100 books like The Speed Queen

By Stewart O'Nan,

Here are 100 books that The Speed Queen fans have personally recommended if you like The Speed Queen. 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 House at the End of the World

Evan Purcell Author Of Followed by Fear

From my list on women on the run.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written an equal amount of horror and romance, including books, podcasts, and screenplays. I love both genres equally, but I’m most drawn to stories that strike a nice balance between the two. Danger makes the romance less cheesy, and romance gives the thriller side more meaning. As an ESL teacher who has worked everywhere, from Bhutan to Zanzibar, I also love discovering new places. Some of my favorite books take their characters to new locations, forcing them to discover the hidden dangers and pleasant surprises that every place has to offer.

Evan's book list on women on the run

Evan Purcell Why did Evan love this book?

As always, Dean Koontz uses short, propulsive chapters and tons of dangling questions to make his long novels feel short.

This book is definitely the most exciting of his more recent work, focusing on a woman on the run from a mysterious, tragic past who takes refuge on a tiny island with just as many secrets as she has.

I love how Koontz raises the stakes with each short chapter, withholding answers until he slaps you across the face with them. 

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The House at the End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon no one on Earth will have a place to hide in this novel about fears known and unknown by #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense Dean Koontz.

In retreat from a devastating loss and crushing injustice, Katie lives alone in a fortresslike stone house on Jacob's Ladder island. Once a rising star in the art world, she finds refuge in her painting.

The neighboring island of Ringrock houses a secret: a government research facility. And now two agents have arrived on Jacob's Ladder in search of someone-or something-they refuse to identify. Although an air of menace hangs…


Book cover of Woman on the Run

Evan Purcell Author Of Followed by Fear

From my list on women on the run.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written an equal amount of horror and romance, including books, podcasts, and screenplays. I love both genres equally, but I’m most drawn to stories that strike a nice balance between the two. Danger makes the romance less cheesy, and romance gives the thriller side more meaning. As an ESL teacher who has worked everywhere, from Bhutan to Zanzibar, I also love discovering new places. Some of my favorite books take their characters to new locations, forcing them to discover the hidden dangers and pleasant surprises that every place has to offer.

Evan's book list on women on the run

Evan Purcell Why did Evan love this book?

The title says it all!

A woman on the run from the mafia relocates to a new town and faces both danger and (very steamy) romance. She’s the kind of spunky, quippy protagonist that I love, though she’d probably come across as a bit too much in real life. The book shines when she’s settling into the community and managing her new teaching job alongside an assortment of side characters who each have their little moments to shine. While the hero is the strong and silent type, he matches her energy perfectly.

This book is equal parts exciting and romantic. It’s probably the most re-readable book on this list and definitely the steamiest.

By Lisa Marie Rice,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Woman On the Run By Lisa Marie Rice What's a girl to do? Sophisticated urbanite Julia Devaux loves her life. What's not to love? A fabulous job in publishing, wonderful friends, gorgeous apartment, the company of her beautiful though temperamental Siamese cat, Federico Fellini?she's got it made. And then Julia has the bad taste to witness a Mob murder and her life goes straight down the toilet. Under the Witness Security program, Julia is relocated to the boondocks, a hundred miles from the nearest bookstore and Estee Lauder outlet, where the only fast food is deer and the only entertainment…


Book cover of Safe Haven

J.S. Wik Author Of Habitude

From my list on all of the romance and some of the suspense.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was always in love with love. I had my life all planned out, I was going to marry my high school sweetheart and have a family and live happily ever after. Newsflash, that didn’t happen and I’m glad it didn’t! As I’ve gotten older I still find myself in love with love, but now there are other things included with it such as quiet rebellion and a determination to simply be me. I find that I enjoy the suspense aspect because I know life isn’t perfect. We don’t all have stalkers or physically abusive exes, but books are a safe place to experience the emotions of these situations.

J.S.'s book list on all of the romance and some of the suspense

J.S. Wik Why did J.S. love this book?

I had just gotten out of an emotionally abusive and controlling nine-year relationship when a friend suggested I start reading Nicholas Sparks. Of course I had heard of him, this was right around the height of The Notebook.

Safe Haven was the third Nicholas Sparks book I picked up and absolutely loved. I connected with the characters, especially the main character Katie! This book gave me hope for the future and finding someone who would love me the way that Alex loves her!

By Nicholas Sparks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a small North Carolina town, a mysterious and beautiful woman running from her past slowly falls for a kind-hearted store owner . . . until dark secrets begin to threaten her new life.

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken…


Book cover of The Witness

Evan Purcell Author Of Followed by Fear

From my list on women on the run.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written an equal amount of horror and romance, including books, podcasts, and screenplays. I love both genres equally, but I’m most drawn to stories that strike a nice balance between the two. Danger makes the romance less cheesy, and romance gives the thriller side more meaning. As an ESL teacher who has worked everywhere, from Bhutan to Zanzibar, I also love discovering new places. Some of my favorite books take their characters to new locations, forcing them to discover the hidden dangers and pleasant surprises that every place has to offer.

