100 books like The Small Boat of Great Sorrows

By Dan Fesperman,

Here are 100 books that The Small Boat of Great Sorrows fans have personally recommended if you like The Small Boat of Great Sorrows. 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 Cliff Diver

E.R. Yatscoff Author Of Teeth of the Cocodrilo

From my list on crime plunging you into new places away from the norm.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent over 30 years as a fire rescue officer, and my investigative experience in arsons and fires of all types had me working with police at times. Firefighters come in contact with a lot of crimes. Crime scene protection is important before cops and detectives arrive. I’m curious by nature, and I like cops. They have so many rules. Firefighters aren’t like that. When we arrive, there is little time to follow rules. I have a firefighter crime series published, but I chose Teeth of the Cocodrilo in the theme of exotic crime. I'm the only firefighter in Canada who has written firefighter crime novels.

E.R.'s book list on crime plunging you into new places away from the norm

E.R. Yatscoff Why did E.R. love this book?

As a reader I simply couldn’t have one book without the other. Detective Cruz is the first female detective in Acapulco and fights for every inch of respect in a police department rife with corruption and misogyny in a country where Mexicans don’t trust the police, feeling that no one cares. But Det. Cruz cares. The recurring theme of so many girls gone missing is her passion which occasionally rises up during other investigations throughout the series. As a writer I enjoyed suspense and danger. Carmen Amato makes you feel the heat and taste the food of Acapulco. Best ever female cop protagonist.

By Carmen Amato,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Acapulco’s first female police detective dives into an ocean of secrets, lies, and murder when she investigates her own lieutenant’s death.

In this explosive start to the award-winning Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco, Emilia beat the odds to become the resort city's first female police detective. But she lives in a pressure cooker where trust is in short supply.

Her fellow detectives are scheming to push her out. Her lieutenant is a shady character playing both sides of the law. The police department is riddled with corruption and drug cartel influence.

When her lieutenant is murdered, Emilia…


Book cover of Blood on the Tracks

E.R. Yatscoff Author Of Fire Dream

From my list on gutsy crime thrillers and exotic adventure reads.

Why am I passionate about this?

My travels have been quite adventurous, purposely or by accident. I’ve visited 32 countries, 5 of them Communist. I look below the surface. I love the jungle and even Mexican police. My young reader novels have elements of crime. I knew and know a lot of tough guys and use elements of them in my characters. Crime weaved through much of my 32-year firefighting career. Firefighter crime thrillers are rare. Firefighters do come in contact with crime: bomb threats, meth labs, child abuse, arson of all sorts, murder, assaults, drownings, and as they say ‘much, much more’. I’m glad to be retired.

E.R.'s book list on gutsy crime thrillers and exotic adventure reads

E.R. Yatscoff Why did E.R. love this book?

Okay, so you’ve read cop stories, PI tales, and lawyer crime fiction. How about a railroad detective? Yeah, they are for real.

Special Agent Sydney Rose Parnell and her trusty dog have an intimate knowledge of the railroad and who uses it. Not often is she called in for murder but when she does she bites off more than she can chew. She occasionally has a bit of romance with someone so it fills out that end of things.

She is vulnerable yet tough. I never knew railroad police went so deep into investigations. Gotta read her tales.

By Barbara Nickless,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Blood on the Tracks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

A young woman is found brutally murdered, and the main suspect is the victim's fiance, a hideously scarred Iraq War vet known as the Burned Man. But railroad police Special Agent Sydney Rose Parnell, brought in by the Denver Major Crimes unit to help investigate, can't shake the feeling that larger forces are behind this apparent crime of passion.

In the depths of an icy winter, Parnell and her K9 partner, Clyde-both haunted by their time in Iraq-descend into the underground world of a savage gang of rail riders. There, they uncover a wide-reaching conspiracy and…


Book cover of Pompeii

Flora Johnston Author Of The Paris Peacemakers

From my list on historical fiction books with a new take on a famous event.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by stories from the past. I worked for many years in museums and heritage, telling Scotland’s stories through exhibitions and nonfiction publications, but I was always drawn to the question best answered through historical fiction – what did that feel like? Well-researched historical fiction can take us right into the lives of people who lived through the dramatic events we read about in academic books. I found that each of the novels on my list transported me to a different time and place, and I hope you enjoy them, too.

