35 books like The Word is Murder

By Anthony Horowitz,

Here are 35 books that The Word is Murder fans have personally recommended if you like The Word is Murder. 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 Thursday Murder Club

Keith Hartman Author Of The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse

From my list on unique settings for a mystery novel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love mysteries, but I find that after a while, a lot of them tend to run together in my head. So I just love it when I find a book with a setting so unique that it sticks in my mind forever. And it’s even better when the author uses that setting to show me something new about human nature, history, or society while still delivering me a plot that keeps me turning pages.

Keith's book list on unique settings for a mystery novel

Keith Hartman Why did Keith love this book?

This was a book that I picked up because my Mom recommended it. And she struck gold with this one. The book is set in a British retirement community, where a group of old-timers spend their time trying to solve cold cases. But over the course of the book, they get themselves caught up in one very hot case. 

The POV shifts between different characters, who all have interesting voices and skill sets.

By Richard Osman,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Thursday Murder Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller | Soon to be a major motion picture from Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment

"Witty, endearing and greatly entertaining." -Wall Street Journal

"Don't trust anyone, including the four septuagenarian sleuths in Osman's own laugh-out-loud whodunit." -Parade

Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves
A female cop with her first big case
A brutal murder
Welcome to...

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves the Thursday Murder Club.

When a local developer is found dead…

Book cover of Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

Katie Tietjen Author Of Death In The Details

From my list on mystery books starring kick-butt female sleuths.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a steady diet of Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown. Then, in a plot twist that surprised exactly no one, I became an English teacher, a librarian (did you know you can recommend books for a LIVING???), and an author. I love books where the sleuth must not only solve the case at hand, but also wrestle with some sort of ongoing personal problem–bonus points if they can simultaneously pull the curtain back on societal issues and make me feel like I’m getting to experience life in a place where I don’t actually live (I’m looking at you, London and L.A.). 

Katie's book list on mystery books starring kick-butt female sleuths

Katie Tietjen Why did Katie love this book?

I enjoyed being along for this wacky ride as Finlay accidentally gets herself hired as a contract killer, disposes of a body, and navigates the criminal underworld–all while raising her two small children and dealing with her infuriating ex-husband. There’s a love triangle in this book, but the relationship I enjoyed most was the friendship that develops between Finlay and Vero, her former nanny turned partner in crime.

This story is completely absurd, laugh-out-loud funny, and very suspenseful. 

By Elle Cosimano,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Finlay Donovan Is Killing It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Getting the job done" for one single mom takes on a whole new meaning in Finlay Donovan is Killing It.

One of Suspense Magazine's "Best Thrillers of 2021"
One of New York Public Library's Best Books of 2021
Nominated for the Left Coast Crime 2022 Lefty Award for the Best Humorous Mystery

“Funny and smart, twisty and surprising.”—Megan Miranda

Finlay Donovan is killing it . . . except, she’s really not. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: the new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny…

Book cover of The Life We Bury

Jessica Sherry Author Of Sea-Devil

From my list on mystery featuring everyday heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love a good mystery. Quirky, amateur sleuths using their wits and grit to solve tough cases while juggling regular lives like real people deliver a double-thrill—one for justice and another for the everyday oddball taking the win (like me, when I publish a book). This inspired my Delilah Duffy series and this list.

Jessica's book list on mystery featuring everyday heroes

Jessica Sherry Why did Jessica love this book?

Joe Talbert’s not your average college student but a hero easy to love for all he’s up against. He’s escaped his mom’s unstable household and her revolving door of abusers, but barely and not really. With his autistic brother Jeremy still in her care, Joe’s in a constant tug-of-war between his family and his future. Joe’s survivor-tough but with a soft side. He needs both when a biography assignment leads him to Carl Iverson, a dying Vietnam vet and convicted felon. How can this war hero be a killer? Chasing the story with Joe is as thrilling as rooting for him. He must solve the mystery, save his family, get the girl, and, of course, get an A on his paper.  

By Allen Eskens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A USA Today bestseller and book club favorite!

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in…

Thorn City

By Pamela Statz,

Book cover of Thorn City

Pamela Statz

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Dressed to kill and ready to make rent, best friends Lisa and Jamie work as “paid to party” girls at the Rose City Ripe for Disruption gala, a gathering of Portland's elite.

