86 books like Devil in a Blue Dress

By Walter Mosley,

Here are 86 books that Devil in a Blue Dress fans have personally recommended if you like Devil in a Blue Dress. 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 Dog Soldiers

Max Ludington Author Of Thorn Tree

From my list on 1960s counterculture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated with the sixties and its counterculture ever since I was about eleven or twelve, and I found out that the summer I was born, 1967, was called the Summer of Love. Because of this fascination, I started reading writers like Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson at an early age. Then, I became a lover of the Grateful Dead and went on tour with them as a fan for a couple of years in my late teens. It was the best way remaining in this country, in the 1980s, to be a hippie in some real way. I still love the music and literature of that time.

Max's book list on 1960s counterculture

Max Ludington Why did Max love this book?

This book lays bare the furious tensions in American society during the Vietnam era. I have read it three times, and each time, it reveals new treasures and nuances.

It’s a dark story about a war correspondent who decides to get rich by smuggling heroin home from Vietnam. So, while it opens in Saigon, most of the book is set in a California riven by culture clashes and soured idealism. Stone is one of America’s best late-twentieth-century novelists.

By Robert Stone,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Dog Soldiers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Saigon during the last stages of the Vietnam War, a small-time journalist named John Converse thinks he'll find action - and profit - by getting involved in a big-time drug deal. But back in the States, things go horribly wrong. His courier disappears, probably with his wife, and a corrupt Fed wants Converse to find him the drugs, or else.

Dog Soldiers is a frightening, powerful, intense novel that perfectly captures the underground mood of the United States in the 1970s, when amateur drug dealers and hippies encountered the violent world of cops on the make and professional killers.…


Book cover of Jesus' Son

Michael Keenan Gutierrez Author Of The Swill

From my list on bars where I'd like to get a drink.

Why am I passionate about this?

I loved bars before I could drink. Maybe it was a steady diet of Cheers reruns as a child. Or perhaps it was growing up in Los Angeles, a city without a center, a city of cars, a city that seemed—at least when I was a child—to lack real community. Bars, in my imagination, provided that. So when I started actually finding myself in bars—and often working in them—I also found myself writing fiction, and those bars ended up in that fiction. In each of my novels, a bar is a gathering place for those wanting a church sans theology, a place, where, yes, everyone knows your name.  

Michael's book list on bars where I'd like to get a drink

Michael Keenan Gutierrez Why did Michael love this book?

On any given day, this is my favorite book with one of my favorite bars, The Vine, a dive that Johnson describes as “like a railroad club car that had somehow run itself off the tracks into a swamp of time where it awaited the blows of the wrecking ball.” Is it a nice place? No. Would you take a date here? Not if you wanted them to respect you. Could you find yourself in mortal danger? Absolutely. But amongst the addicts and runaways, the small-time crooks and ne’er do wells, you’ll find moments of beauty that transcend the pain of everyday life, becoming, in its best moments, like reading scripture.

By Denis Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jesus' Son is a visionary chronicle of dreamers, addicts, and lost souls. These stories tell of spiralling grief and transcendence, of rock bottom and redemption, of getting lost and found and lost again. The narrator of these interlinked stories is a young, unnamed man, reeling from his addiction to heroin and alcohol, his mind at once clouded and made brilliantly lucid by these drugs. In the course of his adventures, he meets an assortment of people, who seem as alienated and confused as he; sinners, misfits, the lost, the damned, the desperate and the forgotten. Our of their bleak, seemingly…


Book cover of Get Shorty

Marjorie McCown Author Of Final Cut

From my list on crime about Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been hooked on the magic of storytelling since childhood, always eager to go wherever imagination can take me. I think that early fascination led me to become a costume designer because costume design is about using clothing to help tell a story. I spent 27 years working on the costume design teams for films like Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Angels & Demons, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. When I decided to take what felt like a logical creative step, to write my own stories, I knew I wanted to write murder mysteries. And I thought the world behind the scenes of a movie would make the perfect setting.   

Marjorie's book list on crime about Hollywood

Marjorie McCown Why did Marjorie love this book?

