90 books like Palace Council

By Stephen L. Carter,

Here are 90 books that Palace Council fans have personally recommended if you like Palace Council. 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 One-Shot Harry

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?

This historical novel takes place in 1963 Los Angeles. Harry Ingram is an African American Korean War veteran, news/forensic photographer, and process server. Ingram arrives at a scene to photograph a deadly automobile accident. He recognizes the vehicle. It belongs to an old army buddy. Ingram sees evidence of foul play when he develops his photos of the accident. He is compelled to investigate. With Martin Luther King Jr’s Freedom Rally just around the corner, racial tensions are running high. Ingram dives headlong into the sordid underbelly of LA. Armed primarily with his camera and wits Ingram tangles with gangsters, fanatics, racists, and blackmailers in an effort to weed out justice for his friend. The captivating content, distinctive characters, and crisp dialogue kept me on the edge of my seat. 

By Gary Phillips,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One-Shot Harry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Race and civil rights in 1963 Los Angeles provide a powerful backdrop in Gary Phillips’s riveting mystery about an African American crime scene photographer seeking justice for a friend—perfect for fans of Walter Mosley, James Ellroy, and George Pelecanos.

LOS ANGELES, 1963: Korean War veteran Harry Ingram earns a living as a news photographer and occasional process server: chasing police radio calls and dodging baseball bats. With racial tensions running high on the eve of Martin Luther King’s Freedom Rally, Ingram risks becoming a victim at every crime scene he photographs.

When Ingram hears about a deadly automobile accident on…


Book cover of Execution in E

Connie Berry Author Of The Shadow of Memory

From my list on mysteries on the golden age of detective fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My love of British crime fiction began when, as a young teen, I discovered Agatha Christie on the shelves of my local library. With Scottish grandparents, I was already well indoctrinated in the “everything British is best” theory, but it was as a student at St. Clare’s College, Oxford, that I fell totally under the spell of the British Isles. No surprise, then, that my Kate Hamilton Mystery series is set in the UK and features an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. I love to read the classic mysteries of the Golden Age as well as authors today who follow that tradition.

Connie's book list on mysteries on the golden age of detective fiction

Connie Berry Why did Connie love this book?

“‘Well, my dear,’ said Miss Marple, ‘human nature is much the same everywhere, and, of course, one has opportunities of observing it at closer quarters in a village.'” (The Thumb Mark of St. Peter) An Irish village is the setting for Gordon’s fourth Gethsemene Brown mystery. When African-American violinist Gethsemane Brown takes a job leading the orchestra at a boys’ school in the village of Dunmullach, she has no idea her cliffside cottage comes complete with a resident ghost, Eamon McCarthy. Nor does she imagine she’ll become the village’s amateur sleuth—with a little help from Eamon, of course. When a wedding party descends on the village, Gethsemane learns the groom-to-be once jilted her friend Frankie’s new girlfriend, Verna. When the groom turns up dead, Verna is the logical suspect. 

By Alexia Gordon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Romance is in the air. Or on the ’Gram, anyway. When an influencer-turned-bridezilla shows up at the lighthouse to capture Insta-perfect wedding photos designed to entice sponsors to fund her lavish wedding, Gethsemane has her hands full trying to keep Eamon from blasting the entire wedding party over the edge of the cliff. Wedding bells become funeral bells when members of the bride’s entourage start turning up dead. Frankie’s girlfriend, Verna, is pegged as maid-of-honor on the suspect list when the Garda discover the not-so-dearly departed groom was her ex and Gethsemane catches her standing over a body. Gethsemane uncovers…


Book cover of Deception

B. G. Howard Author Of Thicker Than Blood

From my list on where characters see the end before the end.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a past award-winning weekly newspaper columnist turned business owner, I eventually embraced the love of writing following an auto accident that necessitated more than eight years of rehabilitative therapy. Scripting my first novel proved more of a therapeutic undertaking and it was released in 2020 to moderate success. That experience then compelled me to learn more about the craft of being a novelist. Two years later, the original work was modified and Revised Edition Family Ties: Thicker Than Blood was launched in June of 2022. 

B. G.'s book list on where characters see the end before the end

B. G. Howard Why did B. G. love this book?

There is little in life, be it circumstances or people, which appear to be as they’re presented and Montgomery does a masterful job of exampling this fact in “Deception,” a captivating thriller. Finley Borders, the daughter of a prostitute; murdered by the drugged-out pimp assigned to the role of “father” when their daughter was just a child, embodies an ambition that pushes her from the Faraday Center for Children just as she reaches the age of emancipation. At a young age, she has seen much more of life than is warranted but understands there is so much more to be lived. Frequency at the card table during the late nights and early morning hours when she’d escape, unknown, from the center groomed Fin for a lifestyle amidst the underworld’s elite.

While sitting at a high stakes “by invitation only” poker table in Cannes, Findley receives an urgent phone call that…

By Selena Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author and political leader Stacey Abrams, writing under her pen name Selena Montgomery, delivers a gripping story of a woman forced to play the hand life dealt and the FBI agent who calls her bluff.

Playing the odds has always been Fin Borders' forte. As a professional poker player, she knows when to get out to keep from losing everything. But an innocent woman has been accused of murder, and to help, Fin will have to go back to the small southern town of her birth. It's a place she's been running from her entire life,…


Book cover of Onion Street

Tom Schreck Author Of The Vegas Knockout

From my list on mysteries with a message.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve worked and taught in the field of human services for over 40 years. Helping people and creating nurturing communities isn’t always what it appears. It is mired in hypocrisy, inefficiency, and neglect and the people looking for help are often their own worst enemies. Still, there is something inherently good just in trying to reach out to the vulnerable and fight the injustice that surrounds us. Sometimes that fight is figurative and sometimes it is literal. I am also a black belt-trained martial artist, a boxer, and a world championship professional boxing official. I love the dichotomy of helping people and knowing how to fight.

