98 books like The Da Vinci Code

By Dan Brown,

Here are 98 books that The Da Vinci Code fans have personally recommended if you like The Da Vinci Code. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Hot Zone

By Richard Preston,

Book cover of The Hot Zone

MJ Howson Author Of Dawn of Eve

From the list on scaring and thrilling you without bathing you in blood.

Who am I?

I grew up reading Stephen King and Michael Crichton. That combination of horror and techno-thriller greatly impacted my writing style and genre. I love a page-turner and chapters that end with a cliffhanger. I love that creepy feeling of dread that washes over you when engrossed in a scary scene. I love when you put a book down for the night, turn off the light, and then wince when you hear a strange noise in the other room. I love a story that's so believable that you can't help but wonder, "Could this happen...maybe even to me?" If you do, too, you may enjoy my books.

MJ's book list on scaring and thrilling you without bathing you in blood

Why did MJ love this book?

A friend insisted I borrow The Hot Zone from him. I explained I wasn't fond of nonfiction books, but he told me to trust him and that the book read like a real-life thriller. I gave it a try and couldn't put the story down.

I read this 25 years before Covid. When the pandemic hit in 2020, I remember thinking, "Oh my God, the Hot Zone has gone global." With every turn of the page, I kept telling myself, "This can't be real." Not only was it all true, but it was exciting. And terrifying. That icky feeling stuck with me.

When I write, I do my best to use the five senses to create the perfect atmosphere.

By Richard Preston,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Hot Zone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling landmark account of the first emergence of the Ebola virus.

Now a mini-series drama starring Julianna Margulies, Topher Grace, Liam Cunningham, James D'Arcy, and Noah Emmerich on National Geographic.

A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic "hot" virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of…

The Code Breaker

By Walter Isaacson,

Book cover of The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

Judy Foreman Author Of Let the More Loving One Be Me: My Journey from Trauma to Freedom

From the list on readers drawn equally to history and psychology.

Who am I?

I’m a curious soul, and grateful for it. This innate curiosity and drive to uncover the truth has propelled me as a science journalist and as a woman trying to understand a traumatic childhood. Both our society and the mental health of each one of us depend, I firmly believe, on uncovering and telling the truth. Yeah, that’s dangerous, especially for journalists who in some countries still get killed and imprisoned for doing so. And it’s painful for people like me who dare to look inside. It takes courage. But it’s the only way to a healthy society and a healthy mind.

Judy's book list on readers drawn equally to history and psychology

Why did Judy love this book?

As a longtime science and medical writer for The Boston Globe, I was in awe of Isaacson’s grasp of the complex science and the intricate people stories involved in the thrilling race to develop the gene editing technique, CRISPR. (My first novel was inspired in part by Isaacson’s brilliant book.)

Believe me, it takes an enormous amount of time, smarts, and dedication to probe, as a layperson, the most intricate secrets of science and to explain it all to non-scientists. Isaacson did this spectacularly well.

By Walter Isaacson,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Code Breaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The best-selling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns.

In 2012, Nobel Prize winning scientist Jennifer Doudna hit upon an invention that will transform the future of the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA.

Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions. It has already been deployed to cure deadly diseases, fight the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, and make inheritable changes in the genes of babies.

But what does that mean for humanity? Should we be hacking our own DNA to make us less susceptible to disease? Should…

The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins,

Book cover of The Hunger Games

Susanna Beard Author Of The Best Friend

From the list on featuring a feisty female.

Who am I?

Since I was a girl, I’ve had an enduring sense that women must work harder, be cleverer, think more creatively than men, both at work and sometimes at home. So I love a woman who stands up for herself, who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. At one time, when the series Spooks was popular on TV, I wanted to be Ros, the operator who, when a dodgy guy followed her, hid around a corner. She flattened him with some nifty moves, stole his car keys and said: “Never follow me again.” Brilliant! I hope you enjoy all the feisty females on my book list. 

Susanna's book list on featuring a feisty female

Why did Susanna love this book?

This book was recommended by a creative writing teacher as a perfect example of how a plot should develop – the three-act structure, the perfect arc of the story, the pace, with rising and falling tension and edge-of-the-cliff plot points. 

But I love it because of the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, surely one of the most endearing heroines in literature. It’s a classic story of a character overcoming all the odds, and while it’s widely perceived as a dystopian novel for young adults, I found it much more than that.

I was gripped by Katniss and her challenges – all of which she finds a way to overcome – as well as the enormous themes of poverty, oppression, war, and survival. She’s young but steely, resourceful, clever, and feisty. 

By Suzanne Collins,

Why should I read it?

34 authors picked The Hunger Games as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...

We Are Satellites

By Sarah Pinsker,

Book cover of We Are Satellites

Paul Indigo Author Of Love Deleted

From the list on story ideas with characters you fall in love with.

Who am I?

