90 books like Racing the Light

By Robert Crais,

Here are 90 books that Racing the Light fans have personally recommended if you like Racing the Light. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit

Mark Wish Author Of Necessary Deeds

From my list on gruesome murders and genuine love.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had the passion to write Necessary Deeds because: 1) as someone who'd spent 20+ years writing novels, dealing with untrustworthy literary agents, and book-doctoring other writers’ novels in order to pay rent, I'd come to know betrayal (“best friend” writers who stole drafts of mine and called them their own, novelists who backstabbed me after I helped them land agents and book contracts, and so on); 2) like many people who lived through the drug-and-alcohol-laced Eighties, I had a long relationship with someone that ended because they cheated on me. So I never doubted that, as I wrote Necessary Deeds, my heart knew well what motivated its characters.

Mark's book list on gruesome murders and genuine love

Mark Wish Why did Mark love this book?

How can I not include an Elmore Leonard title in a list of favorite novels about murder and matters of the heart?

Of course, no compliment by me of Mr. Leonard will be anywhere in the vicinity of new, but I will add to the heap of praise of the man that in this particular novel of his, the snappiness of the dialogue, the overall wit, and the surprising nature of the twists and turns will always strike me as ideals to strive for as I write my own noir.

After all, writers can dream, can’t they?

By Elmore Leonard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Elmore Leonard


Book cover of Gathering Prey

Mark Love Author Of Why 319?

From my list on contemporary mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a contemporary mystery junkie. Realistic tales, set in the modern world always grab my attention. In a creative writing course in college, one professor suggested the old ‘write what you know’ approach. I don’t know everything, but I know what I like. Mysteries! I thrive on distinctive characters, those who are willing to put every effort into getting to the bottom of the situation. Sharp, tight dialogue and descriptions are essential. Give me that, and I’ll be back for more. This is my passion. Come along if you want a thrill and a surprise or two. 

Mark's book list on contemporary mysteries

Mark Love Why did Mark love this book?

I’ve been a fan of Sandford’s detective Lucas Davenport for a long time. He’s wicked smart, with a dark side that loves to come out and play occasionally. The way he orchestrates his use of the news media, and the department is uncommon. But the bureaucratic nonsense is starting to wear thin. And it’s getting in the way of Davenport’s passion for catching killers. When a friend of his daughter runs into trouble, he reluctantly jumps into the case, even though it takes him out of Minnesota and into the wilderness of Wisconsin and Michigan.

Davenport is the ultimate badass. He does whatever it takes to bring a case to closure and for justice to be served.

By John Sandford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Lucas Davenport thriller by internationally bestselling novelist John Sandford

They call them Travelers. They move from city to city, panhandling, committing no crimes - they just like to stay on the move. And now somebody is killing them.

Lucas Davenport's adopted daughter, Letty, is home from college when she gets a phone call from a woman Traveler she'd befriended in San Francisco. The woman thinks somebody's killing her friends, she's afraid she knows who it is, and now her male companion has gone missing. She's hiding out in North Dakota, and she doesn't know what to do.

Letty tells…


Book cover of L.A. Outlaws

Mark Love Author Of Why 319?

From my list on contemporary mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a contemporary mystery junkie. Realistic tales, set in the modern world always grab my attention. In a creative writing course in college, one professor suggested the old ‘write what you know’ approach. I don’t know everything, but I know what I like. Mysteries! I thrive on distinctive characters, those who are willing to put every effort into getting to the bottom of the situation. Sharp, tight dialogue and descriptions are essential. Give me that, and I’ll be back for more. This is my passion. Come along if you want a thrill and a surprise or two. 

Mark's book list on contemporary mysteries

Mark Love Why did Mark love this book?

I love the way Parker weaves a bit of legend into this story about a modern-day version of Robin Hood running wild through Los Angeles. Allison Murietta may be following in the footsteps of her ancestors, stealing from whoever strikes her fancy, and giving the spoils to charity. The action is fast-paced.

This is the first Charlie Hood mystery and Parker does a wonderful job, bringing the rookie detective along. The interactions between Hood and Murietta are perfect. There’s plenty of action to draw the reader in, and more twists than I expected.

By T. Jefferson Parker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Investigating the latest crime scene of a celebrity thief who has been staging lucrative heists and donating the spoils to charity, rookie deputy Charlie Hood embarks on an affair with a key witness and is forced to make an ethics-testing decision when the thief is targeted by a professional killer. 100,000 first printing.


Book cover of The Closers

Mark Love Author Of Why 319?

From my list on contemporary mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a contemporary mystery junkie. Realistic tales, set in the modern world always grab my attention. In a creative writing course in college, one professor suggested the old ‘write what you know’ approach. I don’t know everything, but I know what I like. Mysteries! I thrive on distinctive characters, those who are willing to put every effort into getting to the bottom of the situation. Sharp, tight dialogue and descriptions are essential. Give me that, and I’ll be back for more. This is my passion. Come along if you want a thrill and a surprise or two. 

Mark's book list on contemporary mysteries

Mark Love Why did Mark love this book?

