30 books like The Barbarous Coast

By Ross Macdonald,

Here are 30 books that The Barbarous Coast fans have personally recommended if you like The Barbarous Coast. 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 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 Hollywood Homicide: The First Detective by Day Humorous Mystery

Rob Osler Author Of Devil's Chew Toy

From my list on whodunits with highly entertaining amateur sleuths.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first book love was Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The game between author and reader that centers a whodunit has always delighted me. The breadcrumb trail of clues, the misdirection, the inevitable I should have seen it! are my jam. Now an author of whodunits—I have one series published and a second on the way, along with several short stories – I read mysteries with greater scrutiny—in admiration and with a selfish desire to learn from other authors’ envious talents. Each of the books on my list excited me for their excellent storytelling. In the end, I found them just plain entertaining. I hope you do too!

Rob's book list on whodunits with highly entertaining amateur sleuths

Rob Osler Why did Rob love this book?

As much as I love this book’s hero, former television commercial star Dayna Anderson, her tight circle of got-your-back friends is what made this mystery really shine.

To say the cast has big personalities is like calling Hollywood’s Dolby Theater a quaint venue. I laughed out loud throughout and wished I could ride along with these ladies (there are some guys involved, a love interest in particular) as they doggedly unravel the deftly plotted mystery.

I am grateful to Garrett that there is a sequel to this first in the series, Hollywood Ending.

By Kellye Garrett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dayna Anderson doesn t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash. But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim s life, she wants more than just reward money. She s determined to find the poor woman's killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious…


Book cover of Last Looks

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?

Charlie Waldo, the reluctant hero of this debut novel by a former TV writer, lives in self-imposed exile in the San Jacinto Mountains with a flock of chickens and the one hundred things he allows himself to own – a conundrum he continually struggles with (is a pair of socks one thing or two?).

Waldo is doing penance for his former life as a hotshot LAPD detective when his aggressive tactics put an innocent man in prison for life.

But Charlie’s world is upended when his ex-girlfriend, private investigator Lorena Nascimento, embroils him in a murder investigation involving TV star Alastair Pinch who may or may not have killed his wife. Alastair, a blackout drunk, can’t remember.

Charlie is complicated, funny, empathetic, and (it turns out) still a dogged and skillful investigator. The story is entertaining and unexpected – well worth a read!

By Howard Michael Gould,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE!

A razor-sharp, exquisitely paced, madly fun debut thriller that gleefully lampoons Hollywood culture and introduces the highly eccentric yet brilliant ex-detective gone rogue: Charlie Waldo

There are run-of-the-mill eccentric Californians, and then there's former detective Charlie Waldo.

Waldo, a onetime LAPD superstar, now lives in solitude deep in the woods, pathologically committed to owning no more than one hundred possessions. He has left behind his career and his girlfriend, Lorena, to pay self-imposed penance for an awful misstep on a pivotal murder case. But the old ghosts are about to come roaring back.

There are…


Book cover of Lost Light

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?

In the ninth book featuring Connelly’s iconic character, (now retired) LAPD detective Harry Bosch, the quintessential modern knight errant is working a case that’s haunted him for years – the murder of Angella Benton.

Her death might be linked to a bold and bloody robbery of 2 million dollars from a movie set where she worked as a production assistant, but neither crime was ever solved. Now Harry is intent on finding Angella’s killer.

The story is set against the backdrop of the movie industry and the celebrity-obsessed culture of Hollywood. Unimpressed by the trappings of power, Harry follows his instincts, led only by his guiding principle, “Everybody counts or nobody counts.”

But this time, he’s on his own without a badge or backup, and when his investigation hits very close to home, Harry finds himself facing brutal enemies determined to strike him down. 

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Award-winning No.1 bestselling author Michael Connelly's ninth Bosch book. Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch has retired from the Los Angeles Police Department - but the discovery of a startling unsolved murder among his old case files means he cannot rest until he finds the killer.

When he left the LAPD, Bosch took a file with him: the case of a production assistant murdered four years earlier during a movie set robbery. The LAPD thinks the stolen money was used to finance a terrorist training camp. Thoughts of the original murder victim were lost in the federal zeal, and when Bosch decides to…


Book cover of Death in Daylesford

Tessa Floreano Author Of Slain Over Spumoni

From my list on Jazz Age mysteries by the sea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by all that was happening in the world before WWII. Amidst a silent, looming economic collapse, many social norms were turned on their head, women broke out of their molds, and art, literature, technology, and music all flourished. And a heady mix of cultures blended not altogether seamlessly to influence the Roaring Twenties like no other decade before it. The juxtaposition of this exciting yet challenging tumult lures me into reading books and writing immigrant-forward stories about this period—and as an author with deep roots in the boot—I particularly enjoy doing so through an Italian lens.

