100 books like One-Shot Harry

By Gary Phillips,

Here are 100 books that One-Shot Harry fans have personally recommended if you like One-Shot Harry. 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 The Nickel Boys

Ginger Pinholster Author Of Snakes of St. Augustine

From my list on featuring Florida in a big way.

Why am I passionate about this?

My second novel, Snakes of St. Augustine, describes an unconventional love story served up with a large side of Florida weirdness. My first novel, City in a Forest, received a Gold Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association in 2020. My short fiction and essays have appeared in Pangyrus, Eckerd Review, Northern Virginia Review, Atticus Review, and elsewhere. I earned my bachelor’s degree in English from Eckerd College and the M.F.A. in Fiction from Queens University of Charlotte. Currently, I’m a writer for a university in Daytona Beach, Florida. A resident of Ponce Inlet, I began volunteering with the Volusia-Flagler Sea Turtle Patrol in 2018.

Ginger's book list on featuring Florida in a big way

Ginger Pinholster Why did Ginger love this book?

The devastating story of two boys unjustly sentenced to serve time in a nightmarish juvenile reform school, The Nickel Boys won a Pulitzer Prize and became a New York Times bestseller.

It is a must-read for anyone sampling literary works featuring Florida. The boys in the story, Elwood and Turner, endure and witness hellish abuse at the Nickel Academy. The boys’ haunting story, exquisitely told by Colson Whitehead, is based on Florida’s real-life Dozier school where thousands of children were tortured, raped, and murdered for more than a century.

Whitehead’s unflinching descriptions of terror and abuse can be tough to take, but they serve an important purpose, by forcing the reader to confront the hellish reality that was America under Jim Crow laws. Long after the last page is turned, if ever, this novel won’t leave you.

By Colson Whitehead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • In this Pulitzer Prize-winning follow-up to The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys unjustly sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.
 
When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way…


Book cover of Blood Grove

Michael R. Lane Author Of The Gem Connection

From my list on African American mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an avid reader, I read a wide variety of books. Of the fiction genre mystery and suspense remain my favorite. From the classics to the gritty, a well-told mystery is a literary gem. As my mystery palette has aged—like my taste in wine—so are my demands of what makes a good mystery novel. The best mysteries for me contain more than a serpentine journey toward the hidden truth. They have intriguing characters, crisp dialogue, interesting settings, formidable foes, and of course indispensable heroes or anti-heroes. My writing goal is aimed at achieving the same level of literary penmanship of the mysteries I enjoy reading so much.

Michael's book list on African American mysteries

Michael R. Lane Why did Michael love this book?

Easy Rawlins is an African American private detective in 1960s Los Angeles. Easy gets a visit from a troubled Vietnam veteran at his office. The vet tells an implausible story of him and his lover being attacked in a citrus grove outside the city. He may have killed the man. The woman and his dog are missing. Rawlins’ gut tells him the case is nothing but trouble. He takes the case anyway. The bond between veterans overriding all other concerns. Blood Grove is an exhilarating, mystery soup involving moguls, sociopaths, cops, hippies, extremists, and swindlers. Requiring Easy to call upon help from his friends. Friends who range from genius to lethal. I loved going along with Easy on this case. Admiring his resolve and intelligence in solving the mystery.

By Walter Mosley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ezekiel "Easy" Porterhouse Rawlins is an unlicensed private investigator turned hard-boiled detective always willing to do what it takes to get things done in the racially charged, dark underbelly of Los Angeles.

But when Easy is approached by a shell-shocked Vietnam War veteran- a young white man who claims to have gotten into a fight protecting a white woman from a black man- he knows he shouldn't take the case.

Though he sees nothing but trouble in the brooding ex-soldier's eyes, Easy, a vet himself, feels a kinship form between them. Easy embarks on an investigation that takes him from…


Book cover of Fear No Evil

Michael R. Lane Author Of The Gem Connection

From my list on African American mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an avid reader, I read a wide variety of books. Of the fiction genre mystery and suspense remain my favorite. From the classics to the gritty, a well-told mystery is a literary gem. As my mystery palette has aged—like my taste in wine—so are my demands of what makes a good mystery novel. The best mysteries for me contain more than a serpentine journey toward the hidden truth. They have intriguing characters, crisp dialogue, interesting settings, formidable foes, and of course indispensable heroes or anti-heroes. My writing goal is aimed at achieving the same level of literary penmanship of the mysteries I enjoy reading so much.

