100 books like Sleeping Beauty

By Ross Macdonald,

Here are 100 books that Sleeping Beauty fans have personally recommended if you like Sleeping Beauty. 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 The Big Sleep

Charles Ardai Author Of Death Comes Too Late

From my list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears.

Why am I passionate about this?

I created Hard Case Crime 20 years ago to revive the look, feel, and storytelling style of the great paperback crime novels of the 1940s and 50s: slender, high-velocity tales with irresistible premises, crackling dialogue, and powerful emotions, all presented behind gorgeous painted covers in the classic pulp style. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to publish Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, James M. Cain, Erle Stanley Gardner, Mickey Spillane, Brian De Palma, Ed McBain, and many more extraordinary authors.

Charles' book list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears

Charles Ardai Why did Charles love this book?

The first novel about legendary private eye Phillip Marlowe is also the first mystery novel that ever made me cry when I turned the last page.

Marlowe’s poetic narration and bruised outsider’s voice offer a cynical but also strangely hopeful perspective on both the shady underworld types and the corrupt high-society folk who fill the “mean streets” down which Marlowe must walk (in Chandler’s much-quoted phrase).

Why hopeful when death–the big sleep–awaits us all? Because a man of principles like Marlowe can still bring a measure of justice in this unjust world, sometimes just by bearing witness.

By Raymond Chandler,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Big Sleep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Raymond Chandler's first three novels, published here in one volume, established his reputation as an unsurpassed master of hard-boiled detective fiction.

The Big Sleep, Chandler's first novel, introduces Philip Marlowe, a private detective inhabiting the seamy side of Los Angeles in the 1930s, as he takes on a case involving a paralysed California millionaire, two psychotic daughters, blackmail and murder.

In Farewell, My Lovely, Marlowe deals with the gambling circuit, a murder he stumbles upon, and three very beautiful but potentially deadly women.

In The High Window, Marlowe searches the California underworld for a priceless gold coin and finds himself…


Book cover of The Edge

Stephen Allten Brown Author Of Stealing Picasso

From my list on taking you to unexpected places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved history and art. Combining the two makes perfect sense and provides the inspiration to keep writing. I can spend hours in a museum, just soaking up the magic in Impressionist paintings. I never get tired of researching the artists or their paintings, and I relish the unexpected discoveries. 

Stephen's book list on taking you to unexpected places

Stephen Allten Brown Why did Stephen love this book?

I love the way there is a mystery within a mystery. A group of actors is staging a play for the benefit of the passengers on a transcontinental train trip across Canada. The protagonist, who is undercover and posing as a waiter, befriends the lead actor and takes a page out of Hamlet, using the play to pressure the villain into making a mistake and incriminating himself. Accurate details about working as a waiter lend a sense of ‘David versus Goliath’ to the storyline.

By Dick Francis,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Edge

To the Jockey Club, the racing world would be a better place without Julius Apollo Filmer. An expert in corruption with a devastating line in witness intimidation - and proving to be a slippery character to put behind bars.

Baffled, they call in undercover security agent Tor Kelsey to keep an unflinching eye on Filmer and his associates. A mission that takes him from the finest of English racecourses to the wild Canadian interior - on a luxury transcontinental train journey to end them all.

On board, a troupe of actors are playing out a murder mystery for…


Book cover of The Gate House

Geoff Loftus Author Of Murderous Spirit

From my list on thrillers to read on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a thriller writer, I have a simple goal: I want to entertain. I'm not the kind of writer whose name is coupled with the Pulitzer Prize or the National Book Award. I write the kind of stories people read to divert themselves on a rainy afternoon or on the beach or on airplanes. My hope is that I can divert and delight my readers. Help them forget the real world for a while. Give them an enjoyable reading break. If people have fun while reading my thrillers, I've done my job.

Geoff's book list on thrillers to read on a rainy Saturday afternoon

Geoff Loftus Why did Geoff love this book?

The Gate House is a sequel to DeMille’s successful novel The Gold Coast, which I really enjoyed. Who wouldn’t like a tale of seduction, betrayal, and violence set about a Mafia don moving into a wealthy WASP enclave on Long Island’s North Shore.

I found The Gate House to be even better. The narrating hero of The Gold Coast returns ten years later. He’s older, wiser, but no less sly, cynical, and funny. His ex-wife is also back, and despite his thinking that she is more than a little crazy (and maybe a bit homicidal), he’s still attracted to her. To top things off, the Mafia don’s son, now himself the don, is looking for vengeance. The Gate House is full of sex, humor, and ultimately, violence. 

By Nelson DeMille,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When John Sutter's aristocratic wife killed her mafia don lover, John left America and set out in his sailboat on a three-year journey around the world, eventually settling in London. Now, ten years later, he has come home to the Gold Coast, the stretch of land on the North Shore of Long Island that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America, to attend the imminent funeral of an old family servant. Taking up temporary residence in the gatehouse of Stanhope Hall, John finds himself living only a quarter of a mile from Susan, who has also…


Book cover of Night Without End

Geoff Loftus Author Of Murderous Spirit

From my list on thrillers to read on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a thriller writer, I have a simple goal: I want to entertain. I'm not the kind of writer whose name is coupled with the Pulitzer Prize or the National Book Award. I write the kind of stories people read to divert themselves on a rainy afternoon or on the beach or on airplanes. My hope is that I can divert and delight my readers. Help them forget the real world for a while. Give them an enjoyable reading break. If people have fun while reading my thrillers, I've done my job.