Evan's book list on women on the run

Evan Purcell Why did Evan love this book?

Nora Roberts can be an acquired taste sometimes, but when she includes as much intrigue as she does in this book, her books are propulsive.

Both the hero and heroine are equally smart, and I love the way they each try to figure each other out. The bad guys aren’t as fleshed out as our two main leads, but the danger they offer is always lurking around the edges of a very fun, very likable romance. 

By Nora Roberts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In her stunning 200th novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts proves why no one is better “when it comes to flawlessly fusing high-stakes suspense with red-hot romance" (Booklist, starred review).

Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth Fitch finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive.

Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance…


Book cover of The Green Mile

J.G. Schwartz Author Of The Curious Spell of Madam Genova

From my list on making you believe in the paranormal.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was 13, I paid 25 cents to see a mysterious fortune teller at a local carnival. She predicted I would marry a tall, handsome man, and then she paused and told me my next-door neighbor would soon break his arm. Within a week, my neighbor, Jack, dressed in his Superman costume, jumped off his roof and broke his arm. I was impressionable – and impressed. Since that time, I have been fascinated with fortune tellers and the magic that surrounds them as well as books based on magical realism and the paranormal. Oh, and by the way, I did marry a tall, handsome man.

J.G.'s book list on making you believe in the paranormal

J.G. Schwartz Why did J.G. love this book?

Be prepared. If you want a good cry, this book is for you, as it has one of the saddest endings of any novel I have read.

The Green Mile is the riveting and tragic story of John Coffee, a giant, gentle inmate with supernatural powers, condemned to death for the rape and murder of twin nine-year-old girls.

Coffee is a simple and kind man with a deathly fear of the dark. Your heart will break. Mine did. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Green Mile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stephen King's iconic horror masterpiece. An international bestselling and highly acclaimed novel, a must-read for any horror fan, also a hugely successful film starring Tom Hanks.

The Green Mile: those who walk it do not return, because at the end of that walk is the room in which sits Cold Mountain penitentiary's electric chair. In 1932 the newest resident on death row is John Coffey, a giant black man convicted of the brutal murder of two little girls. But nothing is as it seems with John Coffey, and around him unfolds a bizarre and horrifying story.

Evil murderer or holy…


Book cover of Seven Days

Roxie Key Author Of The Deadly Spark

From my list on strong kick ass female lead characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, most books seemed to feature strong and adventurous boys but rarely were the female characters cast in the same roles. Remember Anne in the Famous Five? Bless her. Even non-gendered animal characters in books were almost always called ‘he.’ And, as I look for books to empower my daughter, I’m so happy to see that things are moving in the right direction. Nowadays, I actively seek out books that feature strong female leads, which, thankfully, are many in the crime fiction world. These are just five of my favorites, but there are so many to choose from!

Roxie's book list on strong kick ass female lead characters

Roxie Key Why did Roxie love this book?

I was really excited to read this book when I heard about it, and it was so incredibly gripping. I found myself, during more than one particularly tense scene, holding my breath. When Alice discovers that her estranged father is on death row, due to be executed in one week, she ends up on a fast-paced, terrifying journey to clear his name (albeit somewhat reluctantly).

I absolutely love the character of Alice. She’s smart, fearless and feels as real as you and me. The plot itself is unpredictable, twisting and turning all over the place. I was completely and utterly addicted to this! Seven Days has all the ingredients required for a compelling, keep-you-up-at-night thriller. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

By Robert Rutherford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Wow! An absolutely fantastic edge of your seat thriller. I could not turn the pages fast enough... Would be an amazing film or tv series. The ending was perfect... Highly recommended' Reader review


Your father is on death row. You have seven days to save him. But do you want to?
Alice knows her father is guilty of many things.
He's guilty of abandoning her.
He's guilty of being unfaithful to her mother.
But is he guilty of murder?

Now on Death Row, he has seven days to live.
Some people want him released.
Others will kill to keep him…


Book cover of The Executioner's Song

Rick R. Reed Author Of The Man from Milwaukee

From my list on true crime that would be criminal not to read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I chose this list for two reasons—one, true crime has always held great fascination for me. I have a real hunger to understand the motivations behind the darkest sides of human nature, which I believe exists in us all. My own book, The Man from Milwaukee, dives deep into this obsession by sympathetically portraying a closeted young gay man in 1991 Chicago, who sees the cannibal killer as a victim himself of his own irresistible murderous impulses, likening them to our main character’s own self-loathing toward his same-sex desires. 

Rick's book list on true crime that would be criminal not to read

Rick R. Reed Why did Rick love this book?

Mailer’s opus dramatizes the cursed life of Gary Gilmore. In 1976, he robbed and killed two strangers. After being tried and sentenced to death, Gilmore insisted on being executed, to the disagreement of the justice system, who wanted him to remain alive. Written simply and with great compassion, the novel is disturbing, yet ultimately thought-provoking and redemptive.