Elmore Leonard knew the vagaries of the movie business back to front, and he serves them up on a platter of delicious satire in this story about an East Coast loan shark, Chili Palmer, who comes to Los Angeles chasing a deadbeat debtor and winds up in his own fractured fairy tale version of the Hollywood dream.

Chili’s an endearing character, street smart with a unique blend of humility and self-confidence. When his collection job throws him into company with a group of movie people, he sees them and their milieu with clear-eyed objectivity.

Talking to an underworld associate, he says, “The movie business, you can do anything you want because there’s nobody in charge.” Leonard’s mastery of dialogue and character, along with his wit and sly affection for the industry he’s skewering combine to make this book a complete delight. 

By Elmore Leonard,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Get Shorty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A thriller filled with Leonard's signatures - scathing wit, crackling dialogue, twisted plot, mad scams - and set in the drug sodden world of Hollywood.


Book cover of Blacktop Wasteland

Tori Eldridge Author Of The Ninja Daughter

From my list on thrillers with action, emotion, and diversity.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a multicultural author, born in Honolulu of Hawaiian, Chinese, Norwegian descent, I am drawn to mainstream thrillers that feature diverse characters and explore non-mainstream cultures. Since I also hold a fifth-degree black belt in To-Shin Do ninja martial arts and have traveled the United States teaching martial arts and empowerment, authentic fight scenes in fiction are a must! Nothing turns me off quicker than a shallow representation of culturally diverse characters or mundane and improbable action. I strive for authenticity, emotion, and page-turning action in my Lily Wong ninja thrillers, so it’s probably no surprise that I value these elements in the novels I read.

Tori's book list on thrillers with action, emotion, and diversity

Tori Eldridge Why did Tori love this book?

From the moment I began reading Blacktop Wasteland, I knew S.A. Cosby would become one of crime fiction's most notable authors. His protagonist, Beauregard “Bug” Montage, drew me in and still won't let me go. What I love most are the gray areas between right and wrong, good and bad. There are no easy answers or choices in this strikingly honest look at Black life in the rural South. The action sequences and fights wing as true as Cosby’s characters and dilemmas.

By S.A. Cosby,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Blacktop Wasteland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*GUARDIAN BEST CRIME AND THRILLERS OF 2020*
*LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE WINNER 2020*

'BLACKTOP WASTELAND may be the book of the year.' MICHAEL CONNELLY
'Sensationally good' LEE CHILD
'I loved BLACKTOP WASTELAND' STEPHEN KING
'Stunning. Can't remember the last time I read such a powerful crime novel' MARK BILLINGHAM

"Bug" Montage: honest mechanic, loving family man. He's no longer the criminal he was - the sharpest wheelman east of the Mississippi.

But when his respectable life crumbles, a shady associate comes calling with a one-time job promising a huge payout. Inexorably drawn to the driver's seat - and haunted by…


Book cover of In a Lonely Place

Sam Baron Author Of The Murder Club

From my list on crime thriller series that aren’t afraid to explore darkness.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like my series protagonist, FBI Agent Susan Parker, I am neurodiverse and have dealt with traumatic family events. I have Asperger’s, dyslexia, ADD, and have battled depression and suicidal impulses in earlier years. As a child, I experienced many violent, traumatic events, including the traumatic death of my mother, abduction, and abuse. However, my personal story has a happy ending: I overcame all challenges to become a fully functional individual with a rich, fulfilling family life and a successful career. Not surprisingly, I became a crime thriller superfan. I gravitate toward books that don’t shy away from depicting darkness but find a way for the MC to return to the sunlight.

Sam's book list on crime thriller series that aren’t afraid to explore darkness

Sam Baron Why did Sam love this book?

A hypnotic, often troubling journey into the mind of a killer and the detective hunting him down are the reasons I return to this book time and again. They are both commonly found elements in crime thrillers today. But what Dorothy Hughes did in this book appealed to me personally, perhaps because of my own personal relationship with crime and trauma, physical as well as emotional.

I’m always fascinated by how intensely Hughes manages to immerse us in both viewpoints with only a few sentences, shifting viewpoints and playing with our conscience in subtle ways. I’ve seen enough violence and trauma to know that motivations are not always as simple as we’d like them to be, and people often do the most unexpected things for the least obvious reasons.

