100 books like The Last

By Hanna Jameson,

Here are 100 books that The Last fans have personally recommended if you like The Last. 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 If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood

Melissa Caribou Annen Author Of The Midwest Madman: An Agent Raines Casefile

From my list on murderous serial killers that keep you up at night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe my love of horror and mystery started young. My first favorite book was The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree. I started writing my first mystery novel when I was in high school. It wasn’t very good, but I still have it. I have so many stories in my head that it’s hard to keep them straight. I also co-host a True Crime podcast, Nothing Happens in A Small Town

Melissa's book list on murderous serial killers that keep you up at night

Melissa Caribou Annen Why did Melissa love this book?

If You Tell reads like a fiction mystery novel. I wasn’t paying attention when I started reading this, and I thought it was fiction. When I realized this book was based on a true story it bewildered me. You hear stories about people, how horrible they can be, but this mother had to be a fictional character – she’s not. She will give you nightmares.

By Gregg Olsen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked If You Tell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A #1 Wall Street Journal, Amazon Charts, USA Today, and Washington Post bestseller.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen's shocking and empowering true-crime story of three sisters determined to survive their mother's house of horrors.

After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle's talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.

For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all,…


Book cover of Heart-Shaped Box

Tyler Paterson Author Of Dark Satellites

From my list on transport to the heart of spooky season.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an October baby born during a full moon, into a small New England town notorious for their connection to the Salem Witch Trials. My house was for sure haunted growing up, I’ve had a lot of nightmares over the years, and I found solace in the horror genre. Though my true background is in comedy having studied with Second City Chicago, the experience afforded me the opportunity to explore the more pained and shadowed sides of myself as a tool to write relevant material. I learned to focus those explorations into narratives and create stories with a lot of heart that highlight my own quest to uncover inner peace.

Tyler's book list on transport to the heart of spooky season

Tyler Paterson Why did Tyler love this book?

The first full novel by Hill—who I secretly recognized as Stephen King’s son—takes his father’s traditions to a whole new level. I fell immediately in love with Hill’s twisted yet insightful storytelling.

An aging rockstar protagonist who sets out to confront his unsettling past and weird addiction to odd memorabilia? Yes, please. I’m in awe of Hill’s ability to pack more into a single sentence than most authors do in an entire chapter. He balances the pace of a face-melting guitar solo with the gentle tenderness of vulnerability as his characters struggle to understand their place in the world.

This book had me clutching the covers one moment and reaching for the tissues in the next.

By Joe Hill,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Heart-Shaped Box as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Buy my stepfather's ghost' read the e-mail.

So Jude did.

He bought it, in the shape of the dead man's suit, delivered in a heart-shaped box, because he wanted it: because his fans ate up that kind of story. It was perfect for his collection: the genuine skulls and the bones, the real honest-to-God snuff movie, the occult books and all the rest of the paraphanalia that goes along with his kind of hard/goth rock.

But the rest of his collection doesn't make the house feel cold. The bones don't make the dogs bark; the movie doesn't make Jude feel…


Book cover of It Ain't Me, Babe

Melissa Caribou Annen Author Of The Midwest Madman: An Agent Raines Casefile

From my list on murderous serial killers that keep you up at night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe my love of horror and mystery started young. My first favorite book was The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree. I started writing my first mystery novel when I was in high school. It wasn’t very good, but I still have it. I have so many stories in my head that it’s hard to keep them straight. I also co-host a True Crime podcast, Nothing Happens in A Small Town

Melissa's book list on murderous serial killers that keep you up at night

Melissa Caribou Annen Why did Melissa love this book?

I thoroughly enjoyed It Ain’t Me Babe. I liked the clash of the main characters, he is a rebel, leader of a motorcycle club, and she is the complete opposite, a woman brought up in a religious cult. Two very different worlds collide. It’s a sexy, fun story to read, and I was engaged on every page.

