100 books like Red Joan

By Jennie Rooney,

Here are 100 books that Red Joan fans have personally recommended if you like Red Joan. 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 Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes

Seth Rosenfeld Author Of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power

From my list on spies and radicals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Seth Rosenfeld is an independent investigative journalist and author of the New York Times best-seller Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power. As a staff reporter for The San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle, he specialized in using public records and won national honors including the George Polk Award. Subversives, based on thousands of pages of FBI records released to him as a result of several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, won the PEN Center USA’s Literary Award for Research Nonfiction Prize, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award, and other honors.

Seth's book list on spies and radicals

Seth Rosenfeld Why did Seth love this book?

This gem of narrative non-fiction tells the improbable story of an utterly impoverished immigrant woman who married into one of the wealthiest “establishment” families of New York City and became one of the nation’s most prominent radical activists in the early 1900s. The unlikely marriage of Rose Pastor and Graham Stokes made many national headlines -- and attracted attention from federal agents. Hochschild brings this odd couple to life in all their ups and downs, introduces us to their circle of famous fellow activists, and illuminates their fights for social justice, struggles that remain relevant to this day.

By Adam Hochschild,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the best-selling author of King Leopold's Ghost and Spain in Our Hearts comes the astonishing but forgotten story of an immigrant sweatshop worker who married an heir to a great American fortune and became one of the most charismatic radical leaders of her time.

Rose Pastor arrived in New York City in 1903, a Jewish refugee from Russia who had worked in cigar factories since the age of eleven. Two years later, she captured headlines across the globe when she married James Graham Phelps Stokes, scion of one of the legendary 400 families of New York high society.

Together,…


Book cover of Last Second in Dallas

Seth Rosenfeld Author Of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power

From my list on spies and radicals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Seth Rosenfeld is an independent investigative journalist and author of the New York Times best-seller Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power. As a staff reporter for The San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle, he specialized in using public records and won national honors including the George Polk Award. Subversives, based on thousands of pages of FBI records released to him as a result of several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, won the PEN Center USA’s Literary Award for Research Nonfiction Prize, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award, and other honors.

Seth's book list on spies and radicals

Seth Rosenfeld Why did Seth love this book?

In some ways, the current epidemic of crackpot “deep state” conspiracy theories can be traced to the miasma surrounding one of the greatest unsolved murders of our time, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Thompson’s new book is an antidote: a rigorous, transparent and compelling investigation of acoustic, photographic, and medical evidence. The philosophy professor turned San Francisco private eye interweaves his own fascinating personal journey with the story of how he came to find, examine, and re-examine forensic evidence that, he concludes, proves Kennedy was killed not by a lone assassin as the Warren Commission found, but in a cross-fire from at least two shooters.

By Josiah Thompson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this long-awaited follow-up to his critically acclaimed 1967 classic, Six Seconds in Dallas, Josiah Thompson reveals major new forensic discoveries since the year 2000 that overturn previously accepted 'facts' about the Kennedy assassination. Together they provide what no previous book on the assassination has done - incontrovertible proof that JFK was killed in a crossfire.

Last Second in Dallas is not a conspiracy book. No theory of who did it is offered or discussed. Among the discoveries: The test showing that all recovered bullet fragments came from Oswald's rifle was mistaken. Several fragments could have come from bullets of…


Book cover of Secrets: The CIA's War at Home

Seth Rosenfeld Author Of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power

From my list on spies and radicals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Seth Rosenfeld is an independent investigative journalist and author of the New York Times best-seller Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power. As a staff reporter for The San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle, he specialized in using public records and won national honors including the George Polk Award. Subversives, based on thousands of pages of FBI records released to him as a result of several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, won the PEN Center USA’s Literary Award for Research Nonfiction Prize, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award, and other honors.

Seth's book list on spies and radicals

Seth Rosenfeld Why did Seth love this book?