Tom's book list on mysteries with a message

Tom Schreck Why did Tom love this book?

Moe Prager is a thinking and feeling man’s PI. Sure, Coleman, gives the twisty-turny plots and leaves you wondering who dunnit but, for me, that’s not what makes him great. His characters speak to you about what’s going on with people but not in a hit-you-over-the-head manner. Prager is real and feels like a guy you would know and like.

In this Prager story, Moe is determined to find out who and what someone is mistreating people he loves. He relentlessly pursues the case, sacrificing his own safety and well-being. Along the way, we meet his Holocaust-surviving neighbor and other characters that make the book outstandingly different.

Message—Friends make life worth living even when it means risking your own life

By Reed Farrel Coleman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Robert B. Parker's Blind Spot comes a Moe Prager Mystery.

It's 1967 and Moe Prager is wandering aimlessly through his college career and his life. All that changes when his girlfriend Mindy is viciously beaten into a coma and left to die on the snow-covered streets of Brooklyn. Suddenly, Moe has purpose. He is determined to find out who's done this to Mindy and why. But Mindy is not the only person in Moe's life who's in danger. Someone is also trying to kill his best and oldest friend, Bobby Friedman.…


Book cover of Artists in Crime

Caron Allan Author Of Night and Day

From my list on classic mysteries you still haven’t read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been reading cozy mysteries since I was 8 years old. That’s over fifty years now, and I love, love, love them. Partly it’s the history: the setting and era so different from my own, and partly it’s the mystery element, I love to try to get to the answer before the sleuth, so that I can nod sagely and say, ‘I thought so.’ It’s also about people going through tough times, and seeing how those times can make or break them. I relate so much to their struggles with everyday life, and trying to fit an investigation around romance or vice versa, often during wartime.

Caron's book list on classic mysteries you still haven’t read

Caron Allan Why did Caron love this book?

I always like to get in at the beginning of an ongoing romance/relationship and this is the one where Alleyn meets Troy, the artist and his future wife. Actually, no I take that back, it’s a spoiler, don’t pay any attention. What if she’s the killer? Then where would the rest of these books be? 

You might think Marsh’s characters seem no different than Sayers’, Christie’s, etc well-to-do detectives and their privileged suspects, but there is a difference here. There is tension between Alleyn, his traditional outlook, his job, and Troy’s more liberal leanings. But like any great couple, together they make a great, if not very romantic, combination. 

By Ngaio Marsh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of Ngaio Marsh's most famous murder mysteries, which introduces Inspector Alleyn to his future wife, the irrepressible Agatha Troy.

It started as a student exercise, the knife under the drape, the model's pose chalked in place. But before Agatha Troy, artist and instructor, returns to the class, the pose has been re-enacted in earnest: the model is dead, fixed for ever in one of the most dramatic poses Troy has ever seen.

It's a difficult case for Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn. How can he believe that the woman he loves is a murderess? And yet no one can be…


Book cover of Cover Her Face

H L Marsay Author Of A Long Shadow

From my list on classic English murder mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up binge-reading murder mysteries and promised myself that some day, I would write one too. A Long Shadow is the first book in my Chief Inspector Shadow series set in York. Luckily, living in a city so full of history, dark corners, and hidden snickelways, I am never short of inspiration. When I’m not coming up with new ways to bump people off, I enjoy red wine, dark chocolate, and blue cheese—not necessarily together! 

H L's book list on classic English murder mysteries

H L Marsay Why did H L love this book?

This is another murder mystery set in a quintessential English village and where we meet detective Adam Dalgleish for the first time. The day after the church fete, Sally Jupp is found dead in her bedroom, the door locked from the inside. I loved the way tension gradually builds through the story and how expertly each character is drawn. Nobody is who they seem, including the victim.

By P. D. James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first in the series of scintillating mysteries to feature cunning Scotland Yard detective, Adam Dalgliesh from P.D. James, the bestselling author hailed by People magazine as “the greatest living mystery writer.”

Sally Jupp was a sly and sensuous young woman who used her body and her brains to make her way up the social ladder. Now she lies across her bed with dark bruises from a strangler’s fingers forever marring her lily-white throat. Someone has decided that the wages of sin should be death...and it is up to Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh to find who that someone is.

Cover…


Book cover of I Am Providence

Armand Rosamilia Author Of Keyport Cthulhu

From my list on tentacled horror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading and writing horror for more than forty years and am prolific in both aspects. Show me a book with a tentacle and I’ll show you my newest purchase. 

Armand's book list on tentacled horror

Armand Rosamilia Why did Armand love this book?

Cool cover, right? What’s the book about? When it comes to this great author, it could be anything in the scary realm of horror. This book is amazing, with perfect doses of Lovecraftian horror, pulp fiction, and riveting characters. Still a favorite. Well-written and turns up not only the horror but well-defined characters, this author never misses the mark. A great book to introduce yourself to his work, too.

By Nick Mamatas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An author's murder during an H. P. Lovecraft fan convention reveals dark secrets beneath the printed page in this biting murder-mystery satire.

At the Summer Tentacular, murder is non-fiction.

For fans of legendary pulp author H. P. Lovecraft, there is nothing bigger than the annual Providence-based convention the Summer Tentacular. Horror writer Colleen Danzig doesn't know what to expect when she arrives, but is unsettled to find that among the hobnobbing between scholars and literary critics are a group of real freaks: book collectors looking for volumes bound in human skin, and true believers claiming the power to summon the…


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