91 books like He Had It Coming

By Kori Rumore, Marianne Mather,

Here are 91 books that He Had It Coming fans have personally recommended if you like He Had It Coming. 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 A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains

Silvia Pettem Author Of In Search of the Blonde Tigress: The Untold Story of Eleanor Jarman

From my list on mysterious and intriguing women in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been writing for decades, as one genre evolved into another. Local Colorado history led to the identification of "Boulder Jane Doe," a murder victim. During that journey I learned a lot about criminal investigations and forensics. I devoured old movies (especially film noir), and I focused on social history including mysterious and intriguing women. Midwest Book Review (see author book links) credits In Search of the Blonde Tigress as "rescuing" Eleanor Jarman "from obscurity." So true! Despite Eleanor's notoriety as "the most dangerous woman alive," she actually was a very ordinary woman. I've now found my niche pulling mysterious and intriguing women out of the shadows.

Silvia's book list on mysterious and intriguing women in history

Silvia Pettem Why did Silvia love this book?

Many years ago, when I first moved to a small cabin in the Rocky Mountains, a friend gave me a copy of A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains and inscribed it to "one of the bravest mountain ladies I know."

I relished the book and learned a lot about the history of my new home through the eyes of an English woman who, in 1873, traveled alone and on horseback, to places I now know and love. Instead of fading into the past, Isabella Bird pulled herself out of the shadows. I even named my cat after her. 

By Isabella L. Bird,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A cosmopolitan, middle-aged Englishwoman touring the Rocky Mountains in 1873, Isabella Bird had embarked upon a trip that called for as much stamina as would have been expected of an explorer or anthropologist — and she was neither! Possessing a prodigious amount of curiosity and a huge appetite for traveling, she journeyed later in life to India, Tibet, China, Japan, Korea, and Canada and wrote eight successful books about her adventures. In this volume, she paints an intimate picture of the "Wild West," writing eloquently of flora and fauna, isolated settlers and assorted refugees from civilization, vigilance committees and lynchings,…


Book cover of Mollie: The Journal of Mollie Dorsey Sanford in Nebraska and Colorado Territories, 1857-1866

Silvia Pettem Author Of In Search of the Blonde Tigress: The Untold Story of Eleanor Jarman

From my list on mysterious and intriguing women in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been writing for decades, as one genre evolved into another. Local Colorado history led to the identification of "Boulder Jane Doe," a murder victim. During that journey I learned a lot about criminal investigations and forensics. I devoured old movies (especially film noir), and I focused on social history including mysterious and intriguing women. Midwest Book Review (see author book links) credits In Search of the Blonde Tigress as "rescuing" Eleanor Jarman "from obscurity." So true! Despite Eleanor's notoriety as "the most dangerous woman alive," she actually was a very ordinary woman. I've now found my niche pulling mysterious and intriguing women out of the shadows.

Silvia's book list on mysterious and intriguing women in history

Silvia Pettem Why did Silvia love this book?

Mollie was 18 years old and a new bride in 1860 when she and her husband left eastern Nebraska for the gold diggings of Colorado.

The 7-week journey across the plains tested her strength and endurance, but Mollie battled the hardships and isolation of pioneer life with humor, intelligence, and honesty. She never intended her journal to be published, but it was, and I found it inspirational.

By Mollie Dorsey Sanford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mollie is a vivid, high-spirited, and intensely feminine account of city people homesteading in the raw, new land west of the Missouri. More particularly, it is the story of Mollie herself - just turned eighteen when the Dorseys left Indianapolis for Nebraska Territory - of her reaction to the transplantation and to her new life which included rattlesnakes, blizzards, Indians, and the hardships of pioneer life. Mollie describes her nearly three-year engagement to Byron Sanford, during which time she worked as a seamstress, teacher, and cook. Following her wedding Mollie's life took a new turn. Catching "Pike's Peak Fever," the…


Book cover of Sunk Without a Sound: The Tragic Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde

Michael Engelhard Author Of No Walk in the Park: Seeking Thrills, Eco-Wisdom, and Legacies in the Grand Canyon

From my list on Grand Canyon books by a former canyon guide.

Why am I passionate about this?

I worked for 25 years as a wilderness guide and outdoor educator on the Colorado Plateau and in Alaska, and the Grand Canyon is my favorite national park and one of my two favorite places on earth (the other being Alaska’s Brooks Range). My background in cultural anthropology has given me a deeper appreciation of what it took for indigenous peoples to make a living inside the canyon. And it’s a humbling perspective indeed. When I lived in Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon was my “backyard” weekend wilderness. I’m still drawn there and visit at least once a year, even while living up north.