Tessa's book list on Jazz Age mysteries by the sea

Tessa Floreano Why did Tessa love this book?

I fell in love with Miss Phryne Fisher on TV first, then in all of the books only after binge-watching all the seasons in short order. Her attitude, her clothes, her wit—all of it makes her adventures so fun to read. Besides, what list of Jazz Age mysteries is complete without this bobbed-hair socialite and her gaggle of misfits helping her to solve mysteries? Add in a spa vacation for Phyrne and I was hooked to see how she solved a murder while on holiday in some fabulous resort town. After 7 years, my Phryne drought is over!

By Kerry Greenwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'. . . there is no doubt Phryne is back at her best.' The Book Muse

When a mysterious invitation arrives for Miss Phryne Fisher from an unknown Captain Herbert Spencer in Victoria's spa country, Phryne's curiosity is excited.

Phryne accepts Spencer's invitation but from their arrival, she and her loyal maid Dot are thrown into the midst of disturbing Highland gatherings, cases of disappearing women, murder and the mystery of the Temperance Hotel.

Meanwhile, Cec, Bert and Tinker find a young woman floating face down in the harbour. Tinker, with Jane and Ruth, Phryne's resilient adopted daughters, together decide…


Book cover of Death at the Seaside

Nick Quantrill Author Of Sound of the Sinners

From my list on crime set in the North of England.

Why am I passionate about this?

The North of England is home. I was born here, I work here and it’s where I will see out my days. It’s a place with its own character, a place largely forged on hard industrial work and one trying to find a new purpose after decades of financial neglect. My home city of Hull captures this in miniature as we’ve shared a journey over the last decade via my novels from 'UK Crap Town of the Year’ to ‘UK City of Culture.’ Tied in with my background in studying Social Policy and Criminology, I’ll continue to map the city and the region’s trials and tribulations.

Nick's book list on crime set in the North of England

Nick Quantrill Why did Nick love this book?

The North of England isn’t all post-industrial urban centres of decay. As well as being home to large and important cities, its green spaces are plentiful and attract numerous tourists to its many attractions. Frances Brody’s PI Kate Shackleton series makes use of Yorkshire’s picturesque and pleasant rural settings, not least the rolling moors leading to the coastal town of Whitby in the series’ eighth outing. Set in the 1920s, Brody’s series is also a reminder of the importance of subverting and challenging social norms, but never at the expense of entertaining the reader.

By Frances Brody,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Frances Brody has made it to the top rank of crime writers' Daily Mail

'Brody's writing is like her central character Kate Shackleton: witty, acerbic and very, very perceptive' Ann Cleeves

AN IDYLLIC SEASIDE TOWN

Nothing ever happens in August, and tenacious sleuth Kate Shackleton deserves a break. Heading off for a long-overdue holiday to Whitby, she visits her school friend Alma who works as a fortune teller there.

A MISSING GIRL

Kate had been looking forward to a relaxing seaside sojourn, but upon arrival discovers that Alma's daughter Felicity has disappeared, leaving her mother a note and the pawn…


Book cover of The Silkworm

Patricia Hale Author Of Scar Tissue

From my list on suspense/crime with flawed detectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

All of the books I’ve listed above have flawed characters. Characters that deal with emotional and/or moral dilemmas. The plots: murder, missing children, or runaway husbands are secondary to me. What I look for in a book and what I write about in my Cole and Callahan series, are characters with flaws. People who struggle with truth. Cops or investigators that hide or skew evidence because the truth would cause more harm than good. It’s the moral dilemma I want. The angst we all feel when we are faced with a particularly painful decision. That’s what real life is and that’s what brings a book and a character to life.

Patricia's book list on suspense/crime with flawed detectives

Patricia Hale Why did Patricia love this book?

Cormoran Strike and his business partner, Robin Ellacott, are searching for a missing writer who has penned a scathing novel, revealing his friend's most tightly held secrets. Any one of them would be happy to take him out. Ellacott and Strike are hired by his wife to find him. They do, brutally murdered. Besides facing a plethora of possible murderers, Strike and Ellacott face that there’s more than a working relationship evolving between them. But with Stike’s recent break-up and Ellacott’s live-in boyfriend, feelings are buried. After they solve their twisted case, I’m on to the next book in the series to see how Cormoran and Robin will move forward together. I love a good mystery and I love a relationship plagued with obstacles. The Silkworm delivers on both.