Geoff's book list on thrillers to read on a rainy Saturday afternoon

Geoff Loftus Why did Geoff love this book?

Alistair MacLean’s thrillers have been a guilty reading pleasure of mine since high school, when MacLean churned out bestsellers like The Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare every year. MacLean creates tough, grim heroes who do whatever they have to do to get the job done. The writing is clumsy but effective, with heavy-handed humor and world-weary cynicism. The women are barely defined. And yet...

The plot, mood, and setting of each book provide one heck of an adventure. Like the crash-landing of a passenger airliner on the Greenland ice cap in Night Without End. A nearby team of scientists rushes to save the survivors. Among whom are the murderous criminals who caused the plane crash. A thoroughly riveting tale of survival in an Arctic wilderness.

By Alistair MacLean,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Night Without End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the acclaimed master of action and suspense. The all time classic.

400 miles north of the Arctic Circle, an airliner crashes in the polar ice-cap. In temperatures 40 degrees below zero, six men and four women survive.

For the members of a remote scientific research station who rescue them, there are some sinister questions to answer - the first one being, who shot the pilot before the crash?

Then, with communications cut and supplies running low, the station doctor must lead the survivors on a desperate bid to reach the coast, knowing all the while that there is a…


Book cover of The Underground Man

Stephen Holgate Author Of To Live and Die in the Floating World

From my list on neglected mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

From Poe to Conan Doyle and Christie to the hard-boiled school of Hammett and Chandler and modern practitioners such as Louise Penny and Walter Mosely, I can gobble up mysteries like candy. Their appeal lies not only in compelling storylines but in their promise to restore order to our chaotic world, assure us that justice will triumph and evil geniuses will lose to intrepid paladins. As with wines, art, and sex, tastes vary. While reading various lists of great mysteries to jog my memory to make this list, I realized that few of my favorites were even listed, much less among the top ranks. Like a good detective, I’m determined that justice prevails.

Stephen's book list on neglected mysteries

Stephen Holgate Why did Stephen love this book?

To my mind, Macdonald is the greatest of American mystery writers, yet he appears to be all but forgotten. Writing in the tradition of Chandler and Hammett—and sharing their California setting—he surpasses them both as a writer and a student of human nature. I find his detective, Lew Archer, a believable and appealing character. A decent and compassionate man, he’s as tough as needs be, but no tougher. The Underground Man is Macdonald’s best, a complex and haunting story in which a routine search for a missing person leads Archer into a twisted family heritage of death and betrayal that has festered, hidden, for decades, and has now burst forth in deadly fashion. 

By Ross Macdonald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As a mysterious fire rages through the hills above a privileged town in Southern California, Archer tracks a missing child who may be the pawn in a marital struggle or the victim of a bizarre kidnapping.  What he uncovers amid the ashes is murder—and a trail of motives as combustible as gasoline.  The Underground Man is a detective novel of merciless suspense and tragic depth, with an unfaltering insight into the moral ambiguities at the heart of California's version of the American dream.

If any writer can be said to have inherited the mantle of Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler,…


Book cover of The Instant Enemy

Burt Weissbourd Author Of Rough Justice

From my list on character-driven thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write character-driven thrillers, including my latest novel: Rough Justice. How did I come to write psychological character-driven thrillers? It began years ago when I went to Hollywood in 1977. This was the New Hollywood (1967 -1980), and I worked with writers whose work grabbed viewers viscerally, not with explosions but with multi-dimensional characters that would draw you into a deeply moving story. I spent countless hours working out the stories and shaping the people in them. Working closely with these great screenwriters was a rare opportunity to learn how to create complicated characters and to see how these complex people enriched storytelling.

Burt's book list on character-driven thrillers

Burt Weissbourd Why did Burt love this book?

I not only loved this book (and all of Ross Macdonald’s writing) but he wrote his only screenplay for me as a producer in Hollywood, based on this book, The Instant Enemy. Working with him closely on this book taught me a great deal about writing complicated character-driven thrillers. He was a master at that, and it was an extraordinary education for me.

By Ross Macdonald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Generations of murder, greed and deception come home to roost in time for the most shocking conclusion ever in a Lew Archer novel. At first glance, it's an open-and-shut missing persons case: a headstrong daughter has run off to be with her hothead juvenile delinquent boyfriend. That is until this bush-league Bonnie & Clyde kidnap Stephen Hackett, a local millionaire industrialist. Now, Archer is offered a cool 100 Gs for his safe return by his coquettish heiress mother who has her own mysterious ties to this disturbed duo. But the deeper Archer digs, the more he realizes that nothing is…


Book cover of The Moving Target

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?