By Tillie Cole,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked It Ain't Me, Babe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sinning never felt so good…

A fortuitous encounter.

A meeting that should never have happened.

Many years ago, two children from completely different worlds forged a connection, a fateful connection, an unbreakable bond that would change their lives forever…

Salome knows only one way to live—under Prophet David’s rule. In the commune she calls home, Salome knows nothing of life beyond her strict faith, nor of life beyond the Fence—the fence that cages her, keeps her trapped in an endless cycle of misery. A life she believes she is destined to always lead, until a horrific event sets her free.…


Book cover of The Butterfly Garden

Jeannette de Beauvoir Author Of Dead in the Water

From my list on stories involving kidnapping.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of the joys of writing a mystery series is you have time to explore your characters—who they are, where they come from, what motivates them. In this particular series, I’d established a rift between the protagonist and her family, and I began to wonder why it was there. My own sister died when still a baby, yet her absence cast a long, complicated shadow over our family for decades. I wanted to explore more about the family dynamics around a missing child—and kidnapping seemed the best tool to get there. So I read everything I could about kidnapping to present that absence in both intimate and compelling ways.

Jeannette's book list on stories involving kidnapping

Jeannette de Beauvoir Why did Jeannette love this book?

This book is both absolutely gorgeous and deeply disturbing.

The premise is simple: in an FBI interview, a young woman recounts the horrific ordeal she’s survived as a member of a serial killer’s “garden” of kidnapped victims. The reading experience is considerably more complex. Much of the story is told in flashbacks, allowing the reader to explore Maya’s experience in the Garden; that’s then balanced with her FBI interview, filling in blanks and establishing her as an almost-reliable narrator.

The dual timeline—one of my favorite devices to read and write—is handled brilliantly, and Hutchinson successfully achieves a formidable tightrope act, balancing the brutality of torture and murder with an elegant and refined narrative.

Her darkness is graceful—but it’s still darkness. 

By Dot Hutchison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees...and a collection of precious "butterflies"-young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle…


Book cover of The Locked Door

Matt Witten Author Of Killer Story

From my list on thrillers you'll devour in one sitting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing crime novels and TV shows for years. For TV, I wrote for Law & Order, Pretty Little Liars, CSI: Miami, and several other crime shows. In the book world, I used to write amateur sleuth novels, and now I write thrillers. My favorite form of relaxation is to get a cup of tea, put my feet up, and read a great thriller. They inspire me. As I read, I study how they’re structured. There’s nothing I appreciate more than a twist I didn’t see coming, a morally good character who turns out to be evil, or a flawed character who ultimately turns out to be good.

Matt's book list on thrillers you'll devour in one sitting

Matt Witten Why did Matt love this book?

I enjoyed this novel about a serial killer's daughter. The main character is flawed but very rootable, and the ending took me by surprise.

I especially admired the way all the different strands of the plot came together. The author laid out some good cookie crumbs for the reader to follow, and I missed several of them in a way that was very satisfying when they were revealed to me. I also liked that the main character gets a happy ending that I found very believable.

By Freida McFadden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Housemaid and The Coworker!

Some doors are locked for a reason…

While eleven-year-old Nora Davis was up in her bedroom doing homework, she had no idea her father was killing women in the basement.

Until the day the police arrived at their front door.

Decades later, Nora's father is spending his life behind bars, and Nora is a successful surgeon with a quiet, solitary existence. Nobody knows about her past, and she'll do anything to keep it that way.

Then one of her young…


Book cover of Truly, Darkly, Deeply

Niki Mackay Author Of The Due Date

From my list on thrillers with unreliable narrators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written nine crime novels, mostly psychological thrillers, but some blend procedural and PI elements and two are gangland stories. I went to the BRIT school in the 90’s and studied Drama and English Literature at University. I always think that my Performing Arts background gave me a great tool kit for ‘getting into character’ which is useful for writing. I also have an MA in journalism but I definitely prefer fiction to fact. I love the immediacy of first person prose and I am a sucker for an unreliable narrator.

