92 books like Monument Road

By Michael Wiley,

Here are 92 books that Monument Road fans have personally recommended if you like Monument Road. 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 Carolina Moonset

Charles Salzberg Author Of Second Story Man

From my list on memorable, morally complicated characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Charles Salzberg Why did Charles love this book?

Matt Goldman has led an interesting career. His roots are in comedy, having been a successful Hollywood TV writer on shows like Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Ellen. But he made the unlikely career shift becoming a successful crime writer with his Nils Shapiro detective series. Carolina Moonset, his latest, is a standalone novel that tells the story of a young man who visits his family in his childhood home, Beaufort, South Carolina. His father suffers from Lewy Body dementia. He has trouble remembering what he had for breakfast but still connects to rich, childhood memories, some of which concern both a past and present-day crime.

Goldman is especially strong when it comes to depicting a family torn apart by the ravages of this insidious disease. But Goldman skillfully creates a mystery that grabs the reader and won’t let go. As someone who…

By Matt Goldman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Both suspenseful and deeply moving, Carolina Moonset is an engrossing novel about family, memories both golden and terrible, and secrets too dangerous to stay hidden forever, from New York Times bestselling and Emmy Award-winning author, Matt Goldman.

Joey Green has returned to Beaufort, South Carolina, with its palmettos and shrimp boats, to look after his ailing father, who is succumbing to dementia, while his overstressed mother takes a break. Marshall Green’s short-term memory has all but evaporated, but, as if in compensation, his oldest memories are more vivid than ever. His mind keeps slipping backwards in time, retreating into long-ago…


Book cover of Where It Hurts

Charles Salzberg Author Of Second Story Man

From my list on memorable, morally complicated characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Charles Salzberg Why did Charles love this book?

Reed Farrel Coleman, called “a hard-boiled poet,” and a “noir laureate” has written somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty crime novels, including a number of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone novels. One of my favorites is Where it Hurts, which features divorced, retired cop Gus Murphy who’s picked up part-time work as a courtesy van driver for a run-down hotel. The only thing that interrupts his mindless routine comes when ex-con Tommy Delcamino asks Gus to investigate the mysterious death of his son. Coleman is particularly strong when it comes to character. This book especially resonates with me because of Coleman’s ability to dig deep inside his character’s psyche, not only examining how they tick but why they tick. His books, especially this one, are tightly plotted but for me the real attraction is his examination of personal, moral dilemmas. I’m especially attracted to and admiring of Coleman’s books,…

By Reed Farrel Coleman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nominated for the 2017 Edgar Award for Best Novel

From the critically acclaimed and award-winning author comes a gritty, atmospheric new series about the other side of Long Island, far from the wealth of the Hamptons, where real people live—and die. 
 
Gus Murphy thought he had the world all figured out. A retired Suffolk County cop, Gus had everything a man could want: a great marriage, two kids, a nice house, and the rest of his life ahead of him. But when tragedy strikes, his life is thrown into complete disarray. In the course of a single deadly moment, his…


Book cover of Buzz Killer

Charles Salzberg Author Of Second Story Man

From my list on memorable, morally complicated characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Charles Salzberg Why did Charles love this book?

Tom Straw is another one who came to crime writing via a circuitous route. For many years, he’s been a very successful TV writer for shows like Night Court, Nurse Jackie, Grace Under Fire, Craig Ferguson (he still is) but when asked to become “Richard Castle,” the fictional crime writer who works alongside a New York City female cop for the ABC-TV series Castle, he said yes and immediately became a best-selling crime writer. Buzz Killer is the first novel he wrote under his own name and he makes good use of all those skills he honed as a TV writer. NYC public defender Maci Wild takes on the homicide case of a burglar the tabloids call the Buzz Killer because of MO of lobby-buzzing apartments to select his targets. She forms a partnership with Gunnar Cody, an ex-cop from NYPD’s elite surveillance unit. Along the way, they cross…

By Tom Straw,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Tom Straw, the author of seven New York Times Bestsellers writing as Richard Castle, comes BUZZ KILLER, his first mystery since the Nikki Heat series.

