85 books like The Last London

By Iain Sinclair,

Here are 85 books that The Last London fans have personally recommended if you like The Last London. 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 Night Walks

Matthew Beaumont Author Of Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London

From my list on the city at night.

Who am I?

I first started walking in cities at night in my late teens – mainly London but also the Italian cities I travelled through alone when I went interrailing after leaving school. I discovered that cities have a quite different character at night, and that you cannot know the streets of one intimately if you don’t explore it – safely! – after dark. In my professional career as a scholar and lecturer, I have for decades almost unconsciously been drawn to those writers who themselves discovered, to their horror or delight, that the city at night is a foreign country. The books I’ve listed, fictional or non-fictional, are postcards from this foreign land. 

Matthew's book list on the city at night

Matthew Beaumont Why did Matthew love this book?

Dickens wrote this essay, which is one of his very best pieces of non-fictional writing, at a period when he was undergoing something of a crisis, largely because of the breakdown of his marriage. It describes a walk he took at night through the streets of London, though in fact it is probably a composite of many nocturnal strolls he took in the late 1850s. Although the piece is sharpened with Dickens’s characteristic spirit of satire, it is remarkable for the sympathetic warmth with which it sketches those who, in contrast to Dickens himself, have no choice but to inhabit the city at night – the lost, the lonely, the homeless. Movingly, he finds a sense of community in these isolated individuals who live on the margins of society.

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Charles Dickens describes in Night Walks his time as an insomniac, when he decided to cure himself by walking through London in the small hours, and discovered homelessness, drunkenness and vice on the streets. This collection of essays shows Dickens as one of the greatest visionaries of the city in all its variety and cruelty.

GREAT IDEAS. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them.…


Book cover of New York Nocturne: The City After Dark in Literature, Painting, and Photography, 1850-1950

Matthew Beaumont Author Of Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London

From my list on the city at night.

Who am I?

I first started walking in cities at night in my late teens – mainly London but also the Italian cities I travelled through alone when I went interrailing after leaving school. I discovered that cities have a quite different character at night, and that you cannot know the streets of one intimately if you don’t explore it – safely! – after dark. In my professional career as a scholar and lecturer, I have for decades almost unconsciously been drawn to those writers who themselves discovered, to their horror or delight, that the city at night is a foreign country. The books I’ve listed, fictional or non-fictional, are postcards from this foreign land. 

Matthew's book list on the city at night

Matthew Beaumont Why did Matthew love this book?

This richly illustrated account of the century in which Manhattan was the preeminent metropolitan city at night is written by a scholar I admire enormously, who has become a friend since I first read this book. Sharpe has an encyclopedic knowledge of the art and literature of the modern city, and New York Nocturne is in consequence a treasure trove of cultural-historical information. But it is also beautifully written. It reads not only the paintings, photographs, poems, and novels about New York with sensitivity and insight, but the sometimes glamorous, sometimes painfully arduous lives of those who lived in it. 

By William Chapman Sharpe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As early as the 1850s, gaslight tempted New Yorkers out into a burgeoning nightlife filled with shopping, dining, and dancing. Electricity later turned the city at night into an even more stunning spectacle of brilliantly lit streets and glittering skyscrapers. The advent of artificial lighting revolutionized the urban night, creating not only new forms of life and leisure, but also new ways of perceiving the nocturnal experience. New York Nocturne is the first book to examine how the art of the gaslit and electrified city evolved, and how representations of nighttime New York expanded the boundaries of modern painting, literature,…


Book cover of New York: Confidential!

Matthew Beaumont Author Of Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London

From my list on the city at night.

Who am I?

I first started walking in cities at night in my late teens – mainly London but also the Italian cities I travelled through alone when I went interrailing after leaving school. I discovered that cities have a quite different character at night, and that you cannot know the streets of one intimately if you don’t explore it – safely! – after dark. In my professional career as a scholar and lecturer, I have for decades almost unconsciously been drawn to those writers who themselves discovered, to their horror or delight, that the city at night is a foreign country. The books I’ve listed, fictional or non-fictional, are postcards from this foreign land. 

Matthew's book list on the city at night

Matthew Beaumont Why did Matthew love this book?

