92 books like The Killer Inside Me

By Jim Thompson,

Here are 92 books that The Killer Inside Me fans have personally recommended if you like The Killer Inside Me. 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 Crime and Punishment

Stephen Jackley Author Of Just Time: A Journey Through Britain's Fractured Justice System

From my list on the power of redemption.

Who am I?

Having spent a total of 7 years in 12 UK prisons (and 6 in the USA), I encountered so many people from all walks of life who found themselves in custody. What they all generally had in common was a desire to seek betterment – redemption – for even the repeat offenders never hoped to see the inside of another jail again. It can be a soul-destroying, depressing place, often ruthless, but also serves as a forge to draw out the perseverance and will to keep going. After leaving prison, I went on to set up a social enterprise, received a commendation from then Prince Charles, and support the daily operations of a charity (Arkbound). 

Stephen's book list on the power of redemption

Stephen Jackley Why did Stephen love this book?

A true classic with themes as equally relevant today as they were over 150 years ago.

I first read it when in HMP Dorchester, a Victorian-era prison that is now closed. Told from the perspective of a student who unintentionally becomes a murderer, it compels the reader to think deeply about how the routes into crime can be many and varied, along with the nature of power.

Whilst very little of the book covers time spent in custody, before the end it shows the main criminal protagonist, Raskalnikov, as achieving a level of redemption. The book also discusses elements of criminology theory, which are still pored over by real university students.

By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Crime and Punishment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed by Washington Post Book World as “the best [translation] currently available" when it was first published, this second edition has been updated in honor of the 200th anniversary of Dostoevsky’s birth.

With the same suppleness, energy, and range of voices that won their translation of The Brothers Karamazov the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky offer a brilliant translation of Dostoevsky's astounding pyschological thriller, newly revised for his bicentenniel. 

When Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in the St. Petersburg of the tsars, commits an act of murder and theft, he sets into motion a story that is…


Book cover of The Things They Carried

Ryan A. Kovacs Author Of Create Destruction: Phase I

From my list on human choice & consequence.

Who am I?

I firmly live by the saying, “Where we are in life is a direct reflection of the choices we’ve made, or failed to make.” The theme of choice and consequence has not just been a way of living but the very trope in all my novels. The beauty in showing the process of making a choice, for my characters, in their stories, brings them to life. It forces the reader to step inside that decision tree, to analyze and predict the outcome despite the unknown. We are continuously propelled into the unknown and we make choices based on the notion of understanding what those choices will mean.

Ryan's book list on human choice & consequence

Ryan A. Kovacs Why did Ryan love this book?

Singlehandedly one of the greatest fictional books about war, Tim finds clever ways of imbuing readers with captivating characters.

Each short story gives insight into a war still misunderstood to this day.

As a veteran, I identify with the curious war stories and the unique character attributes displayed throughout them.

While cynical and the fictitious content questioned, The Things They Carried carries the weight of war and its lasting effects. 

By Tim O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked The Things They Carried as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The million-copy bestseller, which is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

'The Things They Carried' is, on its surface, a sequence of award-winning stories about the madness of the Vietnam War; at the same time it has the cumulative power and unity of a novel, with recurring characters and interwoven strands of plot and theme.

But while Vietnam is central to 'The Things They Carried', it is not simply a book about war. It is also a book about the human heart - about the terrible weight of those things we carry through…


Book cover of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat And Other Clinical Tales

Eric Schwitzgebel Author Of The Weirdness of the World

From my list on blow your mind about the weirdness of the world.

Who am I?

What I love about philosophy (I’ve been a philosophy professor at the University of California, Riverside, since 1997) is not its ability to deliver the one correct answer to the nature of the world and how to live but rather its power to open our mind to new possibilities that we hadn’t previously considered; its power to blow apart our presuppositions, our culturally given “common sense” understandings, and our habitual patterns of thinking, casting us into doubt and wonder. The science writing, fiction, and personal essays I love best have that same power.

Eric's book list on blow your mind about the weirdness of the world

Eric Schwitzgebel Why did Eric love this book?

Every time I revisit Sacks, especially this book, I am blown away anew at people’s ability to create meaning and value in the face of severe cognitive disability.

A man’s capacity to categorize objects is so impaired that when he moves to leave the room, he mistakenly reaches for his wife’s head instead of his hat. How can he even get through the day? With the help of familiar routines, his loving spouse, and music.

A “lost mariner” can’t retain any new information longer than a few minutes and still thinks he’s living decades ago, but he finds meaning in the timeless ceremonies of his religion. A man repeatedly throws his own leg out of bed and is surprised to find himself on the floor again….

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat And Other Clinical Tales as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celebrating Fifty Years of Picador Books

If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self - himself - he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.

In this extraordinary book, Dr. Oliver Sacks recounts the stories of patients struggling to adapt to often bizarre worlds of neurological disorder. Here are people who can no longer recognize everyday objects or those they love; who are stricken with violent tics or shout involuntary obscenities, and yet are gifted with…


Book cover of The Talented Mr. Ripley

Annette Joseph Author Of The Killer Menu: A Delicious Tale of Food, Family and Murder

From my list on mystery books with a beautiful aesthetic.