By Robert Galbraith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Teems with sly humour, witty asides and intelligence ... A pleasure to read' TIMES

-----

Now a major BBC drama: The Strike series

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost…


Book cover of After the Funeral

Elizabeth Flynn Author Of Game, Set and Murder

From my list on unravelling knotty murder mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always enjoyed murder mysteries, with spy novels coming a very close second. I like the puzzle aspect of the story and the unravelling thereof. From early in my childhood I have written and it has never occurred to me to write in any other genre than Crime Fiction. I do like, however, both in my own output and that which I read, to gain an insight into other people’s lives and histories. I like to learn about the surroundings in which the stories are set. Also, for me a must, the characters have to be rounded and three dimensional.

Elizabeth's book list on unravelling knotty murder mysteries

Elizabeth Flynn Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Agatha Christie has got to be considered as one of the master craftsmen of the “whodunnit”. In this novel, she presents us with an intriguing mystery and brings in her famous character, Hercule Poirot to solve it. As always, Poirot faces a varied array of possible suspects and the highly-credible reasons as to why he/she may be the guilty party. The pace is consistent and keeps the reader turning the page and trying to guess until the unmasking at the very end.

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hercule Poirot is called on to investigate the murder of a brother and sister, in this classic Agatha Christie mystery now available in an updated edition with a foreword Sophie Hannah.

 “He was murdered, wasn’t he?”

When Cora Lansquenet is savagely murdered, the extraordinary remark she had made the previous day at her brother Richard’s funeral suddenly takes on a chilling significance. At the reading of Richard’s will, Cora was clearly heard to say, “It’s been hushed up very nicely, hasn’t it. But he was murdered, wasn’t he?”

Did Cora’s accusation a dark truth that sealed her own fate? Or…


Book cover of Canary in the Coal Mine

Steven Jankowski Author Of Below the Line

From my list on noir crime with characters that aren’t detectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a screenwriter I’ve always enjoyed noir stories, whether books or movies. Stories where the characters are not your squeaky-clean “good guys.” I like to see “ordinary” people; people who are flawed (like all of us), or maybe with a shady past, who are swayed or manipulated by dire circumstances into doing something they would not ordinarily do. I enjoy stories with unique, interesting characters that are not your run-of-the-mill private eyes, and whose moral compass might be a bit off. I particularly like stories where characters are forced to become investigators because of a situation they are thrust into, whether by accident or by their own dubious actions. 

Steven's book list on noir crime with characters that aren’t detectives

Steven Jankowski Why did Steven love this book?

Okay, so this main character is Private Investigator, but I loved this book. A good flawed, dubious, tough-guy main character, a sexy femme fatale, dangerous mobsters, and lots of keep-you-guessing plot twists and turns. This page-turner, with great, witty, wise-guy banter, fulfills all that this Neo-Noir Crime Novel fan craves for.  

By Charles Salzberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Canary in the Coal Mine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

PI Pete Fortunato, half-Italian, half-Jewish, who suffers from anger management issues and insomnia, wakes up one morning with a bad taste in his mouth. This is never a good sign. Working out of a friend’s downtown real estate office, Fortunato, who spent a mysteriously short, forgettable stint as a cop in a small upstate New York town, lives from paycheck to paycheck. So, when a beautiful woman wants to hire him to find her husband, he doesn’t hesitate to say yes. Within a day, Fortunato finds the husband in the apartment of his client’s young, stud lover. He’s been shot…


Book cover of Quarter to Midnight

C.F. Francis Author Of Sanctuary Island

From my list on romantic suspense twists to make your head spin.

Why am I passionate about this?

I walked to the library every Saturday to find a new mystery. I think I read everyone and read some more than once. As I matured, I discovered the mixture of romance and suspense I was hooked. I literally read every book in the genre’ at my local library. 

C.F.'s book list on romantic suspense twists to make your head spin

C.F. Francis Why did C.F. love this book?

Intricately woven romantic suspense set in New Orleans.

I love a book where the ending is a surprise, and the characters are entertaining and intelligent. You will fall in love with the secondary characters. Gabe is a chef who father is dead, but the authorities call it a suicide. He doesn’t believe it and hires a private investigator, Molly.

There are good cops and some really bad cops. Fantastic ride. Finished it in one sitting. 

By Karen Rose,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The truth of what happened that night lies with a secret witness.

Quarter to Midnight is the first thrilling novel in a brand new series by Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Rose, set in New Orleans.

Rocky Hebert walks into his death at quarter to midnight one New Orleans night.

His son Gabe cannot accept the official verdict of suicide and enlists the help of the Burke Broussard Private Investigation Agency to discover the real cause of death.

PI Molly Sutton knows what it's like to lose a father in tragic circumstances and will go to any lengths to crack…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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