100 books like The Chalk Man

By C. J. Tudor,

Here are 100 books that The Chalk Man fans have personally recommended if you like The Chalk Man. 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 The Thirteenth Tale

Linda Kay Silva Author Of Nothing Fair About It

From my list on novels about life changing experiences and adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of creative writing who knows when readers stop feeling, they stop reading. We all want to feel, to live vicariously. To experience the unimaginable. I’ve lived large. I’ve raced on the back of an ostrich, rode an elephant through the jungles of Thailand, raced catamarans in the Caribbean, and danced with the Shaka Zulu in Africa. The best books are those that feel like memories…that touch us…that make us feel.

Linda's book list on novels about life changing experiences and adventures

Linda Kay Silva Why did Linda love this book?

The twists in this book pull you in and keep you from putting it down. I love when I get surprised and think “I never saw that coming!”

Well-developed characters, outstanding description, Setterfield draws book lovers (and bookstore lovers) right into the heart of the story. I couldn’t put it down. It was the only novel in our book club that received a unanimous 10/10

By Diane Setterfield,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Thirteenth Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Simply brilliant' Kate Mosse, international bestselling author of Labyrinth

***

Everybody has a story...

Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten.

It was once home to the March family: fascinating, manipulative Isabelle; brutal, dangerous Charlie; and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But the house hides a chilling secret which strikes at the very heart of each of them, tearing their lives apart...

Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield's past, and its mysterious connection to the enigmatic writer Vida Winter. Vida's history is mesmering - a tale of ghosts, governesses, and gothic strangeness. But as Margaret succumbs to the power…


Book cover of The Escape Room

Alice Hunter Author Of The Serial Killer's Sister

From my list on psychological/crime that feature disturbing games.

Why am I passionate about this?

After completing a psychology degree, I became an interventions facilitator in a prison and worked with offenders who'd committed serious violent crimes. It was while I was in this role that my fascination for criminal psychology grew. Once I left the profession, I put my experiences to good use in fiction, going on to write The Serial Killer series of three psychological thrillers. With the most recent, The Serial Killer’s Sister, I incorporated my love of puzzles and games into a twisted story of a serial killer who uses a childhood game known to his sister as ‘The Hunt’ to track her down and torment her.

Alice's book list on psychological/crime that feature disturbing games

Alice Hunter Why did Alice love this book?

Who doesn’t enjoy an escape room experience? I’m a sucker for games where you have to solve clues under pressure – but only a time pressure – not the life-or-death kind!

This story delves into the dark and twisted world of corporate greed and through a supposed team-building escape room challenge we are taken on a suspenseful journey with the trapped investment bankers as they realise it’s not your standard game. The stakes are high, and the tension is almost unbearable!

This novel features some truly unlikeable characters, but as they are forced to confront their own secrets and inner demons, I was completely entertained and enthralled by them.

By Megan Goldin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.

In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie and Sam are the ultimate high-flyers. Ruthlessly ambitious, they make billion-dollar deals and live lives of outrageous luxury. Getting rich is all that matters, and they'll do anything to get ahead.

When the four of them become trapped in an elevator escape room, things start to go horribly wrong. They have to put aside their fierce office rivalries and work together to solve the clues that will release them. But in the confines of the elevator the…


Book cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

MJ Mumford Author Of TimeBlink

From my list on time travel books that don’t fit the sci-fi mold.

Why am I passionate about this?

At one time, whenever I heard "science fiction," my mind would jump to spaceships, aliens, and dystopian worlds. So, when it came to categorizing my time travel novel, I was surprised to learn that I’d unwittingly penned a sci-fi book. I initially resisted this classification since my story has more of a domestic thriller vibe, and the characters only travel a few years, not centuries, through time. However, I’ve since accepted that time travel is science fiction. The books on my list prove that sci-fi doesn’t necessarily mean hardcore science. It can have a more universal appeal, exploring themes of love, loss, and destiny without a time machine or extraterrestrial in sight.

MJ's book list on time travel books that don’t fit the sci-fi mold

MJ Mumford Why did MJ love this book?

A modern classic, this beautifully crafted fusion of romance and speculative fiction has endured as my top pick among time travel novels. The story follows Henry DeTamble, who involuntarily travels through time, and Clare, his wife, who must cope with Henry's unpredictable absences and reappearances.