Flora's book list on historical fiction books with a new take on a famous event

Flora Johnston Why did Flora love this book?

I picked up this book from the shelf of a holiday cottage and was hooked immediately. I love books which interweave personal human stories with big events.

The ordinary loves and lives of the people of Pompeii are unfolding as the mountain above them begins to behave strangely. Of course, we, the readers, know the disaster that is about to occur, which only adds to the suspense. Unputdownable.

By Robert Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A pulse-rate-speeding masterpiece' Sunday Times

'A stunning novel . . . the subtlety and power of its construction holds our attention to the end' The Times

During a sweltering week in late August, as Rome's richest citizens relax in their villas around Pompeii and Herculaneum, there are ominous warnings that something is going wrong. Wells and springs are failing, a man has disappeared, and now the greatest aqueduct in the world - the mighty Aqua Augusta - has suddenly ceased to flow . . .

Through the eyes of four characters - a young engineer, an adolescent girl, a corrupt…


Book cover of Hard Revolution

E.R. Yatscoff Author Of Teeth of the Cocodrilo

From my list on crime plunging you into new places away from the norm.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent over 30 years as a fire rescue officer, and my investigative experience in arsons and fires of all types had me working with police at times. Firefighters come in contact with a lot of crimes. Crime scene protection is important before cops and detectives arrive. I’m curious by nature, and I like cops. They have so many rules. Firefighters aren’t like that. When we arrive, there is little time to follow rules. I have a firefighter crime series published, but I chose Teeth of the Cocodrilo in the theme of exotic crime. I'm the only firefighter in Canada who has written firefighter crime novels.

E.R.'s book list on crime plunging you into new places away from the norm

E.R. Yatscoff Why did E.R. love this book?

Pelecanos creates a helluva crime story set in Washington, DC. Not so different of a place, right? Ah, but there is the backdrop of the Martin Luther King riots in 1968 and the cops are overwhelmed. Derek Strange is a Black rookie cop and with a white detective Frank Vaughan goes on a manhunt for his brother’s killer. The combination of the two is a great dynamic. Derek’s pretty sure he knows who the drug dealer is who killed his brother and won’t be put off by the riots. Trying to find the killer in the chaos is gripping. A lot of grit in here and tension. This is one story you

By George Pelecanos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this epic showdown from "one of the best crime novelists alive" (Dennis Lehane), police officer Derek Strange hunts his brother's killer through a city erupting with rage.


Book cover of Field Gray

Chris Dickon Author Of A Rendezvous with Death: Alan Seeger in Poetry, at War

From my list on human undercurrents of the World Wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a misbegotten child of World War II, my father an anonymous stranger on a train returning to war, thus setting me in search of an answer. While driving through rural France one day in my sixth decade I realized I'd been searching for my father through writing, and an understanding of his experience in war. My seventh decade produced Dutch Children of African American Liberators, with co-author Mieke Kirkels, about the puzzling lives of the European children of African American soldiers of World War II. As I got to its final chapters, my own father’s identity was revealed to me through DNA, and that will be the subject of my final book.

Chris' book list on human undercurrents of the World Wars

Chris Dickon Why did Chris love this book?

Eventually, my travels to understand and write about the times in which I had been born took me to the Auschwitz concentration camp near Krakow, then to its source in Berlin and some excellent walking tours into the heart of its lights and shadows – which is much of the world of Philip Kerr’s fictional Bernie Gunther. A 1930s Berlin detective, Bernie must navigate the attempt to maintain a humanity that is both moral and faulted in a time of brutality and absurdity over the course of fifteen novels that will puzzle through the human dilemma of World War II Europe. Field Gray, which ranges from the Spanish Flu epidemic of World War I to the corruption of 1950s Cuba is perhaps the most comprehensive of the series.

By Philip Kerr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'One of the greatest anti-heroes ever written' LEE CHILD

'A man doesn't work for his enemies unless he has little choice in the matter.'