Their evening is derailed when Lisa stumbles across Ellen, a ruthless politician and Lisa’s estranged mother. And to make matters worse, Lisa’s boyfriend, Patrick, crashes the party to meet his new boss, Portland's food cart drug kingpin. Lisa makes a fateful choice that traps her, Jamie, and Patrick in Ellen’s web. In this gripping thriller, Lisa must reconcile a painful past and perilous present.

Thorn City

By Pamela Statz,

What is this book about?

Suspected murder, eclectic food trucks, and artisanal cocaine: just another day in Thorn City.

It’s the night of the Rose City Ripe for Disruption gala—a gathering of Portland’s elite. Dressed to kill in sparkling minidresses, best friends Lisa and Jamie attend as “paid to party” girls. They plan an evening of fake flirtations, karaoke playlists, and of course, grazing the catering.

Past and present collide when Lisa stumbles across Ellen, a ruthless politician who also happens to be Lisa’s estranged mother. Awkward . . . When Lisa was sixteen, Ellen had her kidnapped and taken to the Lost Lake Academy—a…

Book cover of The Secret, Book & Scone Society

ACF Bookens Author Of Publishable By Death

From my list on mysteries about books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a book lover from in utero. My mom was an avid and very fast reader, and I grew up finding respite, insight, and understanding in the pages of books. When I went to college, I studied English, and then got a Masters in literature before going on to learn more about writing the books I loved in an MFA program. This formal education just built on what I already knew – books are my first love, my guide through life, and often, the things that save me from the darkest moments of this world.

ACF's book list on mysteries about books

ACF Bookens Why did ACF love this book?

I adore books about women in friendship, maybe because my female friendships have been the stable place of safety throughout my life. So Adams’ book about a group of women who bring their pain and hope for healing to one another as they read books resonates with me deeply. Plus, the bookstore in this series is stellar what with the tchotchkes, quirky coffee mugs, and bibliotherapy themes. A great cozy for anyone who appreciates a bit of depth to their light reading. 

By Ellery Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Secret, Book & Scone Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First in the mystery series from the New York Times-bestselling author: “Anyone who loves novels that revolve around books will savor this tasty treat.”—Library Journal (starred review)
A quirky club in small-town North Carolina holds the keys to health, happiness, friendship—and even solving a murder—all to be found within the pages of the right book…

Strangers flock to Miracle Springs hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone, they exchange their stories with owner Nora…

Book cover of What Meets The Eye

Ashley Clifton Author Of Twice The Trouble

From my list on literary novels masquerading as crime novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

Flannery O’Connor once said that all fiction is ultimately about the “mystery of personality.” I agree. In fact, I have always suspected that all good novels, genre-based or otherwise, are secretly mystery novels, if only in the psychological sense. Conversely, many so-called genre novels have just as much depth, insight, and realism as any literary work. I have read a lot of genre and literary fiction in my time, and I have long been fascinated by works that blur the line between the two. My favorite kind of book is one that feels like a genre novel (that is, it has a great plot) but also has the depth and vividness of a literary novel.

Ashley's book list on literary novels masquerading as crime novels

Ashley Clifton Why did Ashley love this book?

One thing I really like about this mystery novel is the way it is told from multiple points of view, which is a very unusual technique in mystery fiction. That’s one reason that it felt, to me, so much like a literary novel.

The first character is a brilliant, tortured artist named Margot, who is already dead at the start of the novel. The second character is Kate, an ex-cop turned P.I. who is hired to find Margot’s killer. 

Both women are compelling, interesting characters, but I especially liked the way Kenna renders the hero, Kate. She’s a single mom in recovery from a drug addiction. Her ex is a creep, and most of her old (male) cop colleagues are, too. Her struggle in solving the case felt completely real and human to me. And that’s the signature quality of literary fiction.

By Alex Kenna,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From debut author Alex Kenna comes a pulse-pounding tapestry of secrets, retribution, and greed for fans of Jeffrey Archer.

Kate Myles was a promising Los Angeles police detective, until an accident and opioid addiction blew up her family and destroyed her career. Struggling to rebuild her life, Kate decides to try her hand at private detective work—but she gets much more than she bargained for when she takes on the case of a celebrated painter found dead in a downtown loft.

