70 books like Bunker Noir! True Crime on Los Angeles's Bunker Hill

By Nathan Marsak,

Here are 70 books that Bunker Noir! True Crime on Los Angeles's Bunker Hill fans have personally recommended if you like Bunker Noir! True Crime on Los Angeles's Bunker Hill. 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 Farewell, My Lovely

Ray C Doyle Author Of The Defector's Diary

From my list on mystery thrillers ripped from news headlines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I guess my real interest in writing about the good and bad in crime and politics and the good and bad characters involved started with my first job as a junior in a local newspaper. The 60s was a time of great change. I was in the right place at the right time and got involved in reporting local government politics. I graduated later to cover Britain’s role within the EU in Brussels. I was fascinated, not so much by the politics but by the politicians and fellow news reporters involved. They inspired the creation of my fictional character, Pete West, a hardboiled political columnist. 

Ray's book list on mystery thrillers ripped from news headlines

Ray C Doyle Why did Ray love this book?

“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat, and a gun.” The first line of one of the great Phillip Marlowe books that I fell in love with. 

As a young man, I often went to work with a Raymond Chandler paperback in my pocket. I couldn't put him down. I wanted to be Marlowe and talk like him. Chandler created a hero who taught me American slang language and how to talk the talk. The book follows Marlowe as he looks for the lost girlfriend of a guy just released from prison.

This is a wonderful noir work about a hard-boiled private detective. 

By Raymond Chandler,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Farewell, My Lovely as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The renowned novel from crime fiction master Raymond Chandler, with the "quintessential urban private eye" (Los Angeles Times), Philip Marlowe • Featuring the iconic character that inspired the forthcoming film Marlowe, starring Liam Neeson

Philip Marlowe's about to give up on a completely routine case when he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time to get caught up in a murder that leads to a ring of jewel thieves, another murder, a fortune-teller, a couple more murders, and more corruption than your average graveyard.


Book cover of Project Chartreuse

Christopher Church Author Of The Mythical Blond

From my list on LA detectives with complex emotional lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a longtime Angeleno, I’ve read a lot about the dark underbelly of our dysfunctional metropolis, both in the news and in fiction. I try to incorporate the City of Angels as a strong presence in my writing, and when I read other writers who have put Los Angeles at the center, it gives me a sense of things the way they really are, a glimpse at a deeper reality. I see the detectives in LA noir and crime fiction as inextricably intertwined with the city, their weaknesses, and their emotional quandaries emerging from this place.

Christopher's book list on LA detectives with complex emotional lives

Christopher Church Why did Christopher love this book?

I’d be afraid to meet this detective, Slater, in a dark alley, as he’s unpredictable and has a quick temper. At the same time I have to admit he’s the kind of guy I’d want to date. Smart and competent in his investigative work, Slater is a mass of contradictions, a textbook sex addict and in complete denial about it, plus he drinks too much. His pugilistic approach to the world evolves through the series, and in this book his slightly warped moral compass has him working to outsmart the cops to track down a violent conspiracy theorist.

By George Bixley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Don’t mess with the hothead—or he might just mess with you. Slater Ibáñez is only interested in two kinds of guys: the ones he wants to punch, and the ones he sleeps with. Things get interesting when they start to overlap. A freelance investigator, Slater trolls the dark side of Los Angeles, rooting out insurance fraud, not afraid to use whatever means necessary to get things done, and not about to hold back with his fists. A queer antihero for a new age, Slater walks the line between ordinary life and the frayed fringes of society, keeping his balance with…


Book cover of Chiseler with a Glass Jaw

Christopher Church Author Of The Mythical Blond

From my list on LA detectives with complex emotional lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a longtime Angeleno, I’ve read a lot about the dark underbelly of our dysfunctional metropolis, both in the news and in fiction. I try to incorporate the City of Angels as a strong presence in my writing, and when I read other writers who have put Los Angeles at the center, it gives me a sense of things the way they really are, a glimpse at a deeper reality. I see the detectives in LA noir and crime fiction as inextricably intertwined with the city, their weaknesses, and their emotional quandaries emerging from this place.

Christopher's book list on LA detectives with complex emotional lives

Christopher Church Why did Christopher love this book?

