33 books like Plum Island

By Nelson DeMille,

Here are 33 books that Plum Island fans have personally recommended if you like Plum Island. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Deal Breaker

Janet Fix Author Of The Broken Soul

From my list on intriguing whodunits.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writer, reader, editor, reviewer, publisher… those are all parts of me. With a lifetime of experience in the “words” industry, I have a pretty good handle on what makes a book not just good, but hot. I say this with the understanding that each reader brings their own histories to the reading experience, and what one person may like, another may not. Nonetheless, I offer you my professional and personal favorites in the mystery/thriller/suspense categories. It is my sincere hope that you find these books as addictive as I’d found them. Superb and clever writing, engaging characters, unpredictable plots—yes, please! Though I occasionally step outside my comfort zone, I'm consistently drawn back to these categories. 

Janet's book list on intriguing whodunits

Janet Fix Why did Janet love this book?

With this book began my true passion for mystery/thriller novels. I willingly tumbled through all the books Coben has written in this series with Myron Bolitar and his lofty sidekick, Win (Windsor Horne Lockwood III). Coben’s clever writing style and sports references captured my interest… and my reading heart for all the years that followed this. I simply couldn’t get enough of it. Still can’t! Coben is a master of words. 

By Harlan Coben,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The truth can get you killed... A stunning thriller from the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of SIX YEARS.

Investigator and sports agent Myron Bolitar is poised on the edge of the big-time. So is Christian Steele, a rookie quarterback and Myron's prized client. But when Christian gets a phone call from a former girlfriend, a woman who everyone, including the police, believes is dead, the deal starts to go sour.

Suddenly Myron is plunged into a baffling mystery of sex and blackmail. Trying to unravel the truth about a family's tragedy, a woman's secret and a man's lies, Myron is…


Book cover of Get Shorty

Marjorie McCown Author Of Final Cut

From my list on crime about Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been hooked on the magic of storytelling since childhood, always eager to go wherever imagination can take me. I think that early fascination led me to become a costume designer because costume design is about using clothing to help tell a story. I spent 27 years working on the costume design teams for films like Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Angels & Demons, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. When I decided to take what felt like a logical creative step, to write my own stories, I knew I wanted to write murder mysteries. And I thought the world behind the scenes of a movie would make the perfect setting.   

Marjorie's book list on crime about Hollywood

Marjorie McCown Why did Marjorie love this book?

Elmore Leonard knew the vagaries of the movie business back to front, and he serves them up on a platter of delicious satire in this story about an East Coast loan shark, Chili Palmer, who comes to Los Angeles chasing a deadbeat debtor and winds up in his own fractured fairy tale version of the Hollywood dream.

Chili’s an endearing character, street smart with a unique blend of humility and self-confidence. When his collection job throws him into company with a group of movie people, he sees them and their milieu with clear-eyed objectivity.

Talking to an underworld associate, he says, “The movie business, you can do anything you want because there’s nobody in charge.” Leonard’s mastery of dialogue and character, along with his wit and sly affection for the industry he’s skewering combine to make this book a complete delight. 

By Elmore Leonard,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Get Shorty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A thriller filled with Leonard's signatures - scathing wit, crackling dialogue, twisted plot, mad scams - and set in the drug sodden world of Hollywood.


Book cover of March Violets

Neil Spark Author Of Karl's War

From my list on Germany between the world wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

The World At War, the first and arguably best documentary about the Second World War, was on television when I was 14. It fuelled my interest in history, especially about the reasons for the rise of the Nazis. History has many lessons to teach–if we are willing to listen–and one of the great teachers is Germany between the wars. It was a time of extremes: economic crises, social unrest, much of which was caused by the Nazis, and a flourishing bohemian, liberal culture. This febrile environment in which characters struggle with their personal conflict makes for great story-telling potential.

Neil's book list on Germany between the world wars

Neil Spark Why did Neil love this book?

I love Kerr’s fastidious attention to detail, which makes me feel I am watching the action he depicts. Set in Berlin during the 1936 Olympic Games, March Violets is the first in the Bernie Gunther thriller series.

Gunther is a former policeman, now a private eye, who has been hired to find out who was responsible for two murders. The world has bruised Gunther, who is a sarcastic but witty and likable hero. From this novel, I learned a lot about Berlin and the period. 

By Philip Kerr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover the first crime novel in the late Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series - Berlin Noir - set in Hitler's Germany during the 1930s . . .

Winter, 1936. A man and his wife shot dead in their bed, their home burned. The woman's father, a millionaire industrialist, wants justice - and the priceless diamonds that disappeared along with his daughter's life. He turns to Bernhard Gunther, a private eye and former cop.

As Bernie follows the trail into the very heart of Nazi Germany, he's forced to confront a horrifying conspiracy. A trail that ends in the hell that…


Book cover of Devil in a Blue Dress

Ashley Clifton Author Of Twice The Trouble

From my list on literary novels masquerading as crime novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

Flannery O’Connor once said that all fiction is ultimately about the “mystery of personality.” I agree. In fact, I have always suspected that all good novels, genre-based or otherwise, are secretly mystery novels, if only in the psychological sense. Conversely, many so-called genre novels have just as much depth, insight, and realism as any literary work. I have read a lot of genre and literary fiction in my time, and I have long been fascinated by works that blur the line between the two. My favorite kind of book is one that feels like a genre novel (that is, it has a great plot) but also has the depth and vividness of a literary novel.

