10 books like The Talented Mr. Ripley

By Patricia Highsmith,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Talented Mr. Ripley. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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A Spy Among Friends

By Ben Macintyre,

Book cover of A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

This is a book principally about Kim Philby, the once head of Britain's counterintelligence against the Soviet Union who was exposed as a double agent. There's a lot about this master spy’s activities in the Lebanese capital in the lead-up to his defection to Moscow from there in January of 1963. In 1960 Philby made a tour of the Middle East to write some articles, including stopping in Kuwait which inspired some of the action in my own book. I love any work by Ben Macintyre but this book appealed to me especially. It’s got some great photos in it and, trite as it sounds, I couldn’t put it down.

A Spy Among Friends

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked A Spy Among Friends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kim Philby was the most notorious British defector and Soviet mole in history. Agent, double agent, traitor and enigma, he betrayed every secret of Allied operations to the Russians in the early years of the Cold War.

Philby's two closest friends in the intelligence world, Nicholas Elliott of MI6 and James Jesus Angleton, the CIA intelligence chief, thought they knew Philby better than anyone, and then discovered they had not known him at all. This is a story of intimate duplicity; of loyalty, trust and treachery, class and conscience; of an ideological battle waged by men with cut-glass accents and…


The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

By John Le Carré,

Book cover of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

John Le Carré is one of the reasons I became a spy thriller writer. Like Joseph Conrad who wrote great novels that happened to be set at sea, Le Carré writes literary novels set in the world of spies. Spare, authentic, intensely realistic, this book plunges you deep into the duplicitous world of spy tradecraft, reeling you in with a brilliant plot, spot-on characterizations and line after line of dialogue you’ll want to quote. The story depicts Alex Leamas, a burnt-out British agent who defects in a scheme to eliminate a powerful East German spymaster, but what it's really about are the choices we make—and the costs. This book made me realize that genre could be a tool and not a walled-in garden.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

By John Le Carré,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Spy Who Came in from the Cold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Our Kind of Traitor; and The Night Manager, now a television series starring Tom Hiddleston.

The 50th-anniversary edition of the bestselling novel that launched John le Carre's career worldwide

In the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse-a desk job-Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered…


True Grit

By Charles Portis,

Book cover of True Grit

I discovered True Grit in my twenties, three years after my father’s death. I’d been living on my own for a year and was recovering from depression. Life was forcing me to learn resourcefulness, and this book came to me at the right time. I remember reading it with delight, wishing I’d known about it before. Mattie Ross’ pragmatic voice as she describes her father’s murder and her quest to avenge his blood resonated with me, not because we are alike, but because I needed a lesson in toughness. But beyond all this, I needed a good laugh, and True Grit is funny. The characters are colourful, the story suspenseful, and Portis’ research is so thorough you’d swear his book was written in the 19th century. 

True Grit

By Charles Portis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There is no knowing what lies in a man's heart. On a trip to buy ponies, Frank Ross is killed by one of his own workers. Tom Chaney shoots him down in the street for a horse, $150 cash, and two Californian gold pieces. Ross's unusually mature and single-minded fourteen-year-old daughter Mattie travels to claim his body, and finds that the authorities are doing nothing to find Chaney. Then she hears of Rooster - a man, she's told, who has grit - and convinces him to join her in a quest into dark, dangerous Indian territory to hunt Chaney down…


The Paying Guests

By Sarah Waters,

Book cover of The Paying Guests

I had the pleasure of hearing Sarah Waters speak at the Derby Book Festival in 2015, bought a signed copy of her latest novel, and have been recommending it ever since. The Paying Guests is set in the wake of World War I, and the historical context is beautifully rendered. Frances Wray and her mother have been living a quiet and orderly life on a street where the houses have ‘a Sunday blankness to them… every day of the week.’ It’s a life stuck in time, in a house whose ‘heart stopped… years ago.’ Then the Wrays’ new lodgers arrive, and they are noisy, gaudy, messy, dramatic, attractive. The two worlds collide with Frances caught between them, and what follows is both a captivating love story and a gripping crime story.

The Paying Guests

By Sarah Waters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE

This novel from the internationally bestselling author of The Little Stranger, is a brilliant 'page-turning melodrama and a fascinating portrait of London of the verge of great change' (Guardian)

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

For with the arrival of…


A Beautiful Crime

By Christopher Bollen,

Book cover of A Beautiful Crime

In Bollen’s fourth novel, the boyishly handsome, 25-year-old Nick Brink meets the older and more remote Clay Guillory at the funeral of Clay’s boyfriend/benefactor, Freddy Van der Haar. Freddy, whose name is synonymous with American royalty, was one of the few remaining vestiges of the old New York gay scene. House poor, Freddy bequeathed Clay his shambling Venetian palazzo and a collection of counterfeit antiques. Nick falls for Clay, and they escape to Venice. To fund their new Continental lifestyle, they cook up a plan to con Richard West, a wealthy American retiree who has a sentimental affection for the Van der Haar name and fondness for acquiring antiques. Even as their criminal behavior begins to accrue a body count, we’re seduced by that all-too-recognizable outsider’s desire to belong to a place. For these men, Venice isn’t just a city but a way of seeing themselves, of imagining their futures.

A Beautiful Crime

By Christopher Bollen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An L.A. Times Book Prize Finalist | An O Magazine Best Book of the Year

“Stylish… a compelling take on the eternal question of how good people morph into criminals. Terrific.”—People, Book of the Week

From the author of The Destroyers comes an "intricately plotted and elegantly structured" (Newsday) story of intrigue and deception, set in contemporary Venice and featuring a young American couple who have set their sights on a risky con.