Who am I?

I am Annette Joseph, a writer and food stylist. I spend most of the year at our twelfth-century fortress in northern Tuscany. I have written six books, three cookbooks, and two memoirs about life in Italy. We run private retreats on the grounds. My book My Italian Guestbook is based on these retreats. Writing about everything around me in Italy gives me great pleasure.

Annette's book list on mystery books with a beautiful aesthetic

Annette Joseph Why did Annette love this book?

A Classic. I have read it three times. I would read it a fourth time. It's a beautifully crafted book. The writing is masterful. As a writer, I can’t get enough.

Set in the most beautiful places in Italy. This book transports you to another time. It’s a delicious read. If you have not read it, you must. If you have read it,  you must reread it; like a fine wine, it only becomes better. 

By Patricia Highsmith,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Talented Mr. Ripley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's here, in the first volume of Patricia Highsmith's five-book Ripley series, that we are introduced to the suave Tom Ripley, a young striver seeking to leave behind his past as an orphan bullied for being a "sissy." Newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante, and Ripley begins a deadly game. "Sinister and strangely alluring"…


Book cover of Perfume

Theresa Levitt Author Of Elixir: A Parisian Perfume House and the Quest for the Secret of Life

From my list on perfume and scent.

Who am I?

I am a historian of science who just completed a book on the role of perfume in the quest for the secret of life and vitality. While writing it, I became fascinated with the challenge of translating scent into language. While our nose can recognize a virtually infinite number of odors, there are only a few basic categories of description (“floral,” “woody,” “citrus,” etc.). To fully describe them often requires a poet’s touch – invoking a tapestry of memories, associations, and feelings to create the experience in the reader’s mind. These are some of the best books I’ve encountered for talking about the complex world of scent, and the importance of perfume in human history.

Theresa's book list on perfume and scent

Theresa Levitt Why did Theresa love this book?

A gruesome story of murder and desire that also happens to have the most vivid olfactory descriptions of any genre.

Suskind’s preternatural ability to summon odor from the page makes you feel as if you are there beside him, walking through the flowered hillsides of Provence, or in the back room of a perfume shop on the Pont au Change. His twisted use of classic perfume techniques is as accurate as it is chilling.

By Patrick Suskind,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An erotic masterpiece of twentieth century fiction - a tale of sensual obsession and bloodlust in eighteenth century Paris

'An astonishing tour de force both in concept and execution' Guardian

In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name has been forgotten today.

It is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts…


Book cover of The Unconsoled

Jon Bassoff Author Of Beneath Cruel Waters

From my list on that are relentlessly twisted.

Who am I?

When I completed one of my early novels, a really demented one called Factory Town, a fellow author emailed me with great concern for my mental health. He was convinced I was heading down a dark cave that I couldn’t be rescued from. But it wasn’t true. Writing and reading these dark novels doesn’t make me depressed. It makes me feel creatively revitalized. Dark literature reminds us that being alive is painful—but it’s also wonderful. I hope to never spend any real time with people as terrifying as the ones I’ve found on these pages. But I’m incredibly thankful they were a part of my imagined world for a time. 

Jon's book list on that are relentlessly twisted

Jon Bassoff Why did Jon love this book?

I’ve always been fascinated by surrealism and expressionism—and The Unconsoled takes those dreamlike images and expresses them in a fascinating and disorienting story. Reading this novel makes you feel like you’re trapped in a terrifying and anxious nightmare—and I mean that in the best possible way. The novel uses dream logic: characters appear out of thin air and morph into other characters. The setting is a strange labyrinth in some nameless European city. If you like David Lynch movies, you’ll dig this. If you’re looking for a linear narrative, stay away!

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*Kazuo Ishiguro's new novel Klara and the Sun is now available*

Ryder, a renowned pianist, arrives in a Central European city he cannot identify for a concert he cannot remember agreeing to give . . .

On first publication in 1995, The Unconsoled was met in some quarters with bewilderment and vilification, in others with the highest praise. One commentator asked, 'Has Ishiguro gone for greatness or has he gone mad?' Over the years, this uniquely strange and extraordinary novel about a man whose life has accelerated beyond his control has come to be seen by many as being the…


Book cover of Red Dragon

Tom Grace Author Of The Secret Cardinal

From my list on thrillers to keep you awake at night.

Who am I?

I am an avid reader and devour books of all types, but for pure entertainment I love a good thriller. These are the kind of books I read on planes and at the beach, and these are the kinds of books I shared with my late father. I contributed a piece on Rudyard Kipling’s Kim to the collection Thrillers: 100 Must Reads and am a member of the International Thriller Writers. While I write thrillers professionally, I remain a passionate reader of the genre and love to share the brilliant stories that kept me reading late into the night.

Tom's book list on thrillers to keep you awake at night

Tom Grace Why did Tom love this book?

