100 books like Fatal Vision

By Joe McGinniss,

Here are 100 books that Fatal Vision fans have personally recommended if you like Fatal Vision. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Crime and Punishment

By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Book cover of Crime and Punishment

Andy Mozina Author Of Tandem

From the list on literary with criminal protagonists.

Who am I?

I like books in which there are moral stakes, which sometimes draws me to stories with criminals, and I like when the character at the center of the problem is complex or destabilizes things. Dark humor always helps. Average people should be able to see themselves in some way in the criminal’s bad behavior or at least in their desires. I have published two story collections and two novels. My first collection of short stories won the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award. My fiction has appeared in Tin House, Southern Review, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere. I'm a professor of English at Kalamazoo College. 

Andy's book list on literary with criminal protagonists

Why did Andy love this book?

This classic novel about struggling for redemption after a horrific crime affected me deeply. Raskolnikov’s poverty and radical ideology drive him to robbery and murder.

As a lapsed Catholic, I was gripped by Dostoevsky’s rich exploration of why Raskolnikov did it, examining altruistic Christian ideals alongside new and dangerous notions about the prerogatives of “exceptional” men. The novel virtually invented the crime drama, with the original troubled killer pursued by the original wily detective.

The cast of characters, from the sympathetic Sonya, whose religious faith moves Raskolnikov, to the unscrupulous Svidrigaylov, who embodies irredeemable depravity, is as rich as the play of ideas and the dramatic tension. Powerful on every level. 

By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Crime and Punishment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed by Washington Post Book World as “the best [translation] currently available" when it was first published, this second edition has been updated in honor of the 200th anniversary of Dostoevsky’s birth.

With the same suppleness, energy, and range of voices that won their translation of The Brothers Karamazov the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky offer a brilliant translation of Dostoevsky's astounding pyschological thriller, newly revised for his bicentenniel. 

When Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in the St. Petersburg of the tsars, commits an act of murder and theft, he sets into motion a story that is…

The Stranger

By Albert Camus,

Book cover of The Stranger

Daniel Damiano Author Of Graphic Nature

From the list on exploring solitary characters.

Who am I?

As both a playwright and novelist, I tend to gravitate to complex characters with an internal struggle. Graphic Nature, my second novel, touches upon a particular character, Edmond de Capitoir, who while considering himself a well-meaning member of society, has kept himself at arm’s length from life in many ways – not the least of which is due to his commitment to his profession as an executioner in 1913 France. Much of the work I've recommended touches upon these similar protagonists who are somehow emotionally closed off and perhaps have developed a certain guilt about their actions by what they experience through the course of these stories – even a need for love.

Daniel's book list on exploring solitary characters

Why did Daniel love this book?

Camus’ 1942 classic short novel, The Stranger, focuses on a protagonist who, not unlike other protagonists in this list, has certain emotional limitations.  However, in the character of Meursault, Camus’ main character has a particular desensitization from tragic events in his life, which culminates when he is tried for shooting a man, otherwise referred to in the book as “the Arab”. 

The emotional removal that Meursault exhibits throughout this unusual and engaging character study becomes the ultimate focus of his trial, as others reflect on his emotional disconnection from various aspects of his life, including his own mother’s funeral, to which he had displayed little more than apathy. 

The Stranger is astonishing in its depiction of a traditionally “unlikable” character who nevertheless we follow in the hopes of some sort of catharsis.  

By Albert Camus,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Stranger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With the intrigue of a psychological thriller, The Stranger—Camus's masterpiece—gives us the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach. With an Introduction by Peter Dunwoodie; translated by Matthew Ward.

Behind the subterfuge, Camus explores what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd" and describes the condition of reckless alienation and spiritual exhaustion that characterized so much of twentieth-century life. 

“The Stranger is a strikingly modern text and Matthew Ward’s translation will enable readers to appreciate why Camus’s stoical anti-hero and ­devious narrator remains one of the key expressions of…

In Cold Blood

By Truman Capote,

Book cover of In Cold Blood

Rob St. Clair Author Of Saving Stacy: The Untold Story of the Moody Massacre

From the list on true crime tragedies.

Who am I?

