100 books like Swan Peak

By James Lee Burke,

Here are 100 books that Swan Peak fans have personally recommended if you like Swan Peak. 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 In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead

Robin Yocum Author Of The Sacrifice of Lester Yates

From my list on the baddest badass dudes of crime fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My novels range from coming-of-age to suspense. I was an award-winning crime and investigative reporter for the Columbus Dispatch for 11 years. That background helps me with the investigative aspects of my books. I enjoy exploring the moral dilemmas often presented in real life. My characters all have morals, but I like putting them in compromising situations. It’s easy to sit back and judge others, but how far would you go to keep your own son out of jail? Would the love of your son get in the way of your morals? It’s never black or white. Most of life is spent dancing in and out of the vast gray area in the middle. 

Robin's book list on the baddest badass dudes of crime fiction

Robin Yocum Why did Robin love this book?

Dave Robicheaux is a New Iberia, Louisiana, sheriff’s detective in a series by James Lee Burke. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of Dave. He is righteous, but flawed. He regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, struggles with nightmares of Viet Nam and other unseen demons, but has an acute sense of right and wrong. In Crusader’s Cross, his loyal sidekick, Cletus Prucell says of Dave, "He's got polka dot giraffes running around in his head, but he's the best guy I've ever known.” I’m a Burke fan, and I like everything he writes. In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead, and Purple Cane Road are my personal favorites. In Electric Mist, Dave is drawn into a 40-year-old unsolved murder that he witnessed as a college freshman. In the midst of his investigation, Dave has regular conversations with the ghost of Confederate General John Bell Hood.…

By James Lee Burke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The sixth in the New York Times bestselling Dave Robicheaux series delivers a heart-pounding bayou manhunt—and features “one of the coolest, earthiest heroes in thrillerdom” (Entertainment Weekly ).

When Hollywood invades New Iberia Parish to film a Civil War epic, restless specters waiting in the shadows for Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux are reawakened—ghosts of a history best left undisturbed.

Hunting a serial killer preying on the lawless young, Robicheaux comes face-to-face with the elusive guardians of his darkest torments— who hold the key to his ultimate salvation or a final, fatal downfall.


Book cover of Bad Luck and Trouble

Robin Yocum Author Of The Sacrifice of Lester Yates

From my list on the baddest badass dudes of crime fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My novels range from coming-of-age to suspense. I was an award-winning crime and investigative reporter for the Columbus Dispatch for 11 years. That background helps me with the investigative aspects of my books. I enjoy exploring the moral dilemmas often presented in real life. My characters all have morals, but I like putting them in compromising situations. It’s easy to sit back and judge others, but how far would you go to keep your own son out of jail? Would the love of your son get in the way of your morals? It’s never black or white. Most of life is spent dancing in and out of the vast gray area in the middle. 

Robin's book list on the baddest badass dudes of crime fiction

Robin Yocum Why did Robin love this book?

Yeah, I know, naming Jack Reacher as one of the badasses of crime fiction is the equivalent of a six-inch putt. A gimme. Child has taken a totally implausible premise—a six-foot-five former Army MP wandering around the United States and finding trouble with nothing but an ATM card in his pocket—and created one of the best characters in suspense literature. When Reacher is on the hunt, the results are never in doubt, which is why we love him. He’s the fullback coming through the line, time and time again, and no one can stop him. One reviewer of Child’s books said that Reacher is never the underdog. That’s a perfect description.

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

You do not mess with Jack Reacher.

He is as close to untraceable as a person can get. A loner comfortable in his anonymity and solitude. So when a member of his old Army unit finds a way to contact him, he knows this has to be serious.

You do not mess with the Special Investigators.

In the past the elite team always watched each other's backs. Now one of them has shown up dead in the California desert and six more are missing.

Reacher's old buddies are in big trouble, and he can't let that go.

_________

Although the…


Book cover of Depth of Winter

Robin Yocum Author Of The Sacrifice of Lester Yates

From my list on the baddest badass dudes of crime fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My novels range from coming-of-age to suspense. I was an award-winning crime and investigative reporter for the Columbus Dispatch for 11 years. That background helps me with the investigative aspects of my books. I enjoy exploring the moral dilemmas often presented in real life. My characters all have morals, but I like putting them in compromising situations. It’s easy to sit back and judge others, but how far would you go to keep your own son out of jail? Would the love of your son get in the way of your morals? It’s never black or white. Most of life is spent dancing in and out of the vast gray area in the middle. 

Robin's book list on the baddest badass dudes of crime fiction

Robin Yocum Why did Robin love this book?

Walt Longmire is the sheriff of fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming. Longmire is a decorated Marine and played offensive line at the University of Southern California. He’s big, and he can brawl. He can be the cerebral Sherlock Holmes or Rambo, depending on the situation. In most of his books, Longmire teams up with Henry Standing Bear, but in Depth of Winter, Longmire is largely on his own as he sneaks into Mexico in search of his only child, Cady, who has been kidnapped by the leader of a Mexican drug cartel. Longmire is a bulldozer in his quest to rescue his daughter.