Michael's book list on Grand Canyon books by a former canyon guide

Michael Engelhard Why did Michael love this book?

I love a writer who is willing to put his life at risk to solve a mystery. And I love history and biography. The mystery? What happened to Glen and Bessie Hyde, a young couple who vanished on their honeymoon while trying to run the length of the canyon in 1928 in a scow—a boat that looked like a water trough.

Dimock, a Grand Canyon guide and builder of wooden dories, researched this type of craft and, together with his wife, braved the rapids because he thought this would provide clues about the disappearance. Having rowed unwieldy baggage boats in the canyon myself, I emphasized with their plight, and the story of the honeymooners is one guides often tell the clients sitting in camp chairs in the after-dinner circle.  

Book cover of Brilliant Bylines: a Biographical Anthology of Notable Newspaperwomen in America

Silvia Pettem Author Of In Search of the Blonde Tigress: The Untold Story of Eleanor Jarman

From my list on mysterious and intriguing women in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been writing for decades, as one genre evolved into another. Local Colorado history led to the identification of "Boulder Jane Doe," a murder victim. During that journey I learned a lot about criminal investigations and forensics. I devoured old movies (especially film noir), and I focused on social history including mysterious and intriguing women. Midwest Book Review (see author book links) credits In Search of the Blonde Tigress as "rescuing" Eleanor Jarman "from obscurity." So true! Despite Eleanor's notoriety as "the most dangerous woman alive," she actually was a very ordinary woman. I've now found my niche pulling mysterious and intriguing women out of the shadows.

Silvia's book list on mysterious and intriguing women in history

Silvia Pettem Why did Silvia love this book?

Brilliant Bylines is more than a historical narrative of women in journalism, as it also includes samples of the women's writings.

My favorite is Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, better known as "Nellie Bly." She was not unknown, but she was mysterious in her own way and certainly was intriguing. Not only did she travel around the world in 1890, but she also feigned mental illness in order to get the inside scoop on an insane asylum. I named another cat after her, as well.

By Barbara Belford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Examines the lives and careers of 24 American female journalists from the 1840's to the 1980's and provides examples of their work


Book cover of For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz Age Chicago

Rebecca Frost Author Of Words of a Monster: Analyzing the Writings of H.H. Holmes, America's First Serial Killer

From my list on crimes you've never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I picked up my first book about Jack the Ripper the summer after college and never looked back. Since then my collection of true crime has grown to overflow my office bookshelves and I’ve written a PhD dissertation and multiple books about true crime, focusing on serial killers. The genre is so much more than Bundy, Gacy, and Dahmer and I love talking with people about the less mainstream cases that interest them, and the newer victim-centered approaches that—fingers crossed—mark a change in how we talk about criminals and victims.

Rebecca's book list on crimes you've never heard of

Rebecca Frost Why did Rebecca love this book?

Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb set out to commit the perfect crime and ended up in newspapers as the perpetrators of “the crime of the century.” They kidnapped and murdered a teenage boy in Chicago in 1924, but both Leopold and Loeb were still considered boys themselves at the time. Clarence Darrow defended them at trial, arguing that they were guilty but that the situation had extenuating circumstances. Baatz’s book explores how two college students from good families ended up in prison for murder. Leopold’s family even came from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, near where I currently live, so even though the case is almost 100 years old, it’s not as distant as it might seem.

By Simon Baatz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked For the Thrill of It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was a crime that shocked the nation: the brutal murder in Chicago in 1924 of a child by two wealthy college students who killed solely for the thrill of the experience. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were intellectuals—too smart, they believed, for the police to catch them. When they were apprehended, state's attorney Robert Crowe was certain that no defense could save the ruthless killers from the gallows. But the families of the confessed murderers hired Clarence Darrow, entrusting the lives of their sons to the most famous lawyer in America in what would be one of the most…


Book cover of Eight Faces at Three: A John J. Malone Mystery

Angela M. Sanders Author Of Witch upon a Star

From my list on screwball mysteries from the golden age of detection.

Why am I passionate about this?

Between humor and pathos, I lean humor. Even the saddest, most shocking events—murder, for instance—can be wrapped in kookiness. Combine this outlook with my love of old things (I’m sitting on a 1920s Chinese wedding bed and drinking from an etched Victorian tumbler at this very moment), and you’ll understand why I’m drawn to vintage screwball detective fiction. Although my mystery novels are cozies, I can’t help but infuse them with some of this screwball wackiness. I want readers to laugh, of course, but also to use my stories as springboards to see the hilarity and wonder in their own lives. 