Ashley's book list on literary novels masquerading as crime novels

Ashley Clifton Why did Ashley love this book?

What I really love about this novel is the voice of the main character, Ezekial “Easy” Rollins. Easy is not your typical P.I. A recently fired machinist in post-war Los Angeles, he’s just a guy trying to pay his bills. But he’s also a black man from the South trying to survive in a white, west-coast world. When a white gangster hires him to find a missing girl, Easy senses that he’s in extreme danger, but he has no choice but to take the job.

Told in the first-person, this book captures all of Easy’s doubt, dread, and defiance as he unravels the mystery.

By Walter Mosley,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Devil in a Blue Dress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Devil in a Blue Dress honors the tradition of the classic American detective novel by bestowing on it a vivid social canvas and the freshest new voice in crime writing in years, mixing the hard-boiled poetry of Raymond Chandler with the racial realism of Richard Wright to explosive effect.


Book cover of Some Buried Caesar

Chuck Greaves Author Of The Chimera Club

From my list on crime fiction with a droll sense of humor.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a crime-fiction fanatic since devouring my big sister’s Nancy Drew mysteries as a pre-teen in 1960s Long Island. They proved a gateway drug to Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, and Phillip Marlowe, and eventually, after 25 years as an L.A. trial lawyer (with a client list that included Richard Pryor), to my own debut novel, Hush Money, in 2012. I’ve just published The Chimera Club, my seventh novel and the fourth installment in my award-winning Jack MacTaggart series of legal mysteries, and I’m delighted to share my views on crime fiction, and humor, with like-minded readers.  You can learn more about me, and about Jack, by visiting my website.

Chuck's book list on crime fiction with a droll sense of humor

Chuck Greaves Why did Chuck love this book?

Back in 2012, I had the honor of being a luncheon speaker at New York’s annual “Black Orchid Weekend” gathering of fans – and I mean fanatics – of Rex Stout’s iconic Nero Wolfe detective novels.  I was among my tribe, having cut my teeth on the Wolfe canon as a nerdy teenager to whom Stout’s books were a revelation: compact tales of crime and punishment starring a corpulent, agoraphobic gourmand and orchid fancier whose formidable (and unabashedly Sherlockian) powers of deduction were wielded from behind a desk in his brownstone on West 35th Street with the aid of a two-fisted Boswell named Archie Goodwin. While the yarns themselves are feasts, it’s Archie’s decidedly arch humor that provides the special sauce. Forced to choose, I’ll recommend Some Buried Caesar, Stout’s sixth Wolfe installment (of 33 novels and 39 novellas), originally published in 1939. It finds Wolfe in unfamiliar territory,…

By Rex Stout,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An automobile breakdown strands Nero Wolfe and Archie in the middle of a private pasture—and a family feud over a prize bull. A restaurateur’s plan to buy the stud and barbecue it as a publicity stunt may be in poor taste, but it isn’t a crime . . . until Hickory Caesar Grindon, the soon-to-be-beefsteak bull, is found pawing the remains of a family scion. Wolfe is sure the idea that Caesar is the murderer is, well, pure bull. Now the great detective is on the horns of a dilemma as a veritable stampede of suspects—including a young lady Archie…


Book cover of Rules of Prey

Mike Lawson Author Of Alligator Alley: A Joe DeMarco Thriller

From my list on crime from authors who never disappoint readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the Edgar and Barry Award nominated author of twenty novels, sixteen in my Joe DeMarco series, three in my Kay Hamilton Series, and my standalone, Redemption. Prior to becoming a writer, I was a senior civilian executive working in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear propulsion program.  My books are mostly set in and involve characters in Washington, D.C., because Washington is a target-rich environment for a writer—and now more so than ever.

Mike's book list on crime from authors who never disappoint readers

Mike Lawson Why did Mike love this book?

John Sandford’s books aren’t as “literary” as those written by Mick Herron or Richard Price, but I love his books for their pacing—they always start out with a bang—and for Sandford’s sense of humor. I also admire the way he’s aged the recurring characters in the Prey books, taking Lucas Davenport from a young man in his thirties to the age of almost sixty in the last book. You can’t go wrong with any of the thirty-plus books in the Prey series, and I’m holding my breath for the next one. 

By John Sandford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**Don't miss John Sandford's brand-new thriller Ocean Prey - out now**

#1 New York Times bestselling author John Sandford's 'haunting, unforgettable, ice-blooded thriller' - first in the Lucas Davenport series!

The killer was mad but brilliant.

He left notes with every woman he killed. Rules of murder: Never have a motive. Never follow a discernible pattern. Never carry a weapon after it has been used...So many rules to his sick, violent games of death.

But Lucas Davenport, the cop who's out to get him, isn't playing by the rules.