Michael's book list on African American mysteries

Michael R. Lane Why did Michael love this book?

Dr. Alex Cross and Detective John Sampson are preparing to leave on their “manly trip” into the Montana wilderness when they receive a call from Metro PD. A dead CIA officer puts a pause on their plans. During his investigation, Alex receives an unnerving text from the criminal genius known as “M” who has terrorized Cross and his family for years. Alex and John eventually make it to Montana. Their vacation takes a treacherous 360-degree turn as they venture deep into the rugged Montana wilderness. Two rival teams of trained assassins are hunting them. One controlled by “M”. The other by the cartel. Cross and Sampson are isolated and cut off in a life-or-death struggle. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. A thriller right up until the end.

By James Patterson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fear No Evil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alex Cross enters the final battle with the all-knowing genius who has stalked him and his family for years.

Dr. Alex Cross and Detective John Sampson venture into the rugged Montana wilderness—where they will be the prey.
 
They’re not on the job, but on a personal mission. 
 
Until they’re attacked by two rival teams of assassins, controlled by the same mastermind who has stalked Alex and his family for years. 
 
Darkness falls. The river churns into rapids. Shots ring out through the forest. 
 
No backup. No way out. Fear no evil.

Book cover of Palace Council

Michael R. Lane Author Of The Gem Connection

From my list on African American mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an avid reader, I read a wide variety of books. Of the fiction genre mystery and suspense remain my favorite. From the classics to the gritty, a well-told mystery is a literary gem. As my mystery palette has aged—like my taste in wine—so are my demands of what makes a good mystery novel. The best mysteries for me contain more than a serpentine journey toward the hidden truth. They have intriguing characters, crisp dialogue, interesting settings, formidable foes, and of course indispensable heroes or anti-heroes. My writing goal is aimed at achieving the same level of literary penmanship of the mysteries I enjoy reading so much.

Michael's book list on African American mysteries

Michael R. Lane Why did Michael love this book?

Twenty prominent men hold a secret meeting on Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 1952 to formulate a plan to manipulate the President of the United States. A rising Harlem literary star, Eddie Wesley discovers the body of a famous lawyer Philmont Castle while leaving the engagement party of Kevin Garland and the woman he loves, Aurelia Treene. The mysterious disappearance of Eddie’s younger sister shortly thereafter sparks a twenty-year search by Eddie and Aurelia for the truth. Wesley and Aurelia uncoil secrets involving a conspiracy and murder that leads them to the Oval Office. One of the things I enjoy about this novel is Carter’s ability to dispense with stereotypes. A multifaceted, suspenseful, unique, captivating read. 

By Stephen L. Carter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Summer, 1952. Twenty powerful men gather in secret and devise a plot to manipulate the President of the United States.

Soon after, writer Eddie Wesley leaves a party hosted by affluent and influential members of black society, and discovers a body. The murdered man had an unusual gold cross gripped between his hands and Eddie is determined to find out why he was killed and what the cross signifies.

But then Eddie's sister Junie becomes entangled in an underground movement and vanishes...

Is her disappearance connected to the conspiracy to control the President of the United States?


Book cover of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

Deborah Fletcher Mello Author Of Playing with Danger

From my list on the dark and stormy side of the human spirit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning, national best-selling author who loves reading as much as I love writing. Combine that with a good, smooth bourbon and it’s a win-win. Like my literary journey, my love for bourbon has been filled with surprises and challenges. Romance writing found me. I didn’t go looking for it. The journey introduced me to great writers and amazing stories and taught me to write better. Distilleries could extol the health benefits of bourbon, but I discovered it can be subtle, soul-searing, and pairs beautifully with a good meal and an even better book. Like my writing, bourbon leaves you feeling like you’ve had a great meal and threw in dessert!

Deborah's book list on the dark and stormy side of the human spirit

Deborah Fletcher Mello Why did Deborah love this book?

I love Walter Moseley and have read everything he’s written.

I discovered his books when former President Bill Clinton mentioned him during a State of the Union address and curiosity took me down to my local library to see what all the fuss was about. It was love at first line with his book Devil in a Red Dress.