I found this mystery unusual because there are two protagonists, the fledgling detective Truman and his reluctant friend Celeste. I grew up with a canny mother and sisters, and seeing Celeste tacitly guide Truman in his new career, using her broader understanding of the world, feels familiar. The pair confront a blackmailing bully and try to shut down his operation. Their hedonistic approach to life, even in the most intense moments, is lighthearted and fun, and any woman who’s had a gay best friend or vice versa will recognize the humor in the pair of them chasing the same guys.

By Chester Henry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chiseler with a Glass Jaw as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Never one to let a bully get away with harassing someone, Celeste intervenes with a knockout punch, and in the melee Truman winds up in possession of the bully’s cell phone. Through Truman’s inventive online stalking and Celeste tracking down the victim, they uncover a seedy nest of grifters bent on profiting from human misery. Truman gets involved with Isaac, a closeted lawyer with a quick temper, but how does he fit into the scam? Running down leads at hotel bars, hip boutiques, and a grimy body shop, Truman and Celeste go all in, posing undercover at a night club…


Book cover of City of Bones

Christopher Church Author Of The Mythical Blond

From my list on LA detectives with complex emotional lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a longtime Angeleno, I’ve read a lot about the dark underbelly of our dysfunctional metropolis, both in the news and in fiction. I try to incorporate the City of Angels as a strong presence in my writing, and when I read other writers who have put Los Angeles at the center, it gives me a sense of things the way they really are, a glimpse at a deeper reality. I see the detectives in LA noir and crime fiction as inextricably intertwined with the city, their weaknesses, and their emotional quandaries emerging from this place.

Christopher's book list on LA detectives with complex emotional lives

Christopher Church Why did Christopher love this book?

I don’t think Connelly’s intention was to write horror, but his visceral description of the corpses and the minutia of murder in this novel made my stomach churn. An unpleasant experience, yes, but it’s vivid and effective writing. Harry Bosch is a detective with weakness for a specific type of woman, and of course he gets mixed up with Julia, a hot tomato who’s new to the force, and of course she messes up his investigation into the bones. You might want to kick Bosch in the caboose for not thinking more lucidly, but eventually he manages to outsmart his villains.

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The outstanding eighth Harry Bosch thriller from the award-winning No. 1 bestselling author of The Lincoln Lawyer. City of Bones is featured in Amazon Prime's BOSCH TV series.

When the bones of a boy are found scattered in the Hollywood Hills, Harry Bosch is drawn into a case that brings up dark memories from his past.

Unearthing hidden stories, he finds the child's identity and reconstructs his fractured life, determined that he won't be forgotten. At the same time, a new love affair with a female cop begins to blossom - until a stunningly blown mission leaves him in more…


Book cover of The Road to Los Angeles

Joseph Ridgwell Author Of Burrito Deluxe

From my list on road novels of all time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been obsessed with travel and novels that feature travel in the narrative since my early teens. A near-death experience at the age of nineteen, forced me to confront my own limited life experiences and encouraged me to travel the globe and see some of the world we live in before it was too late, as there’s nothing worse than too late. Also growing up on an inner city council estate instilled a desire to escape the urban environment and international travel and travel writing satisfied those compelling urges.

Joseph's book list on road novels of all time

Joseph Ridgwell Why did Joseph love this book?

First up in Fante’s famous quartet of Bandini novels—The Road to Los Angeles is a literary—Tour De Force. The central narrator—Arturo Bandini—is stuck out in Boulder Colorado, where it is freezing cold, and nothing ever happens. Not surprisingly a young Arturo is keen to escape to warmer climes, and pursue a writing career in Hollywood. Immediately I could relate to the books central idea, as I was keen to do exactly the same at exactly the same age, albeit on the other side of the world. This novel introduces Fante's alter ego Arturo Bandini who reappears in Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1938), Ask the Dust (1939), and Dreams from Bunker Hill (1982). It’s an important first novel by an important American author.

By John Fante,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

I had a lot of jobs in Los Angeles Harbor because our family was poor and my father was dead. My first job was ditchdigging a short time after I graduated from high school. Every night I couldn’t sleep from the pain in my back. We were digging an excavation in an empty lot, there wasn’t any shade, the sun came straight from a cloudless sky, and I was down in that hole digging with two huskies who dug with a love for it, always laughing and telling jokes, laughing and smoking bitter tobacco.