If there is one central defining quality of noir crime fiction, it is the main character’s struggle to preserve his moral center in a fundamentally corrupt and evil world. The best P.I. novels are able to render this kind of character in brushstrokes that are both beautiful and subtle.

One of my favorites is Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer, first introduced in this novel. When Archer is hired to find a missing rich guy in a tony, Southern California beach town, he finds himself knee-deep in violence, greed, and deceit, uncertain of who is guilty, who he can trust, and even who is worth saving. A moving target, indeed.

By Ross Macdonald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first book in Ross Macdonald's acclaimed Lew Archer series introduces the detective who redefined the role of the American private eye and gave the crime novel a psychological depth and moral complexity only hinted at before.

Like many Southern California millionaires, Ralph Sampson keeps odd company. There's the sun-worshipping holy man whom Sampson once gave his very own mountain; the fading actress with sidelines in astrology and S&M. Now one of Sampson's friends may have arranged his kidnapping.

As Lew Archer follows the clues from the canyon sanctuaries of the megarich to jazz joints where you get beaten up…


Book cover of The Way Some People Die

Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn Author Of Strange Markings: A Skylar Drake Mystery

From my list on golden age detective stories.

Why are we passionate about this?

Janet and I have traveled extensively and found inspiration and story ideas at every destination. As writers for more than 10 years and as fans of classic detective stories, we feel qualified to tackle this genre.

Will's book list on golden age detective stories

Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn Why did Will love this book?

Ross MacDonald is one of the classic detective series that features a damaged leading character who finds more trouble than he knows. Many people have told us our writing style is similar to his. If you want to read classic noir, read this book. His books are hidden gems that beg to be discovered.

By Ross Macdonald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a rundown house in Santa Monica, Mrs. Samuel Lawrence presses fifty crumpled bills into Lew Archer's hand and asks him to find her wandering daughter, Galatea. Described as ‘crazy for men’ and without discrimination, she was last seen driving off with small-time gangster Joe Tarantine, a hophead hood with a rep for violence. Archer traces the hidden trail from San Francisco slum alleys to the luxury of Palm Springs, traveling through an urban wilderness of drugs and viciousness. As the bodies begin to pile up, he finds that even angel faces can mask the blackest of hearts.Filled with dope,…


Book cover of The Barbarous Coast

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?

This twisty, hypnotic story by the great Ross Macdonald focuses on the dark side of the Hollywood dream.

Private detective Lew Archer is drawn into the search for a missing woman, Hester Campbell-Wall, who seemed poised on the cusp of success via an oblique connection to Helio-Graff Studios when she vanished after a frantic phone call to her estranged husband.

Against his better judgment Archer agrees to look for Hester, a quest that pits him against the powerful and corrupt studio head, Simon Graff. The book is full of complex characters who are neither all good nor all bad, despite their acts of betrayal, deceit, and even murder.

That’s what makes them so poignant and believable: in various ways, they are all broken by dreams that didn’t come true. 

By Ross Macdonald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The beautiful, high-diving blonde had Hollywood dreams and stars in her eyes but now she seems to have disappeared without a trace. Hired by her hotheaded husband and her rummy “uncle,” Lew Archer sniffs around Malibu and finds the stink of blackmail, blood-money, and murder on every pricey silk shirt. Beset by dirty cops, a bumptious boxer turned silver screen pretty boy and a Hollywood mogul with a dark past, Archer discovers the secret of a grisly murder that just won't stay hidden.Lew Archer navigates through the watery, violent world of wealth and privilege, in this electrifying story of obsession…


Book cover of A is for Alibi

G. Davies Jandrey Author Of The Law of Unintended Consequences

From my list on tough women crime busters who wouldn't be caught dead in heels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to read about strong, independent, imperfect women who are capable of getting themselves out of their own messes. That's why my female protagonists are strong, independent, imperfect women who don't need a man to save them.

G. Davies' book list on tough women crime busters who wouldn't be caught dead in heels

G. Davies Jandrey Why did G. Davies love this book?

Kinsey Millhone, a private investigator, says she is a nice person, but she’s twice divorced, kidless, petless, doesn’t even want to take on the responsibility of a houseplant, drinks cheap Chablis out of a coffee mug—for God's sake—and she’s a killer. Frankly, how nice can she be?

I like not nice, and I loved Kinsey Millhone. Happily, there are 23 more Kinsey Millhone mysteries in the lineup.

By Sue Grafton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A is for Alibi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

`My name is Kinsey Millhone. I'm a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I'm thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yesterday I killed someone and the fact weighs heavily on my mind . . .'

When Laurence Fife was murdered, few cared. A slick divorce attorney with a reputation for ruthlessness, Fife was also rumoured to be a slippery ladies' man. Plenty of people in the picturesque Southern California town of Santa Teresa had reason to want him dead. Including, thought the cops, his young and beautiful wife, Nikki. With motive, access and opportunity,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in private investigators, California, and Sleeping Beauty?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about private investigators, California, and Sleeping Beauty.

California 381 books
Sleeping Beauty 6 books