When Nick Brink and his boyfriend Clay Guillory meet up on the Grand Canal in Venice, they have a plan in mind—and it doesn’t involve a vacation.…


Carved in Bone

By Michael Nava,

Book cover of Carved in Bone: A Henry Rios Novel

One of the qualities of mystery fiction that continues to draw me to the genre is the complex interplay between past and present. Nava’s 8th Rios novel utilizes separate narrative lines that resonate and then, like a parallel perspective drawing, converge in a powerful emotional twist. The first line is the story of Bill Ryan, a young gay man who, after being cast out of his home in Illinois, flees to 1970s San Francisco to discover himself and the gay community. The second line is Rios’s recovery from alcoholism and his investigation of Ryan’s suspicious death during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Ryan and Rios serve as foils: Ryan is a man losing the war with his self-loathing. Rios, in contrast, is winning his war.

Carved in Bone

By Michael Nava,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Carved in Bone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

November, 1984. Criminal defense lawyer Henry Rios, fresh out of rehab and picking up the pieces of his life, reluctantly accepts work as an insurance claims investigator and is immediately is assigned to investigate the apparently accidental death of Bill Ryan. Ryan, part of the great gay migration into San Francisco in the 1970s, has died in his flat of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty gas line, his young lover barely surviving. Rios’s investigation into Ryan’s death–which Rios becomes convinced was no accident–tracks Ryan’s life from his arrival in San Francisco as a terrified 18-year-old to his transformation into…


Eileen

By Ottessa Moshfegh,

Book cover of Eileen

Moshfegh’s first novel opens with the narrator “very unhappy and angry all the time.” She is the sinister version of SNL’s Mary Catherine Gallagher, unflinchingly honest, acerbically observant, self-absorbed, and in love with her own nastiness. “Didn’t she know I was a monster, a creep, a crone? How dare she mock me with courtesy when I deserved to be greeted with disgust and dismay?” Though she becomes obsessed with beautiful Rebecca, it’s the caustic Eileen we can’t look away from, no matter how much we might want to.

Eileen

By Ottessa Moshfegh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize and chosen by David Sedaris as his recommended book for his Fall 2016 tour.

So here we are. My name was Eileen Dunlop. Now you know me. I was twenty-four years old then, and had a job that paid fifty-seven dollars a week as a kind of secretary at a private juvenile correctional facility for teenage boys. I think of it now as what it really was for all intents and purposes-a prison for boys. I will call it Moorehead. Delvin Moorehead was a terrible landlord I had years later, and so to…


Rebecca

By Daphne du Maurier,

Book cover of Rebecca

Rebecca is suspenseful, creepy, and downright eerie. I loved it. The unnamed protagonist was a stroke of genius and added to the gothic feel. But it’s the story that is the most gripping. Daphne du Maurier did a masterful job of laying out the mystery of what happened to Rebecca. Was it a tragic accident or something more?

Rebecca

By Daphne du Maurier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* 'The greatest psychological thriller of all time' ERIN KELLY
* 'One of the most influential novels of the twentieth century' SARAH WATERS
* 'It's the book every writer wishes they'd written' CLARE MACKINTOSH

'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .'

Working as a lady's companion, our heroine's outlook is bleak until, on a trip to the south of France, she meets a handsome widower whose proposal takes her by surprise. She accepts but, whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory…


Perfume

By Patrick Suskind,

Book cover of Perfume

It comes out of a Germanic tradition, including Hoffmann’s dark, supernatural tales, but Perfume seemed wonderfully original, freshly foul, and captivatingly disgusting. It’s a book that makes its own universe and sets its own rules. It’ll ask you to lend your sympathy to a demented serial killer. And you may well consent.

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born amongst the discarded fish guts, in the gutter in an Eighteenth century, Parisian market. In a world that stinks, he lacks a body odour himself, but grows up obsessed with the aroma of things becoming a genius perfumier. But his obsession carries terrible costs for those he meets, and finally for himself.

An oddball book about an oddball character.

Perfume

By Patrick Suskind,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An erotic masterpiece of twentieth century fiction - a tale of sensual obsession and bloodlust in eighteenth century Paris

'An astonishing tour de force both in concept and execution' Guardian

In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name has been forgotten today.

It is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts…


Fatherland

By Robert Harris,

Book cover of Fatherland

I love it when a book uses a relatively less popular genre to create a new world with new rules. Fatherland starts with the premise of alternative history (what if Hitler had won the war?) but never spends time explaining how this alternative 1964 works. Instead, he tells us a spy thriller story like any other and I love how the author subtly feeds us the perils of dictatorship, making us wonder if it had happened in reality. It is a subversive novel without being apocalyptic or fatalist, and most of all, the ending is a clear attack on those who deny the evils of totalitarianism in every shape or form.

Fatherland

By Robert Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

_________________________
'The highest form of thriller . . . non-stop excitement' The Times

NOW AVAILABLE: THE SECOND SLEEP, ROBERT HARRIS'S LATEST NOVEL
_________________________

What if Hitler had won the war?

It is April 1964 and one week before Hitler's 75th birthday. Xavier March, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei, is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin's most prestigious suburb.

As March discovers the identity of the body, he uncovers signs of a conspiracy that could go to the very top of the German Reich. And, with the Gestapo just one step behind,…


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