100 books like The Long Goodbye

By Raymond Chandler,

Here are 100 books that The Long Goodbye fans have personally recommended if you like The Long Goodbye. 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 Great Gatsby

David Nicholson Author Of The Garretts of Columbia: A Black South Carolina Family from Slavery to the Dawn of Integration

From my list on race in America.

Who am I?

Though I was born in the U.S., I didn’t wind up living here full-time till I was almost 10. The result? I have always been curious about what it means to be an American. In one way or another, the books on my list explore that question. More than that, all (well, nearly all) insist that black history is inextricably intertwined with American history and that American culture is a mulatto culture, a fusion of black and white. After years of making my living as a journalist, editor, and book reviewer, I left newspapers to write fiction and non-fiction, exploring these and other questions.

David's book list on race in America

David Nicholson Why did David love this book?

Was the hero of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic African-American?

A couple of academics have advanced that theory. I’m not sure I buy it. The notion (and supporting “evidence”) seems little more than a literary parlor game, not to mention the fact that nothing in Fitzgerald’s work or his letters shows a particular engagement with, or sympathy for, black Americans.

Still, it’s an interesting metaphor and the reason this seminal American novel appears in a list of what’s otherwise non-fiction. Gatsby’s yearning for his lost love could be an African-American yearning for a beloved country that does not always love them in return.

I first read this book in high school. It wasn’t until my second, third, and fourth re-reading that I began to appreciate Fitzgerald’s gift for story-telling and his evocative, poignant language. And to identify with Gatsby, the outsider craving to become an insider.

By F. Scott Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the summer unfolds, Nick is drawn into Gatsby's world of luxury cars, speedboats and extravagant parties. But the more he hears about Gatsby - even from what Gatsby himself tells him - the less he seems to believe. Did he really go to Oxford University? Was Gatsby a hero in the war? Did he once kill a man? Nick recalls how he comes to know Gatsby and how he also enters the world of his cousin Daisy and her wealthy husband Tom. Does their money make them any happier? Do the stories all connect? Shall we come to know…

Book cover of Frankenstein

James Bailey Blackshear Author Of The Last Day Before Forever

From my list on technological advances having a double-edged sword.

Who am I?

I have been hooked on fantastic tales since I picked up my first Marvel Comic book. I was in on the beginning of The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, and the Hulk. Gamma rays and human angst are a powerful combination, even for an eight-year-old. From there I gobbled up the Doc Savage series before moving on to more popular books like The Exorcist and The Godfather. I have been writing since I was ten. My first publication came decades later. Non-fiction works on the history of the Southwest. Yet recently I returned my to roots, rediscovering Bradbury, Dick, and Herbert. That is when the eight-year-old boy woke up and wrote The Last Day Before Forever. 

James' book list on technological advances having a double-edged sword

James Bailey Blackshear Why did James love this book?

I get it. This topic is low-hanging fruit, yet classic science fiction is always worth revisiting, particularly when it is the first of the genre. And the first was written by a woman.

It was 1818 when Mary Shelley explored what can happen when a laboratory experiment goes wrong. In this case, an experiment that eliminates the need for human propagation. Taking such an experiment to its logical conclusion eliminates the need for women. Or men for that matter. The prose holds up surprisingly well.

I recommend it because it illustrates why science fiction is as much an art form as anything Rembrandt produced. And perhaps more impactful. A literary masterpiece, Frankenstein considers a future where technology succeeds, but humanity fails.

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World'

'That rare story to pass from literature into myth' The New York Times

Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley on Lake Geneva. The story of Victor Frankenstein who, obsessed with creating life itself, plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, but whose botched creature sets out to destroy his maker, would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity. Based on the third…

Book cover of In the Woods

Polly Stewart Author Of The Good Ones

From my list on fast-paced mysteries with a strong sense of place.

Who am I?