Those that followed were equally impressive but there was something about The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey that took the storytelling to a whole other level. Part drama, part science fiction, it was a mesmerizing tale and again, showed the importance of storytelling that pulls a reader in and refuses to let them go.

I’d recommend this book if you’re looking for great writing, an air of mystery, and dynamic drama. It has that and so much more!

By Walter Mosley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Soon to be an Apple Plus series starring Samuel L. Jackson, a masterful, moving novel about age, memory, and family from one of the true literary icons of our time.

Marooned in an apartment that overflows with mementos from the past, 91-year-old Ptolemy Grey is all but forgotten by his family and the world. But when an unexpected opportunity arrives, everything changes for Ptolemy in ways as shocking and unanticipated as they are poignant and profound.


Book cover of He Won't Go

Lakisha Johnson Author Of Almost Destroyed

From my list on African American Christian fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a love for Christianity since I was a child. However, it wouldn’t be until years later that the love for it would turn into a passion for penning Christian Fiction. I began my journey in ministry in 2014 and two years later, I released the first novel. Since then, God has allowed me to write on many different topics I’ve now recognized were needed. I want others to see Christian Fiction doesn’t have to be boring or dry, but can be entertaining, inspirational, and full of life. This is why I’ve chosen these books as recommendations and I hope the readers will enjoy them even more than I have.

Lakisha's book list on African American Christian fiction

Lakisha Johnson Why did Lakisha love this book?

Although Stacey has been writing for years, this is her first publication in Christian Fiction. In He Won’t Let Go, Stacey skillfully pens a story of Christianity meets addiction. We’re taken on a rollercoaster of emotions as Lyriq faces the challenges of her past and present intersecting while trying to keep the vows she made, her faith intact, and her will to deny the flesh.

By Stacey Covington-Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked He Won't Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ryker was the quintessential success story. Small town boy studied hard, moved to the big city, and became what every businessman dreams of and what most women lust after. However, it wasn’t until he returned to small town Georgia that Ryker met the woman who would capture his heart. Sitting in the old rickety church, he heard the voice of an angel. When he lifted his eyes, he saw his future bride. What he didn’t realize was that the woman with the angelic voice, Lyriq James, had once fallen and was still struggling to regain her footing. Despite the objections…


Book cover of Claire Blair's Unruly Hair: A Curly-Girl Tale (Brown Hair)

Bobbie Hinman Author Of The Knot Fairy

From my list on children’s picture books by first-time authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former teacher, and grandmother of 13 now-grownup kids, I can’t begin to count the total number of children’s books I’ve read. A gazillion maybe? I have published 5 children’s books of my own and have read them to hundreds of classes all over the U.S. I have been an editor of children’s books for about 10 years and feel honored every time an author hands their precious manuscript over to me for assistance. I’ve read so, so many amazing books. It was difficult to name just a handful, but these books spoke to me, evoking emotions that stayed with me long after the last i was dotted and t was crossed. I hope you will feel that as well.

Bobbie's book list on children’s picture books by first-time authors

Bobbie Hinman Why did Bobbie love this book?

I have always believed that in a perfect children’s book, young readers are able to identify with the characters, perhaps even visualizing themselves in the story. This book goes above and beyond this belief. The main character has curly hair but, like most girls, thinks the grass is greener (or the hair is straighter) on all of the other girls. As Claire struggles to accept her big, unruly, curly hair, she embarks on a journey to find ways to change it. With the story’s charming illustrations and delightful rhyming text, this is a sweet story of acceptance and inclusion. But what really sets this book apart from other books is that it is available in 4 different versions! Readers can choose from African American Claire, Brunette Claire, Blonde Claire, or Redhead Claire! Wow!

By Tara Cavosie, Shereen Said (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Claire Blair's Unruly Hair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Celebration of Curly Hair Love!

As Claire struggles to accept her big, unruly, curly hair, she embarks on a journey of self-love and acceptance...and along the way discovers that she and her hair have ALWAYS been perfect.

Filled with empowerment and page after page of fun, adorable illustrations, this book will inspire and reinforce the beautiful and important lesson of loving who you are!

Check out ALL four versions of this book! Available in Brown Hair, Black Hair, Blonde Hair and Red Hair, so that your little girl can choose the book that looks just like her!