I adored this book for so many reasons, but it was its moving portrayal of Henry and Clare's resilience in the face of uncontrollable circumstances that captured my heart so completely.

Furthermore, I appreciated the author's nuanced treatment of the time travel component, foregoing complex scientific explanations to maintain the story's focus on the fundamental human conditions of love, commitment, and hope.

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked The Time Traveler's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a series on HBO starring Rose Leslie and Theo James!

The iconic time travel love story and mega-bestselling first novel from Audrey Niffenegger is "a soaring celebration of the victory of love over time" (Chicago Tribune).

Henry DeTamble is a dashing, adventurous librarian who is at the mercy of his random time time-traveling abilities. Clare Abshire is an artist whose life moves through a natural sequential course. This is the celebrated and timeless tale of their love. Henry and Clare's passionate affair is built and endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap…


Book cover of The Bone Garden

Erica R. Stinson Author Of Shelter

From my list on mystery, suspense, and thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a suspense and thriller author in my own right since 2015, I have also read very many books that are much like the ones that I write. I am most comfortable here and I, too, like to write books with these crazy, think-outside-the-box types of twists when it comes to plotting. Honing my craft, as I am in the middle of five different book projects right now for future release, I am hoping to make a name for myself and become as memorable to my readers as my favorite authors are to me.

Erica's book list on mystery, suspense, and thrillers

Erica R. Stinson Why did Erica love this book?

I am a longtime fan of Tess and her Rizzoli and Isles books, the firsts by her that I read some years ago. But I also really liked some of her standalone novels and The Bone Garden checked all my boxes for captivating, thriller, page-turning, edge-of-your-seat reading. To date, this remains of my very favorite books and I have re-read it a few times as a result.

By Tess Gerritsen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Unknown bones, untold secrets, and unsolved crimes from the distant past cast ominous shadows on the present in the dazzling new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

Present day: Julia Hamill has made a horrifying discovery on the grounds of her new home in rural Massachusetts: a skull buried in the rocky soil–human, female, and, according to the trained eye of Boston medical examiner Maura Isles, scarred with the unmistakable marks of murder. But whoever this nameless woman was, and whatever befell her, is knowledge lost to another time.

Boston, 1830: In order to pay for his…


Book cover of The House of Special Purpose

Rebecca Alexander Author Of Secrets of the Cottage by the Sea

From my list on where past and present collide.

Why am I passionate about this?

My instinct as a writer is to have two timelines. Having set up a story now my natural instinct is to dive back into the past to see why. My father was always taking us around ruins and castles and battlefields, I grew up reading history. It helps me to write if I try to put myself there, in a character’s shoes and clothes, surrounded by the smells and words and motivations from the past. Immersing myself in the past feels like going to an exotic location. I hope you enjoy visiting the timelines in these novels.

Rebecca's book list on where past and present collide

Rebecca Alexander Why did Rebecca love this book?

This book moved me. This book expertly tells a single story but from each end. One timeline travels back from 1981, as Georgy watches over his dying wife, Zoya. The poignancy of these two old people, still in love, still themselves spoke to me. The other timeline follows him from early childhood through Romanov Russia, as nine-year-old Georgy saves the life of the tsar’s cousin. The relationship grows between the main characters, told back and forth, revealing layers of connection and history between them. The two strands end at the shocking revelation of the ‘special purpose.’ I enjoyed the mystery but fell in love with the characters, and the wonderful settings. The two timelines added powerfully to the reading of the story.  

By John Boyne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Russia during the year 1915, at the age of 16, Georgy Jachmenev steps in front of an assassin's bullet intended for the heart of a senior member of the Russian Imperial Family. He is instantly proclaimed a hero. Before the week is out, his life as the son of a peasant farmer is changed forever when he is escorted to St Petersburg to take up his new position - as bodyguard to Alexei Romanov, the only son of Tsar Nicholas II. Sixty five years later, visiting his wife Zoya as she lies dying in a London hospital, memories of…


Book cover of Eeny Meeny

Alice Hunter Author Of The Serial Killer's Sister

From my list on psychological/crime that feature disturbing games.

Why am I passionate about this?