Working as a prosecutor, trial lawyer for defendants, and as a magistrate, I’m always bothered by the misconception most people have of our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, cops are crooked, judges are corrupt, and witnesses lie on the stand. Not everyone, not every day, but more often than you would ever imagine. I write true crime books about cases where the underlying focus is on officials who are incompetent, derelict in their duties, or simply downright corrupt. The cases are always suspenseful, but justice is rarely served, and both the defendant and the public are the ones who lose.

Rob's book list on true crime tragedies

Why did Rob love this book?

This book started a new way on how this genre is written. It’s a fiction novel, where the author adds his imagined dialogue to keep the story flowing.

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, generating both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is timeless, providing insights into the nature of American violence.

By Truman Capote,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked In Cold Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The chilling true crime 'non-fiction novel' that made Truman Capote's name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative published in Penguin Modern Classics.

Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote's comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly…

The Executioner's Song

By Norman Mailer,

Book cover of The Executioner's Song

Rick R. Reed Author Of The Man from Milwaukee

From the list on true crime that would be criminal not to read.

Who am I?

I chose this list for two reasons—one, true crime has always held great fascination for me. I have a real hunger to understand the motivations behind the darkest sides of human nature, which I believe exists in us all. My own book, The Man from Milwaukee, dives deep into this obsession by sympathetically portraying a closeted young gay man in 1991 Chicago, who sees the cannibal killer as a victim himself of his own irresistible murderous impulses, likening them to our main character’s own self-loathing toward his same-sex desires. 

Rick's book list on true crime that would be criminal not to read

Why did Rick love this book?

Mailer’s opus dramatizes the cursed life of Gary Gilmore. In 1976, he robbed and killed two strangers. After being tried and sentenced to death, Gilmore insisted on being executed, to the disagreement of the justice system, who wanted him to remain alive. Written simply and with great compassion, the novel is disturbing, yet ultimately thought-provoking and redemptive.

By Norman Mailer,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Executioner's Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


In the summer of 1976 Gary Gilmore robbed two men. Then he shot them in cold blood. For those murders Gilmore was sent to languish on Death Row - and could confidently expect his sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment. In America, no one had been executed for ten years.

But Gary Gilmore wanted to die, and his ensuing battle with the authorities for the right to do so made him into a world-wide celebrity - and ensured that his execution turned into the most gruesome media event of the decade.

Book cover of The Spook in the Stacks

Sybil Johnson Author Of Designed For Haunting

From the list on Halloween mysteries to escape into.

Who am I?

My love affair with reading began in kindergarten with The Three Little PigsTrips to the library introduced me to Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and Agatha Christie. It didn’t take long for me to realize how much I love reading mysteries. I’ve read thousands of them over the years, mainly traditional and cozy. When I decided to try my hand at writing, I knew right away that I’d be creating stories on the cozy end of the mystery spectrum. I particularly like mysteries set around Halloween. I’m not a horror fan. I prefer less gruesome Halloween tales, especially ones involving old legends and ghosts. These gentler Halloween mysteries are the perfect fit for me.

Sybil's book list on Halloween mysteries to escape into

Why did Sybil love this book?

I’ve always been fascinated by lighthouses and I love libraries. Put a library in a lighthouse like this book does and it’s a dream come true for me. Every page reminds me of all the happy hours I spent at my local library growing up, minus the murder, of course. All of the characters felt real to me from those who appear in scene after scene to those who only come into the story once or twice. I enjoyed spending time with them all including Charles, the library cat. This book does a great job of weaving Halloween activities, spooky moments and ghost stories into the mystery.

By Eva Gates,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Spook in the Stacks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Halloween in North Carolina’s Outer Banks becomes seriously tricky when librarian Lucy Richardson stumbles across something extra unusual in the rare books section: a dead body.

Wealthy businessman Jay Ruddle is considering donating his extensive collection of North Carolina historical documents to the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, but the competition for the collection is fierce. Unfortunately, while the library is hosting a lecture on ghostly legends, Jay becomes one of the dearly departed in the rare books section. Now, it’s up to Lucy Richardson and her fellow librarians to bone up on their detective skills and discover who is responsible…

Book cover of The Secret, Book & Scone Society

ACF Bookens Author Of Publishable By Death

From the list on mysteries about books.

Who am I?

