100 books like Truly, Darkly, Deeply

By Victoria Selman,

Here are 100 books that Truly, Darkly, Deeply fans have personally recommended if you like Truly, Darkly, Deeply. 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 Sundial

Niki Mackay Author Of The Due Date

From my list on thrillers with unreliable narrators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written nine crime novels, mostly psychological thrillers, but some blend procedural and PI elements and two are gangland stories. I went to the BRIT school in the 90’s and studied Drama and English Literature at University. I always think that my Performing Arts background gave me a great tool kit for ‘getting into character’ which is useful for writing. I also have an MA in journalism but I definitely prefer fiction to fact. I love the immediacy of first person prose and I am a sucker for an unreliable narrator.

Niki's book list on thrillers with unreliable narrators

Niki Mackay Why did Niki love this book?

This is a book told from the point of view of Mother Rob and her daughter Callie.

It deals with topics of child psychopathy and innate evil and is beautifully written. I’m a huge fan of Catriona Ward’s and was torn between this book or The Last House On Needless Street but I really enjoyed the exploration of motherhood and childhood here and found myself rooting for the characters long after I turned the last page.

Like all of Ward’s books, Sundial has strong horror vibes and the world we are drawn into is full of lush descriptions but it is the characters that really stand out to me. This book also has some really good twists.

By Catriona Ward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK. Authentically terrifying.” —Stephen King

Sharp as a snakebite, Sundial is a gripping novel about the secrets we bury from the ones we love most, from Catriona Ward, the author of The Last House on Needless Street.

You can't escape what's in your blood...

Rob has spent her life running from Sundial, the family’s ranch deep in the Mojave Desert, and her childhood memories.

But she’s worried about her daughter, Callie, who collects animal bones and whispers to imaginary friends. It reminds her of a darkness that runs in her family, and Rob knows it’s time…


Book cover of Dark Places

Tyler Paterson Author Of Dark Satellites

From my list on transport to the heart of spooky season.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an October baby born during a full moon, into a small New England town notorious for their connection to the Salem Witch Trials. My house was for sure haunted growing up, I’ve had a lot of nightmares over the years, and I found solace in the horror genre. Though my true background is in comedy having studied with Second City Chicago, the experience afforded me the opportunity to explore the more pained and shadowed sides of myself as a tool to write relevant material. I learned to focus those explorations into narratives and create stories with a lot of heart that highlight my own quest to uncover inner peace.

Tyler's book list on transport to the heart of spooky season

Tyler Paterson Why did Tyler love this book?

This is the only book that has ever made me physically sweat while reading it. I admit to being a true crime junkie, and this book scratched that itch in a huge way – despite being fiction.

Jumping back and forth between the day of a family’s horrific murder and present-day, where the surviving daughter is obsessively sought after by true crime enthusiasts (heyo!) and internet sleuths, this book turned a glaring spotlight on the hardships of both the economically poor, and single parenthood.

To say this book left me devastated would be an understatement. Add in a touch of the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, and this page-turner is nothing short of an absolute masterpiece of character work and cultural empathy. Not only did this book give me 759 heart attacks (the good kind), but it had me guessing up until the very last page.

By Gillian Flynn,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Dark Places as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BESTSELLING PHENOMENON

'Eerily macabre... Wonderful' Guardian
'A nerve-fraying thriller' New York Times
'Every bit as horribly fascinating as In Cold Blood' Daily Mail

Libby Day was seven when her family was murdered: she survived by hiding in a closet - and famously testified that her older brother Ben was the killer.

Twenty-five years later the Kill Club - a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes - gets in touch with Libby to try to discover proof that may free Ben. Almost broke, Libby agrees to go back to her hometown to investigate - for a fee.

But when Libby's…


Book cover of The Red Room

Niki Mackay Author Of The Due Date

From my list on thrillers with unreliable narrators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written nine crime novels, mostly psychological thrillers, but some blend procedural and PI elements and two are gangland stories. I went to the BRIT school in the 90’s and studied Drama and English Literature at University. I always think that my Performing Arts background gave me a great tool kit for ‘getting into character’ which is useful for writing. I also have an MA in journalism but I definitely prefer fiction to fact. I love the immediacy of first person prose and I am a sucker for an unreliable narrator.