I’m the author of the novel The Good Ones, published by Harper Books earlier this year. I grew up in a beautiful and somewhat isolated part of the country, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and it’s still my favorite place to set my fiction. When I began writing crime fiction, I knew I wanted to balance telling compelling stories with creating a sense of place and interesting characters to inhabit it, and I’ve learned so much from these writers about how to do that. 

Polly's book list on fast-paced mysteries with a strong sense of place

Polly Stewart Why did Polly love this book?

I’ve never been to the west of Ireland at all, but like the other writers on this list, French is a master at drawing you into a story until you feel like it’s part of you.

The plot of In the Woods is complex, with two different timelines and a multiplicity of characters, but it’s the early scenes, of Adam Ryan and the disappearance of his childhood friends in the woods near their homes, that have stayed with me the most strongly over the years. The woods where Adam and his friends are both a real place and a metaphor for childhood itself, in its darkness and tangled terror.

By Tana French,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked In the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling debut, with over a million copies sold, that launched Tana French, author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher and "the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years" (The Washington Post).

"Required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting." -The New York Times

Now airing as a Starz series.

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only…

Book cover of Money: A Suicide Note

Garry Craig Powell Author Of Our Parent Who Art in Heaven

From my list on satirical novels to make you laugh... and think.

Who am I?

I confess I was a serious little boy and used to be an excessively serious writer. Stoning the Devil, which is about desperate Gulf Arab women, was longlisted for major prizes and hailed by the feminist press. Poignant, even heart-breaking, but hardly a barrel full of laughs—though even then I couldn’t resist some black humour. But when I became a professor of Creative Writing at an American university, I found I’d fallen into a world madder than Wonderland, and realised that the best way to tackle woke insanity was through humour—as the great comedians are doing. Nearly all the best British fiction is humorous, so I started letting out my own zany side.

Garry's book list on satirical novels to make you laugh... and think

Garry Craig Powell Why did Garry love this book?

Money is a quintessential novel of the eighties, on a par with Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities. John Self is a director of ads, but also a drunk, addicted to porn, prostitutes, and food, and a spendthrift. Invited to shoot a feature film in the States, unlike the typical Englishman, he feels at home there. The hedonism, materialism, and excesses are second nature to him. Self goes from one scrape to another, but, as his name suggests, identity is a key theme, and it turns out that he is not who he thinks he is. There is even a character called Martin Amis. Money made me laugh non-stop, but also think. What is the point of living in a world as crass as this? And in what ways might I be like John Self?   

By Martin Amis, Bert Krak (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of Time's 100 best novels in the English language-by the acclaimed author of Lionel Asbo: State of England and London Fields

Part of Martin Amis's "London Trilogy," along with the novel London Fields and The Information, Money was hailed as "a sprawling, fierce, vulgar display" (The New Republic) and "exhilarating, skillful, savvy" (The Times Literary Supplement) when it made its first appearance in the mid-1980s. Amis's shocking, funny, and on-target portraits of life in the fast lane form a bold and frightening portrait of Ronald Reagan's America and Margaret Thatcher's England.

Money is the hilarious story of John Self,…

Book cover of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever : Lord Foul's Bane', 'Illearth War' and 'Power That Preserves

G. Wells Taylor Author Of Skin Eaters

From my list on starring antiheroes you love to hate.

Who am I?

I’ve had a thing for antiheroes since my early days that were dominated by stereotypical “true-blue” protagonists in straightforward “good versus evil” narratives. Comic books, novels, and television shows were stunted by this unrealistic division that was intended to shelter the reader from provocative ideas and philosophies in favor of presenting a stable worldview. This distortion was most obvious in entertainment intended for young Canadian minds, so it wasn’t until I was old enough to make my own library selections and book purchases that I began to seek out the dark characters populating the gray area that is fiction and life. This ongoing exploration is reflected in my books.