***Praise for RULES OF PREY***

'Terrifying... Sandford has crafted the kind…


Book cover of Envy

Kayla Perrin Author Of We'll Never Tell

From my list on surprise suspense twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m absolutely passionate about suspense stories, especially ones with killer twists. Maybe it’s all the crime shows I watch, but the motives for crimes are so wide and varied, and I love when the unexpected is explored in fiction. I’m also intrigued by stories about missing people and the myriad of reasons behind why they go missing–especially when things aren’t always what they seem. Whether it’s the missing who return years later or hints of them suddenly appear, I can’t help but get wrapped up in a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat guessing what might happen next! I try for great twists in my novels.

Kayla's book list on surprise suspense twists

Kayla Perrin Why did Kayla love this book?

I don’t even remember everything about this book, except that this was the book that made me an instant Sandra Brown fan. In Envy, a NY book editor is riveted by the tale of an unsolicited manuscript and begins working with the author…only to learn along the way that this story reveals a long-concealed crime. I’ve read it twice, years apart, and I’m due for another reading. It’s that good. Explosive is the only way to describe this suspenseful story with an amazing twist at the end! One of my absolute favs!

By Sandra Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this explosive New York Times bestselling thriller, a New York City-based book editor travels to a Southern island to meet a mysterious author -- but she's about to uncover a shocking truth about a carefully concealed crime.
Maris Matherly-Reed is a renowned New York book editor, the daughter of a publisher and the wife of a bestselling author. It's rare for an unsolicited manuscript to pique her interest, but a new submission with blockbuster potential inspires her to search for the book's elusive author.
On an obscure island off the Georgia coast, amidst the ruins of an eerie cotton…


Book cover of A Thousand Steps

Janet Fix Author Of The Broken Soul

From my list on intriguing whodunits.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writer, reader, editor, reviewer, publisher… those are all parts of me. With a lifetime of experience in the “words” industry, I have a pretty good handle on what makes a book not just good, but hot. I say this with the understanding that each reader brings their own histories to the reading experience, and what one person may like, another may not. Nonetheless, I offer you my professional and personal favorites in the mystery/thriller/suspense categories. It is my sincere hope that you find these books as addictive as I’d found them. Superb and clever writing, engaging characters, unpredictable plots—yes, please! Though I occasionally step outside my comfort zone, I'm consistently drawn back to these categories. 

Janet's book list on intriguing whodunits

Janet Fix Why did Janet love this book?

The cover made me buy it, and the writing made me love it. An unexpected amateur sleuth, a mere teenager trying to find his missing sister, is the crux of this story filled with captivating characters and constant go-go-go. The entire plot blew my mind with its twists and tensions and completely unexpected angles. I highly recommend this revered mystery/thriller/suspense novel set during the Age of Aquarius—1968 in Laguna Beach, California. 

By T. Jefferson Parker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Los Angeles Times Bestseller!

A Thousand Steps is a beguiling thriller, an incisive coming-of-age story, and a vivid portrait of a turbulent time and place by three-time Edgar Award winner and New York Times bestselling author T. Jefferson Parker.

Laguna Beach, California, 1968. The Age of Aquarius is in full swing. Timothy Leary is a rock star. LSD is God. Folks from all over are flocking to Laguna, seeking peace, love, and enlightenment.

Matt Anthony is just trying get by.

Matt is sixteen, broke, and never sure where his next meal is coming from. Mom’s a stoner, his deadbeat…


Book cover of The Invisible Code

Jacqueline Diamond Author Of The Case of the Questionable Quadruplet

From my list on unusual and heartwarming mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

Half a century ago (hard to believe!), as a young newspaper reporter, I began every day at a police station, reading the log and talking to the watch commander. Occasionally, I was able to contact the detectives as well. For me, the way crimes and criminal investigations unfolded, and the personalities of the officers involved, were multi-dimensional and touched with surprising, and often unexpected, moments of humor. In my reading as well as my writing, I seek a balance between authenticity and a sense of the absurd, without which the experience of solving murders—real or fictional—could become emotionally crushing. 

Jacqueline's book list on unusual and heartwarming mysteries

Jacqueline Diamond Why did Jacqueline love this book?

Although this isn’t the first entry in the Peculiar Crimes Unit series, it’s the first that I read, and it hooked me. What a great idea for an offbeat police series, cleverly handled and featuring two eccentric London detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May. In this mystery, two cases initially appear unrelated, and it takes quite a bit of sleuthing before the links emerge. Bryant and May must unravel encrypted codes and symbols, discover secret rooms and dig through baffling clues as danger mounts. While this series has a darker tone than some of my preferences, it’s engaging and rewarding.

By Christopher Fowler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of CrimeFest 2013's 'eDunnit Award' for 'the best crime fiction ebook published in 2012 in both hardcopy and in electronic format'.

Two small children are playing a game called 'Witch-Hunter'. They place a curse on a young woman taking lunch in a church courtyard and wait for her to die. An hour later the woman is indeed found dead inside St Bride's Church - a building that no-one else has entered.

Unfortunately Bryant & May are refused the case. Instead, there are hired by their greatest enemy to find out why his wife has suddenly started behaving strangely. She's…


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…


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