Starting with his experience as publisher of an anti-war newspaper in the 1970s, and relying on official records released under the Freedom of Information Act, Mackenzie reveals how the CIA used undercover operatives to sabotage the dissident press and developed a system of secrecy agreements and pre-publication review boards that spread throughout the federal government in efforts to silence former intelligence agents and other would-be whistle-blowers. This brilliant book is the last work by the late Mackenzie, who dedicated his life to defending the First Amendment. He was a long-time associate of the Bay Area’s Center for Investigative Reporting, which with his wife, Jane Hundertmark, completed it after his untimely death.

By Angus MacKenzie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This eye-opening expose, the result of fifteen years of investigative work, uncovers the CIA's systematic efforts to suppress and censor information over several decades. An award-winning journalist, Angus Mackenzie waged and won a lawsuit against the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act and became a leading expert on questions concerning government censorship and domestic spying. In "Secrets", he reveals how federal agencies - including the Department of Defense, the executive branch, and the CIA - have monitored and controlled public access to information. Mackenzie lays bare the behind-the-scenes evolution of a policy of suppression, repression, spying, and harassment. Secrecy…


Book cover of The Agitator: William Bailey and the First American Uprising Against Nazism

Seth Rosenfeld Author Of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power

From my list on spies and radicals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Seth Rosenfeld is an independent investigative journalist and author of the New York Times best-seller Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power. As a staff reporter for The San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle, he specialized in using public records and won national honors including the George Polk Award. Subversives, based on thousands of pages of FBI records released to him as a result of several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, won the PEN Center USA’s Literary Award for Research Nonfiction Prize, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award, and other honors.

Seth's book list on spies and radicals

Seth Rosenfeld Why did Seth love this book?

In this deft work of nonfiction, Duffy tells the life and times of William Bailey, a rough-hewn, big-hearted longshoreman turned Communist activist, and how on one summer day in 1935 he and several compatriots came to stage a remarkable protest by hauling down a swastika flag from the SS Bremen, the flagship of Hitler’s commercial fleet. Events unfold as the deluxe passenger liner, which was heartily patronized by many Americans and Europeans, hosted a glitzy party while docked in Manhattan harbor. It was years before the outbreak of World War II, but Hitler already had commenced his anti-Semitic and other repressive initiatives. The trial and acquittal of Bailey et al., and the diplomatic fallout, was what Duffy describes as “the first blow landed against the Third Reich by foreign adversaries, delivered without guns or bombs.”

By Peter Duffy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This story of an anti-fascist's dramatic and remarkable victory against Nazism in 1935 is an inspiration to anyone compelled to resist when signs of oppression are on the horizon

By 1935, Hitler had suppressed all internal opposition and established himself as Germany's unchallenged dictator. Yet many Americans remained largely indifferent as he turned his dangerous ambitions abroad. Not William Bailey.

Just days after violent anti-Semitic riots had broken out in Berlin, the SS Bremen, the flagship of Hitler's commercial armada, was welcomed into New York Harbor. Bailey led a small group that slipped past security and cut down the Nazi…


Book cover of My Sister's Grave

Jamie Millen Author Of You Did This

From my list on psychological thrillers to keep you up all night.

Why am I passionate about this?

Human psychology – particularly the “abnormal” kind – has always fascinated me, enough to study the topic at university. What makes us tick? Why do seemingly ordinary people commit terrible crimes? Psychological crime thrillers allow me to explore our dark side further, and I sprinkle nuggets from that research throughout my novels. Memories and relationships may appear in disguise. Stories are our way of sharing our experiences – the ones too intense and intimate to express in other ways. Born and raised in South Africa, I now live in Israel with my wife and daughters. When I’m not writing my next thriller, you’ll find me writing computer code and generally being curious about the world.

Jamie's book list on psychological thrillers to keep you up all night

Jamie Millen Why did Jamie love this book?

It’s every author’s worst nightmare. You’ve just discovered that a famous author has a book that sounds uncannily similar to your new and unpublished masterpiece. Yikes!

Dugoni’s series starter featured a feisty female detective investigating her sister’s past murder. I had to read it. Thankfully, that’s where the similarities ended. The novel is a gripping read with meticulous forensic details and an expertly laid twist. And both our stories warn against the dangers of old secrets. Are some doors better left closed?

By Robert Dugoni,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My Sister's Grave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book in the series that has garnered millions of readers across the globe, from New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni.

Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah's disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn't believe that Edmund House-a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah's murder-is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.

When Sarah's remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains…


Book cover of Survive the Night

T.O. Paine Author Of The Excursion

From my list on secluded and trapped survival thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a snowy, rural mountain town of less than 500 people, I became fascinated with humanity's will to survive the elements at an early age because I often had to do so myself. Add in a mysterious force or an escaped killer wandering through the hills outside a secluded cabin, and you've got my favorite thriller subgenre: Trapped and secluded. It wasn't until my third novel, The Excursion, that I realized my longtime dream of writing a survival thriller influenced by dozens of books and movies. Today, I live in a suburb of Denver, Colorado, but the mountains are close. And so are the secluded cabins.

T.O.'s book list on secluded and trapped survival thrillers

T.O. Paine Why did T.O. love this book?

Riley Sager is one of my favorite authors, and this book is my favorite of all his books.

The secluded location? A speeding car. The main character, Charlie, needs to get home from college and shares a ride with a new acquaintance who may or may not be a serial killer. I loved the tension woven into each chapter, the slow unraveling of Charlie’s past, her suspicious fascination with classic movies, and the relentless, unexpected twists compounding in the end.

This is one of those books that has stuck in my mind and will probably be there forever.

By Riley Sager,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

One of New York Times Book Review's "summer reads guaranteed to make your heart thump and your skin crawl"; An Amazon Best of the Month Pick; Named a must-read summer book by The Washington Post, USA Today, Vulture, BuzzFeed, Forbes, Entertainment Weekly, CNN, New York Post, Good Housekeeping, E!, PopSugar, CrimeReads, Thrillist, and BookRiot. 

It’s November 1991. Nirvana's in the tape deck, George H. W. Bush is in the White House, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.

Josh Baxter, the man…


Book cover of A Good Man in Africa

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart Author Of The Lizard

From my list on thrillers with beautiful settings and mind-blowing twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been born in Fiji and lived in Cyprus, Austria, and Nigeria, I have always had a strong sense of wanderlust and a keen eye for my surroundings – both natural and man-made. I’ve always been open to "what might happen next," which makes sense as to why I became a professional storyteller – an actor, writer, and director. I am thrilled by not knowing what lies ahead, and I’ve always felt there is possible adventure at every turn in life, which is why I am so fond of the evocative and thrilling books I have listed.

Dugald's book list on thrillers with beautiful settings and mind-blowing twists

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart Why did Dugald love this book?

Set in the fictitious West African country of Kinjanja, the hapless exploits of an ill-fated British High Commission delegate in the wrong place at the wrong time left me exhausted from laughing out loud so hard.

It’s a sliding-door adventure thriller about the comic yet tragic downfall of a good man trying to do his best in the face of unrelenting adversity. I read it while living in Nigeria (Kinjanja is a cross between Ghana and Nigeria) and found it to be the perfect fusion of exotic location and sense of place, combined with a headlong descent into mayhem and madness.

By William Boyd,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Good Man in Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A funny first novel about the misadventures surrounding Morgan Leafy, a young, overweight, oversexed British diplomat in West Africa. The book won the 1981 Whitbread Literary Award and the 1982 Somerset Maugham Award.


Book cover of The Paper Wasp

Andy Mozina Author Of Tandem

From my list on literary with criminal protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like books in which there are moral stakes, which sometimes draws me to stories with criminals, and I like when the character at the center of the problem is complex or destabilizes things. Dark humor always helps. Average people should be able to see themselves in some way in the criminal’s bad behavior or at least in their desires. I have published two story collections and two novels. My first collection of short stories won the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award. My fiction has appeared in Tin House, Southern Review, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere. I'm a professor of English at Kalamazoo College. 

Andy's book list on literary with criminal protagonists

Andy Mozina Why did Andy love this book?

This is a beautifully written psychological thriller.

At a high school reunion, a polite invitation between old friends—Elise, a successful actor, invites Abby, who is floundering, to visit her in LA—spirals into Abby’s attempt to infiltrate the star’s life. The novel fearlessly plumbs the mysteries and complications of friendship and shows how misguided impulses can gradually take over our psyches.

