100 books like Nobody Is Ever Missing

By Catherine Lacey,

Here are 100 books that Nobody Is Ever Missing fans have personally recommended if you like Nobody Is Ever Missing. 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 Outline

Bridget van der Zijpp Author Of I Laugh Me Broken

From my list on women who travel far from home to gain perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of three novels that all explore contemporary notions of fidentity. In 2016 I received a scholarship to travel from New Zealand to Berlin for three months and fell in love with the city. I ended up staying there for nearly four years, until the pandemic started. As a writer I liked the way that being detached from your regular life, and living in a country where you are unfamiliar with the language and the rules, makes you alert to the quirks. It helps you to gain a fresh perspective about the place that you came from, and also the place that you are in.

Bridget's book list on women who travel far from home to gain perspective

Bridget van der Zijpp Why did Bridget love this book?

This book, the first in Rachel Cusk’s famous trilogy, was a revelation to me because it feels so radically unstructured but at the same time is fascinating in its form.

The narrator travels to Athens to teach a summer writing course but the details about her are kept so sketchy that we only really get to know her through the way she receives what others tell her. Faye is brilliantly observant, and only gradually do you begin to realise, as a reader, that the author is subtly meditating on a series of themes through these conversations, mostly about disappointments and divorces.

By Rachel Cusk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first in Rachel Cusk's critically-acclaimed trilogy, shortlisted for the Folio Prize and the Goldsmith Prize and longlisted for the IMPAC Prize.

Outline is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and lucid, it follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing over an oppressively hot summer in Athens. She leads her student in storytelling exercises. She meets other writers for dinner. She goes swimming in the Ionian Sea with her seatmate from the place. The people she encounters speak volubly about themselves, their fantasies, anxieties, pet theories, regrets, and longings. And through these disclosures, a portrait of the narrator…


Book cover of August Blue

Bridget van der Zijpp Author Of I Laugh Me Broken

From my list on women who travel far from home to gain perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of three novels that all explore contemporary notions of fidentity. In 2016 I received a scholarship to travel from New Zealand to Berlin for three months and fell in love with the city. I ended up staying there for nearly four years, until the pandemic started. As a writer I liked the way that being detached from your regular life, and living in a country where you are unfamiliar with the language and the rules, makes you alert to the quirks. It helps you to gain a fresh perspective about the place that you came from, and also the place that you are in.

Bridget's book list on women who travel far from home to gain perspective

Bridget van der Zijpp Why did Bridget love this book?

Deborah Levy’s novels are often set in places where the location becomes a character – blazing hot Spain in Hot Milk, south of France in Swimming Home – but also estrangement unsettles her characters enough to begin to really consider who they are.

In her latest, August Blue, Elsa is a classical piano prodigy, still reeling from a catastrophic concert, when she sees her doppelganger in an Athens flea market. The encounter triggers gauzy memories of her upbringing, as she travels to Paris, to London, and then to Sardinia where the man who adopted her at the age of six and nurtured her talent is dying.

Each place is so viscerally described, I wanted to be physically there as Levy drops obscure metaphorical clues about Elsa’s true identity. 

By Deborah Levy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The mesmerising new novel from the twice Booker-shortlisted author of Hot Milk and Swimming Home

At the height of her career, concert pianist Elsa M. Anderson - former child prodigy, now in her thirties - walks off the stage in Vienna, mid-performance.

Now she is in Athens, watching as another young woman, a stranger but uncannily familiar - almost her double - purchases a pair of mechanical dancing horses at a flea market. Elsa wants the horses too, but there are no more for sale. She drifts to the ferry port, on the run from her talent and her history.…


Book cover of Forest Dark

Bridget van der Zijpp Author Of I Laugh Me Broken

From my list on women who travel far from home to gain perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of three novels that all explore contemporary notions of fidentity. In 2016 I received a scholarship to travel from New Zealand to Berlin for three months and fell in love with the city. I ended up staying there for nearly four years, until the pandemic started. As a writer I liked the way that being detached from your regular life, and living in a country where you are unfamiliar with the language and the rules, makes you alert to the quirks. It helps you to gain a fresh perspective about the place that you came from, and also the place that you are in.

Bridget's book list on women who travel far from home to gain perspective

Bridget van der Zijpp Why did Bridget love this book?