Niki's book list on thrillers with unreliable narrators

Niki Mackay Why did Niki love this book?

Kit Quinn is a psychologist who is brutally attacked by a prisoner while working. The same prisoner is under suspicion of murder and Kit is called in.

She, however doesn’t think they have the culprit. So ensues a fast-paced race to solve the case. This was one of the first psychological thrillers I ever read and served as a fantastic intro to the genre. It probably pushes the boundaries of believability but it remains one of my favourite books

By Nicci French,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At the request of London police, psychologist Kit Quinn agrees to evaluate Michael Doll, a sexual predator who slashes her face. As she recovers, Kit has horrible dreams of a red room. Months later, Doll is arrested for murder. As Doll's obsession with Kit escalates, Kit is gripped with a paralyzing fear that the killer isn't Doll--but someone close to her heart.


Book cover of The First Day of Spring

Niki Mackay Author Of The Due Date

From my list on thrillers with unreliable narrators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written nine crime novels, mostly psychological thrillers, but some blend procedural and PI elements and two are gangland stories. I went to the BRIT school in the 90’s and studied Drama and English Literature at University. I always think that my Performing Arts background gave me a great tool kit for ‘getting into character’ which is useful for writing. I also have an MA in journalism but I definitely prefer fiction to fact. I love the immediacy of first person prose and I am a sucker for an unreliable narrator.

Niki's book list on thrillers with unreliable narrators

Niki Mackay Why did Niki love this book?

Based on the case of child killer Mary Bell this book is an unexpected page-turner and is written with so much heart. It’s dark, compulsive, and the prose sparkles.

This is another dual timeline book we follow Chrissie as a child living a hard life and eventually committing murder. We meet her again as an adult with a new identity and a daughter of her own. Nancy Tucker is a psychologist I believe and it certainly comes across.

The entire cast in this book is written with such tenderness and insight. A really difficult book dealing with a tough topic but also a story of redemption and understanding.

By Nancy Tucker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'So that was all it took,' I thought. 'That was all it took for me to feel like I had all the power in the world. One morning, one moment, one yellow-haired boy. It wasn't so much after all.'

Chrissie knows how to steal sweets from the shop without getting caught, the best hiding place for hide-and-seek, the perfect wall for handstands.

Now she has a new secret. It gives her a fizzing, sherbet feeling in her belly. She doesn't get to feel power like this at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer.

Fifteen years later, Julia is…


Book cover of Chasing the Boogeyman

Michelle Godard-Richer Author Of Fatal Hunt

From my list on fiction with realistic portrayal of crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always had a fascination with crime and human behavior which led me to complete an Honours Degree in Criminology at the University of Ottawa. I studied the minds of criminals and what drives their behavior. It’s truly disturbing that under the right circumstances, people are capable of horrific things. I also studied victims of crime and the impact their suffering has on their lives and the way it can influence their behavior in the future. Naturally with this background, I gravitate towards writing and reading books that explore these topics in depth.

Michelle's book list on fiction with realistic portrayal of crime

Michelle Godard-Richer Why did Michelle love this book?

Richard’s novel did a good job of pulling the rug out from beneath the reader as he leads them on a journey to discover who the murderer is in his hometown. Along the way, he does a brilliant job of conveying how murders can impact a whole town and affect human behavior.

By Richard Chizmar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The acclaimed New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling novel of small-town evil that “is genuinely chilling and something brand-new and exciting” (Stephen King) and “unforgettable” (Harlan Coben).