I’m a storyteller who loves ‘oh my gosh’ ideas. Something that, the moment I hear about it, it captivates me. I also love characters who are deeply heart-warming and pleasurable to be around. For me, delving into the intimacy of a character’s mind and their shifting relationships with others is a pleasure. This is why I’m so attracted to contemporary domestic family issues or love stories with living, breathing characters. By pairing it with a puzzling or shocking wow of an idea to investigate, I can explore my character’s unique world and set it at odds with something that threatens that existence.

Paul's book list on story ideas with characters you fall in love with

Why did Paul love this book?

This is an uplifting family drama about technology that could – and possibly is (if we think about AI and smartphones) – already happening.

It’s a social comment about a brain surgery that improves the functions of thinking. The implant proves so popular, it begins to bias society to favour those who have the implant and sideline those who don’t. The story is told from the viewpoints of a lesbian couple and their two children, demonstrating how easily divided we can be, enough to threaten the breakdown of society. 

It’s a wonderful story with very real characters, commenting on mega technology and exploitative commercial enterprise yet is also at its heart, about the importance of the family unit.

By Sarah Pinsker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked We Are Satellites as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From award-winning author Sarah Pinsker comes a novel about one family and the technology that divides them.

Get one - or get left behind.

Val and Julie just want what's best for their kids, David and Sophie. So when David comes home from school begging for a new brain implant to help with his studies, they're torn. Julie grew up poor and knows what it's like to be the only kid in school without the new technology, but Val is terrified by the risks and the implications.

Soon, everyone at Julie's work has the implant and she's struggling to keep…

The Black Echo

By Michael Connelly,

Book cover of The Black Echo

Ted Galdi Author Of Black Quiet: A Cole Maddox Action Thriller

From the list on action thrillers with rule-breaking heroes.

Who am I?

I’ve written several action thrillers about main characters who defy the rules. In my opinion, the key to these stories is giving your protagonist a good cause to break the rules for. Readers don’t want to get behind someone who wreaks havoc just to entertain himself. However, readers can identify with someone who’s pursuing an admirable goal and will stop at nothing to achieve it. These stories shouldn’t motivate anyone to break the law in real life. They serve as a metaphor for going against convention to overcome obstacles. Hopefully, my books, and those of other authors, encourage people to take on challenges in ways they haven’t yet considered.  

Ted's book list on action thrillers with rule-breaking heroes

Why did Ted love this book?

The Black Echo is the first novel in the bestselling Harry Bosch series. Bosch is a great detective who isn’t afraid to go against the people around him in pursuit of justice, including his coworkers in the LAPD, and agents in the FBI. 

In this book, his old war buddy is found dead. Bosch hunts for the truth, and revenge. 

I really liked the cool, back-alley, neo-noir vibe. The book is set in Los Angeles, but not the glitzy parts often seen in the media. Bosch follows a maze of clues through gritty, shadowy parts of the city. Good stuff.

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Black Echo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An LAPD homicide detective must choose between justice and vengeance as he teams up with the FBI in this "thrilling" novel filled with mystery and adventure (New York Times Book Review).

For maverick LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch, the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland Dam is more than another anonymous statistic. This one is personal . . . because the murdered man was a fellow Vietnam "tunnel rat" who had fought side by side with him in a hellish underground war. Now Bosch is about to relive the horror of Nam. From a dangerous maze of blind alleys…

Book cover of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Elise Noble Author Of Pitch Black

From the list on morally grey heroines.

Who am I?

I’m an author from England who set out one lunchbreak to write the type of book I wanted to read. I like strong, imperfect heroines who fight for justice, both in their own lives and for others. Plus most of my books involve romance, so hot guys are a must too. I’ve written over fifty novels and novellas, from romcoms to thrillers, and one constant is strong female characters who do things for themselves. 

Elise's book list on morally grey heroines

Why did Elise love this book?

Lisbeth Salander is a fan of justice, and she doesn’t much care how she achieves it. Hacking? Check. Stealing millions of dollars? Check. Nailing a guy’s feet to the floor? Check.

She’s a smart non-conformist who doesn’t need a man to save her, but she forms a love/hate relationship with journalist Mikhail Blomkvist that continues throughout the series. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo layers their complexities on top of an age-old mystery in a twisted plot that keeps you guessing until the end. 

By Stieg Larsson,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder - and that the killer is a member of his own tightly-knit but dysfunctional family.

He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history.

But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and…

The Time Traveler's Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Book cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

Paul Burman Author Of The Snowing And Greening Of Thomas Passmore

From the list on time-bending that turn reality inside-out.

Who am I?

I’m the author of three novels, several short stories and quite a few articles about writing and literature. While I’ve haven’t aimed to write for a specific genre—all three of my novels are different in this respect—my plots usually focus on a mystery. I enjoy novels with strong, credible characters, which are based in a recognisable, everyday reality, but where bizarre events can turn the world upside down.

Paul's book list on time-bending that turn reality inside-out

Why did Paul love this book?

I enjoy the occasional romance, but often want something more than a traditional linear structure with predictable character trajectories, and The Time Traveler’s Wife won me over completely.