Book cover of The Big Nowhere

Steven Powell Author Of Love Me Fierce In Danger: The Life of James Ellroy

From my list on the king of LA noir James Ellroy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by James Ellroy’s life and writing since I first discovered it as a lonely teenager on a rainswept family holiday. He went through dark times; the unsolved murder of his mother and his subsequent struggles with addiction. But how he overcame this to become one of America’s greatest writers is an inspiring story and has inspired me to get through my own personal turmoil. Indeed, many Ellroy readers will attest to how his life story and writing helped them overcome their struggles. Now as Ellroy’s biographer, I am continually drawn back to his work. Reading just a few pages allows me to contemplate what Ellroy calls ‘the Wonder’.

Steven's book list on the king of LA noir James Ellroy

Steven Powell Why did Steven love this book?

This is a personal favourite as it’s the Ellroy novel that carries the biggest emotional punch. Although it didn’t match the sales of its predecessor The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere is a more accomplished novel. The setting is LA, 1950. A murder plot is interweaved with the politics of the Red Scare, and a Hollywood milieu at the height of the film noir age. This is the novel that proved Ellroy was a literary writer, and not just a genre one.

By James Ellroy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The D. A.'s brass, a sheriff's deputy, and a rough-and-tumble bagman are unknowingly chasing a nightmare in this thrilling novel from the author of "some of the most powerful crime novels ever written" (New York Times).
Los Angeles, 1950 Red crosscurrents: the Commie Scare and a string of brutal mutilation killings. Gangland intrigue and Hollywood sleaze. Three cops caught in a hellish web of ambition, perversion, and deceit. Danny Upshaw is a Sheriff's deputy stuck with a bunch of snuffs nobody cares about; they're his chance to make his name as a cop...and to sate his darkest curiosities. Mal Considine…


Book cover of The Best American Noir of the Century

G.E. Nordell Author Of Backlot Requiem: A Rick Walker Mystery

From my list on hardboiled noir detective mystery stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Among other things, I'm an existentialist. A well-constructed mystery novel is an existential puzzle given to the reader to solve at his/her leisure, and the noir sub-genre has the further subtext that the protagonistand the reader—are doomed in some way even if the solution is nailed. Romance novels are drivel and have no basis in reality, but noir and other types of mystery fiction reflect the way that the world works: you may solve this puzzle problem, but then you are left to a vast world that is rife with puzzles but without a coherent plot. The detective trudges on, achieves a kind of satisfaction, and then is thrust into the next crisis.

G.E.'s book list on hardboiled noir detective mystery stories

G.E. Nordell Why did G.E. love this book?

A treasure trove of noir short fiction, an impressive anthology of  American greed, crime, and comeuppance by some of the genre’s greatest authors including Mickey Spillane, Evan Hunter, Elmore Leonard, Patricia Highsmith, Joyce Carol Oates, Dennis Lehane, Cornell Woolrich, and editor Ellroy. The 39 selected stories are a feast of excellence, a wide-ranging buffet of tasty tales from 1923 to 2007makes me drool just thinking about a re-read.

By James Ellroy (editor), Otto Penzler (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Best American Noir of the Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magisterial anthology of American noir writing in the 20th century by the best-selling author of the LA Quartet: The Black Dahlia. The Big Nowhere , LA Confidential and White Jazz. In his intoduction to The Best American Noir of the Century, James Ellroy writes, "noir is the most scrutinised offshoot of the hard-boiled school of fiction. It's the long drop off the short pier and the wrong man and the wrong woman in perfect misalliance. It's the nightmare of flawed souls with big dreams and the precise how and why of the all-time sure thing that goes bad." Offering…


Book cover of In a Lonely Place

Ward Howarth Author Of River City Blues

From my list on WWII era reads no crime fiction fan should miss.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author, reader, and cinephile with a real appetite for all things crime. If it’s a mystery, if it’s a detective story, if there are questionable morals at play in a story with no easy answers and no clear way out, then count me in. I’m also fascinated by the WWII era and was spellbound by the stories my maternal grandfather told me about his time as an infantry soldier in Italy during the war. These passions moved me to write my own novels and continue to inspire me in my embrace of art. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I do!

Ward's book list on WWII era reads no crime fiction fan should miss

Ward Howarth Why did Ward love this book?

Dorothy B. Hughes’ In A Lonely Place is arguably the best crime novel ever written.

Published in 1947, the story centers on Dix Steele, an ex-airman in postwar Los Angeles who, when he’s not passing himself off as a writer, is stalking and strangling women around the city.