Suffering from writer’s block, a novelist leaves her husband and children in Brooklyn and checks into the Tel Aviv Hilton to be near the pool from her childhood holidays.

Away from her usual domesticity, she considers where her choices have lead her: “What if, I thought, rather than existing in a universal space, each of us is actually born alone into a luminous blankness, and it’s we who snip it into pieces, assembling staircases and gardens and train stations in our own peculiar fashion, until we have pared our space into a world?”

This novel has many strands, but I loved how the writer is drawn into a mystery surrounding Kafka’s estate, with an elderly cat hoarder claiming legal rights to his unpublished papers. All the more alluring because it is based in truth.

By Nicole Krauss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

CHOSEN AS BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE OBSERVER, NEW YORKER, NEW YORK TIMES BOOKS REVIEW, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT AND THE TIMES 'Lucid and exhilarating ... A great gift' New York Review of Books 'Tantalizes and compels ... A welcome reminder of how a novel can be defiantly and brilliantly novel' Douglas Kennedy, New Statesman Jules Epstein has vanished: first slowly, then all at once. He begins divesting himself of all of his worldly possessions. Now he's fallen off the face of the earth, and all the search parties can find is his empty monogrammed briefcase, abandoned in the Judean…


Book cover of Crudo

Bridget van der Zijpp Author Of I Laugh Me Broken

From my list on women who travel far from home to gain perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of three novels that all explore contemporary notions of fidentity. In 2016 I received a scholarship to travel from New Zealand to Berlin for three months and fell in love with the city. I ended up staying there for nearly four years, until the pandemic started. As a writer I liked the way that being detached from your regular life, and living in a country where you are unfamiliar with the language and the rules, makes you alert to the quirks. It helps you to gain a fresh perspective about the place that you came from, and also the place that you are in.

Bridget's book list on women who travel far from home to gain perspective

Bridget van der Zijpp Why did Bridget love this book?

A Kirkus review aptly described this novel as “mysterious, bizarre, frustrating, weirdly smart and pretty cool”. 

It’s mostly a fiercely intelligent exploration of both political and personal crises in 2017, the year of Trump and Brexit. Radical feminist Kathy has also fairly inexplicably agreed to get married. Pre-wedding she travels to a resort in Italy with her fiancé where she tumbles through a range of highly-emotive stances on intimacy and closeness.

After an argument about prosciutto and fig ciabattas with her husband “she hated him, she hated any kind of warmth or dependency, she wanted to take up residence as an ice cube in a long glass of aqua frizzante.”  Her fury quickly dissolves “anyway they sorted it out” and the novel travels brilliantly onwards.

By Olivia Laing,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"She had no idea what to do with love, she experienced it as invasion, as the prelude to loss and pain, she really didn't have a clue."

Kathy is a writer. Kathy is getting married. It's the summer of 2017 and the whole world is falling apart. Fast-paced and frantic, Crudo unfolds in real time from the full-throttle perspective of a commitment-phobic artist who may or may not be Kathy Acker.

From a Tuscan hotel for the superrich to a Brexit-paralyzed United Kingdom, Kathy spends the first summer of her forties adjusting to the idea of a lifelong commitment. But…


Book cover of Birnam Wood

J.M. Donellan Author Of Rumors of Her Death

From my list on a list for liars and people who deal with them.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first started lying as a child and was fascinated to discover that the art of deception could turn into full-time employment as either a politician or an author (I choose the one with moderately better hours and substantially worse pay). As someone who crafts elaborate lies for the purposes of entertainment, I remain fascinated by people who lie for nefarious ends, something I swear I’d never do. (Except for the time I snuck into a music festival by pretending to be one of the catering staff, earning me the dubious distinction of being one of very few people to ever appear in a Metallica moshpit wearing a waiter’s uniform.) 

J.M.'s book list on a list for liars and people who deal with them

J.M. Donellan Why did J.M. love this book?

I’ve always been confused by the longstanding misconception that thrillers can’t be thematically complex and literary novels can’t be briskly plotted page turners. Birnam Wood is one of many excellent examples of a book that accomplishes both.

Catton’s novel covers activism, climate change, class struggle, idealism vs pragmatism, and a range of other related themes all while moving at a cracking pace and unleashing a thrilling, pulse-pounding plot. Some characters are lying by omission, others for the sake of preservation, others for the sake of self-interest. The result is a deliciously deceptive story where you aren’t sure who to trust or who the villains and heroes are until well into the second act.