So says Bernie Gunther. It is 1954 and Bernie is in Cuba. Tiring of his increasingly dangerous work spying on Meyer Lansky, Bernie acquires a boat and a beautiful companion and quits the island. But the US Navy has other ideas, and soon he finds himself in a place with which he is all too familiar - a prison cell. After exhaustive questioning, he is flown back to Berlin and yet another prison cell with a…


Book cover of The Final Solution: A Story of Detection

Maya Corrigan Author Of Gingerdead Man

From my list on inspired by literary icons.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was growing up, my mother and I borrowed armfuls of books from the library every week. As I worked my way through classic novels, she devoured mysteries and imparted her enthusiasm to me. After earning a Ph.D. in English, I taught college-level writing and literature. I currently write the Five-Ingredient Mysteries, each with five suspects, five clues, and five-ingredient recipes. My recent books unite my love of mysteries and classics. Though set in the present, they revolve around iconic authors or events of the past. Poe, Dickens, and Christie, along with suspense master Hitchcock, have influenced the characters, plots, and themes of my books. 

Maya's book list on inspired by literary icons

Maya Corrigan Why did Maya love this book?

This novella is inspired by the iconic character, Sherlock Holmes. Its title recalls “The Final Problem,” the story in which Arthur Conan Doyle left his fictional detective for dead and then had to resurrect him after a public outcry. Chabon’s title also echoes the Nazi euphemism for the Holocaust. The story is set during World War II in an English village, where a mute Jewish boy, his talking parrot, and a famous detective in advanced old age come together. When a stranger is murdered and the parrot goes missing, the retired detective, nameless though clearly Holmes, agrees to find the boy’s bird, a task that incidentally leads to the murderer. I love Chabon’s elegant writing as he explores the solvable and unsolvable mysteries of unspeakable crimes.

By Michael Chabon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A brilliant reworking of the detective story by the much-acclaimed Michael Chabon, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & KLAY.

In THE FINAL SOLUTION, Michael Chabon has crafted a short, suspenseful tale of compassion and wit that reimagines the classic 19th-century detective story.

In deep retirement in the English countryside, an 89-year-old man, vaguely remembered by locals as a once-famous detective, is more concerned with his beekeeping than with other people. Into his life wanders Linus Steinman, nine years old and mute, who has escaped from Nazi Germany with his sole companion: an African grey parrot.…


Book cover of March Violets

Neil Spark Author Of Karl's War

From my list on Germany between the world wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

The World At War, the first and arguably best documentary about the Second World War, was on television when I was 14. It fuelled my interest in history, especially about the reasons for the rise of the Nazis. History has many lessons to teach–if we are willing to listen–and one of the great teachers is Germany between the wars. It was a time of extremes: economic crises, social unrest, much of which was caused by the Nazis, and a flourishing bohemian, liberal culture. This febrile environment in which characters struggle with their personal conflict makes for great story-telling potential.

Neil's book list on Germany between the world wars

Neil Spark Why did Neil love this book?

I love Kerr’s fastidious attention to detail, which makes me feel I am watching the action he depicts. Set in Berlin during the 1936 Olympic Games, March Violets is the first in the Bernie Gunther thriller series.

Gunther is a former policeman, now a private eye, who has been hired to find out who was responsible for two murders. The world has bruised Gunther, who is a sarcastic but witty and likable hero. From this novel, I learned a lot about Berlin and the period. 

By Philip Kerr,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked March Violets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the first crime novel in the late Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series - Berlin Noir - set in Hitler's Germany during the 1930s . . .

Winter, 1936. A man and his wife shot dead in their bed, their home burned. The woman's father, a millionaire industrialist, wants justice - and the priceless diamonds that disappeared along with his daughter's life. He turns to Bernhard Gunther, a private eye and former cop.

As Bernie follows the trail into the very heart of Nazi Germany, he's forced to confront a horrifying conspiracy. A trail that ends in the hell that…


Book cover of Prussian Blue

Eric Van Lustbader Author Of The Quantum Solution

From my list on perfect examples of great thriller writing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been writing since I learned how to write, first poems, then short stories. I spent a decade in the rock music business, writing about and becoming friends with Elton John, John Lennon, Bryan Ferry, among others. But I grew up reading thrillers and wanting to write novels but seemed hesitant to start. One day, I ran into an old high school friend who was writing westerns for Avon Books. I thought if he can, so can I. So I did. I majored in Sociology in college, so the intricacies of individuals within society always fascinated me. After reading The Outsider, I realized I really wanted to write about the people outside of society.

Eric's book list on perfect examples of great thriller writing

Eric Van Lustbader Why did Eric love this book?

I came upon the novels of Philip Kerr later in life.