Not only does it play with the concept of time, pitting two characters in a relationship with one another at various non-sequential points in their lives (Henry meets Clare when she’s six and he’s thirty-six, they get married when she’s twenty-two and he’s thirty!), but it does it oh-so-convincingly. What’s more, it tells a superb love story at the same time—one of the best.

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Why should I read it?

20 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…

Dark Matter

By Blake Crouch,

Book cover of Dark Matter

Michael C. Bland Author Of The Price of Safety

From the list on a future we probably want to avoid.

Who am I?

My father wanted to be an astrophysicist, and as a kid I caught his passion for the future from the many science fiction books he’d left throughout our house. As an adult, the advances in technology have brought the future envisioned in those books closer than ever. My passion for what awaits us led me to write The Price of Safety, which contains innovations that are right around the corner—and have already started to come true (which is freaky), between Elon Musk’s cranial implants to DNA tracking. The world we live in is becoming more like the world in my books. I hope we’re ready! 

Michael's book list on a future we probably want to avoid

Why did Michael love this book?

Dark Matter has a compelling premise: in the near future, someone creates a machine that mimics Schrodinger’s cat thought experiment—to potentially devastating consequences. But countering the story’s scientific plotline is the main character’s drive to reunite with his family (in multiple ways, which you’ll discover if you read it).

This mix of science and humanity resonated with me and influenced me when I wrote my book. The science in Dark Matter was handled well, with Crouch showing the science rather than stopping the story with pages of exposition.

Gripping, yet scary in its implications if this technology is ever created (I’m looking at you, AI-developers), Dark Matter is an amazing ride.

By Blake Crouch,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Dark Matter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Brilliant. . . I think Blake Crouch just invented something new' - Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series.

From Blake Crouch, the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human - a relentlessly surprising thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we'll go to claim the lives we dream of, perfect for fans of Stranger Things and Ready Player One.

'Are you happy in your life?'
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakes to find…

Murder on the Orient Express

By Agatha Christie,

Book cover of Murder on the Orient Express

Kitty Murphy Author Of Death in Heels

From the list on murder mysteries to brighten your day.

Who am I?

I adore crime fiction, especially mysteries. They make sense. In the real world, crime rarely has the resolution of fiction, and almost never has Belgian detectives with very neat moustaches, or old ladies solving a who-dunnit… I grew up reading these books, mentally inhaling everything from Christie to Rankin to McDermid, and now I spend my days writing brutal but quite silly murders solved by a woman who would really rather wear an old grey fleece and jeans than a sparkly dress, and her friends, the fictional TRASH drag family. Murder mysteries are fun – perfect escapism. In a world so messed up as ours is right now, don’t we need to escape into fiction?

Kitty's book list on murder mysteries to brighten your day

Why did Kitty love this book?

I hate this book for all the reasons I love it: because it’s perfect.

It’s a perfect crime novel and a perfect mystery, with perfectly awful characters, set in a perfectly fabulous situation, and as a mystery writer I know I will never ever top Christie’s brilliance but oh my, any chance I have, I fall into this story.

Romance. Deception. Murder. Shiny things.


Forget the movie, pick up the real thing. Poirot at his best.

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Murder on the Orient Express as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


“The murderer is with us—on the train now . . .”

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.

Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s…

The Bourne Identity

By Robert Ludlum,

Book cover of The Bourne Identity

Eric Van Lustbader Author Of The Quantum Solution

From the list on perfect examples of great thriller writing.

Who am I?

I've been writing since I learned how to write, first poems, then short stories. I spent a decade in the rock music business, writing about and becoming friends with Elton John, John Lennon, Bryan Ferry, among others. But I grew up reading thrillers and wanting to write novels but seemed hesitant to start. One day, I ran into an old high school friend who was writing westerns for Avon Books. I thought if he can, so can I. So I did. I majored in Sociology in college, so the intricacies of individuals within society always fascinated me. After reading The Outsider, I realized I really wanted to write about the people outside of society.

Eric's book list on perfect examples of great thriller writing

Why did Eric love this book?

This is the book that started me on a new path so how could I not recommend it?

I met Ludlum in 1980 through our shared agent. We hit it off immediately. Both The Bourne Identity and my book were on the NY Times Bestseller list together. He wanted to meet me. He’d read The Ninja and loved it.

We spent an entire evening discussing the traits our respective protagonists shared, how much of ourselves we’d put into them. We also discussed our ideas of how to write thrillers that thrilled as many readers as possible.

Years later, after Ludlum passed, I was asked to continue writing the Bourne novels. I decided I’d write one, maybe two. I ended up writing 11.

It was while I was finishing the last of those that I got the idea for a female agent whose sister would become her mortal enemy. That’s how…

By Robert Ludlum,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Bourne Identity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jason Bourne is back in the forthcoming major motion picture starring Matt Damon and Alicia Vikander. Go back to where it all began for Bourne in his first adventure - The Bourne Identity

He was dragged from the sea, his body riddled with bullets. There are a few clues: a frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the skin of his hip; evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face; strange things he says in his delirium, which could be code words. And a number on the film negative that leads to a bank account in Zurich, four million dollars, and…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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