Book cover of Kindred

Hajar Yazdiha Author Of The Struggle for the People's King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement

From my list on understanding revisionist history politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied forty years of the political misuses of the memory of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement as a sociologist at USC and the daughter of Iranian immigrants who has always been interested in questions of identity and belonging. My interest in civil rights struggles started early, growing up in Virginia, a state that celebrated the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday alongside Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. I wanted to understand how revisionist histories could become the mainstream account of the past and how they mattered for the future of democracy.

Hajar's book list on understanding revisionist history politics

Hajar Yazdiha Why did Hajar love this book?

I am, to put it lightly, obsessed with the way Octavia Butler revolutionizes the timescape and invites us to speculate about worlds that could be. In this and so many of her books, her vision of Afrofuturism is one that reminds us that our ancestral pasts and our imagined futures are always connected. 

I thought a lot about the future when I wrote my book, and I share Butler’s conviction that there is collective healing and liberation in revisiting and reimagining the past.

I also love that my neighborhood library in Pasadena is the one Octavia Butler used to frequent!

By Octavia E. Butler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Parable of the Sower and MacArthur “Genius” Grant, Nebula, and Hugo award winner

The visionary time-travel classic whose Black female hero is pulled through time to face the horrors of American slavery and explores the impacts of racism, sexism, and white supremacy then and now.

“I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm.”

Dana’s torment begins when she suddenly vanishes on her 26th birthday from California, 1976, and is dragged through time to antebellum Maryland to rescue a boy named Rufus, heir to a slaveowner’s plantation. She soon…


Book cover of Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice

Colin D. Heaton Author Of The Star of Africa: The Story of Hans Marseille, the Rogue Luftwaffe Ace Who Dominated the WWII Skies

From my list on true stories of survival.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began reading about history as a child and fell in love with the WW II aviation stories. Later in life I was able to meet many of the men I read about, interview them, and then write my books with their first person accounts. The greatest satisfaction was putting former enemies together who I could prove had fought each other. The reunions were amazing.

Colin's book list on true stories of survival

Colin D. Heaton Why did Colin love this book?

The true story of two men (one I knew), a son of a poor Mississippi sharecropper Jessie Brown and Thomas Hudner. Brown was the Navy’s first black pilot, and Hudner was a Medal of Honor recipient in his squadron who tried to rescue him when he was shot down at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea.

By Adam Makos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER • NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE • From America’s “forgotten war” in Korea comes an unforgettable tale of courage by the author of A Higher Call.

“In the spirit of Unbroken and The Boys in the Boat comes Devotion.”—Associated Press • “Aerial drama at its best—fast, powerful, and moving.”—Erik Larson

Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviation duo, Lieutenant Tom Hudner and Ensign Jesse Brown, and the Marines they fought to defend. A white New Englander from the country-club scene, Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighters for his country. An African…


Book cover of Grown

Marie Hoy-Kenny Author Of The Girls from Hush Cabin

From my list on YA thrillers you’ll stay up way too late reading.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a teacher who has mainly taught the eighth grade. When I read short stories and books aloud to my students, I pay attention to when I feel their interest waning and when they’re completely enthralled. Books are so much more action-driven than they used to be and there is often not a lot of description of setting and appearances. I can tell that my students lose interest in scenes that describe a room, for example, in careful detail. They want to hear about what the characters are saying and doing. They also like to feel like they’re being let in on secrets. 

Marie's book list on YA thrillers you’ll stay up way too late reading

Marie Hoy-Kenny Why did Marie love this book?

This. Book. 

Wow. 

I felt changed after I read it and talked about it with everyone who would listen. Not only is this book a riveting, fast-paced read, but it’s an important novel about assault, grooming, and the abuse of power.

The protagonist is an aspiring teenaged singer who gets discovered and then manipulated and abused by a much older celebrity R&B artist. When she wakes up with her hands covered in his blood and finds him dead, she realizes she has no memory of what occurred the night before. This novel was enticing as much as it was heartbreaking.

By Tiffany D. Jackson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An instant New York Times bestseller! "Grown exposes the underbelly of a tough conversation, providing a searing examination of misogynoir, rape culture, and the vulnerability of young black girls. Groundbreaking, heart-wrenching, and essential reading for all in the #MeToo era." -Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles

Award-winning author Tiffany D. Jackson delivers another riveting, ripped-from-the-headlines mystery that exposes horrific secrets hiding behind the limelight and embraces the power of a young woman's voice.

When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted…


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