By Dorothy B. Hughes,

Why should I read it?

3 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 American Tabloid

Anthony Schneider Author Of Lowdown: A Mafia Romance Thriller

From my list on character-driven gangsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up on a diet of The Godfather, The Sopranos, thrillers, and gangster novels, and living in New York City with eye-opening trips to Sicily, I became slightly obsessed with the Mafia. I came to see the American Mafia as a quintessentially American fabric, woven of family, power, immigrants, money, history, loyalty, legacy, and, yes, crime.  

Anthony's book list on character-driven gangsters

Anthony Schneider Why did Anthony love this book?

A history of the early 1960s in America, leading up to the assassination of JFK, seen through the eyes of the mobsters and criminals, crooked cops, spies, and sleazos who power the machines of history.

A comprehensive romp through the underbelly of American crime and politics (and you might, after reading this book, wonder what’s the difference), it’s a novel about characters you don’t like—but they’re vivid and fascinating.

Much more than a gritty gangster novel, it’s a tale about the people in history’s shadows, and, ultimately, history and the “never innocent” America itself. 

By James Ellroy,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked American Tabloid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first novel in Ellroy's extraordinary Underworld USA Trilogy as featured on BBC Radio 4's A Good Read.

1958. America is about to emerge into a bright new age - an age that will last until the 1000 days of John F Kennedy's presidency.

Three men move beneath the glossy surface of power, men allied to the makers and shakers of the era. Pete Bondurant - Howard Hughes's right-hand man, Jimmy Hoffa's hitman. Kemper Boyd - employed by J Edgar Hoover to infiltrate the Kennedy clan. Ward Littell - a man seeking redemption in Bobby Kennedy's drive against organised crime.…


Book cover of The Maltese Falcon

T.R. Napper Author Of 36 Streets

From my list on broken heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only am I a cyberpunk writer, I’m officially a Doctor of Cyberpunk. My Ph.D. thesis, The Dark Century: 1946–2046, looked at hardboiled fiction, film noir, and tech-noir (AKA cyberpunk) traditions across the past, the present, and an imagined future. It was a radical break from my previous career as an aid worker, where I ran poverty alleviation programs throughout Southeast Asia. And yet, I’ve drawn on that experience in my prose, using the experience of the cultures that I lived and worked in to breathe life into the settings for my short stories and novels. 

T.R.'s book list on broken heroes

T.R. Napper Why did T.R. love this book?

Dashiell Hammett, more than any other author, created the hardboiled anti-hero. He’s also a damn fine prose writer. I re-read one of his books every year because of this, hoping perhaps to absorb his spare, elegant style. Each sentence is brutally trimmed of any excess and yet resonates with layered meaning. 

Dashiell Hammett himself was a broken hero. He fought in two World Wars for his country and yet was sent to jail by the committee for un-American activities for refusing to name names. He was a communist, who yet, as a young man, worked for the fascist, union-busting Pinkertons.

A complex, troubled individual who created dark and cynical worlds, and none more cynical than that of The Maltese Falcon. Here, we have a femme fatale, a hardboiled detective, gangsters, and conmen, all vying for the titular prize. It is a mean-streets masterpiece. 

By Dashiell Hammett,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Maltese Falcon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the greatest crime novels of the 20th century.

'His name remains one of the most important and recognisable in the crime fiction genre. Hammett set the standard for much of the work that would follow' Independent

Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and when Spade's partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby's trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: can he track down the jewel-encrusted bird, a…


Book cover of The Long Goodbye

Michelle Hillen Klump Author Of Murder Served Neat

From my list on putting you in the mood for a good cocktail.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a former reporter turned mystery novelist with a fondness for classic cocktails. I’ve always been fascinated by the art of cocktail making, and how a great mixologist knows exactly what ingredients pair well with others to create new and surprising flavors. As a reader, I like a book that engages all of my senses. In the same way that a great description can draw a reader into a scene, the mention of a certain cocktail can evoke specific moods or memories. In each of these books, cocktails contribute to the atmosphere, offering readers something to savor, like a perfectly made Sazerac.

Michelle's book list on putting you in the mood for a good cocktail

Michelle Hillen Klump Why did Michelle love this book?