Birnam Wood will have you alternating between thoughtfully stroking your chin, gasping in shock, and screaming in horror.

By Eleanor Catton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER & NATIONAL INDIE BESTSELLER

“Birnam Wood is terrific. As a multilayered, character-driven thriller, it’s as good as it gets. Ruth Rendell would have loved it. A beautifully textured work―what a treat.” ―Stephen King

“A generational cri de coeur . . . A sophisticated page-turner . . . Birnam Wood nearly made me laugh with pleasure. The whole thing crackles . . . Greta Gerwig could film this novel, but so could Quentin Tarantino.” ―Dwight Garner, The New York Times

The Booker Prize–winning author of The Luminaries brings us Birnam Wood, a gripping thriller of high drama and…


Book cover of In a Lonely Place

Sam Baron Author Of The Murder Club

From my list on crime thriller series that aren’t afraid to explore darkness.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like my series protagonist, FBI Agent Susan Parker, I am neurodiverse and have dealt with traumatic family events. I have Asperger’s, dyslexia, ADD, and have battled depression and suicidal impulses in earlier years. As a child, I experienced many violent, traumatic events, including the traumatic death of my mother, abduction, and abuse. However, my personal story has a happy ending: I overcame all challenges to become a fully functional individual with a rich, fulfilling family life and a successful career. Not surprisingly, I became a crime thriller superfan. I gravitate toward books that don’t shy away from depicting darkness but find a way for the MC to return to the sunlight.

Sam's book list on crime thriller series that aren’t afraid to explore darkness

Sam Baron Why did Sam love this book?

A hypnotic, often troubling journey into the mind of a killer and the detective hunting him down are the reasons I return to this book time and again. They are both commonly found elements in crime thrillers today. But what Dorothy Hughes did in this book appealed to me personally, perhaps because of my own personal relationship with crime and trauma, physical as well as emotional.

I’m always fascinated by how intensely Hughes manages to immerse us in both viewpoints with only a few sentences, shifting viewpoints and playing with our conscience in subtle ways. I’ve seen enough violence and trauma to know that motivations are not always as simple as we’d like them to be, and people often do the most unexpected things for the least obvious reasons.

By Dorothy B. Hughes,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked In a Lonely Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Puts Chandler to shame ... Hughes is the master we keep turning to'Sara Paretsky

After the war, cynical veteran Dix Steele has moved to L.A., a city terrified by a strangler preying on young women. Bumping into an old friend, now a detective working on the case, Dix is thrilled by closely following the progress of the police. And meeting his new neighbour, sultry and beautiful actress Laurel Gray, brings even more excitement into his life. But the strangler is still prowling the streets - and Laurel may be in more danger than she realises...

In a Lonely Place was…


Book cover of In Her Wake

Rachel Hore Author Of The Hidden Years

From my list on making you fall in love with Cornwall again.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a UK bestselling writer of historical fiction who has often used Cornwall as a setting. I wrote about a lost garden and a colony of Edwardian artists in The Memory Garden, about the Second World War in A Gathering Storm and The Hidden Years. My father was Cornish, which meant wonderful childhood holidays spent in the county. I fell in love with its breathtakingly beautiful landscapes - rugged cliffs, picturesque fishing villages, expansive sandy beaches where the sea thunders in. I’ve feasted on its history and legends, and on stories of danger, romance, and adventure set in the region. It’s fulfilled a dream to have written my own.    

Rachel's book list on making you fall in love with Cornwall again

Rachel Hore Why did Rachel love this book?

As a writer I admit that I’m beguiled by Cornwall as a literary setting for high romance and adventure, yet it’s important to me to remember that ordinary people live and work there. 

I was impressed by In Her Wake because it manages to encompass both extremes. Its overarching gothic narrative about a stolen child is used by the author to examine the extraordinary experience of some very humble, loving people whose lives have been put into suspension by tragedy. It’s incredibly moving and truthful.

By Amanda Jennings,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A perfect life ... until she discovered it wasn't her own.

A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella's comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life.

Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family - and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to…


Book cover of Watch Me Disappear

Donna Koros Stramella Author Of Coffee Killed My Mother

From my list on wildly dissimilar mothers and daughters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many years ago I was outside, clothespins in hand as I hung damp towels on the clothesline at our small beach house. A yard over, I heard a mother and daughter arguing loudly. I didn’t pick up all the details, but it was clear that the mother and daughter’s expectations were miles apart. At that moment, I found myself frozen solidly in the center. Was I mother? Was I daughter? I connected equally. Since that time I’ve been interested in the dynamics and criticality of the mother-daughter relationship, and I knew my first novel would be an exploration of that theme. 

Donna's book list on wildly dissimilar mothers and daughters

Donna Koros Stramella Why did Donna love this book?

When my mother died, a friend insisted, “Now you’ll come to know her in ways you never imagined.” I thought the notion was ludicrous. My mother and I were close, our relationship strong. As it turns out my friend was right. In Watch Me Disappear, Janelle Brown explores this idea. When Billie Flanagan disappears, her husband and teenaged daughter Olive find out more than they could have imagined about Billie’s secret life. 

By Janelle Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The disappearance of a beautiful, charismatic mother leaves her family to piece together her secrets in this propulsive novel for fans of Big Little Lies—from the bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and the upcoming Pretty Things.

“Watch Me Disappear is just as riveting as Gone Girl.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Who you want people to be makes you blind to who they really are.

It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. Her body was never…


Book cover of The Changeling

Tobi Ogundiran Author Of Jackal, Jackal: Tales of the Dark and Fantastic

From my list on modern mythology and folktale for the curious.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated with mythology in all its shapes and forms. It fascinates me how cultures the world over have similar pantheons, for example, without any cultural cross-pollination. What I like to do in my fiction is blend various myths to create something new. And sometimes I create my own myths. It takes a curious, imaginative mind to come up with these myths, and most importantly a child-like sense of wonder, which, sadly, is extinguished by society as one is forced to “grow up”. I don’t ever want to lose that sense of wonder—to observe the world and see beauty and possibilities at every corner—so I preserve and interrogate it in my fiction.

Tobi's book list on modern mythology and folktale for the curious

Tobi Ogundiran Why did Tobi love this book?

The world of The Changeling is strange and exhilarating. At first we are presented with what seems like a mundane NYC, but then the edges start to bleed as a more fantastical, deliciously disturbing world seeps into and disrupts the ordinary.

At the core of the story is a family and the lengths they go to protect each other. There are so many reasons this book resonated with me, but particularly for this reason—the idea that if only you pay close attention, you will see that a more fantastical world dwells at the edge of our own.

This is an idea I tackle in my own book, where myths and legends, and fairytales come to life. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it. Everyone who reads The Changeling will be… changed.

By Victor LaValle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Apollo Kagwa was just a child, his father disappeared, leaving him with recurring nightmares and a box labelled 'Improbabilia'. Now a successful book dealer, Kagwa has a family of his own after meeting and falling in love with Emma, a librarian. The two marry and have a baby: so far so happy-ever-after.

However, as the pair settle into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Emma's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, until one day she commits an unthinkable act, setting Apollo on a wild and fantastical quest through a suddenly otherworldly New York, in…


Book cover of The Red Pole of Macau

Delvin Chatterson Author Of No Easy Money

From my list on where the action hero is everyone.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a storyteller and I’m fascinated by the use of language and how a story can be told well. I’ve used storytelling as an entrepreneur, executive, and management consultant, and my two business books for enlightened entrepreneurship use real-life stories to make the messages and lessons learned more memorable. Fictional versions of those stories were wandering through my imagination to make them more fun to read (and to write) for about fifteen years before they emerged in the Dale Hunter crime thriller series to show that entrepreneurs are not all evil, selfish monsters; sometimes they’re the hero!     

Delvin's book list on where the action hero is everyone

Delvin Chatterson Why did Delvin love this book?

I was introduced to Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee Novels when I was looking for a successful Canadian writer of “business fiction.” We never call it that, of course, it has to be written as an action-adventure, thriller, mystery, suspense novel, and Hamilton meets those criteria with Ava Lee as a tough-as-nails, lesbian Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant tracking down money stolen from business clients.

Her connections and family investments lead her to Hong Kong and Macau for a settling of accounts with local organized crime and Ava Lee knows that violence is the only negotiating tactic they understand.           

By Ian Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A forensic accountant attempts to rescue her half-brother and his business partner from a bad real estate deal in Macau that involved gangsters posing as developers in the third novel of the series following The Wild Beasts of Wuhan.


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