When Margot Starling’s body was found, the cause of death was assumed to be suicide. Despite her beauty, talent,…

Book cover of Hollywood Homicide: The First Detective by Day Humorous Mystery

Rob Osler Author Of Devil's Chew Toy

From my list on whodunits with highly entertaining amateur sleuths.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first book love was Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The game between author and reader that centers a whodunit has always delighted me. The breadcrumb trail of clues, the misdirection, the inevitable I should have seen it! are my jam. Now an author of whodunits—I have one series published and a second on the way, along with several short stories – I read mysteries with greater scrutiny—in admiration and with a selfish desire to learn from other authors’ envious talents. Each of the books on my list excited me for their excellent storytelling. In the end, I found them just plain entertaining. I hope you do too!

Rob's book list on whodunits with highly entertaining amateur sleuths

Rob Osler Why did Rob love this book?

As much as I love this book’s hero, former television commercial star Dayna Anderson, her tight circle of got-your-back friends is what made this mystery really shine.

To say the cast has big personalities is like calling Hollywood’s Dolby Theater a quaint venue. I laughed out loud throughout and wished I could ride along with these ladies (there are some guys involved, a love interest in particular) as they doggedly unravel the deftly plotted mystery.

I am grateful to Garrett that there is a sequel to this first in the series, Hollywood Ending.

By Kellye Garrett,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Hollywood Homicide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dayna Anderson doesn t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash. But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim s life, she wants more than just reward money. She s determined to find the poor woman's killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious…

Book cover of The Hollow

Ash Bishop Author Of The Horoscope Writer

From my list on mysteries where the detective is in way over their head.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing a mystery novel is no small task. You have to craft a clever plot, stay true to your characters, and bewilder, but ultimately satisfy, your readers, all the while not mixing up your theirs and your there’s. Maybe that’s why we writers like to saddle our heroes with even heavier burdens, forcing them to sort through complex webs of deceit, and fight against deeply rooted cultures full of corruption. When they win, we share their victories… even more so because it means we’ve finished writing the darn book! Enjoy this list of detectives facing long odds, and let it inspire you in whatever creative endeavors are closest to your heart.    

Ash's book list on mysteries where the detective is in way over their head

Ash Bishop Why did Ash love this book?

Everyone knows Agatha Christie’s most famous novels but when you dig a little deeper, you start to really uncover her genius. 

The Hollow is slow, careful, and spectacularly mature for a genre novel.  Legend has it that Christie didn’t like her detective, Hercule Poirot, so maybe that’s why she stuck him in such a difficult situation. A murder occurs right before his eyes, and the killer is there, holding a gun. 

The killer has motive, opportunity, and, of course, Poirot watched her do it.  But why is the gun the wrong caliber? And why is everyone except the murderer acting so suspicious?  

This one plays against convention, so even when you think you know what is going to happen next, you probably don’t.

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Agatha Christie's ingenious mystery thriller, reissued with a striking new cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.

Lucy Angkatell invited Hercule Poirot to lunch. To tease the great detective, her guests stage a mock murder beside the swimming pool. Unfortunately, the victim plays the scene for real. As his blood drips into the water, John Christow gasps one final word: `Henrietta'. In the confusion, a gun sinks to the bottom of the pool.

Poirot's enquiries reveal a complex web of romantic attachments. It seems everyone in the drama is a suspect -…

Book cover of A Gambling Man

Delvin Chatterson Author Of No Easy Money

From my list on where the action hero is everyone.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a storyteller and I’m fascinated by the use of language and how a story can be told well. I’ve used storytelling as an entrepreneur, executive, and management consultant, and my two business books for enlightened entrepreneurship use real-life stories to make the messages and lessons learned more memorable. Fictional versions of those stories were wandering through my imagination to make them more fun to read (and to write) for about fifteen years before they emerged in the Dale Hunter crime thriller series to show that entrepreneurs are not all evil, selfish monsters; sometimes they’re the hero!     

Delvin's book list on where the action hero is everyone

Delvin Chatterson Why did Delvin love this book?

A retro pulp-fiction novel from one of the world’s best-selling authors, David Baldacci.