Hannibal Lecter. That alone is enough to recommend this brilliant Thomas Harris novel. Red Dragon serves as the literary debut of the iconic psychiatrist/gourmand serial killer. This tense, psychological thriller places FBI profiler Will Graham between the imprisoned but still dangerous Lecter and the titular character who slays entire families under the light of a full moon. The novel opens with Graham on leave and recovering from physical and psychological injuries sustained in Lecter’s capture when the urgency of catching this new killer presses him reluctantly back into service. Graham’s effort to aid the hunt of the Dragon from the shadows is thwarted when Lecter aims the killer at Graham and his family. Wicked fun.

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Red Dragon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of "Silence of the Lambs" and "Black Sunday", this is the book that introduces the most famous serial killer of them all - Hannibal Lecter.


Book cover of The Butcher Boy

Jon Bassoff Author Of Beneath Cruel Waters

From my list on that are relentlessly twisted.

Who am I?

When I completed one of my early novels, a really demented one called Factory Town, a fellow author emailed me with great concern for my mental health. He was convinced I was heading down a dark cave that I couldn’t be rescued from. But it wasn’t true. Writing and reading these dark novels doesn’t make me depressed. It makes me feel creatively revitalized. Dark literature reminds us that being alive is painful—but it’s also wonderful. I hope to never spend any real time with people as terrifying as the ones I’ve found on these pages. But I’m incredibly thankful they were a part of my imagined world for a time. 

Jon's book list on that are relentlessly twisted

Jon Bassoff Why did Jon love this book?

Never has a terribly sad book been so much fun to read. Patrick McCabe is the master at creating chillingly unreliable characters, and schoolboy Francis "Francie" Brady is his greatest creation. The narrative is a blend of dirty realism and violent fantasy, and the farther along you get in the novel, the more difficult it is to tell them apart. There are still a handful of scenes that have stuck with me more than a decade after I read it. They made a good movie based on the novel, but the book is what you need. 

By Patrick McCabe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in Ireland, this book tells the story of teenage hero Francie Brady. Things begin to fall apart after his mother's suicide - when he is consumed with fury and commits a horrible crime. Committed to an asylum, it is only here that he finally achieves peace. Shortlisted for the 1992 Booker Prize.


Book cover of House of Leaves

Zilla Novikov Author Of Query

From my list on books where the narrator won't stay out of the story.

Who am I?

There's no particular reason why I'm the right person to talk about intrusive narrators. I studied math, not literature, in school, though variables can be as tricky as any imaginary character. As an unpopular child, I read a developmentally unhealthy number of books, but tragic backstories are a dime a dozen. I pepper my life with ironic asides to the Reader, but anyone with a devoted Reader (better yet, a dozen of them) can do that. To be honest, you'd probably have come up with a better list than I did. You should give it a shot.

Zilla's book list on books where the narrator won't stay out of the story

Zilla Novikov Why did Zilla love this book?

This book lives in my Brain rent-free, ironic since my brain is also not a space in which anyone should take Up residence.

I love the layers of narraTors, Johnny, Zampanò, and Navidson, all of Them unreliable, telling lies from cOnscious design, from iNability to face the truth, from shifting realities. Maybe one day I'll find my way through to someone who loves my ironieS.

By Mark Z. Danielewski,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked House of Leaves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A novelistic mosaic that simultaneously reads like a thriller and like a strange, dreamlike excursion into the subconscious.” —The New York Times

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations,…


Book cover of Killer on the Road

William Cook Author Of Blood Related

From my list on first-person serial killers.

Who am I?

As a writer of Psychological Horror who specializes in stories about serial killers, the first-person serial killer narrative stands out as a fascinating vehicle to explore the psyche of real human ‘monsters.’ Which is precisely what I did, using books from this list as subject material for my Master’s thesis. The research also informed Blood Related, my debut novel, a first-person serial killer narrative and the most controversial book I’ve written so far. Perhaps, gaining insight from fictional serial killers would be a failed enterprise if life didn’t imitate art, but the fact is that these types of narratives are mostly informed by their real-life counterparts. Be warned – read at your own discretion.

William's book list on first-person serial killers

William Cook Why did William love this book?

This book blew my mind when I first read it. In my opinion, it is one of the most visceral, scary, and under-rated serial killer novels of all time. Published in 1986 in the midst of America’s much-hyped real and fictional serial killer ‘epidemic,’ Killer on the Road stands out as a first-person serial-killer narrative, as well as putting forward a new kind of character (for the 1980s) – the homosexual serial murderer. In this novel, Ellroy delves into the phenomenon of motiveless serial murder from the perspective of the killer on a subversive journey through a hellish suburban America. From the prologue to the epilogue the reader is presented an interior world-view saturated with violence and nightmarish insights into the psychopathology of a disturbed killer. 

By James Ellroy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Martin Michael Plunkett is a product of his times -- the possessor of a genius intellect, a pitiless soul of brushed steel, and a heart of blackest evil. With criminal tendencies forged in the fires of L.A.'s Charles Manson hysteria, he comes to the bay city of San Francisco -- and submits to savage and terrible impulses that reveal to him his true vocation as a pure and perfect murderer. And so begins his decade of discovery and terror, as he cuts a bloody swath across the full length of a land, ingeniously exploiting and feeding upon a society's obsessions.…


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