Niki's book list on thrillers with unreliable narrators

Niki Mackay Why did Niki love this book?

This story is told from the perspective of a serial killer's stepdaughter, Sophie, and I swallowed it in two sittings.

Matty Melgren, Sophie’s stepfather, is dying and wants to meet. He’s in prison and his imminent death takes Sophie right back to her childhood. The story is told from Sophie’s perspective as a twelve-year-old observing the breakdown of her mother and Matty’s relationship and as an adult debating how much she wants answers and what they might cost her.

I loved the dual timeline and thought it was a really fresh way to approach a serial killer novel. 

By Victoria Selman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**THE INSTANT SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER**

'Victoria Selman is an exciting and powerfully fresh voice' Patricia Cornwell

Twelve-year-old Sophie and her mother, Amelia-Rose, move to London from Massachusetts where they meet the charismatic Matty Melgren, who quickly becomes an intrinsic part of their lives. But as the relationship between the two adults fractures, a serial killer begins targeting young women with a striking resemblance to Amelia-Rose.

When Matty is eventually sent down for multiple murder, questions remain as to his guilt -- questions which ultimately destroy both women. Nearly twenty years later, Sophie receives a letter from Battlemouth Prison informing her…


Book cover of Chasing the Boogeyman

Michelle Godard-Richer Author Of Fatal Hunt

From my list on fiction with realistic portrayal of crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always had a fascination with crime and human behavior which led me to complete an Honours Degree in Criminology at the University of Ottawa. I studied the minds of criminals and what drives their behavior. It’s truly disturbing that under the right circumstances, people are capable of horrific things. I also studied victims of crime and the impact their suffering has on their lives and the way it can influence their behavior in the future. Naturally with this background, I gravitate towards writing and reading books that explore these topics in depth.

Michelle's book list on fiction with realistic portrayal of crime

Michelle Godard-Richer Why did Michelle love this book?

Richard’s novel did a good job of pulling the rug out from beneath the reader as he leads them on a journey to discover who the murderer is in his hometown. Along the way, he does a brilliant job of conveying how murders can impact a whole town and affect human behavior.

By Richard Chizmar,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Chasing the Boogeyman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The acclaimed New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling novel of small-town evil that “is genuinely chilling and something brand-new and exciting” (Stephen King) and “unforgettable” (Harlan Coben).

In the summer of 1988, the mutilated bodies of several missing girls begin to turn up in a small Maryland town. The grisly evidence leads police to the terrifying assumption that a serial killer is on the loose in the quiet suburb. But soon a rumor begins to spread that the evil stalking local teens is not entirely human. Law enforcement, as well as members of the FBI, are certain that the…


Book cover of Bright Young Women

Kate Robards Author Of Only The Guilty Survive

From my list on thrillers inspired by real events.

Why am I passionate about this?

My new thriller centers around a small, mysterious cult and their shocking demise. For years, I’ve read true crime books on the subject, and I wanted to infuse the reality and truth of real-life events into my fictional novel. In a similar vein, these books represent a range of thrillers inspired by true events, ranging from cults to serial killers to teenage criminals. I hope you find these books as gripping and haunting as I do.

Kate's book list on thrillers inspired by real events

Kate Robards Why did Kate love this book?

I found this novel to be emotionally gripping and suspenseful. It is a historical thriller rooted in truth. It follows women affected by a serial killer in the seventies.

The killer is a depiction of Ted Bundy, though he’s only referred to as “the defendant”—a purposeful choice on behalf of Knoll, who succeeds in taking away his notoriety while giving a name to the women he affected. I appreciate that by focusing on the victims and survivors, it flips the narrative on its head, veering away from the predictable or sensational.