New York City public defender Macie Wild takes the homicide case of a burglar the tabloids nickname the Buzz Killer for his MO of lobby-buzzing apartments to select his targets. But when he is the victim of an attempted jailhouse killing and then someone tries to kill Macie, her murder case reveals itself to be something bigger.

Stonewalled by a hostile DA and shut down by a code of silence from the Buzz Killer’s…


Book cover of The Line That Held Us

Charles Salzberg Author Of Second Story Man

From my list on memorable, morally complicated characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Charles Salzberg 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…


Book cover of Notes on an Execution

Angela Lam Author Of No Amends

From my list on sociopaths and liars.

Why am I passionate about this?

Why am I an expert on recommending books about sociopaths and liars? I unknowingly shared a life with one for five years. Shattered, I grappled with the aftermath of deception. How could I have been duped for so long? Through therapy and reading, I discovered many smart, compassionate people fall hard for the charismatic charm and convincing stories sociopaths tell to get whatever it is they want from whomever they want it. Without a conscious and incapable of feeling, they often latch onto someone with high morals and emotional intelligence in the hopes of learning how to mirror those attributes only to destroy the ones who love them the most.

Angela's book list on sociopaths and liars

Angela Lam Why did Angela love this book?

Notes on an Execution gutted me as a reader. I became the sociopath on death row with only 12 hours to live.

I listened to the women in my life talk about me, from my mother who didn’t understand why I brought her dead animals instead of flowers to my wife who trusted me beyond reason to my brother’s family in whom I had finally found a home until that detective snatched it away from me, leaving me with nothing.

If you want to get into the mind of someone wired differently, this book will take you there until the end.

By Danya Kukafka,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Notes on an Execution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE 2023 EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL • NEW YORK TIMES BEST CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR

“Defiantly populated with living women . . . beautifully drawn, dense with detail and specificity . . . Notes on an Execution is nuanced, ambitious and compelling.” —Katie Kitamura, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW (Editors' Choice)

"A searing portrait of the complicated women caught in the orbit of a serial killer. . . . Compassionate and thought-provoking." –BRIT BENNETT, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Half

Recommended by New York Times Book Review • Los…


Book cover of Paper Butterflies

Deborah Crossland Author Of The Quiet Part Out Loud

From my list on YA that made me cry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved story since I was little, and I’ve curated a life where it has always taken center stage in some or another. I was a high school English teacher for ten years, and have been a college professor for eight. But what really inspires me to write the books I do is my PhD in mythological studies. As a mythologist, I’m lucky enough to be able to see why stories resonate with us for so long and use those same themes and metaphors to write my own. 

Deborah's book list on YA that made me cry

Deborah Crossland Why did Deborah love this book?

I first read this book pre-publication in 2016, and I still think about it at least once a week.

The story is a haunting portrayal of a girl lost in a blended family with a stepmother who treats her worse than Cinderella and a father who only wants to see the shiny surface of his shiny new family. It’s told in a then/now timeline which slowly reveals not only what June did to land her on death row but the abuse she endured that got her there. This one is heavy, but oh so worth the read.

By Lisa Heathfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one―and a secret one. Not even her dad knows the truth, and she can't find the words to tell anyone else. She's trapped like a butterfly in a net. Then June meets Blister, a boy from a large, loving, chaotic family. In him, she finds a glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away. Because she deserves her freedom. Doesn't she?


Book cover of The Green Mile

J.G. Schwartz Author Of The Curious Spell of Madam Genova

From my list on making you believe in the paranormal.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was 13, I paid 25 cents to see a mysterious fortune teller at a local carnival. She predicted I would marry a tall, handsome man, and then she paused and told me my next-door neighbor would soon break his arm. Within a week, my neighbor, Jack, dressed in his Superman costume, jumped off his roof and broke his arm. I was impressionable – and impressed. Since that time, I have been fascinated with fortune tellers and the magic that surrounds them as well as books based on magical realism and the paranormal. Oh, and by the way, I did marry a tall, handsome man.

