100 books like The Postman Always Rings Twice

By James M. Cain,

Here are 100 books that The Postman Always Rings Twice fans have personally recommended if you like The Postman Always Rings Twice. 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 Big Sleep

Charles Ardai Author Of Death Comes Too Late

From my list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears.

Why am I passionate about this?

I created Hard Case Crime 20 years ago to revive the look, feel, and storytelling style of the great paperback crime novels of the 1940s and 50s: slender, high-velocity tales with irresistible premises, crackling dialogue, and powerful emotions, all presented behind gorgeous painted covers in the classic pulp style. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to publish Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, James M. Cain, Erle Stanley Gardner, Mickey Spillane, Brian De Palma, Ed McBain, and many more extraordinary authors.

Charles' book list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears

Charles Ardai Why did Charles love this book?

The first novel about legendary private eye Phillip Marlowe is also the first mystery novel that ever made me cry when I turned the last page.

Marlowe’s poetic narration and bruised outsider’s voice offer a cynical but also strangely hopeful perspective on both the shady underworld types and the corrupt high-society folk who fill the “mean streets” down which Marlowe must walk (in Chandler’s much-quoted phrase).

Why hopeful when death–the big sleep–awaits us all? Because a man of principles like Marlowe can still bring a measure of justice in this unjust world, sometimes just by bearing witness.

By Raymond Chandler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Raymond Chandler's first three novels, published here in one volume, established his reputation as an unsurpassed master of hard-boiled detective fiction.

The Big Sleep, Chandler's first novel, introduces Philip Marlowe, a private detective inhabiting the seamy side of Los Angeles in the 1930s, as he takes on a case involving a paralysed California millionaire, two psychotic daughters, blackmail and murder.

In Farewell, My Lovely, Marlowe deals with the gambling circuit, a murder he stumbles upon, and three very beautiful but potentially deadly women.

In The High Window, Marlowe searches the California underworld for a priceless gold coin and finds himself…


Book cover of The Best American Noir of the Century

G.E. Nordell Author Of Backlot Requiem: A Rick Walker Mystery

From my list on hardboiled noir detective mystery stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Among other things, I'm an existentialist. A well-constructed mystery novel is an existential puzzle given to the reader to solve at his/her leisure, and the noir sub-genre has the further subtext that the protagonistand the reader—are doomed in some way even if the solution is nailed. Romance novels are drivel and have no basis in reality, but noir and other types of mystery fiction reflect the way that the world works: you may solve this puzzle problem, but then you are left to a vast world that is rife with puzzles but without a coherent plot. The detective trudges on, achieves a kind of satisfaction, and then is thrust into the next crisis.

G.E.'s book list on hardboiled noir detective mystery stories

G.E. Nordell Why did G.E. love this book?

A treasure trove of noir short fiction, an impressive anthology of  American greed, crime, and comeuppance by some of the genre’s greatest authors including Mickey Spillane, Evan Hunter, Elmore Leonard, Patricia Highsmith, Joyce Carol Oates, Dennis Lehane, Cornell Woolrich, and editor Ellroy. The 39 selected stories are a feast of excellence, a wide-ranging buffet of tasty tales from 1923 to 2007makes me drool just thinking about a re-read.

By James Ellroy (editor), Otto Penzler (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Best American Noir of the Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magisterial anthology of American noir writing in the 20th century by the best-selling author of the LA Quartet: The Black Dahlia. The Big Nowhere , LA Confidential and White Jazz. In his intoduction to The Best American Noir of the Century, James Ellroy writes, "noir is the most scrutinised offshoot of the hard-boiled school of fiction. It's the long drop off the short pier and the wrong man and the wrong woman in perfect misalliance. It's the nightmare of flawed souls with big dreams and the precise how and why of the all-time sure thing that goes bad." Offering…


Book cover of Red Harvest

David Kruh Author Of Inseparable: An Alcatraz Escape Adventure

From my list on the 1920s with healthy skepticism of American values.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied history in college and, after a few misspent years in broadcasting, worked in marketing and public relations for several companies. In my free time I wrote articles and books on historical events and people. A dozen years ago, on a trip to San Francisco and Alcatraz, I conceived of an idea for a novel. True to my background, it was based on a real historical event – the 1962 escape of three men in a raft from the prison. It wasn't until my mid-sixties when I felt ready to step out of my non-fiction comfort zone and write my first novel. Can't wait to start the next one.