By Norman Mailer,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Executioner's Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ANDREW O'HAGAN

In the summer of 1976 Gary Gilmore robbed two men. Then he shot them in cold blood. For those murders Gilmore was sent to languish on Death Row - and could confidently expect his sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment. In America, no one had been executed for ten years.

But Gary Gilmore wanted to die, and his ensuing battle with the authorities for the right to do so made him into a world-wide celebrity - and ensured that his execution turned into the most gruesome media event of the decade.


Book cover of Monument Road

Charles Salzberg Author Of Second Story Man

From my list on memorable, morally complicated characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a former magazine journalist and nonfiction book writer who now only writes crime novels. I try to write about a world that exists in varying degrees and shades of black and white. The characters in my books are flawed, sometimes deeply, trying their best to navigate a complex world while grappling with their own psychological and emotional scars. As a result, they often make decisions that wind up not being in their (or anyone else’s) best interest. In trying to breathe life into these characters, I get to know them better than I know myself, and it’s this I think allows me to admire the five books I’ve chosen.

Charles' book list on memorable, morally complicated characters

Charles Salzberg Why did Charles love this book?

This is the first in the Franky Dast series and it was nominated for a Shamus Award. Dast was convicted and sentenced to Death Row when he was 18, for the rape and murder of two adolescent boys. Eight years later, the verdict is overturned, in part as a result of the relationship Dast has established with the Justice Now Initiative, an organization specializing in cases of wrongful imprisonment. On his release, Dast joins the group and becomes involved in a case that hits close to home: the cop who arrested and coerced a confession from him is accused of shooting the son of a prominent judge. In Dast, Wiley has created the kind of complex character I’m drawn to, both as a writer and a reader. Wiley’s ability to dive deep into the psyche of complicated characters is something I’m always striving for.

By Michael Wiley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Introducing former death-row inmate turned private investigator Franky Dast in the first of an intriguing new crime noir series. Having spent eight years on death row for a crime he didn't commit, Franky Dast now works as an investigator for the Justice Now Initiative, seeking to help others in the same situation. But when he learns that Bill Higby, the detective whose testimony helped convict him, is facing his own murder charge, Franky is torn. Should he help the man he hates more than any other, the man who remains convinced of Franky's guilt to this day? As Franky delves…


Book cover of Notes on an Execution

Angela Lam Author Of No Amends

From my list on sociopaths and liars.

Why am I passionate about this?

Why am I an expert on recommending books about sociopaths and liars? I unknowingly shared a life with one for five years. Shattered, I grappled with the aftermath of deception. How could I have been duped for so long? Through therapy and reading, I discovered many smart, compassionate people fall hard for the charismatic charm and convincing stories sociopaths tell to get whatever it is they want from whomever they want it. Without a conscious and incapable of feeling, they often latch onto someone with high morals and emotional intelligence in the hopes of learning how to mirror those attributes only to destroy the ones who love them the most.

Angela's book list on sociopaths and liars

Angela Lam Why did Angela love this book?

Notes on an Execution gutted me as a reader. I became the sociopath on death row with only 12 hours to live.

I listened to the women in my life talk about me, from my mother who didn’t understand why I brought her dead animals instead of flowers to my wife who trusted me beyond reason to my brother’s family in whom I had finally found a home until that detective snatched it away from me, leaving me with nothing.

If you want to get into the mind of someone wired differently, this book will take you there until the end.

By Danya Kukafka,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Notes on an Execution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE 2023 EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL • NEW YORK TIMES BEST CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR

“Defiantly populated with living women . . . beautifully drawn, dense with detail and specificity . . . Notes on an Execution is nuanced, ambitious and compelling.” —Katie Kitamura, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW (Editors' Choice)

"A searing portrait of the complicated women caught in the orbit of a serial killer. . . . Compassionate and thought-provoking." –BRIT BENNETT, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Half

Recommended by New York Times Book Review • Los…


Book cover of Paper Butterflies

Deborah Crossland Author Of The Quiet Part Out Loud

From my list on YA that made me cry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved story since I was little, and I’ve curated a life where it has always taken center stage in some or another. I was a high school English teacher for ten years, and have been a college professor for eight. But what really inspires me to write the books I do is my PhD in mythological studies. As a mythologist, I’m lucky enough to be able to see why stories resonate with us for so long and use those same themes and metaphors to write my own. 

Deborah's book list on YA that made me cry

Deborah Crossland Why did Deborah love this book?

I first read this book pre-publication in 2016, and I still think about it at least once a week.

The story is a haunting portrayal of a girl lost in a blended family with a stepmother who treats her worse than Cinderella and a father who only wants to see the shiny surface of his shiny new family. It’s told in a then/now timeline which slowly reveals not only what June did to land her on death row but the abuse she endured that got her there. This one is heavy, but oh so worth the read.

By Lisa Heathfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one―and a secret one. Not even her dad knows the truth, and she can't find the words to tell anyone else. She's trapped like a butterfly in a net. Then June meets Blister, a boy from a large, loving, chaotic family. In him, she finds a glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away. Because she deserves her freedom. Doesn't she?


5 book lists we think you will like!

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