83 books like Double Indemnity

By James M. Cain,

Here are 83 books that Double Indemnity fans have personally recommended if you like Double Indemnity. 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 The Power and the Glory

Scott Turow Author Of Suspect

From my list on thrillers powered by an eccentric hero.

Why am I passionate about this?

The key to a great contemporary thriller—as opposed to older novels about say, Sherlock Holmes or James Bond—is that solving the mystery reveals something essential about the protagonist. In other words these are character investigations as well as whodunits, where the same action provides revelations in both arenas. It’s what I discovered I wanted to do, when I veered from “serious fiction” to the books I began to write, starting with Presumed Innocent.

Scott's book list on thrillers powered by an eccentric hero

Scott Turow Why did Scott love this book?

Set in Mexico in the 1930s when the revolutionary government engaged in an active campaign against the Catholic Church, Greene’s hero, the so-called Whiskey Priest, is a drunk who has also failed to adhere to his vow of chastity, but his kindness and commitment to worshippers make him an intensely sympathetic figure, as he is hunted by the local police chief determined to put him behind bars.

The book was a revelation to me when I first read it in college. I did not realize that the Mexican government had engaged in this war against the Church so recently. Nor did I realize that a novel so gripping could be told with such literary grace. 

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Power and the Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During an anti-clerical purge in Mexico, a priest is hunted like a hare. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the little worldly priest is nevertheless impelled towards his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.


Book cover of The Great Gatsby

David Nicholson Author Of The Garretts of Columbia: A Black South Carolina Family from Slavery to the Dawn of Integration

From my list on race in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though I was born in the U.S., I didn’t wind up living here full-time till I was almost 10. The result? I have always been curious about what it means to be an American. In one way or another, the books on my list explore that question. More than that, all (well, nearly all) insist that black history is inextricably intertwined with American history and that American culture is a mulatto culture, a fusion of black and white. After years of making my living as a journalist, editor, and book reviewer, I left newspapers to write fiction and non-fiction, exploring these and other questions.

David's book list on race in America

David Nicholson Why did David love this book?

Was the hero of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic African-American?

A couple of academics have advanced that theory. I’m not sure I buy it. The notion (and supporting “evidence”) seems little more than a literary parlor game, not to mention the fact that nothing in Fitzgerald’s work or his letters shows a particular engagement with, or sympathy for, black Americans.

Still, it’s an interesting metaphor and the reason this seminal American novel appears in a list of what’s otherwise non-fiction. Gatsby’s yearning for his lost love could be an African-American yearning for a beloved country that does not always love them in return.

I first read this book in high school. It wasn’t until my second, third, and fourth re-reading that I began to appreciate Fitzgerald’s gift for story-telling and his evocative, poignant language. And to identify with Gatsby, the outsider craving to become an insider.

By F. Scott Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Great Gatsby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the summer unfolds, Nick is drawn into Gatsby's world of luxury cars, speedboats and extravagant parties. But the more he hears about Gatsby - even from what Gatsby himself tells him - the less he seems to believe. Did he really go to Oxford University? Was Gatsby a hero in the war? Did he once kill a man? Nick recalls how he comes to know Gatsby and how he also enters the world of his cousin Daisy and her wealthy husband Tom. Does their money make them any happier? Do the stories all connect? Shall we come to know…


Book cover of The Hot Spot

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 think The Hot Spot is perhaps the best of several noir novels by Charles Williams, a writer who deserves to be better known. 

Originally published as Hell Hath No Fury, The Hot Spot, well filmed under that title in 1990, chillingly illustrates the claimed truth of the proverb about a woman scorned. As readers, we cannot help but like Harry Madox, a clever but semi-sleazy used-car salesman who robs a bank in a small Texas town and sleeps with his boss’s boozy wife before falling in love with a younger, more innocent woman.

Then Harry learns to his dismay that the boss’s wife is determined to keep him from having the things he now realizes he really wants. Re-reading this novel, I always root for Harry to escape from the deep pit he has dug for himself, and I keep turning the pages, hoping he will.