I’ve always enjoyed mysteries, especially police procedural stories. Harry Bosch is the kind of detective that you want to root for. During his lengthy career, Bosch followed the motto that ‘everybody counts or nobody counts.’ That approach speaks volumes to me, especially when writing my own stories.

Investigating a cold case homicide requires turning over all the evidence, digging into the interviews, and developing new theories and suspects. This is dramatically different from a ‘fresh’ case, where there can be pressure from multiple directions to find the guilty party and bring them to justice quickly.

I like Connelly’s style and have read every one of his books that I can get my hands on. Bosch ruffles feathers, but gets it done!

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and…


Book cover of The Monkey's Raincoat

Nick Albert Author Of Hunting the Wrecking Crew: Eric Stone Book One

From my list on first appearances of serial thriller characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nick Albert is British, but for close to 20-years, he has lived in a ramshackle farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland with his wife and several unruly but affectionate dogs. He's the author of the bestselling comedy memoir series, Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds, and the twisty thriller Hunting the Wrecking Crew. Nick is a voracious reader with an eclectic collection of books, and for a good reason. In a recent interview, he gave this advice to aspiring authors, "Before you write, read. Read a lot. Read what you enjoy. Read the kind of books you would like to write, but be sure to observe the author's craft as you read. Take note of how they mix dialogue with narration, how they paint their pictures, and how they guide your mind. Try to look beyond the words to understand how the story was constructed. Do all this and more before you put pen to paper."

Nick's book list on first appearances of serial thriller characters

Nick Albert Why did Nick love this book?

Introducing Elvis Cole, L.A. Private Eye, who, along with his business partner Joe Pike, features in 18 books. Cole is a literate, wisecracking Vietnam vet who is determined to never grow up. Pike is a former Marine, quiet, ruthless, and deadly.

When Ellen Lang enters Elvis Cole's Disney-Deco office, she's lost her husband and her young son. The case seems simple enough, but Elvis isn't thrilled. Neither is his enigmatic partner and firepower, Joe Pike. Their search down the seamy side of Hollywood's studio lots and sculptured lawns soon leads them deep into a nasty netherworld of drugs, sex, and murder.

By Robert Crais,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A thriller featuring LA private eye, Elvis Cole set in the seamy side of Hollywood.


Book cover of Cinnamon Kiss

Paul Stoller Author Of Wisdom from the Edge: Writing Ethnography in Turbulent Times

From my list on writing about the wisdom of others.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was passionate about anthropology in the 1970s when I was in my twenties and am still passionate about anthropology in the 2020s in my seventies. Throughout the years I have expressed my passion for anthropology in university classrooms, in public lectures, and in the 16 books I have published. As my mind has matured, I understand more and more fully just how important it is to write powerfully, cogently, and accessibly about the wisdom of others. In all my books I have attempted to convey to the public this fundamental wisdom, none more so than in my latest book, Wisdom from the Edge: Writing Ethnography in Turbulent Times.   

Paul's book list on writing about the wisdom of others

Paul Stoller Why did Paul love this book?

Walter Mosely is one of my favorite fiction writers. His Easy Rollins mysteries, of which Cinnamon Kiss is a prime example, describe with great skill the cultural texture of street life among African Americans in Los Angeles. 

He does so through sensuous descriptions of LA neighborhoods, gripping dialogue, and creative construction of character.  In so doing he evokes the practical wisdom of urban street life—a model for writing about contemporary wisdom.

By Walter Mosley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times bestseller Walter Mosley's sizzling new novel pits Easy Rawlins against his greatest ever challenge.

It is the Summer of Love as CINNAMON KISS opens, and Easy Rawlins is contemplating robbing an armoured car. It's further outside the law than Easy has ever travelled, but his daughter Feather needs a medical treatment that costs far more than Easy can earn or borrow in time. And his friend Mouse tells him it's a cinch.

Then another friend, Saul Lynx, offers a job that might solve Easy's problem without jail time. He has to track the disappearance of an eccentric,…


Book cover of Dog on It: The Chet and Bernie Mystery, Book 1

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?

A mystery narrated by a dog? It sounded like a gimmick to me, until I started reading. Honestly, this dog thinks and reacts like a dog, and he’s hilarious! The tightly woven storyline—Chet “belongs” to a detective who’s investigating a girl’s disappearance—pulled me along nonstop, but mostly I fell in love with the writing. As a rule, I enjoy experiencing the world from a fresh perspective, along with a storyline that turns and twists and makes perfect sense in an unexpected way, as this one does. Trigger warning: Chet the pooch has some scary and even near-death moments en route to his happy ending. 

By Spencer Quinn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first book of the New York Times bestselling Chet and Bernie mystery series, an “enchanting one-of-a-kind novel” (Stephen King) that is “nothing short of masterful” (Los Angeles Times).

Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, and Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator, are quick to take a new case involving a frantic mother searching for her teenage daughter. This well-behaved and gifted student may or may not have been kidnapped, but she has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters. With Chet’s highly trained nose leading the way, their hunt for clues takes them…


Book cover of The Black Angel

Tom Grace Author Of The Secret Cardinal

From my list on thrillers to keep you awake at night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an avid reader and devour books of all types, but for pure entertainment I love a good thriller. These are the kind of books I read on planes and at the beach, and these are the kinds of books I shared with my late father. I contributed a piece on Rudyard Kipling’s Kim to the collection Thrillers: 100 Must Reads and am a member of the International Thriller Writers. While I write thrillers professionally, I remain a passionate reader of the genre and love to share the brilliant stories that kept me reading late into the night.

Tom's book list on thrillers to keep you awake at night

Tom Grace Why did Tom love this book?

Connolly weaves taut crime thrillers that I have great trouble putting down once I start reading. Charlie Parker and the rest of the regular cast are beautifully rich characters I care about, which explains the 19 books in this series on my shelf. What sets Connolly apart is an undercurrent of supernatural evil that arcs through these crime stories. In The Black Angel, the shroud that conceals what the reader likely sensed in the early novels is pulled back a little to reveal an underworld of darkness beneath the stories. Charlie Parker is the detective you want on the case when there is more than just a crime and The Black Angel is a milestone in the series.

By John Connolly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

EVIL TAKES MANY FORMS.
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR CHARLIE PARKER HUNTS THEM ALL.

The Black Angel is not an object. The Black Angel is not a myth. The Black Angel lives.

A young woman goes missing from the streets of New York. Those who have taken her believe that nobody cares about her, and that no one will come looking for her. They are wrong. She is linked to the killer Louis, the man who stands at the right hand of private detective Charlie Parker, and Louis will tear apart anyone who stands in the way of his attempts to find her.…


Book cover of The Mexican Tree Duck

Michael Keenan Gutierrez Author Of The Swill

From my list on bars where I'd like to get a drink.

Why am I passionate about this?

I loved bars before I could drink. Maybe it was a steady diet of Cheers reruns as a child. Or perhaps it was growing up in Los Angeles, a city without a center, a city of cars, a city that seemed—at least when I was a child—to lack real community. Bars, in my imagination, provided that. So when I started actually finding myself in bars—and often working in them—I also found myself writing fiction, and those bars ended up in that fiction. In each of my novels, a bar is a gathering place for those wanting a church sans theology, a place, where, yes, everyone knows your name.  

Michael's book list on bars where I'd like to get a drink

Michael Keenan Gutierrez Why did Michael love this book?

Crime novels, like bars, live or die on their vibe. The plot may have rat-sized holes and the ending might spill into deux ex machina, but if you dig the atmosphere, you’ll forgive almost any narrative sin. Not that The Mexican Tree Duck commits any worthy of confession. You’re in safe hands with CW Sughrue, part-time PI and owner of the Hell Roaring Liquor Store and Lounge up in Montana. What I love about Crumley is the lovely, complex language that pours out like gin into a martini glass. “The first time I set foot in the Hell Roaring as the sixties drifted, late as usual and dying, into the seventies, I found that soft autumn light filling the magic afternoon easiness of the bar.” 

By James Crumley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE DASHIELL HAMMETT AWARD

One night up in Montana, C.W. Sughrue sets his seedy bar’s pricey jukebox in front of an oncoming freight train. When predictable results ensue, he needs to find a way to make some money and pay back the jukebox company. So even though Sughrue’s officially retired from P.I. work, he picks up one small-time case involving some kidnapped fish. That fishy trail leads to a much bigger case involving a Texas politician's kidnapped wife, a valuable piece of pre-Columbian pottery, and a single mother who packs guns and stolen goods in her infant son's…


Book cover of When We Were Orphans

Christine Kindberg Author Of The Means That Make Us Strangers

From my list on the third-culture kid experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a second-generation TCK. I was born in Peru and grew up in Chile and Panama, as well as the US. My YA novel, The Means That Make Us Strangers, explores some of my own experience moving crossculturally as a teenager.

Christine's book list on the third-culture kid experience

Christine Kindberg Why did Christine love this book?

This book, by Nobel-prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro, was the first novel in which I saw a character like myself—someone who grew up in a culture that was very different from his parents'. The mystery plot gets wild, but I found that the main character’s search for closure felt connected to my own nostalgia and grief over the places I’d left behind.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When We Were Orphans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

England, 1930s. Christopher Banks has become the country's most celebrated detective, his cases the talk of London society. Yet one unsolved crime has always haunted him; the mysterious disappearance of his parents, in Old Shanghai, when he was a small boy. Now, as the world lurches towards total war, Banks realises the time has come for him to return to the city of his childhood and at last solve the mystery - that only by his doing so will civilisation be saved from the approaching catastrophe.

Moving between London and Shanghai of the inter-war years, When We Were Orphans is…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in private investigators, missing persons, and hard boiled?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about private investigators, missing persons, and hard boiled.

Private Investigators Explore 294 books about private investigators
Missing Persons Explore 275 books about missing persons
Hard Boiled Explore 251 books about hard boiled