Knoll's writing is, as always, superb. I applaud Knoll for her fresh take on the true crime genre, for not romanticizing a killer, and for crafting a relatable, moving tribute to victims and survivors.

By Jessica Knoll,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Richard & Judy Book Club pick
New York Times Bestseller
A Goodreads Choice Award Finalist


Bright Young Women is an unflinching thriller based on Ted Bundy's heinous crimes, as two women search for justice in the wake of his brutal murders. From Jessica Knoll, author of the New York Times bestseller and #1 Netflix movie Luckiest Girl Alive.

'A compelling, almost hypnotic read' - Lisa Jewell, bestselling author of None of This is True

'Knoll deconstructs the myth of a criminal mastermind, revealing the women he seeks to destroy as the truly brilliant ones' - Flynn Berry, author of…


Book cover of Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Why am I passionate about this?

When I decided to write about psychopathic killers, I studied real stories and facts about these people. I also read about 80 novels a year as well as writing crime thriller novels. I’ve won more than a few awards and keep studying my craft. Makes me feel young. I love stories with action that make you think and are a little different and unique. I want to make a reader cry and laugh, which is what I look for in a good novel. So, when I write about serial killers, I try to keep it real. I love it!

Mike's book list on serial killer novels that are unique, thought-provoking, action-filled, and that you won't forget

Mike Slavin Why did Mike love this book?

Who hasn't heard of Dexter? A serial killer, a psychopath, who only kills bad guys: a great book, a TV series, and an iconic character.

Dexter is funny and carefree. He likes kids, but he's not sure why. He cares for his foster sister. He doesn't kill anyone who's not bad. He doesn't like sex, so that takes an icky part of most serial killers away too.

All of this is the genius of the author. I loved it! And this is just the first book in the series.

By Jeff Lindsay,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Darkly Dreaming Dexter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Dexter Morgan, a polite wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him abide by a different set of rules. He’s a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him immensely likeable: he only kills bad people. • The Killer Character That Inspired the Hit Showtime Series Dexter

And his job as a blood splatter expert for the Miami police department puts him in the perfect position to identify his victims. But when a series of brutal murders bearing a striking similarity to his own style start turning up, Dexter is caught…


Book cover of The Accident

Delvin Chatterson Author Of No Easy Money

From my list on where the action hero is everyone.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a storyteller and I’m fascinated by the use of language and how a story can be told well. I’ve used storytelling as an entrepreneur, executive, and management consultant, and my two business books for enlightened entrepreneurship use real-life stories to make the messages and lessons learned more memorable. Fictional versions of those stories were wandering through my imagination to make them more fun to read (and to write) for about fifteen years before they emerged in the Dale Hunter crime thriller series to show that entrepreneurs are not all evil, selfish monsters; sometimes they’re the hero!     

Delvin's book list on where the action hero is everyone

Delvin Chatterson Why did Delvin love this book?

Linwood Barclay is a fellow Canadian crime writer who imagines terrifying scenarios and takes stories through startling twists and turns of non-stop tension and suspense better than most.

Stephen King is a big fan of his writing in the style of horrifying domestic thrillers. In The Accident, we meet the humble hard-working neighbour with an eight-year-old daughter who discovers his wife killed in a car accident. The police claim she was the drunk driver who was responsible for it.

Garber has to believe the evidence but starts to explore what really happened and learns that his friends and neighbours are involved with dangerous criminals who are prepared to kill to protect their illegal activities. 

By Linwood Barclay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A drunk-driving accident hides more than one dark secret in No. 1 bestseller Linwood Barclay's gripping thriller Glen Garber's life has just spiralled out of control. His wife's car is found at the scene of a drunk-driving accident that took three lives. Not only is she dead, but it appears she was the cause of the accident. Suddenly Glen has to deal with a potent mixture of emotions: grief at the loss of his wife, along with anger at her reckless behaviour that leaves their young daughter motherless. If only he could convince himself that Sheila wasn't responsible for the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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