The cover is what I most love about this book, which I picked up in a second-hand bookshop. In my edition, “The Big City After Dark" is emblazoned in large yellow letters across the top. Beneath it, there’s a deliciously louche illustration of two people standing against the backdrop of Manhattan at night. One is a man in a trilby hat and a cheap brown suit. The other is a blonde woman in cinched black dress and pearls, twirling her pearl necklace and looking alluring. Both appear to know a thing or two about New York’s seediest hangouts. This is a gripping noir guidebook to the twentieth century’s most exciting nighttime city, written as if it’s pulp fiction. 

By Jack Lait, Lee Mortimer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vintage paperback


Book cover of Trivia, Or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London

Matthew Beaumont Author Of Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London

From my list on the city at night.

Who am I?

I first started walking in cities at night in my late teens – mainly London but also the Italian cities I travelled through alone when I went interrailing after leaving school. I discovered that cities have a quite different character at night, and that you cannot know the streets of one intimately if you don’t explore it – safely! – after dark. In my professional career as a scholar and lecturer, I have for decades almost unconsciously been drawn to those writers who themselves discovered, to their horror or delight, that the city at night is a foreign country. The books I’ve listed, fictional or non-fictional, are postcards from this foreign land. 

Matthew's book list on the city at night

Matthew Beaumont Why did Matthew love this book?

This brilliantly funny poem, written in heroic couplets, is a satirical celebration of the teeming streets of London in the early eighteenth century, when this imperial city’s pretensions to order were constantly threatened by the chaos of an expanding, and highly mobile, population. It is an instruction manual for survival – "Through Winter Streets to steer your course aright, / How to walk clean by Day, and safe by Night" – but also a colourful cityscape comparable to the paintings produced by William Hogarth at roughly the same time. It offers a highly atmospheric description of London at night in one of its sections. 

By John Gay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Trivia, Or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


Book cover of Vine Street

John Barlow Author Of Right to Kill: A gripping Yorkshire murder mystery for 2022 (DS Joe Romano crime thriller series book 1)

From my list on regional crime fiction in Britain.

Who am I?

I write crime fiction set in the north of England. It’s where I was born and grew up, although for the last 20 years I’ve lived in Spain. I really love novels with a local or regional flavour. The kind of writing that takes you to a specific place, and draws on that place in the action itself. The writers that I chose for this list all do this extremely well. And although their books are set in different locations, they share the sense of the setting almost becoming a character in the story.

John's book list on regional crime fiction in Britain

John Barlow Why did John love this book?

Dominic wrote two very good crime books in a short series before publishing Vine Street.

I am including Vine Street on my list because, although it’s set in London and is therefore not ‘regional’, it was one of the great crime novels of 2021-22 and deserves to become a classic. I read this book before it was published, and I knew, like everyone else, that it was something special.

The story spans almost a century, from the seedy streets of London’s Soho in the 1930s, until the present day. There are some really well-researched and vividly depicted descriptions of police investigations in the 30s, and just for that it’s worth a read. But there’s also a twisting, mesmerizing plot that takes us all the way to the present.

What really distinguishes Vine Street, though, is the writing itself, which seems to echo the rhythms of the 1930s jazz clubs, and…

By Dominic Nolan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

***BEST CRIME BOOKS OF 2021 - THE TIMES/SUNDAY TIMES***
***CRIME BOOK OF THE MONTH - THE TIMES***

'Brings the obsessional dread of James Ellroy to 1940s London.' IAN RANKIN

'Extraordinary...a career-defining performance.' THE SUNDAY TIMES

'This is crime writing of the highest quality' DAILY MAIL

SOHO, 1935.
SERGEANT LEON GEATS' PATCH.

A snarling, skull-cracking misanthrope, Geats marshals the grimy rabble according to his own elastic moral code.

The narrow alleys are brimming with jazz bars, bookies, blackshirts, ponces and tarts so when a body is found above the Windmill Club, detectives are content to dismiss the case as just another…


Book cover of Amazing Grace Adams

Gillian Harvey Author Of One French Summer

From my list on kickass midlife women.

Who am I?

