10 books like The Big Clock

By Kenneth Fearing,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Big Clock. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Black Wings Has My Angel

By Elliott Chaze,

Book cover of Black Wings Has My Angel

In a tough prostitute named Virginia, escaped convict Timothy Sunblade finds the perfect partner to help execute the perfect crime. The extraordinary relationship between these two makes the book memorable. Sunblade is clear-eyed, thoughtful, disillusioned, sensitive, brutish, self-assured at times, and wavering at others. Virginia is wise, world-weary, sure of herself and what she wants, sometimes crazed like a caged animal, but always strong.

Chaze's atmospheric detail adds depth and presence to the story. The characters' arc is one of darkening fate and inevitable tragedy. Watching their slow descent is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. The characters continue to deepen throughout the story, all the way to the final page, and they stay with you long after you've put the book down.

Black Wings Has My Angel

By Elliott Chaze,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Black Wings Has My Angel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Flawless ... beyond perfection." — New York Magazine
"An astonishingly well-written literary novel that just happened to be about (or roundabout) a crime." — Barry Gifford
"Black Wings Has My Angel is an indisputable noir classic … Elliott Chaze was a fine prose stylist, witty, insightful, nostalgic, and irreverent, and a first-class storyteller." — Bill Pronzini
An escaped convict encounters an enterprising prostitute at the start of this hard-boiled masterpiece. When Timothy Sunblade opens the door of his blue Packard to Virginia, their fates are forever intertwined. "Maybe if you saw her you'd understand," he reminisces. "Face by Michelangelo, clothes…


In a Lonely Place

By Dorothy B. Hughes,

Book cover of In a Lonely Place

Unlike contemporary thrillers that portray killers as inhuman two-dimensional monsters, Hughes portrays Dix Steele as a human being gone horribly wrong. We see how his actions arise from feelings that most people experience as difficult and uncomfortable but that he experiences as intolerable, torturing, and unresolvable.

The novels of Jim Thompson and Patricia Highsmith are obvious descendants of this one. All three writers have insight and descriptive power that allow you to see, feel and inhabit some disturbing forms of human psychopathology. Hughes' female characters are strong, clear-eyed, and wise. They're the drivers of the story, not the victims. All her characters are fully drawn, and the tension builds consistently throughout. It's a hard book to put down, and you continue to feel it even after you've finished it.

In a Lonely Place

By Dorothy B. Hughes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In a Lonely Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Puts Chandler to shame ... Hughes is the master we keep turning to'Sara Paretsky

After the war, cynical veteran Dix Steele has moved to L.A., a city terrified by a strangler preying on young women. Bumping into an old friend, now a detective working on the case, Dix is thrilled by closely following the progress of the police. And meeting his new neighbour, sultry and beautiful actress Laurel Gray, brings even more excitement into his life. But the strangler is still prowling the streets - and Laurel may be in more danger than she realises...

In a Lonely Place was…


The Hot Spot

By Charles Williams,

Book cover of The Hot Spot

Harry Madox drifts into a small Texas town with a plan to rob the local bank. He soon finds himself with two girlfriends. The young, sweet Gloria Harper brings out the best in him, while his boss’ jaded wife, Dolores Harshaw, brings out the worst. This a classic noir (and one of the best) in which a man's internal struggles spill out in the form of self-destructive loves and crimes.

Williams' characters ring true, and he provides good insight into their motivations and weaknesses. Dolores Harshaw may be the best femme fatale in all of crime fiction: seductive, conniving, compelling, manipulative, jealous, ruthless, intelligent, and unhinged. "The smart thing," Madox reflects after their first tryst, "was to get out of here and let her happen to somebody else." But you know he just can't resist.

The Hot Spot

By Charles Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A dark, brooding masterpiece of guilt, greed, and lust in a town ripe for felony.

Madox wasn't all bad.  He was just half-bad.  But trap a man like Madox in a dead-end job in a stultifying small town, introduce him to a femme fatale like the Harshaw woman, and give him a shot at a fast fifteen thousand dollars--in a bank just begging to be knocked over--and his better nature doesn't stand a chance.