I’m a book lover from in utero. My mom was an avid and very fast reader, and I grew up finding respite, insight, and understanding in the pages of books. When I went to college, I studied English, and then got a Masters in literature before going on to learn more about writing the books I loved in an MFA program. This formal education just built on what I already knew – books are my first love, my guide through life, and often, the things that save me from the darkest moments of this world.

ACF's book list on mysteries about books

Why did ACF love this book?

I adore books about women in friendship, maybe because my female friendships have been the stable place of safety throughout my life. So Adams’ book about a group of women who bring their pain and hope for healing to one another as they read books resonates with me deeply. Plus, the bookstore in this series is stellar what with the tchotchkes, quirky coffee mugs, and bibliotherapy themes. A great cozy for anyone who appreciates a bit of depth to their light reading. 

By Ellery Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Secret, Book & Scone Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First in the mystery series from the New York Times-bestselling author: “Anyone who loves novels that revolve around books will savor this tasty treat.”—Library Journal (starred review)
A quirky club in small-town North Carolina holds the keys to health, happiness, friendship—and even solving a murder—all to be found within the pages of the right book…

Strangers flock to Miracle Springs hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone, they exchange their stories with owner Nora…

Met Her on the Mountain

By Mark I. Pinsky,

Book cover of Met Her on the Mountain: The Murder of Nancy Morgan

Charles Oldham Author Of Ship of Blood: Mutiny and Slaughter Aboard the Harry A. Berwind, and the Quest for Justice

From the list on fascinating but not so well known true crimes.

Who am I?

I’m both a history buff and a criminal defense attorney. I grew up in a small North Carolina town, as the son of two educators who encouraged me to read anything I could get my hands on. My favorite stories were adventures and mysteries, especially courtroom dramas. Clarence Darrow was my historical hero, so I guess it wasn’t surprising that I would attend law school and try my hand at legal practice. I practiced criminal law for about 15 years, long enough to get a feel for how investigations and trials really work. That experience had a major impact on my own writing, and how to pick out a really fascinating true story.

Charles' book list on fascinating but not so well known true crimes

Why did Charles love this book?

A story of a brutal crime, of a long hunt for justice, and of small-town corruption at its worst. In June 1970, Nancy Morgan was murdered in a remote mountain cove in Madison County, North Carolina. The case lay dormant until 1984, when one of Nancy’s friends was unexpectedly charged with the crime. But the prosecution’s case fell apart at trial, and the author lays out a persuasive theory that the county sheriff—long known for his family’s style of local machine politics—instigated the charges against an innocent man in order to boost his re-election bid, when he knew full well that the real murderer was the son of one of his political supporters. For anyone who has ever posed the question—how bad can politics get?—this story provides a very disturbing answer.

By Mark I. Pinsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Met Her on the Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In June of 1970, the body of 24-year-old Nancy Morgan was found inside a government-owned car in Madison County, North Carolina. It had been four days since anyone had heard from the bubbly, hard-working brunette who had moved to the Appalachian community less than a year prior as an organizer for Volunteers in Service to America. At the time of her death, her tenure in the Tar Heel State was just weeks from ending, her intentions set on New York and nursing school and a new life that she would never see. The initial investigation was thwarted by inept police…

When Men Murder Women

By R. Emerson Dobash, Russell P. Dobash,

Book cover of When Men Murder Women

Martin Daly Author Of Killing the Competition: Economic Inequality and Homicide

From the list on why people sometimes kill one another.

Who am I?

When my late wife Margo Wilson suggested, over 40 years ago, that we should study homicides for what they might reveal about human motives and emotions, her idea seemed zany. But when we plunged into police investigative files and homicide databases, we quickly realized that we had struck gold, and homicide research became our passion. Our innovation was to approach the topic like epidemiologists, asking who is likely to kill whom and identifying the risk factors that are peculiar to particular victim-killer relationships. What do people really care about? Surveys and interviews elicit cheap talk; killing someone is drastic action.  

Martin's book list on why people sometimes kill one another

Why did Martin love this book?

Rebecca and Russell Dobash had studied men's violence against their female partners for decades and were already heroes of the women's movement when they began interviewing incarcerated killers in Britain. Two fine books have resulted, one focused on men who killed women, the other on men who killed men. It is the former, especially the section on intimate partner homicide, that I find most captivating. The Dobashes skilfully blend national statistics with the self-serving testimony of their interviewees, who minimize their lethal acts as things that "happened" rather than things that they did, and apparently believe themselves to be the victims. These insights are essential.    