What is it about women in their forties, fifties and beyond? What’s that you say? They feel invisible? A bit boring? Something about menopause? No, actually, I was going to say they’re absolutely bloody brilliant. That’s why (especially after entering my own fifth decade) I wondered where all the kickass midlife women were on TV and in literature. One editor admitted to me once that it was ‘safer’ to write about younger women, that people weren’t so drawn to the midlife heroine. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised how many great stories just weren’t being told.

Gillian's book list on kickass midlife women

Gillian Harvey Why did Gillian love this book?

This poignant, tragi-comedy of a novel is both relatable and uplifting.

And though the protagonist is going through a bit of a crisis, it’s ultimately a story of a woman finding herself and coming into her own.

Grace’s relationship with her teenage daughter is so well described – as mum of a teen girl I recognised the sadness she felt when she realised her daughter needed her less than she’d used to.

By Fran Littlewood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*Ferocious, funny and tender, and available to pre-order now!*

'I just adored this ... an unforgettable read' Liane Moriarty

'Compelling, funny and poignant. I devoured it' Paula Hawkins

***

'Sometimes I have so much rage it scares me . . .'

Grace Adams is one bad day away from saving her life . . .

One hot summer day, stuck in traffic on her way to pick up the cake for her daughter's sixteenth birthday party, Grace Adams snaps.

She doesn't scream or break something or cry. She simply abandons in traffic and walks away.

But not from her life…


Book cover of The Murder of Patience Brooke

Elizabeth Bailey Author Of The Gilded Shroud

From my list on mysteries to escape the now and voyage the past.

Who am I?

Even as a child, I wanted to escape from current times and visit bygone or future eras. History and literature were favourites and I gleaned most of what I know of the past by reading. Then I found Georgette Heyer, prompting a lifetime love affair with all things Georgian and Regency. Agatha Christie got me into mystery. I loved both the puzzle of whodunit and being whirled away into Poirot, Marple, or Cadfael territory. A good mystery and a deep dive into history as well? Heaven! Best of all is the author who draws me so completely into their imaginary world that the real one fades away.

Elizabeth's book list on mysteries to escape the now and voyage the past

Elizabeth Bailey Why did Elizabeth love this book?

With Charles Dickens investigating, I had to check this out. The author’s imaginative use of Dickens as a sleuth is rooted in facts new to me. I didn’t know he had set up a sanctuary for fallen women, for example. Having read much Dickens, I found the voice authentic. His Victorian world, so intense in his novels, was equally immersive here – the poverty, the dirt, the inequality and I became thoroughly involved in the story and the unfolding investigation. If an author can draw me into their world and hold me… this did, due to impressive detailed research. I was particularly struck by the compassion visible in this Dickens which made me realise how much his books also demonstrate this aspect of his character.

By J. C. Briggs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An intriguing detective series featuring Charles Dickens! Perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes, Victorian crime mysteries, A Christmas Carol and David Copperfield…

A brutal murder in Victorian London forces a famous writer to solve the mystery… London, 1849Charles Dickens has set up Urania Cottage as a sanctuary for fallen women.

But he is shocked when the matron’s assistant – Patience Brooke – is found hanging outside the property, covered in blood.

Desperate to protect the reputation of the Home and to stop a scandal from spreading, Dickens takes the investigation into his own hands.

With the help of his good…


Book cover of Twisted Pretty Things

Deborah Wilde Author Of Blood & Ash

From my list on urban fantasy with diverse characters.

Who am I?

I was an avid reader growing up, but I never saw myself reflected unless it was a book about the Holocaust. Those are crucial stories to tell, but I wanted a Jewish girl going through a wardrobe to a secret land or having magical adventures. So, I decided to write those stories for women and combine them with steamy romance, because I love that, too. All my main characters are Jewish, and I draw from Judaism and Jewish folklore for my worldbuilding and magic systems. It's also important for me to showcase my diverse hometown of Vancouver. To that end, my characters are of varying ethnicities and sexual identities.

Deborah's book list on urban fantasy with diverse characters

Deborah Wilde Why did Deborah love this book?