They were unique in as much as his main character, Bernie Gunther, was a German before, during, and after the Nazi party came to power. The tightrope Gunther had to tread between being a good German cop and having to deal with Nazi higher-ups without himself ever becoming a Nazi is what makes the series thrum with tension.

I had the great good fortune to meet Philip at the L.A. Times Book Fair to which we were both invited some years ago. Spending time with him was for me to meeting a rock star. I was privileged to make his acquaintance.

The time I subsequently spent reading his new novels gave me the distinct sense of standing beside Gunther wherever Philip chose to send him.

When, several years later, I learned that Kerr had died suddenly I was devastated.…

By Philip Kerr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The twelfth book in the Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling series, perfect for fans of John le Carre and Robert Harris. 'One of the greatest anti-heroes ever written' Lee Child

France, 1956. Bernie Gunther is on the run. If there's one thing he's learned, it's never to refuse a job from a high-ranking secret policeman. But this is exactly what he's just done. Now he's a marked man, with the East German Stasi on his tail.

Fleeing across Europe, he remembers the last time he worked with his pursuer: in 1939, to solve a murder at the Berghof,…


Book cover of A Gentleman's Murder

Connie Berry Author Of The Shadow of Memory

From my list on mysteries on the golden age of detective fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My love of British crime fiction began when, as a young teen, I discovered Agatha Christie on the shelves of my local library. With Scottish grandparents, I was already well indoctrinated in the “everything British is best” theory, but it was as a student at St. Clare’s College, Oxford, that I fell totally under the spell of the British Isles. No surprise, then, that my Kate Hamilton Mystery series is set in the UK and features an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. I love to read the classic mysteries of the Golden Age as well as authors today who follow that tradition.

Connie's book list on mysteries on the golden age of detective fiction

Connie Berry Why did Connie love this book?

Since the publication of Dorothy L. Sayer’s The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club in 1928, London’s gentlemen’s clubs, bastions of upper-class male privilege, have been fertile ground for murder and mayhem. Huang’s debut novel is set in 1924. With the memory of the Great War still fresh in everyone’s minds, the prestigious soldiers-only Britannia Club is rocked by the stabbing of a member within the club vaults. The killer must be a fellow club member, but when Eric Peterkin, descendant of one of the club’s founders, witnesses the Scotland Yard detective tampering with evidence, he is forced to launch an investigation of his own.

By Christopher Huang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Gentleman's Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The year is 1924. The streets of St. James ring with jazz as Britain races forward into an age of peace and prosperity. London's back alleys, however, are filled with broken soldiers and still shadowed by the lingering horrors of the Great War.

Only a few years removed from the trenches of Flanders himself, Lieutenant Eric Peterkin has just been granted membership in the most prestigious soldiers-only club in London: The Britannia. But when a gentleman's wager ends with a member stabbed to death, the victim's last words echo in the Lieutenant's head: that he would "soon right a great…


Book cover of The Watchman

K.D. Richards Author Of Pursuit of the Truth

From my list on big city private eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write the West Investigations series, a romantic thriller series, centered around the men and women running a private investigations firm. When I began the series I knew I wanted it to be set in an urban city, not just because I’m a city girl at heart, but because of the eclectic nature, diversity, and color that can be found in the big city. Each of the books I’ve recommended below features a big city PI that jumps off the page, grabs you, and doesn’t let go for 200+ pages. 

K.D.'s book list on big city private eyes

K.D. Richards Why did K.D. love this book?

Joe Pike may live in the City of Angels, but he is as far away from angelic as a man can get.

The ex-mercenary turned sometimes PI is tasked with protecting a spoiled Hollywood princess in this gritty, fast-moving novel. Joe has little patience for doing things the conventional way and no compunction about using violence to get what he wants.

Even though his investigatory methods can be destructive, to both him and others, he’s a man you find yourself rooting for…and wondering about. A compelling PI who anyone would want on their team when it really hits the fan. 

By Robert Crais,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Packed with whiplash plot twists and taut dialogue...THE WATCHMAN is as good a psychological test case as it is a thriller' ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

A long time ago, Joe Pike asked for help. In return, he would, one day, be called upon to return the favour, no questions asked. That day has come.

Joe Pike is asked to protect the life of Larkin Conner Barkley, a spoiled rich girl who happens to be a federal witness in a major case. But someone is leaking information about their whereabouts, and the killers are getting all too close. So Pike hatches a plan:…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in private investigators, Germany, and presidential biography?

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