63 books like Killings

By Calvin Trillin,

Here are 63 books that Killings fans have personally recommended if you like Killings. 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 Violent Land: Single Men and Social Disorder from the Frontier to the Inner City

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

From my list on why people sometimes kill one another.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Martin Daly Why did Martin love this book?

Florida-based historian David Courtwright is best known for his analyses of the history of drug addiction and the drug business in the United States, but this volume is a fact-filled page-turner on America's lethal violence problem. Courtwright describes a frontier culture in which a reputation for violent capability was an essential social asset and persuasively explicates its similarities with the situation that faces single young men in America's underserved inner cities to this day. The interdisciplinary scope of Courtwright's scholarship guarantees that any reader will learn a great deal from his book. I found it unputdownable.   

By David T. Courtwright,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book offers a look at violence in America - why it is so prevalent, and what and who are responsible. David Cartwright takes the long view of his subject, developing the historical patterns of violence and disorder in this country. Where there is violent and disorderly behaviour, he shows, there are plenty of men, largely young and single. What began in the mining camp and bunkhouse has simply continued in the urban world of today, where many young, armed, intoxicated, honour-conscious bachelors have reverted to frontier conditions. "Violent Land" combines social science with a narrative that spans and reinterprets…


Book cover of When Men Murder Women

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

From my list on why people sometimes kill one another.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Martin Daly 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…


Book cover of Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

Geoffrey C. Fuller Author Of The WVU Coed Murders: Who Killed Mared and Karen?

From my list on crime exploring more than the crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m always intrigued by certain kinds of crime stories, but usually not by the crimes themselves. Straightforward whodunits bore me, and simplistic retellings of the hero myth just strike me as wrong. About thirty years ago, I began to wonder why—which crime stories intrigue me and which seem more like exercises in voyeurism. Turns out the stories I really get into wrap me in previously unseen worlds. They offer a fresh take, bring up unexpected considerations, present a new way to view the crime, or demonstrate why what I’d always thought was mistaken or insufficient. Such books present the crime, but contain much more than the crime.

Geoffrey's book list on crime exploring more than the crime

Geoffrey C. Fuller Why did Geoffrey love this book?

Baltimore Sun crime reporter David Simon practically lived with the Baltimore City police to produce Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets.

I love the writing, which is clean but descriptive. In the thirty years since it came out, this book has often been imitated but is still without rival. He wasn’t reporting stories I’d heard before (good guys chasing bad guys), and the social forces that the book explored (individual and institutional) were palpably real and never drawn in one dimension.

The contents inspired decades of television, from network TV’s Homicide: Life on the Street to The Wire, arguably the best police procedural ever produced. As a fan of both shows, I was drawn to this source material, which was layered with cynicism, hope, and dark humor.

By David Simon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the creator of HBO's The Wire, the classic book about homicide investigation that became the basis for the hit television show

The scene is Baltimore. Twice every three days another citizen is shot, stabbed, or bludgeoned to death. At the center of this hurricane of crime is the city's homicide unit, a small brotherhood of hard men who fight for whatever justice is possible in a deadly world.

David Simon was the first reporter ever to gain unlimited access to a homicide unit, and this electrifying book tells the true story of a year on the violent streets of…


Book cover of Maria Murder and Suicide

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

From my list on why people sometimes kill one another.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Martin Daly Why did Martin love this book?

People share a complex core of humanity that transcends cultural differences. Rather than being incomprehensibly strange, the passions that move people in "exotic" societies are all too familiar. Compendia of homicide cases in tribal societies that are in many ways different from the one we inhabit support this claim, and my 5th pick is a particularly readable example. Anthropologist Verrier Elwin amassed court records on 107 homicides among the "Bison-Horn Maria" of central India in the first half of the 20th century. The Maria then lived as slash-and-burn horticulturalists and part-time hunter-gatherers, and were, like other "tribals," left to their own devices by the British Raj unless a violent death provoked state intervention. The killings described here are tragic, and the protagonists, though sparsely introduced, fully human.     

By Verrier Elwin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After providing a brief sketch of Maria life and custom, Elwin goes on to examine the records of one hundred cases of murder and fifty cases of suicide, and finally makes valuable suggestions for improving the treatment of aboriginal in jail. The commonest motives for crime among the Bison-horn Maria were found to be sexual jealousy and resentment or shame caused by public rebuke; fatigue and the use of alcohol were also found to be factors.