By Craig Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"It's the scenery-and the big guy standing in front of the scenery-that keeps us coming back to Craig Johnson's lean and leathery mysteries."
-The New York Times Book Review

Walt journeys into the northern Mexican desert alone to save his daughter Cady, who has been kidnapped by the cartel

Welcome to Walt Longmire's worst nightmare. Winter is creeping closer, but for Sheriff Longmire this one is looking to be harsh in a way to which he is wholly unaccustomed. He has found himself in the remotest parts of the northern Mexican desert, a lawless place where no horse or car…


Book cover of The Disappeared

M.H. Sargent Author Of Seven Days From Sunday

From my list on take you to a place you’ve never been with memorable characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had been a long-time screenwriter in March of 2003 when the US invaded Iraq with overwhelming air power, and the TV news showed footage of the “shock and awe.” But I remember thinking, what is it like for the Iraqi people? Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, your country is at war. What is your life now like? Seeking to focus on an ordinary Iraqi family caught up in the war, I soon realized it was too layered for a spec screenplay and wrote it as a novel. It was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. 

M.H.'s book list on take you to a place you’ve never been with memorable characters

M.H. Sargent Why did M.H. love this book?

This is the perfect mix of politics and crime fiction, illustrating the old saying that power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Like all the books in this series, I thoroughly enjoy C.J. Box showing me the Wyoming he knows so well, the state’s harsh winters with snow so deep it literally comes up your thighs, the abundant wildlife, and the people.

I love how the story begins with the hero, game warden Joe Pickett, investigating the disappearance of a well-to-do British woman from an elite guest ranch and then unexpectedly spirals headlong into green energy corruption.

Mostly, I appreciate Box’s depiction of self-serving politicians going up against an unassuming game warden who just wants to do his job and go home to his loving family. 

By C. J. Box,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

No motive, no suspect, no trace.
Who doesn't want her found?

Joe Pickett is 300 miles from home, enduring the worst weather January in Wyoming can throw at you.

He's in the small mountain town of Saratoga, on the trail of a British woman who checked out of the remote ranch she was holidaying at and disappeared.

But the missing woman is only the beginning.

Something is not right in Saratoga. Why has the local game warden also disappeared? Why is local law enforcement spooked? Why is the new state governor taking such an interest in the case? Joe will…


Book cover of The Black Ice

Edmond Gagnon Author Of Trafficking Chen

From my list on crime from a retired police detective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired police officer who worked the streets and conducted criminal investigations for over thirty-one years in a busy city with Detroit as a neighbor. I handled everything from narcotics to arson and murder. Having lived the life, I truly enjoy a well-written crime novel, especially those inspired by real events. That is what I also write. I prefer crime stories where the protagonist is truer to life and doesn’t possess superpowers.  

Edmond's book list on crime from a retired police detective

Edmond Gagnon Why did Edmond love this book?

For me, reading a Harry Bosch novel is like inviting an old friend to dinner and catching up over beers. The Black Ice is the 2nd installment in Michael Connelly's Bosch series, published back in 1993, but recently re-released as a paperback.

Whether it's an old book or a new one, I can't get enough of Harry Bosch. There’re still a few stories I haven't read yet, but the television series has filled in a lot of the blanks. I think I've seen each episode at least five times now.

The Black Ice is a good story, about a Robbery/Homicide case that should have been assigned to Bosch, but he inserts himself into it anyway. The plot moves well and kept me interested throughout. And, if you're a really sharp detective, you might pick up on a couple of clues as to the major twist at the end.

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When an LAPD narcotics officer is found with a fatal bullet wound and a suicide note, Detective Harry Bosch follows a bloody trail of drug murders across the Mexico border.

​Working the case, LAPD detective Harry Bosch is reminded of the primal police rule he learned long ago: Don't look for the facts, but the glue that holds them together. Soon Harry's making some very dangerous connections, starting with a dead cop and leading to a bloody string of murders that wind from Hollywood Boulevard to the back alleys south of the border. Now this battle-scarred veteran will find himself…


Book cover of Personal

Edmond Gagnon Author Of Trafficking Chen

From my list on crime from a retired police detective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired police officer who worked the streets and conducted criminal investigations for over thirty-one years in a busy city with Detroit as a neighbor. I handled everything from narcotics to arson and murder. Having lived the life, I truly enjoy a well-written crime novel, especially those inspired by real events. That is what I also write. I prefer crime stories where the protagonist is truer to life and doesn’t possess superpowers.  

Edmond's book list on crime from a retired police detective

Edmond Gagnon Why did Edmond love this book?

I've read a few of Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels and I have to say this was probably my favorite. I found Reacher’s humor a little drier in this one, and there was a lot less of Child's sometimes painfully slow narrative.

I liked the characters and the plot moved well, with a couple of cool twists to keep you guessing right until the end. For me, it was a fun read!

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Consistently pulse-raising. . .an exhilarating ride. . .Personal wrests back the sheer gusto of the earlier novels; it's the best Reacher adventure in some considerable time." (Independent)

Jack Reacher walks alone.

Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, now he's a drifter of no fixed abode. But the army tracks him down. Because someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president.

Only one man could have done it. And Reacher is the one man who can find him.

This new heartstopping, nailbiting book in Lee Child's number-one bestselling series takes Reacher across the Atlantic to…


Book cover of Memory Man

Edmond Gagnon Author Of Trafficking Chen

From my list on crime from a retired police detective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired police officer who worked the streets and conducted criminal investigations for over thirty-one years in a busy city with Detroit as a neighbor. I handled everything from narcotics to arson and murder. Having lived the life, I truly enjoy a well-written crime novel, especially those inspired by real events. That is what I also write. I prefer crime stories where the protagonist is truer to life and doesn’t possess superpowers.  

Edmond's book list on crime from a retired police detective

Edmond Gagnon Why did Edmond love this book?

If you like a crime drama that builds slowly, teasing you all the way, only giving you enough details to guess who done it, Memory Man by David Baldacci is a story you should read.

The elements of the story were familiar, with cops and killers, but the characters were special, each in their own way. Amos Decker is not a super cop, but he has a super brain - from an injury, that makes him more of a super freak. His condition gives him an almost perfect memory, which is a help and hindrance to him in solving a mass murder case.

It took me a while to get into the story, but once I was hooked, I enjoyed the ride and raced to the end. A great read!

By David Baldacci,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This "impossible to put down" #1 New York Times bestseller introduces Amos Decker, a gifted police detective with a perfect memory who must solve a mystery he wishes he could forget: his family's murder (Washington Post).

Amos Decker's life changed forever--twice.

The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to play in the NFL. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field forever, and left him with an improbable…


Book cover of The Lost Symbol

Edmond Gagnon Author Of Trafficking Chen

From my list on crime from a retired police detective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired police officer who worked the streets and conducted criminal investigations for over thirty-one years in a busy city with Detroit as a neighbor. I handled everything from narcotics to arson and murder. Having lived the life, I truly enjoy a well-written crime novel, especially those inspired by real events. That is what I also write. I prefer crime stories where the protagonist is truer to life and doesn’t possess superpowers.  

Edmond's book list on crime from a retired police detective

Edmond Gagnon Why did Edmond love this book?

Dan Brown grabs you within the first few pages and holds on to you through the whole book. The pace is frantic and can leave you breathless at times.

There's a great character twist at the end but I was a tiny bit disappointed with the ending. The story went so deep into the symbolic and mythical world, I guess I expected more. Perhaps I just wanted more.

By Dan Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR TELEVISION SERIES

The Capitol Building, Washington DC: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon believes he is here to give a lecture. He is wrong. Within minutes of his arrival, a shocking object is discovered. It is a gruesome invitation into an ancient world of hidden wisdom.

When Langdon's mentor, Peter Solomon - prominent mason and philanthropist - is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that his only hope of saving his friend's life is to accept this mysterious summons.

It is to take him on a breathless chase through Washington's dark history. All that was familiar is changed into a shadowy, mythical…


Book cover of The Last Good Kiss

Ash Bishop Author Of The Horoscope Writer

From my list on mysteries where the detective is in way over their head.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing a mystery novel is no small task. You have to craft a clever plot, stay true to your characters, and bewilder, but ultimately satisfy, your readers, all the while not mixing up your theirs and your there’s. Maybe that’s why we writers like to saddle our heroes with even heavier burdens, forcing them to sort through complex webs of deceit, and fight against deeply rooted cultures full of corruption. When they win, we share their victories… even more so because it means we’ve finished writing the darn book! Enjoy this list of detectives facing long odds, and let it inspire you in whatever creative endeavors are closest to your heart.    

Ash's book list on mysteries where the detective is in way over their head

Ash Bishop Why did Ash love this book?

Detective CW Sughrue was working the topless bar scene well before Jack Reacher wandered across the literary landscape. But unlike Reacher, Sughrue carries the sins of mankind on his own shoulders, just as likely to solve a crime as to curl up in a cheap motel with a bottle of whisky. 

He begins the book looking for a trouble author (is there any other kind?), but once he finds him, things get really messy…

The first time I saw a Coen Brothers’ movie I felt like I was already familiar with their style. It’s probably because I had already read Crumley’s novels with their existential sadness and brutal violence just-barely-buoyed by clever plotting and pitch-black humor.

By James Crumley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'As sweetly profane a poet as American noir could have asked for' Ian Rankin

'A friggin' masterpiece' Dennis Lehane

'The stunner that reinvigorated the genre and jacked up a generation of future crime novelists' George Pelecanos

Meet Private Detective C. W. Sughrue.

Private detectives are supposed to find missing persons and solve crimes. But more often than not Sughrue is the one committing the crimes - everything from grand theft auto to criminal stupidity. All washed down with a hearty dose of whiskey and regret.

At the end of a three-week hunt for a runaway bestselling author, Sughrue winds up…


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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in private investigators, Montana, and Louisiana?

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