10 books like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

By John Berendt,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Devil in the White City

By Erik Larson,

Book cover of The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

The Devil in the White City transported me back in time, to the 1893 World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago. I love the way the author wove together the history of the exposition and the story of a serial killer who got away with murder, just miles away from the lavish world’s fair. Erik Larson is a skillful storyteller and the juxtaposition of art, history, and horror made this book hard to put down.   

The Devil in the White City

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Devil in the White City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Chicago World Fair was the greatest fair in American history. This is the story of the men and women whose lives it irrevocably changed and of two men in particular- an architect and a serial killer. The architect is Daniel Burnham, a man of great integrity and depth. It was his vision of the fair that attracted the best minds and talents of the day. The killer is Henry H. Holmes. Intelligent as well as handsome and charming, Holmes opened a boarding house which he advertised as 'The World's Fair Hotel' Here in the neighbourhood where he was once…

In Cold Blood

By Truman Capote,

Book cover of In Cold Blood

Always on the Top 100 Lists of Best Books Ever, Capote's masterpiece tells the story of the senseless, brutal killing of a rural Kansas farming family in 1959. It is beautifully written from start to finish, and in a somewhat understated way. He defines his book as a “nonfiction novel,” employing fictional storytelling devices based on actual facts of the murder investigation and the various colorful town characters. Gripping and unrelentingly emotional, this book will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

In Cold Blood

By Truman Capote,

Why should I read it?

10 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…


Beloved

By Toni Morrison,

Book cover of Beloved

My final pick is not technically a horror novel. It’s usually classified as literary fiction, however; it starts with a haunted house. The first sentence in the novel is, “124 was spiteful.” 124 refers to the house’s address or house number. The family believes is the spirit of one of their children who died at the age of two named Beloved. Later, the house’s presence leaves, and a strange, adult visitor arrives calling herself Beloved. The novel’s setting is during the Reconstruction Period after the Civil War. There are flashbacks to when slavery was legal, and we see the violent, graphic end of the child named Beloved. Though not in the horror genre, this novel still offers real-life horror meeting the supernatural.

Beloved

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Toni Morrison was a giant of her times and ours... Beloved is a heart-breaking testimony to the ongoing ravages of slavery, and should be read by all' Margaret Atwood, New York Times

Discover this beautiful gift edition of Toni Morrison's prize-winning contemporary classic Beloved

It is the mid-1800s and as slavery looks to be coming to an end, Sethe is haunted by the violent trauma it wrought on her former enslaved life at Sweet Home, Kentucky. Her dead baby daughter, whose tombstone bears the single word, Beloved, returns as a spectre to punish her mother, but also to elicit her…


The Man From the Cave

By Colin Fletcher,

Book cover of The Man From the Cave

Mysteries also are a part of historical true crime, including people who were (or still are) missing and/or those who lived under changed identities. In the Nevada desert in 1968, Fletcher literally bumped into a trunk filled with decades-old possessions. Whose were they? Fletcher then documented his own investigation as he managed to find newspaper articles and National Archive records to piece together an old prospector's life. Armchair sleuths and others who are proficient in searching the internet today will find this book is a real eye-opener, as it shows what it was like to reconstruct a person's hidden life, without even getting online. For Fletcher, the process evolved a bonus –– a spiritual adventure of his own.

The Man From the Cave

By Colin Fletcher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man From the Cave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Clueless in New England

By Michael C. Dooling,

Book cover of Clueless in New England: The Unsolved Disappearances of Paula Welden, Connie Smith and Katherine Hull

Dooling's nonfiction account of the searches for a girl and two women who disappeared in New England in the 1940s and 1950s is another good example of weaving together true crime and historic context. Only one of the victims' remains have been found, but all of the victims may have met up with the still-unknown killer. In addition to covering the missing person searches as they were conducted in their times, Dooling provides new hope by looking back on these cases with twenty-first-century eyes.  