David's book list on the 1920s with healthy skepticism of American values

David Kruh Why did David love this book?

It would be obscene to read this on a Kindle. This early Dashiell Hammett novel has to be read in paperback, the older a copy you can find, the better.

It has everything a great pulp novel should have; murder, crooked cops, gangs, and a rumpled too-honest-for-his-own-good hero. What I love about this book is how Hammett uses his own experience working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency (who were basically hired thugs) and a real historical event (a labor dispute in Montana that resulted in several deaths) to weave a solid crime novel.

By Dashiell Hammett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Detective-story master Dashiell Hammett gives us yet another unforgettable read in Red Harvest: When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty--even if that meant taking on an entire town. Red Harvest is more than a superb crime novel: it is a classic exploration of corruption and violence in the American grain.


Book cover of The Best of Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective

G.E. Nordell Author Of Backlot Requiem: A Rick Walker Mystery

From my list on hardboiled noir detective mystery stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Among other things, I'm an existentialist. A well-constructed mystery novel is an existential puzzle given to the reader to solve at his/her leisure, and the noir sub-genre has the further subtext that the protagonistand the reader—are doomed in some way even if the solution is nailed. Romance novels are drivel and have no basis in reality, but noir and other types of mystery fiction reflect the way that the world works: you may solve this puzzle problem, but then you are left to a vast world that is rife with puzzles but without a coherent plot. The detective trudges on, achieves a kind of satisfaction, and then is thrust into the next crisis.

G.E.'s book list on hardboiled noir detective mystery stories

G.E. Nordell Why did G.E. love this book?

Detective Turner is serious, author Bellem is not. Eleven short stories in 8-page comic format from the monthly pulp magazine Hollywood Detective; humorist S.J. Perelman describes Dan Turner as "the apotheosis of all private detectives"; the Dan Turner stories are the flip side of Chandler and Hammett, with delightful use of real and imagined slang: guns are 'roscoes,' a woman is a 'doll,' 'cutie, 'frail,' or ‘dame.'

By Jerry L. Schneider,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Best of Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Included in most issues of "Hollywood Detective" pulp magazine was an eight-page Dan Turner comic. Eleven of those comics are reprinted in this "Best of" trade paperback (comic book sized pages).


Book cover of The End of the Affair

Mark Ellis Author Of The Embassy Murders

From my list on British home front in World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

During WW II, my father served in the Navy, and my mother worked as a secretary. My father contracted a lung disease while on service in Africa and died in 1960 when I was seven. My mother happily lived to a ripe old age and enjoyed discussing her wartime experiences. Her stories included ones of going up to London for jolly weekends at a time when the city was being bombed. When I asked her why she took such risks, she said the Germans were not going to stop her having a life. It is in this context that I became fascinated with WW II.

Mark's book list on British home front in World War II

Mark Ellis Why did Mark love this book?

I love this brilliantly constructed story of love in the time of war by one of the masters of the English language. Drawn, as was much of Greene’s literary output, from his own personal experiences, the affair in question is between up-and-coming writer Maurice Bendrix and civil servant’s wife, Sarah Miles.

A story of passion, guilt, and betrayal as Nazi bombs rain down on London. A very great wartime novel. 

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MONICA ALI

The love affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah, flourishing in the turbulent times of the London Blitz, ends when she suddenly and without explanation breaks it off. After a chance meeting rekindles his love and jealousy two years later, Bendrix hires a private detective to follow Sarah, and slowly his love for her turns into an obsession.


Book cover of The Next Wife

Regina Buttner Author Of Down a Bad Road

From my list on love triangles that turn deadly.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a close girlfriend who was once involved with a man she wanted to marry. The trouble was, the guy was always hanging out with this other woman who he’d known since childhood. Just friends, he said. Nothing going on. Ha! The shenanigans they got up to were unbelievable, and extremely upsetting to my girlfriend, who eventually broke up with the cad. Her unlucky experience got me interested in the psychology of the love triangle, and why some people remain mired in these dead-end relationships. My reading jam is anything twisty and suspenseful, and what’s more fraught than a three-way competition for someone’s affections.