I love m/m romance and I love urban fantasy, but until now, that combination hadn’t grabbed me in a way that had me sit up in excitement. I tore through this series (currently and desperately awaiting the final book). Not only does Nash devise a fun and fascinating magic system with Dom’s playing cards, I shipped Dom and Kempthorne so hard. The obstacles they must overcome, both externally and with their inner demons, had me turning pages as fast as I could. It’s an absolute delight.

By Ariana Nash,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Something wicked is moving in the shadows of London...


In the underground world of glitzy illegal auctions, fast cars, and stolen magical artifacts, John "Dom" Domenici knows he's out of his depth. But he needs the job at Kempthorne & Co like he needs to breathe. The alternative-going back to the organized crime gangs of London's East End-is unthinkable.


So when Alexander Kempthorne, boss of Kempthorne & Co Artifact Retrieval Agency, wants him on a special case to track down an illegal artifact dealer, Dom can't say no.


It shouldn't matter that Kempthorne's world is full of deadly secrets. It…


Book cover of The Woman on the Bench

Miranda Rijks Author Of What She Knew

From my list on twisty British psychological thrillers.

Who am I?

I’m the author of 17 twisty psychological thrillers, many of which are Amazon bestsellers. Most of them are set in southern England where I live. My life was tipped upside down in 2015 when I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Although I have a masters in writing and was traditionally published for non-fiction, I hadn’t been brave enough to put my fiction out in the world. Cancer changed that. I’m now a full-time author, writing about scary things that happen to ordinary people. I’m also an avid reader of thrillers and enjoy nothing more than reading a book with an ending that makes me gasp!

Miranda's book list on twisty British psychological thrillers

Miranda Rijks Why did Miranda love this book?

Not only is this a great story but I think it’s beautifully written, even more exceptional because this is Stevens’ debut. Quite often, psychological thrillers are such page-turners, the reader doesn’t properly appreciate the words. I think that Elliot Stevens achieves both literary finesse and fast-paced action in this book. Set in London and the south of England, it’s tightly woven with an original premise, and as a bonus, has a fabulous twist at the end. Mark and Cecilia seem to have the perfect life, until he meets Alice. But he can’t leave Cecilia because she knows too much…

By Eliot Stevens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At last, Mark has found the perfect woman. There’s just one small problem – his wife.

Married couple Mark and Cecilia seem to have it all – looks, wealth, love. But behind closed doors, things are very different – they live in silent resentment, their marriage broken by the shattering loss of the child they so desperately wanted.

Enter Alice – Mark’s idea of the perfect woman. She appears from nowhere and offers Mark the chance of a new life filled with love, passion, and – finally – the joys of parenthood. Everything he’s ever dreamed of.

But there’s a…


Book cover of The Lodger

Miranda Rijks Author Of What She Knew

From my list on twisty British psychological thrillers.

Who am I?

I’m the author of 17 twisty psychological thrillers, many of which are Amazon bestsellers. Most of them are set in southern England where I live. My life was tipped upside down in 2015 when I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Although I have a masters in writing and was traditionally published for non-fiction, I hadn’t been brave enough to put my fiction out in the world. Cancer changed that. I’m now a full-time author, writing about scary things that happen to ordinary people. I’m also an avid reader of thrillers and enjoy nothing more than reading a book with an ending that makes me gasp!

Miranda's book list on twisty British psychological thrillers

Miranda Rijks Why did Miranda love this book?

Set predominantly in London, this is a cracking psychological thriller about a woman who offers a room in her flat to a waitress she sees in her local coffee shop every morning. Valerie brings a realism to her books and this was a fabulous page-turner. It touches upon relationships, explores how well do we really know the people we’re closest to, and how one innocent deed can lead to a catastrophic chain of events. Valerie is another automatic buy author for me.

By Valerie Keogh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The brilliant new psychological thriller from bestseller Valerie Keogh.

'A wonderful book, I can't rate this one highly enough. If only there were ten stars, it's that good. Valerie Keogh is a master story-teller, and this is a masterful performance.' Bestselling author Anita Waller.

She's in your home...

Leigh Simon can't say for sure what made her do it. A moment of madness, perhaps, but when the young, loud and gorgeous waitress at her favorite coffee shop reveals she is homeless, Leigh offers her the empty room in her house.

In your head...

Gina is the perfect lodger; Leigh, lonely…


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