G. Wells' book list on starring antiheroes you love to hate

G. Wells Taylor Why did G. Wells love this book?

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever is a fantastic tale of two worlds. There is the Land, a mystical place of good versus evil, with inhabitants who use supernatural means to summon help against the darkness, and our world where the writer Thomas Covenant lives as an outcast to keep his leprosy in remission and to avoid his hostile neighbors. When he is magically transported to the Land and its people beg him to fight the evil for them, he refuses, believing it is a suicidal delusion that will reactivate his disease and kill him. The troubled hero Covenant could not be more compelling, or his dilemma better written, especially as the true-blue inhabitants of the Land struggle to understand why he can’t do the right thing.

By Stephen R. Donaldson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The acclaimed fantasy epic, together in one volume.

Book cover of The Silence of the Lambs

Carl Vonderau Author Of Saving Myles

From my list on thrillers that are as much about family as danger.

Who am I?

I am a former international banker and now a prize-winning author. My books take place in the financial world. However, my writing principle is that behind every crime is a family. In my thrillers, the crime amplifies the family dysfunction. My characters can only survive by growing and coming together. If you like character development, as well as the twists and turns of a good plot, you will like the novels that I recommend. 

Carl's book list on thrillers that are as much about family as danger

Carl Vonderau Why did Carl love this book?

This is my eccentric pick. This book shows how the protagonist forms a kind of family when she has lost her own.

Clarice, a young FBI trainee, must enlist the help of a Hannibal Lecter, a serial killer, to find another serial killer. Clarice’s father was killed and her mother unable to keep the family together, which caused her to be sent to an orphanage.

She is without a family but has two father figures: her FBI boss who is shown to be wonderfully devoted to his dying wife, and Hannibal Lecter, a man who is incapable of love but values loyalty and courtesy.

I love this book because it balances how an unloved protagonist seeks out the outlines of a family in her mentors and friends. 

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Silence of the Lambs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As part of the search for a serial murderer nicknames "Buffalo Bill," FBI trainee Clarice Starling is given an assignment. She must visit a man confined to a high-security facility for the criminally insane and interview him.

That man, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs--an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.

Book cover of Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails

Michelle Hillen Klump Author Of Murder Served Neat

From my list on putting you in the mood for a good cocktail.

Who am I?

I’m a former reporter turned mystery novelist with a fondness for classic cocktails. I’ve always been fascinated by the art of cocktail making, and how a great mixologist knows exactly what ingredients pair well with others to create new and surprising flavors. As a reader, I like a book that engages all of my senses. In the same way that a great description can draw a reader into a scene, the mention of a certain cocktail can evoke specific moods or memories. In each of these books, cocktails contribute to the atmosphere, offering readers something to savor, like a perfectly made Sazerac.

Michelle's book list on putting you in the mood for a good cocktail

Michelle Hillen Klump Why did Michelle love this book?

Now that you’re in the mood for a good classic cocktail, this book will teach you how to make one.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails is the bible for the modern craft cocktail movement. Written by the creators of the legendary New York City bar Death & Co, which is on my bucket list of bars to visit, the book teaches you everything you need to know to make a good cocktail, from which flavors pair well together, when to shake and when to stir, and how to come up with your own new cocktail.

The book contains 500 recipes and gorgeous photos that will make you want to take up mixology in your spare time. 

By David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald, Alex Day

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Death & Co as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The definitive guide to the contemporary craft cocktail movement, from one of the highest-profile, most critically lauded, and influential bars in the world.
Death & Co is the most important, influential, and oft-imitated bar to emerge from the contemporary craft cocktail movement. Since its opening in 2006, Death & Co has been a must-visit destination for serious drinkers and cocktail enthusiasts, and the winner of every major industry award—including America’s Best Cocktail Bar and Best Cocktail Menu at the Tales of the Cocktail convention. Boasting a supremely talented and creative bar staff—the best in the industry—Death & Co is also…

Book cover of A Wild Sheep Chase

Chris Guillebeau Author Of Gonzo Capitalism: How to Make Money in an Economy That Hates You

From my list on thinking differently and live unconventionally.

Who am I?