Regina's book list on love triangles that turn deadly

Regina Buttner Why did Regina love this book?

Beware the replacement wife! Those folks we envy because they appear to have it all (flawless family/home/career, etc…) are often frantically treading water, desperate to keep that facade of perfection afloat. I know because I’ve been there, in a seemingly idyllic marriage where underneath the trappings of material success was, well, crap.

In this novel, the second wife thinks she’s got it goin’ on with the first wife’s ex, but things are not as they seem (are they ever in domestic thrillers, or real life??) I got a vicarious kick out of the two wives’ scheming and revenge-lust, and the dry humor laced throughout the story had me snickering with snarky delight!

By Kaira Rouda,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

There is no limit to the lies, suspicion, and secrets that can poison the perfect marriage in this twisting novel of suspense by USA Today bestselling author Kaira Rouda.

Kate Nelson had it all. A flourishing company founded with her husband, John; a happy marriage; and a daughter, Ashlyn. The picture-perfect family. Until John left for another woman. Tish is half his age. Ambitious. She's cultivated a friendship with Ashlyn. Tish believes she's won.

She's wrong.

Tish Nelson has it all. Youth, influence, a life of luxury, and a new husband. But the truth is, there's…


Book cover of Wuthering Heights

Eve Gaal Author Of The Happy War

From my list on adventure books that will make you forget reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a survivor. Whether flaming engines on a plane, a hurricane, or breast cancer, I have made many unusual journeys. The way I see it, I am also a writer, and God keeps giving me material for my adventure novels. Of course, I’m also a reader and could fill this page with more than five recommendations. Hopefully, you’ll want to read one of these awesome books. I guarantee they will make you escape reality.

Eve's book list on adventure books that will make you forget reality

Eve Gaal Why did Eve love this book?

Rarely have I opted to read a book twice, but the love story between Catherine and Heathcliff is so well written and so emotionally charged it drew me in and made me forget I was alone and single. Of course, I had to re-read it.

The first time I read this book was in school, but later, when I dreamed of having a true love, or learning about true love, this book seemed to be the case study of the type of love I was searching for. I knew in my heart, that someday, something similar could possibly be mine.

By Emily Bronte,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the great novels of the nineteenth century, Emily Bronte's haunting tale of passion and greed remains unsurpassed in its depiction of destructive love. Her tragically short life is brilliantly imagined in the major new movie, Emily, starring Emma Mackey in the title role.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition of Wuthering Heights features an afterword by David Pinching.

One wild, snowy night on the Yorkshire moors, a gentleman asks…


Book cover of The Secret History of Us

Ashley Nikole Author Of Fallout

From my list on suspense novels with emotionally intelligent characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love studying the ins/outs of humanity and our interactions, but especially, EI (emotional intelligence). A lot of emphasis is put on being “smart” and analytical (think IQ), but EI is largely ignored. Relationships thrive (and die) on EI! In the novels I write, I explore the emotional side of relationships and how, if we pay attention to this other side of intelligence, beautiful interactions happen. Typically, I don’t find riveting EI in books—and so when I do, I gobble the book up once, then twice, and possibly a third time, then tell everyone I know to GO READ THAT BOOK!

Ashley's book list on suspense novels with emotionally intelligent characters

Ashley Nikole Why did Ashley love this book?

I’ve always been deeply fascinated with any amnesia-related plot. A teenager who survives a near-death experience and cannot remember the last several years of her life? And, despite this being YA novel, as an older reader, I could not put this book down. It kept me guessing, constantly deducing as everything unfolded, and though the main characters are young, their emotional processes are so raw and beautiful. I’ve reread this one many a time. For any Nancy Drew gamers out there, The Secret History of Us is like a ND game/Nicholas Sparks’ novel hybrid.

By Jessi Kirby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret History of Us 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?