The Long Goodbye, the sixth novel in Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe series, is a classic noir with gritty gangsters, brutal cops, femme fatales, and plenty of cocktails.

Marlowe drinks his way through the novel on his quest to find out who killed his friend’s wife. In one scene, a character instructs the bartender how to make a proper gimlet using only gin and Rose’s lime juice, leaving you to wonder what bitter truths the man is trying to dilute with the overly sweet concoction.

As you ponder the forces of good and evil in American society, you can look forward to a twist at the end that is worthy of a good French 75. 

By Raymond Chandler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ed Bishop stars as Philip Marlowe in a powerful and atmospheric full-cast dramatisation of Raymond Chandler's classic noir novel. The first time Marlowe sets eyes on Terry Lennox, he is lying drunk in the passenger seat of a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith. The next time, he's on Skid Row. After they share a few Gimlets, Marlowe thinks he seems like a nice guy, but he's had a hard life - his white hair and scarred face testify to that. Or could it be marriage to Sylvia Lennox that has turned him prematurely grey? Although beautiful and rich, she plays the field…


Book cover of March Violets

Neil Spark Author Of Karl's War

From my list on Germany between the world wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

The World At War, the first and arguably best documentary about the Second World War, was on television when I was 14. It fuelled my interest in history, especially about the reasons for the rise of the Nazis. History has many lessons to teach–if we are willing to listen–and one of the great teachers is Germany between the wars. It was a time of extremes: economic crises, social unrest, much of which was caused by the Nazis, and a flourishing bohemian, liberal culture. This febrile environment in which characters struggle with their personal conflict makes for great story-telling potential.

Neil's book list on Germany between the world wars

Neil Spark Why did Neil love this book?

I love Kerr’s fastidious attention to detail, which makes me feel I am watching the action he depicts. Set in Berlin during the 1936 Olympic Games, March Violets is the first in the Bernie Gunther thriller series.

Gunther is a former policeman, now a private eye, who has been hired to find out who was responsible for two murders. The world has bruised Gunther, who is a sarcastic but witty and likable hero. From this novel, I learned a lot about Berlin and the period. 

By Philip Kerr,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked March Violets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the first crime novel in the late Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series - Berlin Noir - set in Hitler's Germany during the 1930s . . .

Winter, 1936. A man and his wife shot dead in their bed, their home burned. The woman's father, a millionaire industrialist, wants justice - and the priceless diamonds that disappeared along with his daughter's life. He turns to Bernhard Gunther, a private eye and former cop.

As Bernie follows the trail into the very heart of Nazi Germany, he's forced to confront a horrifying conspiracy. A trail that ends in the hell that…


Book cover of White Teeth

Michael Keenan Gutierrez Author Of The Swill

From my list on bars where I'd like to get a drink.

Why am I passionate about this?

I loved bars before I could drink. Maybe it was a steady diet of Cheers reruns as a child. Or perhaps it was growing up in Los Angeles, a city without a center, a city of cars, a city that seemed—at least when I was a child—to lack real community. Bars, in my imagination, provided that. So when I started actually finding myself in bars—and often working in them—I also found myself writing fiction, and those bars ended up in that fiction. In each of my novels, a bar is a gathering place for those wanting a church sans theology, a place, where, yes, everyone knows your name.  

Michael's book list on bars where I'd like to get a drink

Michael Keenan Gutierrez Why did Michael love this book?

Maybe I just want to have a drink with Zadie Smith. She could tell me how she managed to write such a breathtaking novel by the age of 23. In this fictional encounter, I’d ask her about O’Connell’s, the pub in White Teeth frequented by her constantly put-upon war vets Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. “O’Connell’s is the kind of place family men come to for a different kind of family. Unlike blood relations, it is necessary here to earn one’s passion in the community; it takes years of devoted fucking around, time-wasting, lying-about, shooting the breeze, watching paint dry—far more dedication than men invest in the careless moment of procreation.” The whole book is this keenly observed, and this funny. 

By Zadie Smith,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked White Teeth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most talked about fictional debuts of recent years, "White Teeth" is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing - among many other things - with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-read of a book.


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