I'm a curious writer and compulsive traveler. My lifelong goal is to communicate the message “You don’t have to live your life the way others expect.” From 2002-2015 I went to every country in the world, chronicling the journey on my blog The Art of Non-Conformity. At first I thought the blog would be just about travel, but along the way I began meeting lots of people interested in living unconventionally. Ever since, I've been writing books, hosting events, and avoiding traditional employment by any means necessary. 

Chris' book list on thinking differently and live unconventionally

Chris Guillebeau Why did Chris love this book?

This was the book that set me off on a decade-long journey of reading (and re-reading) Murakami. Along with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, another favorite, I've re-read it at least twice.

So why is it about thinking differently? Because the book is written so differently! If you've read any recent speculative fiction, the author likely owes a debt to Murakami and his wondrous approach to narrative storytelling. You'll get lost in a bizarre, beautiful quest that takes on all sorts of twists and turns.

By Haruki Murakami,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Wild Sheep Chase as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Features a cast of bizarre characters, including a sheep with a mysterious star on its back, caught up in a Nietzschean quest for power.

Book cover of The Getaway

Lee Matthew Goldberg Author Of Stalker Stalked

From my list on noir that are great films.

Who am I?

As a writer of thrillers whose debut novel was considered Noir, I’ve always been fascinated by tales of characters that are not always the most likeable. Noir fiction is characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity. Similar to its successful films, I love when you feel for an anti-hero. That despite their questionable motives, the author or director manages to make you root for them in the end.

Lee's book list on noir that are great films

Lee Matthew Goldberg Why did Lee love this book?

The Getaway by Jim Thompson and the film directed by Sam Peckinpah is a gritty slice of noir and the classic story of a bank heist gone wrong. It’s a beautifully pulpy showcase for the twisted marriage of Doc and Carol, played by Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw with perfection in the film. It plunges you into the very core of moral ambiguity and the ending of the book is unexpected, sublime, and a sledgehammer to the head. A great first book and film to introduce a reader to noir styles.

By Jim Thompson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This work presents a new and important paradigm modification in psychology that attempts to incorporate ideas from quantum physics and postmodern culture. The author feels that the current diagnostic model of the mental health establishment is too entwined with political and economic factors to represent a valid method for healing psychological problems. The predominant model is too linear, reductionist, normative, and based upon an abnormal view of behavior. Exacerbating this problem is our highly accelerated present-day lifestyle in which new processes and interactions are constantly emerging. The postmodern self is evolving into a manipulative, situational self with no authentic core…

Book cover of L.A. Confidential

Scott Lord Author Of Come November

From my list on thrillers to make you wish you lived in another time.

Who am I?

I am a longtime Los Angeles trial lawyer, as well as a writer and librettist. I graduated with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz and from the Santa Clara University School of Law where I was a member of the Law Review. Me and my wife, Susan, are the parents of six children and live in Santa Monica, California. My previous novel, The Logic Bomb, a legal thriller, was published in 2015.

Scott's book list on thrillers to make you wish you lived in another time

Scott Lord Why did Scott love this book?

Part of Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet series, presenting postwar Los Angeles in all its seedy sunlit glory. This is Ellroy’s best series, and LA Confidential is the best of those four books.

Indelible and involving characters are interwoven with a carefully constructed plot. The fiction is tied in so well with the history, it all sounds true. Ellroy has a unique hard-driving style which suggests Chandler and Cain but does them one better.

By James Ellroy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked L.A. Confidential as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Christmas 1951, Los Angeles: a city where the police are as corrupt as the criminals. Six prisoners are beaten senseless in their cells by cops crazed on alcohol. For the three LAPD detectives involved, it will expose the guilty secrets on which they have built their corrupt and violent careers. The novel takes these cops on a sprawling epic of brutal violence and the murderous seedy side of Hollywood. One of the best (and longest) crime novels ever written, it is the heart of Ellroy's four-novel masterpiece, the LA Quartet, and an example of crime writing at its most powerful.

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