Merciless in its suspense, flawless in its grasp of the ways in which ordinary people hurtle over the edge, The Hot Spot is a superb example…


Pop. 1280

By Jim Thompson,

Book cover of Pop. 1280

I was introduced to this book through Tavernier’s brilliant adaptation, Clean Slate (Coup de Torchon, 1981). Set in Texas, Thompson’s novel was published in 1964, during the Civil Rights Movement, and it offers a portrait of petty-minded racism in the continuing aftermath of slavery. Tavernier’s adaptation transposes the story to 1930s French colonial West Africa. I remain haunted by the ways the two settings illuminate each other. Tavernier’s blending of a deadly serious historical crisis with touches of comedy—slapstick even—brings both eras and the novel itself to life in enjoyable and instructive ways.

Pop. 1280

By Jim Thompson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Pop. 1280 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A classic crime novel from 'the best suspense writer going, bar none' New York Times

Nick Corey likes being the high sheriff of Potts County. But Nick has a few problems that he needs to deal with: like his loveless marriage, the pimps who torment him, the honest man who is running against him in the upcoming elections and the women who adore him.

And it turns out that Nick isn't anything like as amiable, easy-going or as slow as he seems. He's as sly, brutal and corrupt as they come.


The Glimpse

By Lis Bensley,

Book cover of The Glimpse

I loved diving into this novel about mother-daughter artists and the devotion, love, and competition that binds them together. Personally, I have no skill or passion for painting or photography—the gifts granted the characters in this book—but as I immersed myself in Bensley’s world, I began seeing the world as visual artists do. That was an unexpected bonus to an already compelling intergenerational story. As I hungrily turned pages, eager to discover what would happen to the characters next, I loved learning about art, the sexism of the art world, and the compelling need to create regardless of external validation.

The Glimpse

By Lis Bensley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Liza Baker, a rising star in the burgeoning Abstract Expressionist era, finds herself sidelined when she gets pregnant, and decides to have the child. Yet, against conventional wisdom, she's convinced she can have a successful career and be a good mother to her daughter, Rouge.
She takes a job teaching at a college and comes up against the harsh realities of the male-dominated art world. Unable to build a successful career, she watches as her former lover, whose work resembles hers, skyrocket to fame. Liza develops a drinking problem and often brings home artist lovers she's met in the city.…


When Men Murder Women

By R. Emerson Dobash, Russell P. Dobash,

Book cover of When Men Murder Women

Rebecca and Russell Dobash had studied men's violence against their female partners for decades and were already heroes of the women's movement when they began interviewing incarcerated killers in Britain. Two fine books have resulted, one focused on men who killed women, the other on men who killed men. It is the former, especially the section on intimate partner homicide, that I find most captivating. The Dobashes skilfully blend national statistics with the self-serving testimony of their interviewees, who minimize their lethal acts as things that "happened" rather than things that they did, and apparently believe themselves to be the victims. These insights are essential.    

When Men Murder Women

By R. Emerson Dobash, Russell P. Dobash,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Men Murder Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the United States and Great Britain, 20-30% of all homicides involve the killing of a woman by a man, and it is far rarer when a woman is killed by another woman. Unfortunately, this is not a very well understood phenomenon. Most books on the topic discuss serial killings, but those only make up 2% of sexual murder-a sensationalist subset of a subset. There has never before been a comprehensive book that has covered the entire scope of homicide cases in which men
murder women.

Dobash and Dobash, two seasoned researchers and longtime collaborators in the study of violence…


Speedboat

By Renata Adler,

Book cover of Speedboat

Adler’s book depicts a woman’s life through a series of moments, incidents, bits of speech that come at the journalist narrator. The short passages perfectly capture the neurotic energy, humor, and horror of New York City. When I first read it, I was blown away. It showed there is great latitude in ways to approach writing. The short, choppy format is the closest a book has come to mirror my experience as a writer who seeks to find meaning and/or humor in everyday life. It’s a jagged mosaic of a book when put together is a delightful treasure.