Clueless in New England

By Michael C. Dooling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Clueless in New England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Cicada Tree

By Robert Gwaltney,

Book cover of The Cicada Tree

Let’s start with the gorgeous cover…combined with the title, it reeled me right in. What is it about this book? It’s the language: the author’s use of language is so mesmerizing and even astonishing. It makes the reader just fall right into the story and not want to leave. It’s the characterization. One example: the author has created exactly what it feels like to be in a little girl’s head as she faces down mean girls. It’s the intricate play of different themes and plotlines. The book ends up being a mash-up of mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction with a Southern gothic underlay. The final showdown scene has all the elements rolled together with a supernatural twist. It’s a stunner. By the end of the novel, it is finally understood exactly what “that Mayfield shine” is all about. 

The Cicada Tree

By Robert Gwaltney,

Why should I read it?

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


Killers of the Flower Moon

By David Grann,

Book cover of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

David Grann “stumbled upon” this sordid mystery, in the process reviving forgotten crimes committed in the 1920s. Killers of the Flower Moon centers on lucrative oil rights pegged to reservation land out West owned by the Osage Indian tribe, whose members begin turning up dead under suspicious circumstances. Questions go unanswered for years until J. Edgar Hoover’s nascent FBI takes over the investigation.

The closing chapters are a coda of sorts about lingering racial injustice. Grann enters the narrative, but pulls it off without becoming a distraction. Killers of the Flower Moon is a compelling, important read and now would be a good time to dive in. The pandemic-delayed movie—directed by Martin Scorcese and starring Robert DiNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio—hits theaters this spring.

Killers of the Flower Moon

By David Grann,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Killers of the Flower Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST FACT CRIME
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NON-FICTION
SHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION
**SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY MARTIN SCORSESE STARRING LEONARDO DICAPRIO AND ROBERT DE NIRO**

'A riveting true story of greed, serial murder and racial injustice' JON KRAKAUER
'A fiercely entertaining mystery story and a wrenching exploration of evil' KATE ATKINSON
'A fascinating account of a tragic and forgotten chapter in the history of the American West' JOHN GRISHAM

From the bestselling author of The Lost City of Z,…

Winter's Bone

By Daniel Woodrell,

Book cover of Winter's Bone

For a taste of modern-day Southern Gothic, read this.

Set in the Ozarks, 17-year-old protagonist, Ree Dolly, takes up the mantle of caretaker and survival overseer for her family after her father disappears. Epic in its mix of family secrets, general despair, and societal ignorance, Winter’s Bone serves up humanity at its worst: the underbelly of the meth world in the forgotten parts of our country. And yet, the will to survive is strong in Ree. 

I can tell you from experience, this backwoods life still exists in places today.

Winter's Bone

By Daniel Woodrell,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Winter's Bone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


A Rose for Emily

By William Faulkner,

Book cover of A Rose for Emily

I like to start with an easy read to slide into the Southern Gothic genre. While a macabre or grotesque element is required, mysticism—or even magical realism—is not required to label a work as a Southern Gothic, though many Southern Gothic pieces hold hauntings front and center. 

A Rose for Emily is a short story, an allegory for the stuck ways of the old South, wherein at the funeral of an elderly, reclusive woman the town recalls her lifetime of idiosyncrasies. And shortly thereafter, they find harrowing evidence of her true nature. The tale is a quick read from the master of Southern Gothic and is all that one needs to spark the desire to descend into the genre.

A Rose for Emily

By William Faulkner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Rose for Emily as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Destiny of the Republic

By Candice Millard,

Book cover of Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

How much do you know about President Garfield, except perhaps the fact that he was assassinated? Neither did I, until I read Candice Millard’s fascinating book, a true-crime story that details how a madman became unhinged and shot Garfield, a good, honorable man who might have gone on to do great things if only his doctors had left him alone. My book is about a lesser-known but equally admirable and patriotic man who came to a cruel and tragic end, and who deserved to have his story told.

Destiny of the Republic

By Candice Millard,

Why should I read it?

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


5 book lists we think you will like!

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