Angela's book list on screwball mysteries from the golden age of detection

Angela M. Sanders Why did Angela love this book?

If screwball detective fiction intrigues you, you must read Craig Rice. Why not start with Eight Faces of Three, the mystery introducing the wacky, rye-soaked team of Jake Justus, Helene Brand, and John Joseph Malone?

Justus is a good-looking press agent and the book’s moral center; Brand is a gorgeous heiress and non-stop partier; and Malone is a stumpy lawyer-slash-PI with good instincts and better luck. Imagine Philip Marlowe meets the Marx Brothers.

In Eight Faces of Three, a young woman awakes to find her aunt murdered, all the house’s clocks set to 3 am, and herself the prime suspect.

Craig Rice was the first mystery writer to grace the cover of Time magazine. Her private life was strewn with ex-husbands and empty booze bottles, and she died way too young at 49.

However, her literary legacy—one critic dubbed her the “Dorothy Parker of detective fiction”—will keep her…

By Craig Rice,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eight Faces at Three as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pioneering woman crime writer Craig Rice introduces her series sleuth, gin-soaked Chicago lawyer John J. Malone

John J. Malone, defender of the guilty, is notorious for getting his culpable clients off. It’s the innocent ones who are problems. Like Holly Inglehart, accused of piercing the black heart of her well-heeled and tyrannical aunt Alexandria with a lovely Florentine paper cutter. No one who knew the old battle-ax liked her, but Holly’s prints were found on the murder weapon. Plus, she had a motive: She was about to be disinherited for marrying a common bandleader.

With each new lurid headline, Holly’s…


Book cover of Leopold and Loeb: The Crime of the Century

Erik Rebain Author Of Arrested Adolescence: The Secret Life of Nathan Leopold

From my list on the Leopold-Loeb case.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been researching the Leopold-Loeb case for around a decade, ever since a documentary sparked my interest back in high school. That sent me on a quest for knowledge: devouring all the books I could find on the subject, before turning to archival collections to look at the primary source material. Flash forward to today and I’ve read thousands of newspaper stories, hundreds of scholarly articles and books on the subject and travelled around the country searching in over 50 archives, trying to understand this case as much as I possibly can. Here’s a list of books I found particularly helpful or inspiring on my journey.

Erik's book list on the Leopold-Loeb case

Erik Rebain Why did Erik love this book?

Despite being published in 1975, Hal Higdon’s book about the Leopold and Loeb case remains the definitive account, at least to me.

If you’re looking for a factual, in-depth look at the crime, investigation, and sentencing hearing, look no further. Higdon was able to interview and correspond with dozens of people who were close to the case and who personally knew the killers and victim. He weaved those recollections into the narrative along with newspaper reports and quotes from the court documents in addition to the rest of his vast research, which gives his book a wonderful richness and depth. 

By Hal Higdon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Among the criminal celebrities of Prohibition-era Chicago, not even Al Capone was more notorious than two well-educated and highly intelligent Jewish boys from wealthy South Side families. In a meticulously planned murder scheme disguised as a kidnapping, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb chose fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks at random as their victim, abandoning his crumpled body in a culvert before his parents had a chance to respond to the ransom demand. Revealing secret testimony and raising questions that have gone unanswered for decades, Hal Higdon separates fact from myth as he unravels the crime, the investigation, and the trial, in which…


Book cover of First in Violence, Deepest in Dirt: Homicide in Chicago, 1875-1920

Peter Boag Author Of Pioneering Death: The Violence of Boyhood in Turn-Of-The-Century Oregon

From my list on death and violence of late-19th-century America.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a student, the Gilded Age bored me to no end. Since then, I have come to understand that the era’s paradoxes, contingencies, and uncertainties are what has created modern America; they have preoccupied my research and writing since. I undertook Pioneering Death as a meditation on how one of the darkest and most intensely personal events—parricide—is both an expected and unexpected outcome of the interconnectedness between place, region, and nation during the Gilded Age. I hope my very select booklist about death, violence, and brutal killings assists you to recognize how these are central to the human condition and how they are foundational to modern America. 

Peter's book list on death and violence of late-19th-century America

Peter Boag Why did Peter love this book?