By Charles Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A dark, brooding masterpiece of guilt, greed, and lust in a town ripe for felony.

Madox wasn't all bad.  He was just half-bad.  But trap a man like Madox in a dead-end job in a stultifying small town, introduce him to a femme fatale like the Harshaw woman, and give him a shot at a fast fifteen thousand dollars--in a bank just begging to be knocked over--and his better nature doesn't stand a chance.

Merciless in its suspense, flawless in its grasp of the ways in which ordinary people hurtle over the edge, The Hot Spot is a superb example…


Book cover of Dissolution

Maurice Holloway Author Of Steal a Diamond

From my list on detective books with the most memorable protagonist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for writing, and whenever I can, I try to help new writers improve their expertise so that one day they’ll complete their first book. My first book, born from a few-hundred-word short story at my writing group, turned into a three-book thriller series called FAVOURS. Since then, I’ve branched out by publishing a rom/com, a humorous ghost story as well as a standalone thriller. Agatha Christie published her first book as the result of a dare, which proves you can do it if you really want to.

Maurice's book list on detective books with the most memorable protagonist

Maurice Holloway Why did Maurice love this book?

CJ Sansom, a renowned historian, released this first fiction novel to huge acclaim. I was fascinated to find the investigator was a London lawyer during the reign of Henry VIII. It ticked all the boxes: history, a juicy murder, crime, and mystery. I was not disappointed. In my own writing, I endeavour to make my characters individual and memorable and, therefore, look for that in books I read.

The protagonist, lawyer Matthew Shardlake, has the brain, persistence, and vision of a Holmes or Poirot in uncovering the clues and is admired by all for his ability to win cases. Despite this, one thing continually erodes his confidence: he is a hunchback. Not restricted by twenty-first-century political correctness, his enemies take delight in reminding him of this. I loved the way the author handled that.

I enjoyed the detective story in an entirely different setting. It is a magnificent first book;…

By C.J. Sansom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger - the highest honor in British crime writing

From the bestselling author of Winter in Madrid and Dominion comes the exciting and elegantly written first novel in the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series

Dissolution is an utterly riveting portrayal of Tudor England. The year is 1537, and the country is divided between those faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to the king and the newly established Church of England. When a royal commissioner is brutally murdered in a monastery on the south coast of England, Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's feared vicar general, summons…


Book cover of Gormenghast

Leigh Russell Author Of Fake Alibi

From my list on wanting to read about murder.

Why am I passionate about this?

An avid reader when young, I made the transition from reading to writing relatively late in life. It happened unexpectedly, but once I started writing I found it impossible to stop and have had twenty-eight novels published so far. Fortunately I found a publisher within weeks of completing my first novel, which was shortlisted for several major awards. Currently I am writing the 20th novel in my Geraldine Steel detective series, which has sold over a million copies in the UK alone. As well as writing detective novels, I also support up and coming crime writers as chair of judges for the Crime Writers Association’s Debut Dagger Award.

Leigh's book list on wanting to read about murder

Leigh Russell Why did Leigh love this book?

Mervyn Peake’s writing is unusual. In Gormenghast he creates a bizarre world of weird hierarchical rituals, peopled by eccentric characters, each one singular in a different way. What really brings this novel to life is Peake’s wonderfully rich prose, as he describes the destruction of an ancient social structure.

By Mervyn Peake,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Enter the world of Gormenghast...the vast crumbling castle to which the seventy-seventh Earl, Titus Groan, is Lord and heir. Gothic labyrinth of roofs and turrets, cloisters and corridors, stairwells and dungeons, it is also the cobwebbed kingdom of Byzantine government and age-old rituals, a world primed to implode beneath the weight of centuries of intrigue, treachery, manipulation and murder.