A Gambling Man is the second intriguing story in Baldacci’s Archer Series about a former WWII veteran working as a private detective. Archer is joined en route to Los Angeles by a beautiful young lady with ambitions in Hollywood who leads them into dangerous territory with murderous gangsters and politicians trying to improve the odds in their favour.

Baldacci’s Archer Series is modeled on the early detective stories of authors like Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane. He creates a tough guy detective in the style of the early masters while making Archer more appealing to modern readers – less macho and more respectful of the independent women joining his fight to stop the death and destruction. 

By David Baldacci,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Aloysius Archer, the straight-talking World War II veteran fresh out of prison, returns in this riveting #1 New York Times bestselling thriller from David Baldacci.

The 1950s are on the horizon, and Archer is in dire need of a fresh start after a nearly fatal detour in Poca City. So Archer hops on a bus and begins the long journey out west to California, where rumor has it there is money to be made if you’re hard-working, lucky, criminal—or all three.
Along the way, Archer stops in Reno, where a stroke of fortune delivers him a wad of cash and…

Book cover of The Twist of a Knife

M. A. Monnin Author Of Death in The Aegean

From my list on vacation spots perfect for hiding a body.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a mystery writer, I’ve always got my eye out for a great place to hide a body. I can’t help it, it’s a hazard of the job. I also love to travel, and a mix of the two has always been irresistible to me, whether I’m reading or writing. I’d say I’m not the only one who enjoys a little sightseeing with my whodunits, because my first book, Death in the Aegean, was nominated for an Agatha Best First Novel Award by the Malice Domestic community. I hope you enjoy these picks that combine some of my ideal vacation spots with entertaining whodunits.

M. A.'s book list on vacation spots perfect for hiding a body

M. A. Monnin Why did M. A. love this book?

This one takes place in London, a city I love and have visited many times, but there’s a bigger reason I enjoy this mystery so much.

Horowitz tackles the writing world as only he can do, with himself as the protagonist, addressing aspects big and small that every writer today will find familiar. And when the murder occurs—well, all I can say is you’ll have to read it.

He calls in his own character Daniel Hawthorne to help. As a mystery writer, I find that so appealing!

By Anthony Horowitz,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Twist of a Knife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By global bestselling Anthony Horowitz, a brilliantly entertaining new locked-room mystery with a key that only Hawthorne can find.


'Funny, addictive and clever, and the crime fighting duo of Hawthorne and Horowitz are as entertaining as ever. Brilliant. I can't wait for more.' ADAM HANDY

''There's a lovely Hitchcockian feel to TWIST. The clock is ticking. It's a lot of fun.' IAN RANKIN

'The Twist of a Knife is a beautifully turned locked-room whodunit' THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

'A total joy. Anthony is a master entertainer, the genius twists and turns of…

Book cover of The Running Grave: A Cormoran Strike Novel

Bob Burnett Author Of Death is Potential: A Kate Swift Mystery

From my list on mysteries featuring steamy romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

At one time, it was commonplace for male mystery writers to devote a substantial amount of plot to romance; for example, Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White or Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon. In recent years, this tradition has eroded to the point where romantic mysteries are primarily written by women. I think romance spices up mysteries. In Death is Potential, Kate Swift is more invested in solving the murder mystery because she is protecting her lover.

Bob's book list on mysteries featuring steamy romance

Bob Burnett Why did Bob love this book?

I like this series because it is well written and the author – J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith – always features clever plot twists.

The Cormoran Strike series features an on again, off again romance between private investigator Cormoran Strike and his partner, Robin Ellacott. In the latest installment, The Running Grave, Cormoran and Robin are hired by a wealthy man whose son has joined a cult.

Robin joins the cult and moves into its rural Norfolk headquarters. The chapters devoted to her cult experience are well-written and creepy. Too bad there’s not more sex.

By Robert Galbraith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The work of a master storyteller'
Daily Telegraph

'One of crime's most engaging duos'

Private Detective Cormoran Strike is contacted by a worried father whose son, Will, has gone to join a religious cult in the depths of the Norfolk countryside.

The Universal Humanitarian Church is, on the surface, a peaceable organisation that campaigns for a better world. Yet Strike discovers that beneath the surface there are deeply sinister undertones, and unexplained deaths.

In order to try to rescue Will, Strike's business partner Robin Ellacott decides to infiltrate the cult and she travels to Norfolk to live incognito…

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