10 books like The Man from the Train

By Bill James, Rachel McCarthy James,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Man from the Train. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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I'll Be Gone in the Dark

By Michelle McNamara,

Book cover of I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

McNamara’s account of the long-unsolved case of the Golden State Killer is gripping by itself, but her decision to include the story of her obsession with solving the case is what really sets this book apart. You feel like you’re right there with her as she pursues theories of the killer’s identity. The timing of the book was also noteworthy as the GSK’s identity was at last determined through familial DNA testing almost contemporaneously with the book’s publication.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

By Michelle McNamara,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked I'll Be Gone in the Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BASIS FOR THE MAJOR 6-PART HBO® DOCUMENTARY SERIES

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR:

Washington Post | Maureen Corrigan, NPR | Paste | Seattle Times | Entertainment Weekly | Esquire | Slate | Buzzfeed | Jezebel | Philadelphia Inquirer | Publishers Weekly | Kirkus Reviews | Library Journal | Bustle 

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards for Nonfiction | Anthony Award Winner | SCIBA Book Award Winner | Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime | Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence

The haunting true story of the elusive serial rapist…


My Dark Places

By James Ellroy,

Book cover of My Dark Places: An L.A. Crime Memoir

Memoirs don’t often feature mysteries, but Elroy, known for tough, cynical crime novels such as L.A. Confidential, centers his around his obsession with the unsolved murder of his mother in 1958 when Elroy was ten. With allusions to the famous Blue Dahlia case, Elroy writes with brutal frankness about his own pathologies and his weirdly loving relationship with his neglectful, alcoholic father. If nothing else, this absorbing book—hard to read and equally hard to put down—solves the mystery of why Elroy and his novels come off as so creepy.

My Dark Places

By James Ellroy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On 22 June 1958, Geneva "Jean" Hilliker Ellroy was found strangled. Her murderer was never found, but her death had a lasting effect on her ten-year-old son who wasted his early adulthood as a wino, petty burglar and derelict. In this book he tells of his determination to solve his mother's murder.

The Five

By Hallie Rubenhold,

Book cover of The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

The five women who were Jack the Ripper’s canonical victims have always been just that, his victims. Rubenhold gives them back their identities, in their own right, as mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives and challenges the ‘traditional’ view. For three of them, there is no evidence that they were prostitutes, but all five were women battling personal demons who were down on their luck. They were Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly. The Five is not the story of their deaths, but their lives.

The Five

By Hallie Rubenhold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NONFICTION 2019
'An angry and important work of historical detection, calling time on the misogyny that has fed the Ripper myth. Powerful and shaming' GUARDIAN

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.

Their murderer was never identified, but…


Perfect Murder, Perfect Town

By Lawrence Schiller,

Book cover of Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: The Uncensored Story of the JonBenet Murder and the Grand Jury's Search for the Truth

This is the most detailed account we’re likely to get of what remains an enduring mystery: the 1996 murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in her home in the affluent town of Boulder, Colorado. From the beginning, police and all other observers were baffled, although the victim’s parents remained under a cloud of suspicion. An added bizarre element was the mother’s grooming of her daughter to compete in child beauty pageants.

Perfect Murder, Perfect Town

By Lawrence Schiller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller thoroughly recreates every aspect of the complex case of the death of JonBenét Ramsey. A brilliant portrait of an inscrutable family thrust under the spotlight of public suspicion and an affluent, tranquil city torn apart by a crime it couldn't handle, Perfect Murder, Perfect Town uncovers the mysteries that have bewildered the nation.

Why were the Ramseys, the targets of the investigation, able to control the direction of the police inquiry?

Can the key to the murder be found in the pen and writing pad used for the ransom note?

Was it possible…

Ten Beautiful Things

By Molly Griffin, Maribel Lechuga (illustrator),

Book cover of Ten Beautiful Things

Ten Beautiful Things is a gorgeous picture book with a gentle tone and much to say. It follows a little girl and her grandma as they go on a road trip together. The ride is long, and at first there seems to be little to admire about the trip. But then Grandma suggests they intentionally seek out ten beautiful things as they roll through sprawling landscapes. A terrific reminder for children and adults alike that so many of our experiences are a matter of perspective.