Lynching is central to the late 19th century and thus the theme that I explore in my recommendations, but Shepherd.com covers this tragic subject elsewhere. Instead, for my last book, I offer Adler’s study that explains the persistently high and even increasing rates of violence and homicide in Chicago during an era when varied modern social controls—urban reform, the discipline of the factory floor, expanding education and the bureaucratic state—swept over that city as they did over America, too. According to older theories about social turbulence and murder, these should have declined. Instead, the opposite was true, though the forms that violence took did change. Perhaps it was Adler’s intention to leave frighteningly unanswered what it is about people generally, and Americans specifically, that the dark impulses they have run so deeply that they are impervious to social control.

By Jeffrey S. Adler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked First in Violence, Deepest in Dirt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between 1875 and 1920, Chicago's homicide rate more than quadrupled, making it the most violent major urban center in the United States--or, in the words of Lincoln Steffens, "first in violence, deepest in dirt." In many ways, however, Chicago became more orderly as it grew. Hundreds of thousands of newcomers poured into the city, yet levels of disorder fell and rates of drunkenness, brawling, and accidental death dropped. But if Chicagoans became less volatile and less impulsive, they also became more homicidal.

Based on an analysis of nearly six thousand homicide cases, First in Violence, Deepest in Dirt examines the…


Book cover of Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power

Clarence Taylor Author Of Fight the Power: African Americans and the Long History of Police Brutality in New York City

From my list on race and policing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor Emeritus of History at Baruch College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  I grew up in Brooklyn, New York during the turbulent decades of the 1950s and 1960s where there were numerous social protest movements against the War in Vietnam, school segregation, and police brutality.  My books explore the men and women who battled institutional racism.

Clarence's book list on race and policing

Clarence Taylor Why did Clarence love this book?

Balto explores how the Chicago police, from 1910 to the 1970s “built an intricate, powerful carceral machinery whose most constitutive feature was an extreme racial selectivity.” Black people are over-policed and under-protected. Balto focuses on policing and anti-blackness. Black Chicagoans’ complaints of torture and “aggressive prevention patrol” by the police went on for decades and was essentially ignored by those in power. Balto tells the story of a racially repressive police force. In two decades, from 1945 to 1965 the Chicago police grew more punitive as the department doubled in size. Black communities were targeted by the CPD, in large part, because black was equated with criminality.

By Simon Balto,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In July 1919, an explosive race riot forever changed Chicago. For years, black southerners had been leaving the South as part of the Great Migration. Their arrival in Chicago drew the ire and scorn of many local whites, including members of the city's political leadership and police department, who generally sympathized with white Chicagoans and viewed black migrants as a problem population. During Chicago's Red Summer riot, patterns of extraordinary brutality, negligence, and discriminatory policing emerged to shocking effect. Those patterns shifted in subsequent decades, but the overall realities of a racially discriminatory police system persisted.

In this history of…


Book cover of Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago

Todd Swanstrom Author Of The Changing American Neighborhood: The Meaning of Place in the Twenty-First Century

From my list on why neighborhoods still matter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, in a neighborhood that was stable, safe, and stimulating. After my freshman year in college, I signed up for an “urban experience” in Detroit. It turned out to be the summer of the Detroit riots. I woke up to U.S. Army vehicles rumbling into the park across from my apartment. Over the next month, I witnessed the looting and burning of whole neighborhoods. I remember thinking:  what a waste! Why are we throwing away neighborhoods like Kleenex? I have been trying to answer that question ever since.   

Todd's book list on why neighborhoods still matter

Todd Swanstrom Why did Todd love this book?

In an age of global warming, Klinenberg’s study of how Chicago did (and did not) cope with a horrible heat wave that hit the city in 1995, killing 739 residents, is more relevant than ever.

He shows how death rates varied hugely across neighborhoods, not so much based on socioeconomic status but on the cohesiveness of the community. In places where neighbors looked in on each other the death rate was lower.

Strong neighborhoods do not just enhance our lives, they can save lives.

By Eric Klinenberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On Thursday, July 13, 1995, Chicagoans awoke to a blistering day on which the temperature would eventually climb to 106 degrees. It was the start of an unprecedented heat wave that would last a full week - and leave more than seven hundred people dead. Rather than view these deaths as the inevitable consequence of natural disaster, sociologist Eric Klinenberg decided to figure out why so many people - and, specifically, so many elderly, poor, and isolated people - died, and to identify the social and political failures that together made the heat wave so deadly. Published to coincide with…


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Interested in Illinois, Chicago, and murder?

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