"Jessi Kirby's books just keep getting better and better, and The Secret History of Us is her best yet. It beautifully touches on all the most important things in life-love, family, friendship, memory, and bacon. I loved it."-Morgan Matson, New York Times bestselling author of The Unexpected Everything In this gorgeously written, emotional novel that fans of Sarah Dessen will enjoy, a teenage girl must piece together the parts of her life she doesn't remember after a severe collision leaves her with no memory of the past four years. When Olivia awakes in a hospital bed following a near-fatal car…


Book cover of Something Borrowed

Angela Terry Author Of The Trials of Adeline Turner

From my list on chick lit on lawyers from a former Biglaw attorney.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an attorney who formerly practiced intellectual property law at large firms in Chicago and San Francisco. Even while I was practicing law, I had dreams of becoming an author. I’ve always been drawn to Chick-Lit, Rom-Coms, and Women’s Fiction, and even more fascinated by other lawyers who made the leap from lawyering to writing in these genres. My debut novel was about a PR executive, but for my sophomore novel, The Trials of Adeline Turner, I couldn’t help but revisit law firm life. While I enjoy reading and writing about lawyers, my favorite thing about these books is their message of following your heart to live your best life. 

Angela's book list on chick lit on lawyers from a former Biglaw attorney

Angela Terry Why did Angela love this book?

On her thirtieth birthday, good girl and Manhattan attorney Rachel White sleeps with her best friend’s fiancé. To complicate matters, it’s not just a drunken mistake—Rachel realizes she’s always had feelings for him and learns that he too has feelings for her. With its messy, complicated relationships and deep dive into female friendship, I could not put this book down. This was one of the first “chick lit” novels I read about a single, urban professional woman navigating her career and personal life. And even while I was cringing at some of Rachel’s choices, I admired how honest and flawed the characters were in this story and loved Giffin’s smooth writing style, and have devoured all of her books ever since reading this one. 

By Emily Giffin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Something Borrowed is the smash-hit debut novel from Emily Giffin for every woman who has ever had a complicated love-hate friendship. The basis for the blockbuster movie starring Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, and John Krasinski!

Rachel White is the consummate good girl. A hard-working attorney at a large Manhattan law firm and a diligent maid of honor to her charmed best friend Darcy, Rachel has always played by all the rules. Since grade school, she has watched Darcy shine, quietly accepting the sidekick role in their lopsided friendship. But that suddenly changes the night of her thirtieth birthday when Rachel…


Book cover of Adam Bede

Lucienne Boyce Author Of The Fatal Coin: A Dan Foster novella

From my list on historical stories about the common people.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical fiction, non-fiction, and biography. My historical fiction is set in the eighteenth century, which is often pictured as a time when people swanned about in fancy clothes, lived on country estates, travelled in gleaming carriages, and dined and danced their nights away in glittering assembly rooms. But most people didn’t live like that at all, although they are the ones who made the clothes, worked on the estates, drove the carriages, cooked the food, and cleaned the rooms. The books on my list focus on history from their point of view. In my own work – fiction and non-fiction – I’m also interested in telling the stories of so-called “ordinary” people.

Lucienne's book list on historical stories about the common people

Lucienne Boyce Why did Lucienne love this book?

I love George Eliot’s work, and this, her first novel, is my favourite. Adam Bede is a carpenter who’s in love with dairymaid Hetty Sorrell, but their lives are turned upside down when the squire seduces her. Eliot confronts issues of class, illegitimacy, gender power imbalance, and the double standard – it is not the squire who suffers the consequences of the affair. Dinah Morris, the cousin who stands by Hetty in her trouble, is a wonderful character. She’s a Methodist preacher at a time when church authorities insisted women shouldn’t minister – the Methodist Conference banned women preachers in 1803, and the Church of England didn’t ordain women until 1994 when 32 women were ordained at Bristol Cathedral – I was there! So Dinah represents a strong working woman who is making a truly radical stand against a powerful institution.

By George Eliot,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Our deeds carry their terrible consequences...consequences that are hardly ever confined to ourselves.'

Pretty Hetty Sorrel is loved by the village carpenter Adam Bede, but her head is turned by the attentions of the fickle young squire, Arthur Donnithorne. His dalliance with the dairymaid has unforeseen consequences that affect the lives of many in their small rural community. First published in 1859, Adam Bede carried its readers back sixty years to the lush countryside of Eliot's native Warwickshire, and a time of impending change for England and the wider world. Eliot's powerful
portrayal of the interaction of ordinary people brought…


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