After completing a psychology degree, I became an interventions facilitator in a prison and worked with offenders who'd committed serious violent crimes. It was while I was in this role that my fascination for criminal psychology grew. Once I left the profession, I put my experiences to good use in fiction, going on to write The Serial Killer series of three psychological thrillers. With the most recent, The Serial Killer’s Sister, I incorporated my love of puzzles and games into a twisted story of a serial killer who uses a childhood game known to his sister as ‘The Hunt’ to track her down and torment her.

Alice's book list on psychological/crime that feature disturbing games

Alice Hunter Why did Alice love this book?

Now, I’m not a fan of gory movies, so to begin with, when Eeny Meeny gave me Saw vibes I almost closed the book.

I’m glad I didn’t because not only did I enjoy the building tension, but I loved the character of DI Helen Grace in this, her first outing.

The victims in the sadistic game being played in this novel are pitted against each other in a ‘you’ or ‘me’ scenario, with their captor forcing them to make a decision. I’m intrigued with how people who are ultimately trying to survive a situation make morally tough choices, so this was a fascinating exploration and made me question: what would I do?

By M J Arlidge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The international best seller that "grabs the reader by the throat" (Crime Time).

First in the new series featuring Detective Inspector Helen Grace.

Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

It's a game more twisted than any Detective Inspector Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn't spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn't believe them.

Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case - with its seemingly random victims - has her baffled. But as…


Book cover of The Players

Alice Hunter Author Of The Serial Killer's Sister

From my list on psychological/crime that feature disturbing games.

Why am I passionate about this?

After completing a psychology degree, I became an interventions facilitator in a prison and worked with offenders who'd committed serious violent crimes. It was while I was in this role that my fascination for criminal psychology grew. Once I left the profession, I put my experiences to good use in fiction, going on to write The Serial Killer series of three psychological thrillers. With the most recent, The Serial Killer’s Sister, I incorporated my love of puzzles and games into a twisted story of a serial killer who uses a childhood game known to his sister as ‘The Hunt’ to track her down and torment her.

Alice's book list on psychological/crime that feature disturbing games

Alice Hunter Why did Alice love this book?

As I’d ended up enjoying Eeny Meeny I didn’t hesitate to pick up The Players.

Following a similar vein of psychological manipulation and exploitation of secrets, the game in this novel refers to a series of dangerous activities orchestrated by ‘The Host’ who carefully chooses two ‘players’ to fight to the death. And if that’s not twisted enough, the fights are posted to social media. This gives a modern edge to the novel and plays on fears about the far-reaching implications of the internet.

I felt a sense of unease all the way through and particularly enjoyed the underlying dilemma of whether you would be able to live with the guilt of killing someone to protect your family or make the decision to sacrifice yourself for another’s sake.

By Darren O'Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Saw meets I See You. Dark, twisted and deadly' CL Taylor 'A psychological thriller that packs a real punch' Choice In this game it's kill or be killed...

A stranger has you cornered.
They call themselves The Host.
You are forced to play their game.
In it one person can live and the other must die.

You are the next player.
You have a choice to make.

This is a game where nobody wins...

A nerve-shredding cat-and-mouse serial killer thriller that will keep you guessing and reading into the night, perfect for fans of Adrian McKinty, John Marrs and Steve…


Book cover of The Lying Game

Alice Hunter Author Of The Serial Killer's Sister

From my list on psychological/crime that feature disturbing games.

Why am I passionate about this?

After completing a psychology degree, I became an interventions facilitator in a prison and worked with offenders who'd committed serious violent crimes. It was while I was in this role that my fascination for criminal psychology grew. Once I left the profession, I put my experiences to good use in fiction, going on to write The Serial Killer series of three psychological thrillers. With the most recent, The Serial Killer’s Sister, I incorporated my love of puzzles and games into a twisted story of a serial killer who uses a childhood game known to his sister as ‘The Hunt’ to track her down and torment her.

Alice's book list on psychological/crime that feature disturbing games

Alice Hunter Why did Alice love this book?

This story centres on four friends who met and forged their friendship at boarding school where they played a lying game – targeting others and gaining points for an elaborate lie successfully believed. These were sometimes harmless… but sometimes not. 