Gormenghast is more than a sequel to Titus Groan - it is an enrichment and deepening of that book.The fertility of incident, character and rich atmosphere combine in a tour de force that ranks as one of the twentieth century's most…


Book cover of Native Son

Kia Corthron Author Of The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter

From my list on the intersection of race, class, and justice in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up as an African American in the Maryland Appalachian valley, a town that was ninety-five percent white. My father worked for the paper mill and would bring home reams of paper, pens, pencils. I began playing with the stuff—making up stories and stapling them into books, the raw beginnings of a future novelist. Separately, I created dialogue, using clothespins as people: a burgeoning playwright. (We were not destitute—my sister and I had toys! But those makeshift playthings worked best for my purposes.) So, given my working-class racial minority origins, it was rather inevitable that I would be drawn to stories addressing class and race. 

Kia's book list on the intersection of race, class, and justice in America

Kia Corthron Why did Kia love this book?

Unless your first reading has been spoiled by a movie or CliffsNotes, I don’t believe you can fail to be stunned by Wright’s 1940 eons-ahead-of-its-time pièce de résistance. While much has been written addressing racial bias in the courtroom (that is, if the defendant survives the initial encounter with police), the author took the outlandish step of providing head-spinning complexity: presenting a culpable protagonist, albeit one whose crime against an affluent young white woman came about unwittingly, having everything to do with his knowledge that he, a Black man, would invariably be perceived as guilty. Wright never lets us off the hook, forcing readers of all hues to consider the entanglements of race, class, and jurisprudence, beginning the day those of us who are not white and/or privileged are born.

By Richard Wright,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reissued to mark the 80th anniversary of Native Son's publication - discover Richard Wright's brutal and gripping masterpiece this black history month.

'[Native Son] possesses an artistry, penetration of thought, and sheer emotional power that places it into the front rank of American fiction' Ralph Ellison

Reckless, angry and adrift, Bigger Thomas has grown up trapped in a life of poverty in the slums of Chicago. But a job with the affluent Dalton family provides the setting for a catastrophic collision between his world and theirs. Hunted by citizen and police alike, and baited by prejudiced officials, Bigger finds himself…


Book cover of Wieland or the Transformation

Harold Schechter Author Of Maniac: The Bath School Disaster and the Birth of the Modern Mass Killer

From my list on inspired by true crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a retired professor of American literature (Queens College, City University of New York) and a true-crime historian who has been writing nonfiction books about some of our nation’s most heinous serial killers and mass murderers for over thirty years. 

Harold's book list on inspired by true crimes

Harold Schechter Why did Harold love this book?

Until I entered grad school for my Ph.D. in American literature, I had never heard the name Charles Brockden Brown and my guess is that few people alive today would recognize it. In his own time, however, he was an important literary figure. The author of a quartet of books composed in a yearlong creative frenzy at the close of the 18th century, he is regarded as "The Father of the American Novel." As the creator of our nation's first Gothic fiction, he was a major influence on writers like Poe and Hawthorne. His 1798 novel Wieland was inspired by a sensational crime that happened seventeen years earlier in upstate New York, when a farmer named James Yates, allegedly acting under orders from a divine voice, slaughtered his entire family. If by "best" we're talking about most enjoyably readable, then Wieland, like all Brown’s novels, doesn't exactly qualify. But it's…

By Charles Brockden Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wieland or the Transformation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a reproduction of a classic text optimised for kindle devices. We have endeavoured to create this version as close to the original artefact as possible. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we believe they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy.


Book cover of An American Tragedy

William Breedlove Martin Author Of Expense of Spirit

From my list on the allure of wealth, status, and illicit romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Macon, Georgia, in 1942. My father was a druggist and my mother a housewife until his illness put her to work as a newspaper reporter and eventually as a school teacher. After spending four years in the U.S. Air Force I earned a B.A. and a M.A. in English. After teaching English for thirty-one years, I retired in 2006. My wife and I live in Savannah and have two daughters, five grandchildren, and a black Lab. Among the many novels that I taught during my years as an English professor, the five on my list were invariably the ones to which my students most actively responded.