Ten Beautiful Things

By Molly Griffin, Maribel Lechuga (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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


What's Eating Gilbert Grape

By Peter Hedges,

Book cover of What's Eating Gilbert Grape

What's Eating Gilbert Grape is the story of a young man trapped in a dying small town, stuck in a menial job, and tethered by obligations to his dysfunctional family. The biggest event on Gilbert’s horizon is the eighteenth birthday of Artie, his mentally impaired brother, who is lucky to still be alive. Then Gilbert’s world gets turned on its head when a free-spirited girl arrives in town.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape blends poignancy, the bonds and challenges of family responsibilities, and the struggles of dealing with mental health, all told through the unique lens of the titular Gilbert Grape.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape

By Peter Hedges,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What's Eating Gilbert Grape as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gilbert Grape, a resident of provincial Endora, Iowa, endures the eccentricities of his family and neighbors--including his mother, who is eating herself to death; his Elvis-fanatic sister; his retarded brother; and his married lover.

An Old Settler's Story

By Larry Dean Reese,

Book cover of An Old Settler's Story: Pioneer Life in Iowa: The Story of John Blake Jolliffe and his Wife Jane Etta Metcalf Jolliffe

For their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1917, a couple gathered their family for a celebration. During the day, they share their Iowa pioneering stories. What wonderful details about living arrangements, hardships in travel, hard-to-believe hordes of grasshoppers, blizzards, even a probable encounter with Jesse James. Written as a novel but based on historical events, his dear slim book also includes several photographs.

An Old Settler's Story

By Larry Dean Reese,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Old Settler's Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


A Song of Years

By Bess Streeter Aldrich, Anne Reeve Aldrich,

Book cover of A Song of Years

Song of Years captures all of the struggle and angst of carving out a home from pure, unspoiled Iowa prairie by those bold pioneers who risked everything to do so. While reading, I became the heroine, Abby Deal, as she sacrificed and struggled to wrest a life and create a home from the frontier that challenged her and her family at every turn. Realistic, even epic, this 1939 novel is on my keeper shelf. 

A Song of Years

By Bess Streeter Aldrich, Anne Reeve Aldrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Song of Years as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The state of Iowa was still young and wild when Wayne Lockwood came to it from New England in 1851. He claimed a quarter-section about a hundred miles west of Dubuque and quickly came to appreciate widely scattered neighbors like Jeremiah Martin, whose seven daughters would have chased the gloom from any bachelor's heart. Sabina, Emily, Celia, Melinda, Phoebe Lou, Jeanie, and Suzanne are timeless in their appeal-too spirited to be preoccupied with sermons, sickness, and sudden death. However, the feasts, weddings, and holiday celebrations in Song of Years are shadowed by all the rigors and perils of frontier living.…

The Vast Fields of Ordinary

By Nick Burd,

Book cover of The Vast Fields of Ordinary

One of my favourite YA novels ever! The narration in this book truly comes alive. Reading it, the narrator Dade just popped right out of the page and into my inner reading voice. He was so vibrant and full of personality, and while his misadventures were very unlike my own experiences, I still felt a connection to him. I was hooked from beginning to end! This book also inspired me to get back into writing my own novel, so it has a really special place in my heart.

The Vast Fields of Ordinary

By Nick Burd,

Why should I read it?

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


The WPA Guide to 1930s Iowa

By Federal Writers Project,

Book cover of The WPA Guide to 1930s Iowa

The Federal Writers’ Project was one of many projects undertaken by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. The American Guide Series was a subset of works produced by the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP). The books, created through a cooperative effort of both Federal and State organizations, are part travel guide, part almanac. Each includes illustrations and photographs and offers a fascinating snapshot of the 48 United States in the Union, and Alaska, in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The project employed over 6,000 writers. Many of these books have been reprinted.

The WPA Guide to 1930s Iowa

By Federal Writers Project,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The WPA Guide to 1930s Iowa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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