I’m a fan of big endings, and this novel’s final paragraphs, which cap Abby’s disturbed yet compelling emotional journey, are stunners. 

By Lauren Acampora,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Acampora is an original' Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City

An electrifying debut novel of two women's friendship, a haunting obsession and twisted ambition, set against the feverish backdrop of contemporary Hollywood.

Abby Graven is a dreamer. She dreams her way through her small, lonely life - hiding back at her parents, working at the grocery store. At night, she collects tabloid clippings that taunt her with Elise - her best friend, now Hollywood's hot new starlet.

When a school reunion throws Elise in her path, Abby seizes her chance. With feverish certainty, she boards a one-way flight…


Book cover of Truly, Darkly, Deeply

Niki Mackay Author Of The Due Date

From my list on thrillers with unreliable narrators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written nine crime novels, mostly psychological thrillers, but some blend procedural and PI elements and two are gangland stories. I went to the BRIT school in the 90’s and studied Drama and English Literature at University. I always think that my Performing Arts background gave me a great tool kit for ‘getting into character’ which is useful for writing. I also have an MA in journalism but I definitely prefer fiction to fact. I love the immediacy of first person prose and I am a sucker for an unreliable narrator.

Niki's book list on thrillers with unreliable narrators

Niki Mackay Why did Niki love this book?

This story is told from the perspective of a serial killer's stepdaughter, Sophie, and I swallowed it in two sittings.

Matty Melgren, Sophie’s stepfather, is dying and wants to meet. He’s in prison and his imminent death takes Sophie right back to her childhood. The story is told from Sophie’s perspective as a twelve-year-old observing the breakdown of her mother and Matty’s relationship and as an adult debating how much she wants answers and what they might cost her.

I loved the dual timeline and thought it was a really fresh way to approach a serial killer novel. 

By Victoria Selman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**THE INSTANT SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER**

'Victoria Selman is an exciting and powerfully fresh voice' Patricia Cornwell

Twelve-year-old Sophie and her mother, Amelia-Rose, move to London from Massachusetts where they meet the charismatic Matty Melgren, who quickly becomes an intrinsic part of their lives. But as the relationship between the two adults fractures, a serial killer begins targeting young women with a striking resemblance to Amelia-Rose.

When Matty is eventually sent down for multiple murder, questions remain as to his guilt -- questions which ultimately destroy both women. Nearly twenty years later, Sophie receives a letter from Battlemouth Prison informing her…


Book cover of Man on Fire

Frank Zafiro Author Of The Last Horseman

From my list on action with thrills that could really happen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a cop for twenty years. And while I always saw True Crime as a busman’s holiday, I loved crime fiction all along. Eventually my own writing took me there, as well. I love how crime fiction, much like good science fiction, explores the nature of human behavior in a way that isn’t as prevalent in other genres. As a result, I’ve read widely in the field, always gravitating toward the darker and grittier entries. The lone wolf protagonists who either live by a code or undergo a fascinating change within the book or series has also been my focus.

Frank's book list on action with thrills that could really happen

Frank Zafiro Why did Frank love this book?

I saw the 1987 film adaptation of this novel starring Scott Glenn before I read the book, which is set decades earlier.

I loved the progression of this hard-bitten, psychologically damaged mercenary coming to love this little girl that he is charged with protecting. It’s such a pure emotion for him and the fact that she returns it so completely, as only a child can, is heart-wrenching.

Both the 1987 and the 2004 film adaptations do a good job capturing the magic of this drama, but as is usually the case, the novel does it best. If someone loves The Mandalorian, it is worth trying Man on Fire, which the former has many parallels with.

By A. J. Quinnell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Creasy thought he had nothing left to lose. He was wrong.

An American soldier of fortune far from home -- alcoholic, burnt out, and broken down -- Creasy has accepted a job as a bodyguard just for something to do. An emotionally dead, one-time warrior, he knows that nothing can pierce the hard shell he's built around himself -- until the little girl he's been hired to protect somehow breaks through. But having something to care about again in making Creasy vulnerable. And when the unthinkable occurs, a man on fire won't just burn ... he'll explode.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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