J.G.'s book list on making you believe in the paranormal

J.G. Schwartz Why did J.G. love this book?

Be prepared. If you want a good cry, this book is for you, as it has one of the saddest endings of any novel I have read.

The Green Mile is the riveting and tragic story of John Coffee, a giant, gentle inmate with supernatural powers, condemned to death for the rape and murder of twin nine-year-old girls.

Coffee is a simple and kind man with a deathly fear of the dark. Your heart will break. Mine did. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stephen King's iconic horror masterpiece. An international bestselling and highly acclaimed novel, a must-read for any horror fan, also a hugely successful film starring Tom Hanks.

The Green Mile: those who walk it do not return, because at the end of that walk is the room in which sits Cold Mountain penitentiary's electric chair. In 1932 the newest resident on death row is John Coffey, a giant black man convicted of the brutal murder of two little girls. But nothing is as it seems with John Coffey, and around him unfolds a bizarre and horrifying story.

Evil murderer or holy…


Book cover of The Executioner's Song

Rick R. Reed Author Of The Man from Milwaukee

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

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Rick R. Reed 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?

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ANDREW O'HAGAN

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 Speed Queen

Evan Purcell Author Of Followed by Fear

From my list on women on the run.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written an equal amount of horror and romance, including books, podcasts, and screenplays. I love both genres equally, but I’m most drawn to stories that strike a nice balance between the two. Danger makes the romance less cheesy, and romance gives the thriller side more meaning. As an ESL teacher who has worked everywhere, from Bhutan to Zanzibar, I also love discovering new places. Some of my favorite books take their characters to new locations, forcing them to discover the hidden dangers and pleasant surprises that every place has to offer.

Evan's book list on women on the run

Evan Purcell Why did Evan love this book?

A huge departure from the previous books on this list, this book is a full-on thrill ride with one of the coolest narrative devices I’ve ever seen: A woman on death row narrates her supposed cross-country killing spree to a horror author who’s interested in adapting her life story.

She’s a fascinating woman, telling her story in a way that constantly challenged me to figure out what parts of her on-the-run narrative are real. She’s surprisingly sympathetic, even when she’s doing awful things.

I devoured this book in one sitting and haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

By Stewart O'Nan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stewart O'Nan is one of the most highly acclaimed fiction writers of his generation, selected by Granta as one of the Best Young American Novelists and hailed by The New York Times as "a master." Grove Press is proud to reissue his haunting noir novel The Speed Queen. The Speed Queen is the gripping story of a twisted love triangle's drug-fueled killing spree across the desert plains, told in the voice of Oklahoma death-row inmate Marjorie Standiford, who is recounting her experiences for a best-selling horror writer researching the murders. It's a chilling, unputdownable crime novel in the tradition of…


Book cover of The Enchanted

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?

A bookseller friend, whose opinions I highly respect, had highly recommended Rene Denfeld’s debut, so The Enchanted very quickly catapulted to the top of my To-Read List. And I was instantly enchanted by the luscious language, the urgent content, the writer’s ability to fuse metaphorical darkness and light. Told from the perspective of a death row inmate, the writing seamlessly flows from gritty reality to breathtaking fantasy. I wasn’t surprised to learn of Rene’s extensive time in prisons (often on death row) as a public defender’s chief investigator, or that her keen understanding of trauma in childhood came from her own firsthand experience, as the text is drenched in arresting truths, in transgression and redemption, and in the complicated and wondrous humanity of us all.

By Rene Denfeld,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'THE ENCHANTED wrapped its beautiful and terrible fingers around me from the first page and refused to let go after the last. A wondrous book... so dark, yet so exquisite.' Erin Morgentern, author of The Night Circus

A prisoner sits on death row in a maximum security prison. His only escape from his harsh existence is through the words he dreams about, the world he conjures around him using the power of language. For the reality of his world is brutal and stark. He is not named, nor do we know his crime. But he listens. He listens to the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in death row, miscarriages of justices, and murder?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about death row, miscarriages of justices, and murder.

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