Book cover of Win By Two: A Kansas City Drug Dealer, a Private School Teacher, and the Game That Linked Them Together

John Willkom Author Of Walk-On Warrior: Drive, Discipline, and the Will to Win

From my list on inspiration.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former Division 1 basketball player at Marquette University and current ecommerce executive, I’m always looking for new sources of inspiration. Please enjoy my list and send me any comments on what you find inspiring!

John's book list on inspiration

John Willkom Why did John love this book?

Win By Two is the true story about a Kansas City drug dealer and a private school teacher, bonded together through basketball. This is a powerful story about race, leadership, and what can happen when people get outside of their comfort zones and build bridges in their community. It also challenges our internal biases that we may not even know exist.

By Adam Donyes, Derrick Derrell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Win By Two as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A drug dealer, who grew up in the urban core of Kansas City. A private school teacher who grew up in San Diego and dared to hire a convicted felon as his assistant coach. And the game that saved both their lives. A drama so powerful no storyteller would script the details that unfold. It all starts in a crack house on the west side of the Paseo, and in a broken low income home in east San Diego. It unfolds in a private school gymnasium, a state penitentiary, a chapel in downtown Kansas City, the Johnson County Suburbs, and…


Book cover of East of Troost

Jill McCroskey Coupe Author Of Beginning with Cannonballs

From my list on interracial friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having grown up in segregated Knoxville, TN, I've often wondered what having a black friend as a child would have been like. My MFA thesis, in the 1980s, was a novella about just such a friendship. A small group of my (white) MFA classmates insisted that I could not, should not write about black characters. Although I believed them to be mistaken, I put my thesis away and haven’t looked at it since. About ten years ago, I decided to try again. I took an early draft of a new novel to a workshop with John Dufresne, who encouraged me to continue. The result was Beginning with Cannonballs, which received positive reviews and won the 2021 IPPY Silver Medal for Multicultural Fiction. 

Jill's book list on interracial friendship

Jill McCroskey Coupe Why did Jill love this book?

I’d never read a novel like this. The chapters are similar to diary entries, telling the fictional story of a middle-aged white woman who moves into her childhood home. Over the years, due to “city planning,” East of Troost (an actual neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri) has become nearly all-black. Readers will wonder: Why the heck did the narrator decide to move back there? How will she be treated? Will she have any friends? You’ll enjoy finding out. 

By Ellen Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Under the guise of a starting-over story, this novel deals with subtle racism today, overt racism in the past, and soul-searching about what to do about it in everyday living.

East of Troost's fictional narrator has moved back to her childhood home in a neighborhood that is now mostly Black and vastly changed by an expressway that displaced hundreds of families. It is the area located east of Troost Avenue, an invisible barrier created in the early 1900s to keep the west side of Kansas City white, "safely" cordoned off from the Black families on the east side.

When the…


Book cover of Maybe Next Year

David S. Pederson Author Of Murder at Union Station

From my list on gay characters navigating difficult life changes.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a gay writer who has navigated some difficult life changes of my own, including cancer, a gay bashing, and the death of an early love, I always enjoy finding writers whose gay characters must deal with their own challenging life issues. Whether it's a coming-of-age tale, a puzzling mystery, or a suspenseful fantasy, each character comes to terms with accepting who he is in an often hostile world.

David's book list on gay characters navigating difficult life changes

David S. Pederson Why did David love this book?

Maybe Next Year, by Dave Hughes, a coming-of-age love story of two young men that touched my heart. It's all about Bryan and Chris, two high school guys that have been best friends for several years, and what happens when they discover their feelings for each other are more than friendship. They come from two very different family backgrounds and will have a lot to navigate.

By Dave Hughes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maybe Next Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bryan and Chris are high school juniors who have been inseparable best friends for three years. Now, they are discovering that their feelings for each other run much deeper than mere friendship.

Chris, whose open-minded family is completely supportive, is ready and able to live his life out and proud. For Bryan, whose father is the pastor of a very conservative mega-church in a Kansas City suburb, being gay simply isn’t an option. Bryan hopes that maybe next year when they leave Kansas to go to college together, he will be able to live more openly. In the meantime, they…


Book cover of The Deep End

Sally Berneathy Author Of Death by Chocolate

From my list on reads that make murder fun.

Why am I passionate about this?