Years later, summoned by one of the friends, they reunite. A buried secret from their past now threatens to resurface. I thought this was an intense read with the tension slowly building and with some great revelations that kept me turning the pages. I love the way the author paints such a vivid, atmospheric picture so you can become fully immersed in the story.

By Ruth Ware,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'To read [The Lying Game] is to have your nerves slowly but inexorably shredded as, over and again, the tension builds and then evaporates until the final, unexpected denouement' Metro

'A gripping, unpredictable narrative that shifts like sand underfoot, and a plot that turns like the tide.' ERIN KELLY bestselling author of HE SAID SHE SAID

'Thank goodness for Ruth Ware...[The Lying Game is] gripping enough to be devoured in a single sitting' Independent

Four friends. One promise. But someone isn't telling the truth. The twisting new mystery from bestselling phenomenon Ruth Ware.

The text message arrives in the small…


Book cover of In a Lonely Place

Sam Baron Author Of The Murder Club

From my list on crime thriller series that aren’t afraid to explore darkness.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like my series protagonist, FBI Agent Susan Parker, I am neurodiverse and have dealt with traumatic family events. I have Asperger’s, dyslexia, ADD, and have battled depression and suicidal impulses in earlier years. As a child, I experienced many violent, traumatic events, including the traumatic death of my mother, abduction, and abuse. However, my personal story has a happy ending: I overcame all challenges to become a fully functional individual with a rich, fulfilling family life and a successful career. Not surprisingly, I became a crime thriller superfan. I gravitate toward books that don’t shy away from depicting darkness but find a way for the MC to return to the sunlight.

Sam's book list on crime thriller series that aren’t afraid to explore darkness

Sam Baron Why did Sam love this book?

A hypnotic, often troubling journey into the mind of a killer and the detective hunting him down are the reasons I return to this book time and again. They are both commonly found elements in crime thrillers today. But what Dorothy Hughes did in this book appealed to me personally, perhaps because of my own personal relationship with crime and trauma, physical as well as emotional.

I’m always fascinated by how intensely Hughes manages to immerse us in both viewpoints with only a few sentences, shifting viewpoints and playing with our conscience in subtle ways. I’ve seen enough violence and trauma to know that motivations are not always as simple as we’d like them to be, and people often do the most unexpected things for the least obvious reasons.

By Dorothy B. Hughes,

Why should I read it?

3 authors 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…


Book cover of The Marlow Murder Club

Susan McBride Author Of To Helen Back

From my list on small town mysteries with sleuths who aren’t Spring chickens.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved mysteries since I gobbled up Nancy Drew and the Encyclopedia Brown books in grade school. As I grew older, I got hooked on Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone, and Sara Paretsky’s VI Warshawski. Besides being a diehard fan of female sleuths, I have a B.S. in Journalism, which drummed the importance of “who-what-when-where-and-why” into my brain. I definitely take a reporter’s mindset into my story-telling, particularly when it comes to the “who.” Breathing life into characters is crucial. Maybe that’s why I used bits and pieces of my grandma Helen in order to create my fictional Helen. Plus, it gives me a chance to spend time with her again, if only in my imagination.

Susan's book list on small town mysteries with sleuths who aren’t Spring chickens

Susan McBride Why did Susan love this book?

When I think of small-town sleuths of a certain age, there’s no better example than crossword-puzzle writer Judith Potts who lives in the village of Marlow. She’s 77-years-old and physically active (she routinely swims nude in the river behind her house).

In my humble opinion, Judith has all the makings of a great amateur detective: she’s nosy, observant, and not afraid to ask questions of perfect strangers (qualities I quite admire!). I enjoyed this tale even more when Judith roped the vicar’s wife and a dog-walker into her investigation of not one murder but two. More nosy Nellies only adds to the fun! 

By Robert Thorogood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first in a stunning new series introducing the Marlow Murder Club!

'A hugely enjoyable murder mystery written with wonderful verve, humour and compassion. Utterly delightful' Robert Webb

'I love Robert Thorogood's writing' Peter James

From the creator of the BBC One hit TV series, Death in Paradise

To solve an impossible murder, you need an impossible hero...

Judith Potts is seventy-seven years old and blissfully happy. She lives on her own in a faded mansion just outside Marlow, there's no man in her life to tell her what to do or how much whisky to drink, and to keep…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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