Speedboat

By Renata Adler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Speedboat burst on the scene in the late ’70s it was like nothing readers had encountered before. It seemed to disregard the rules of the novel, but it wore its unconventionality with ease. Reading it was a pleasure of a new, unexpected kind. Above all, there was its voice, ambivalent, curious, wry, the voice of Jen Fain, a journalist negotiating the fraught landscape of contemporary urban America. Party guests, taxi drivers, brownstone dwellers, professors, journalists, presidents, and debutantes fill these dispatches from the world as Jen finds it.
       
A touchstone over the years for writers as different as David…


The Bitch in the House

By Cathi Hanauer,

Book cover of The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage

Cathi Hanauer and I were editors together at Seventeen Magazine in New York City in our 20s. She tried, unsuccessfully, to convince me not to leave the magazine to marry an abusive man. I obviously regretted not listening to her – but I did get great material to write my memoir. I read The Bitch in the House one snowy Christmas Day lying in front of the fireplace as my three young children played with their presents around me. I recognized myself in the essays about the experience of being female in America, and the book inspired me to corral 26 moms in my own essay collection. I’m forever grateful to Cathi for assembling a group of badass truthtellers with great stories to tell.

The Bitch in the House

By Cathi Hanauer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Virginia Woolf introduced us to the “Angel in the House”, now prepare to meet... The Bitch In the House.

This e-book includes an exclusive excerpt from The Bitch is Back: Older, Wiser, and Getting Happier, a second collection of essays from nine of the contributors featured in The Bitch in the House and from sixteen captivating new voices.

Women today have more choices than at any time in history, yet many smart, ambitious, contemporary women are finding themselves angry, dissatisfied, stressed out. Why are they dissatisfied? And what do they really want? These questions form the premise of this passionate,…


City of Women

By Christine Stansell,

Book cover of City of Women

While this book is about New York, it offers great insights into the role of women in urban spaces that are relevant across the world. Stansell weaves together statistical and official records, court reports, press stories, and paints detailed pictures of the lives of women in the nineteenth-century city. This includes the range of employment women took, and their various strategies to resolve disputes, run businesses, and manage their lives. In a city as diverse as New York, this included women from all over the world.

City of Women

By Christine Stansell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before the Civil War, a new idea of womanhood took shape in America in general and in the Northeast in particular. Women of the propertied classes assumed the mantle of moral guardians of their families and the nation. Laboring women, by contrast, continued to suffer from the oppressions of sex and class. In fact, their very existence troubled their more prosperous sisters, for the impoverished female worker violated dearly held genteel precepts of 'woman's nature' and 'woman's place.'

City of Women delves into the misfortunes that New York City's laboring women suffered and the problems that resulted. Looking at how…


My New York Diary

By Julie Doucet,

Book cover of My New York Diary

This slim but dense book chronicles the ups and (mostly) downs of a young woman’s life in Montréal and New York in the 80s and early 90s, a scuzzy time capsule full of sex, drugs, and rock & roll. Doucet’s maximalist, punk-inflected art packs each and every claustrophobic panel to bursting, a perfect fit for this tale of a suffocating, toxic relationship playing out in the shadow of the Cold War. It’s no exaggeration to say that Doucet, who recently won the Angouléme Festival's Grand Prix, is one of the most important figures in modern comics, she was one of the first women to break into the boys’ club of the alt comix scene and rewrote the rules of the medium. She remains not only a giant in the history of Quebec comics but of the entire graphic novel art form.

My New York Diary

By Julie Doucet,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My New York Diary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'My New York Diary' documents the events in Doucet's life during a six-month period in 1991. At that time, she packed her bags and moved to New York and waiting for her was her new boyfriend, an aspiring cartoonist himself who took Julie to his apartment.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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