William's book list on the allure of wealth, status, and illicit romance

William Breedlove Martin Why did William love this book?

Also by Dreiser, An American Tragedy, 1925, is the slow-moving and heavy-handed but steadily engrossing and ultimately overwhelming account of a poor boy so bewitched by a beautiful rich girl that he commits literal murder and loses his own life in his struggle to have her.

By Theodore Dreiser,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This landmark 1925 novel about a social climber who murders his pregnant lover is both a riveting crime story and a devastating commentary on the American dream. A VINTAGE CLASSIC.

Theodore Dreiser was inspired by a true story to write this novel about an ambitious, socially insecure young man who finds himself caught between two very different women--and two very different visions of what his life could be. Clyde Griffiths was born poor and is poorly educated, but his prospects begin to improve when he is offered a job by a wealthy uncle who owns a shirt factory. Soon he…


Book cover of Looking for Mr. Goodbar

Harold Schechter Author Of Maniac: The Bath School Disaster and the Birth of the Modern Mass Killer

From my list on inspired by true crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a retired professor of American literature (Queens College, City University of New York) and a true-crime historian who has been writing nonfiction books about some of our nation’s most heinous serial killers and mass murderers for over thirty years. 

Harold's book list on inspired by true crimes

Harold Schechter Why did Harold love this book?

I was and remain a big fan of Judith Rossner’s 1975 bestseller (the 1977 movie version starring Diane Keaton and Richard Gere, not so much). The book was inspired by a headline-making murder that took place in New York City two years before the book’s publication. Its victim was twenty-seven-year-old Roseann Quinn had rejected the traditional roles her parents expected of her. Though a quiet, sedate schoolteacher by day, she turned into a boisterous party girl at night, picking up disreputable-looking strangers at neighborhood bars and taking them back to her apartment for bouts of rough sex. One of those strangers was a deeply troubled drifter named John Wayne Wilson, who ended up killing her in a fit of frenzied savagery in early January 1973. What I admire about Rossner is the way that she takes an inherently sensational subject and turns it into a serious, very moving character study…

By Judith Rossner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Looking for Mr. Goodbar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on a harrowing true story, the groundbreaking #1 New York Times bestseller, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, is a story of love, power, sex, and death during the sexual revolution of the 1970s.

Theresa Dunn spends her days as a schoolteacher whose rigid Catholic upbringing has taught her to find happiness by finding the right man. But at night, her resentment of those social mores and fear of attachment lead her into the alcohol-and-drug fueled underworld of singles' bars, where she engages in a pattern of dangerous sexual activity that threatens her safety and, ultimately, her life.

Looking for Mr.…


Book cover of The Friends of Eddie Coyle

David Swinson Author Of The Second Girl

From my list on law enforcement who became authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I retired from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC, as a detective assigned to the Major Crimes Unit, but I’ve always been a writer at heart and an avid reader. I graduated from California State University in Long Beach, CA, with a major in Film. I am the author of six crime fiction books, three of which involve retired detective turned PI Frank Marr. This trilogy was critically acclaimed. 

David's book list on law enforcement who became authors

David Swinson Why did David love this book?

George V. Higgins was an Assistant U.S. Attorney who specialized in organized crime. He may not have been a cop, but as a prosecutor, he was responsible for taking a lot of bad guys off the street, so he knew the underworld well.

I have read this book several times. It is inspiring and one of my favorite books of all time. It is a classic example of a totally dialogue-driven book, and it had a huge influence on my writing.

By George V. Higgins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Eddie Coyle is a small-time punk with a big-time problem - who to sell out to avoid being sent up again. Eddie works for Jimmy Scalisi, supplying him with guns for a couple of bank jobs. But a cop named Foley is onto Eddie, and he's leaning on him to finger Scalisi, a gang leader with a lot to hide. These and others make up the bunch of hoods, gunmen, thieves, and executioners who are wheeling, dealing, chasing, and stealing in the underworld of Eddie Coyle.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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