such a dynamic series, and the first time I came across her it was absolutely refreshing to meet such an empowered female character in crime fiction.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

By Stieg Larsson,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder - and that the killer is a member of his own tightly-knit but dysfunctional family.

He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history.

But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and…


Child of God

By Cormac McCarthy,

Book cover of Child of God

When I worked for a daily newspaper, I covered the trial of serial killer Richard Biegenwald. Unlike a lot of serial killers, who tend to be loners, Biegenwald was married. He seemed fairly normal, except for his habit of occasionally killing people and burying them in his mother’s backyard. Serial killers, people who don’t kill in self-defense, or to protect someone from harm, but just because they like killing, have always fascinated me. Sitting in court, twenty feet from a real, live serial killer, was intensely interesting and not a little creepy.

Having covered the trial of a serial killer, I was intrigued by what would make someone do that. The serial killer in Child of God is a loner who’s lost his home and who constantly tries, and fails, to connect with other people. His struggles are as poignant as his deeds are gruesome. 

Child of God

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this taut, chilling novel from the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Road, Lester Ballard—a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape—haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail.

While telling his story, Cormac McCarthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity, humor, and characteristic lyrical brilliance.

"Like the novelists he admires-Melville, Dostoyevsky, Faulkner-Cormac McCarthy has created an imaginative oeuvre greater and deeper than any single book. Such writers wrestle with the gods themselves." —Washington Post

Look for Cormac McCarthy's new novel, The Passenger.


Swamplandia!

By Karen Russell,

Book cover of Swamplandia!

Amusement parks, and the people who work in them have always had a fond place in my heart. Growing up at the Jersey Shore, some of my earliest memories are of the carnival rides and the games of chance on the Boardwalk. One of my first “real” jobs during high school was working in a candy store on the Boardwalk. With the front door open to let in the ocean breezes and the sound of happy screams from the arcade next door, not to mention as much free candy as I could eat, it was the best summer job ever.

My summer experience working in the seasonal tourism industry made me intrigued by the exploits of the Bigtree family. They’re white people, originally from Ohio, who run a struggling Florida theme park on a 100-acre island in the Everglades, while pretending to be Native Americans. This is a bizarre, suspenseful,…

Swamplandia!

By Karen Russell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller | Pulitzer Prize Finalist

"Ms. Russell is one in a million. . . . A suspensfuly, deeply haunted book."--The New York Times

Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family’s island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness.

As Ava sets out…


Lovecraft Country

By Matt Ruff,

Book cover of Lovecraft Country

I first read H.P. Lovecraft when I was in college. His Cthulhu Mythos instantly grabbed my imagination. Lovecraft was a large part of the reason I started writing horror. Even back then, his disdain for foreigners and Black people and anyone else whose ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower, the way his did, was apparent. In recent years, Lovecraft’s racism has become a hot topic. That’s why I like this book: because it urns the usual Lovecraft trope of evil monsters from another dimension on its head by bringing the monsters closer to home, in the form of the horrors of the Jim Crow era. 

Lovecraft Country

By Matt Ruff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, 22-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George - publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide - and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite - heir to the estate that owned one of Atticus's ancestors - they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.

At the manor, Atticus discovers his father in chains, held prisoner by a secret cabal…


Moon Lake

By Joe R. Lansdale,

Book cover of Moon Lake

The action is set in the fictional east Texas town of New Long Lincoln, where Daniel Russell returns after a long absence. He was 13 when his father tried to kill them both by driving his car into Moon Lake. Now a drought has caused the lake to evaporate and the car’s been found, with the remains of Daniel’s father inside, as well as an extra body in the trunk. Daniel teams up with a childhood friend who’s become a police officer to untangle a web of old grudges and strange murders.

Drowned towns – ones that are deliberately submerged in order to build dams and reservoirs – fascinate me. There’s one in Sussex County, New Jersey, called Walpack. It was intended to be buried under a man-made lake in the nineteen-seventies, as part of a project to build a dam across the Delaware River. It was a cause célèbre…

Moon Lake

By Joe R. Lansdale,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Daniel Russell was only thirteen years old when his father tried to kill them both by driving their car into Moon Lake. Miraculously surviving the crash- and growing into adulthood- Daniel returns to the site of this traumatic incident in the hopes of recovering his father's car and bones. As he attempts to finally put to rest the memories that have plagued him for years, he discovers something even more shocking among the wreckage that has ties to a twisted web of dark deeds, old grudges, and strange murders.

As Daniel diligently follows where the mysterious trail of vengeance leads,…


Hoodoo

By Ronald L. Smith,

Book cover of Hoodoo

A Southern Gothic historical horror, Hoodoo is a story of fair and foul folk magic in 1930s Alabama. Hoodoo Hatcher is the only person in his family without a knack for the hoodoo that gave him his name—and that’s a problem, because the evil Stranger is coming for him, and he’ll need all the courage and smarts he can summon to keep himself and his family safe. To me, the greatest joy of this wonderful book is Hoodoo’s distinctive, humorous voice, and Ron Butler brings him perfectly to life in his performance; it’s not easy for an adult to make a child’s voice sound authentic, but Butler knocks it out of the park. 

Hoodoo

By Ronald L. Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Twelve year old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic - hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can't seem to cast a simple spell. Then a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, and Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger's black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He'll just…


Stitchin' and Pullin'

By Patricia McKissack, Cozbi A. Cabrera (illustrator),

Book cover of Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt

Patricia McKissack introduces the quilts of Gee’s Bend to young readers in this charming picture book. McKissack not only read about Gee’s Bend but she visited and learned how to quilt. Her text is written in poems that capture the lilt and rhythm of Gee’s Bend women. The speaker, “Baby Girl,” describes how she learned how to quilt from her grandma. The soft, painterly illustrations by Cozbi A. Cabrera resemble Gee’s Bend quilts, and depict the colorful scraps of material the women used. The story includes the visit of Dr. Martin Luther King to “the Bend” on his way to Camden, then Selma, to march for the right to vote. And the aftermath of that march. A superb picture book full of history and hope for readers of all ages.

Stitchin' and Pullin'

By Patricia McKissack, Cozbi A. Cabrera (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This collection of poems that tell the story of the quilt-making community in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, is now available as a Dragonfly paperback.
 
For generations, the women of Gee’s Bend have made quilts to keep a family warm, as a pastime accompanied by sharing and singing, or to memorialize loved ones. Today, the same quilts hang on museum walls as modern masterpieces of color and design. Inspired by these quilts and the women who made them, award-winning author Patricia C. McKissack traveled to Alabama to learn their stories. The lyrical rite-of-passage narrative that is the result of her journey seamlessly…


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