By R. Emerson Dobash, Russell P. Dobash,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Men Murder Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the United States and Great Britain, 20-30% of all homicides involve the killing of a woman by a man, and it is far rarer when a woman is killed by another woman. Unfortunately, this is not a very well understood phenomenon. Most books on the topic discuss serial killings, but those only make up 2% of sexual murder-a sensationalist subset of a subset. There has never before been a comprehensive book that has covered the entire scope of homicide cases in which men
murder women.

Dobash and Dobash, two seasoned researchers and longtime collaborators in the study of violence…

Iron House

By John Hart,

Book cover of Iron House

Polly Iyer Author Of Murder Deja Vu

From the list on characters who overcome adversity.

Who am I?

One review of my books mentioned that I make heroes out of damaged people, so it’s natural I would read that kind of book. I love to see lost souls, losers, battlers for justice, and the underdogs rise above all the elements that hold them down. I think most people root for the underdogs, whether in life, in sports, or the weaker in any competition. It’s in our nature to do so. I’m a wife, mother, writer, former commercial artist, former store owner, former importer, which makes me ripe to be something new. But I think I’m done. I’ve shot my wad, done my best at whatever, and it’s always been fun.

Polly's book list on characters who overcome adversity

Why did Polly love this book?

Iron House, short for the Iron Mountain Home for Boys, is a thriller that features orphaned brothers: weakling Julian, and his strong and fiercely protective brother, Michael. After being bullied to the point of cracking, Julian kills his abuser. Michael escapes Iron House and takes the blame as he leaves.

This leads the brothers on two very different paths. Julian is adopted and, though mentally unbalanced, becomes a writer of dark children’s stories. Michael is also adopted off the streets by the head of a crime syndicate who teaches him how to kill. Iron House is a complicated story of abuse, torment, and love. The book is not for the faint of heart.

By John Hart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An old man is dying.

When the old man is dead they will come for him.

And they will come for her, to make him hurt.

John Hart has written three New York Times bestsellers and won an unprecedented two back-to-back Edgar Awards. His books have been called "masterful" (Jeffery Deaver) and "gripping" (People) with "Grisham-style intrigue and Turow-style brooding" (The New York Times). Now he delivers his fourth novel—a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping thriller no reader will soon forget.


At the Iron Mountain Home for Boys, there was nothing but time. Time to burn and time…

Book cover of The Line That Held Us

Charles Salzberg Author Of Second Story Man

From the list on memorable, morally complicated characters.

Who am I?

I’m a former magazine journalist and nonfiction book writer who now only writes crime novels. I try to write about a world that exists in varying degrees and shades of black and white. The characters in my books are flawed, sometimes deeply, trying their best to navigate a complex world while grappling with their own psychological and emotional scars. As a result, they often make decisions that wind up not being in their (or anyone else’s) best interest. In trying to breathe life into these characters, I get to know them better than I know myself, and it’s this I think allows me to admire the five books I’ve chosen.

Charles' book list on memorable, morally complicated characters

Why did Charles love this book?

David Joy, an Edgar Award finalist for his first novel, Where All the Light Tends to Go, is a master of character, mood, and setting. This novel is set in Appalachia and immediately we’re pulled into a dangerous world that has its own set of fierce rules for survival. The novel opens with Darl Moody hunting for a monster buck which if snagged can mean the difference between meat for the winter and an empty freezer. Hunting for men like Moody is not about sport but survival. Unfortunately, he’s followed his prey onto private land, where not only shouldn’t he be but where he certainly be hunting. When he accidentally kills not a buck but a man—it turns out he’s killed a Brewer, a member of a family notorious for vengeance and violence—his life is turned upside down and it’s touch and go as to whether he’ll survive. From…

By David Joy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Line That Held Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An accidental death, and the cover-up that follows, sparks a dark series of events that reverberates through the lives of four people who will never be the same again.

When Darl Moody went hunting after a monster buck, a kill that could make the difference between meat for the winter and an empty freezer, he never expected he'd accidentally shoot a man digging ginseng. Worse yet, he's killed a Brewer, a family notorious for vengeance and violence. 

With nowhere to turn, Darl calls on the help of the only man he knows will answer, his best friend, Calvin Hooper. But…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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