Full of self-hatred and misogyny, the suggestively named Dix is perhaps the most unlikeable protagonist you’ll ever come across, but the novel is so hard-boiled, and such a masterclass in plot and character, you won’t be able to put it down.

Side note: while the 1950 film made from Hughes’ novel differs from the source material in several ways, it’s a hallmark of both studio and noir filmmaking and should not be missed.

By Dorothy B. Hughes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In a Lonely Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Puts Chandler to shame ... Hughes is the master we keep turning to'Sara Paretsky

After the war, cynical veteran Dix Steele has moved to L.A., a city terrified by a strangler preying on young women. Bumping into an old friend, now a detective working on the case, Dix is thrilled by closely following the progress of the police. And meeting his new neighbour, sultry and beautiful actress Laurel Gray, brings even more excitement into his life. But the strangler is still prowling the streets - and Laurel may be in more danger than she realises...

In a Lonely Place was…


Book cover of In Country

Alice K. Boatwright Author Of Collateral Damage

From my list on the Vietnam War and what it all meant.

Why am I passionate about this?

Alice K. Boatwright has lived in the US, England, France, and India – and her career as a writer about public health, education, and the arts has taken her around the world. She began writing short stories when she was young and holds an MFA in Writing Fiction from Columbia University. Her award-winning book about the Vietnam War era, Collateral Damage, was inspired by her own experiences during the war years in the US and the time she spent working on a project in Vietnam in 1993 and 1997. She is also the author of a short story chapbook, Sea, Sky, Islands; numerous stories published in journals, such as Calyx, Mississippi Review Online, America West, Penumbra, Stone Canoe, and Amarillo Bay; and the popular Ellie Kent mysteries, based on her experiences as an ex-pat living in an English village.

Alice's book list on the Vietnam War and what it all meant

Alice K. Boatwright Why did Alice love this book?

This classic 1985 novel is a favorite because it broadens the focus to the impact of the war on the families. Set in 1984, the protagonist Samantha Hughes never knew her father, who was killed in Vietnam before she was born. Her uncle, who survived the war, is living with PTSD from his experiences there, and teenage Sam is trying to make sense of it all. The expression “in country” refers to time served at the site of a military operation (in this case, metaphorically, in Vietnam). The Los Angeles Times called this novel "A moral tale that entwines public history with private anguish."

By Bobbie Ann Mason,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bobbie Ann Mason’s debut novel—"a brilliant and moving book... a moral tale that entwines public history with private anguish."  —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“How Ms. Mason conjures a vivid image of the futility of war and its searing legacy of confusion out of the searching questions or a naïve later generation is nothing short of masterful.” —Kansas City Star

Samantha “Sam” Hughes is in her senior year of high school in rural Kentucky. Her father, whom she never knew, was killed in Vietnam before she was born. Sam lives with her uncle Emmett, a veteran who appears to be…


Book cover of For You When I Am Gone: Twelve Essential Questions to Tell a Life Story

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta Author Of Edit Your Life: A Handbook for Living with Intention in a Messy World

From my list on inspiring you to change your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an American author and writing teacher for both Harvard and Oxford’s online writing programs. I am also a mother of two who lived three years in a tiny backyard guest house with my family in an effort to focus more on what we love. Editing books is a practice I have honed over decades, and when my family was stuck in a living situation that felt unsustainable, the clearest way forward was for me to ask myself how I might edit our way out of it. It worked! In this book, I share the most valuable eight principles that we learned through the process.

Elisabeth's book list on inspiring you to change your life

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta Why did Elisabeth love this book?

A powerful case for thinking deeply and clearly about what legacies we leave behind for those we love.

Leder suggests that an ethical will—unlike an ordinary will—be a summary of our life’s wisdom. Asking such questions as ‘What do you regret?’ and ‘When did you lead with your heart?’ Leder offers a wise and inspiring way to live a life of value that is a blessing for others to remember.

By Steve Leder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked For You When I Am Gone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller!

From the bestselling author of The Beauty of What Remains, a guide to writing a meaningful letter about your life.

Writing an ethical will, a document that includes stories and reflections about your past, is an ancient tradition. It can include joy and regrets, and ultimately becomes both a way to remember a loved one who is gone and a primer on how to live a better, happier life. Beloved Rabbi Steve Leder has helped thousands of people to write their own ethical wills, and in this intimate book helps us write…


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