1995 - “Write what you know,” Mark Twain advised. I’d been married three times. I wrote romances. 2012 - “Write what you know.” I’d been divorced three times and fantasized about murdering my ex. Only massive doses of chocolate kept my finger off the trigger. Hence…Death by Chocolate.

Sally's book list on reads that make murder fun

Sally Berneathy Why did Sally love this book?

The Deep End is funny, pensive, and suspenseful. The plot is intriguing, the characters are unique and fascinating.

The setting is 1974 Kansas City. Julie takes us back to this era with all its fun and quirkiness and introduces us to the elite world of the Country Club along with the people who share the same problems as the rest of us.

The first paragraph will hook you! “My morning swim doesn’t usually involve corpses. If it did, I’d give up swimming for something less stressful like coaxing cobras out of baskets or my mother out of bed before ten.”   

By Julie Mulhern,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

INTRIGUING PLOT, FASCINATING CHARACTERS... "Part mystery, part women's fiction, part poetry, Mulhern's debut, The Deep End, will draw you in with the first sentence and entrance you until the last. An engaging whodunit that kept me guessing until the end!" - Tracy Weber, Author of the Downward Dog Mysteries Sub-Genre Keywords: Humorous Mystery, Historical Mystery, Whodunnit, Amateur Sleuth, Women Sleuths Swimming into the lifeless body of her husband's mistress tends to ruin a woman's day, but becoming a murder suspect can ruin her whole life. It's 1974 and Ellison Russell's life revolves around her daughter and her art. She's long…


Book cover of Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas after Reconstruction

Charlotte Hinger Author Of Nicodemus

From my list on African Americans in the West after the Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a multi-award-winning novelist and Kansas historian. Through reading letters written by African Americans in Kansas, I realized that black people were a major political force. In fact, with the settlement of Nicodemus, for the first time in American history, enough black people had gathered in one place to dominate political decisions and prevail over the white community. No one had told the story of the three black powerhouses who shaped politics on a county, state, and national level. I was thrilled when University of Oklahoma Press published my academic book. It won second place in the Westerner’s International Best Book contest.

Charlotte's book list on African Americans in the West after the Civil War

Charlotte Hinger Why did Charlotte love this book?

I’m a native Kansan. I have a special appreciation for books about my beloved state. So, finding this superb work about African Americans moved me to tears. Painter writes about the great migration from the South after the Civil War. Kansas was literally regarded as “The Promised Land” due to the Homestead Act and the promise of free land. Painter is unflinching in her telling of the violence that occurred to prevent black people from leaving. The Exodus to Kansas was feverish and dangerous. She tells of heroics required to leave the South, due to black people's “fear of future evil, and their dread of renewed slavery.” 

By Nell Irvin Painter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first major migration to the North of ex-slaves.


Book cover of A Maiden's Grave

Michael Prescott Author Of Tears for the Dead

From my list on crime thrillers that offer more than just thrills.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since taking a college course in film noir, I've been in love with the cigarette-smoking, fedora-wearing, wisecracking tough guys (and gals) who inhabit the darkest corners of the modern world’s back alleys. The protagonist of Tears for the Dead, Bonnie Parker – named for the distaff half of Bonnie and Clyde – is my modest way of paying homage to this tradition, and incidentally having a lot of fun in the process.

Michael's book list on crime thrillers that offer more than just thrills

Michael Prescott Why did Michael love this book?

I might have picked A Maiden’s Grave for the title alone, though you’ll have to read it to learn the subtle double meaning packed into those three words. But of course there’s a lot more to this fast-paced story of a school for the deaf caught in the crossfire of a police standoff. Jeffery Deaver deftly intertwines full-bodied characters, crackling tension, and emotionally affecting backstories. Reading it, I realized that it could have been a pretty ordinary police procedural and that only the author’s determination to add layers of depth and detail lifted it to a new level. 

By Jeffery Deaver,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Maiden's Grave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

DEAVER. DANGEROUSLY GOOD.

When a trio of desperate convicts hijack a bus carrying a group of deaf and mute schoolgirls, everyone is braced for a terrible tragedy.

FBI agent Arthur Potter is flown in to negotiate. But he has competition: local police, state troopers, politicians and the media are swarming. Not everyone has the same agenda.

And the killers will murder one innocent child an hour, on the hour, until their demands are met...

'A real chiller, seething with violence and heart-stopping tension' Sunday Telegraph


5 book lists we think you will like!

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