In the summer of 1988, the mutilated bodies of several missing girls begin to turn up in a small Maryland town. The grisly evidence leads police to the terrifying assumption that a serial killer is on the loose in the quiet suburb. But soon a rumor begins to spread that the evil stalking local teens is not entirely human. Law enforcement, as well as members of the FBI, are certain that the…


Book cover of The Locked Door

Matt Witten Author Of Killer Story

From my list on thrillers you'll devour in one sitting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing crime novels and TV shows for years. For TV, I wrote for Law & Order, Pretty Little Liars, CSI: Miami, and several other crime shows. In the book world, I used to write amateur sleuth novels, and now I write thrillers. My favorite form of relaxation is to get a cup of tea, put my feet up, and read a great thriller. They inspire me. As I read, I study how they’re structured. There’s nothing I appreciate more than a twist I didn’t see coming, a morally good character who turns out to be evil, or a flawed character who ultimately turns out to be good.

Matt's book list on thrillers you'll devour in one sitting

Matt Witten Why did Matt love this book?

I enjoyed this novel about a serial killer's daughter. The main character is flawed but very rootable, and the ending took me by surprise.

I especially admired the way all the different strands of the plot came together. The author laid out some good cookie crumbs for the reader to follow, and I missed several of them in a way that was very satisfying when they were revealed to me. I also liked that the main character gets a happy ending that I found very believable.

By Freida McFadden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Housemaid and The Coworker!

Some doors are locked for a reason…

While eleven-year-old Nora Davis was up in her bedroom doing homework, she had no idea her father was killing women in the basement.

Until the day the police arrived at their front door.

Decades later, Nora's father is spending his life behind bars, and Nora is a successful surgeon with a quiet, solitary existence. Nobody knows about her past, and she'll do anything to keep it that way.

Then one of her young…


Book cover of The Last

Melissa Caribou Annen Author Of The Midwest Madman: An Agent Raines Casefile

From my list on murderous serial killers that keep you up at night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe my love of horror and mystery started young. My first favorite book was The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree. I started writing my first mystery novel when I was in high school. It wasn’t very good, but I still have it. I have so many stories in my head that it’s hard to keep them straight. I also co-host a True Crime podcast, Nothing Happens in A Small Town

Melissa's book list on murderous serial killers that keep you up at night

Melissa Caribou Annen Why did Melissa love this book?

This is a mystery within a mystery—an end-of-the-world survival story that slowly unfolds how the world's end happened. The mystery of a little girl found dead, but not from anything happening in the world. This book made me think about how I’d react in a similar situation. We all hope we’d be level-headed and survive. But as this book tells, you never know.

By Hanna Jameson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This propulsive post-apocalyptic thriller “in which Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None collides with Stephen King’s The Shining” (NPR) follows a group of survivors stranded at a hotel as the world descends into nuclear war and the body of a young girl is discovered in one of the hotel’s water tanks.

Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic…


Book cover of The Poet

D. Marshall Craig, M.D. Author Of Cut to the Chase

From my list on thrillers twisted plots surprise endings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved reading fiction novels with a fast-paced plot and an unexpected ending that surprises me. In my own Dr. Kyle Chandler Thriller Series, I try to use this same thought-provoking pattern that also includes quick dialogue with an underlying sexual tension between the male and female protagonists to keep the readers’ interest. Using this, I feel I am conveying my passion for the characters and plot to the reader. I believe that this theme of fast-paced, twisting plots matched with surprise endings is shown with clarity in all five of the books I have recommended in this list.

D.'s book list on thrillers twisted plots surprise endings

D. Marshall Craig, M.D. Why did D. love this book?

Known for his Lincoln Lawyer and Harry Bosch crime/mystery series, this novel is the first one about Connelly’s investigative reporter Jack McAvoy.

I really enjoyed the immersion of the protagonist into the journalism newsroom world as he tries to link his brother’s unexpected murder to a series of nationwide murders.

With all odds against him, I liked the way Jack kept fighting the upstream battle to arrive at an astonishing conclusion to the case.

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Jack begins to investigate the phenomenon of police suicides, a disturbing pattern emerges and he soon suspects that a serial killer is at work, one who sets up his victims and leaves "suicide" notes drawn from the dark poems of Edgar Allan Poe.


Book cover of Bright Young Women

Kate Robards Author Of Only The Guilty Survive

From my list on thrillers inspired by real events.

Why am I passionate about this?

My new thriller centers around a small, mysterious cult and their shocking demise. For years, I’ve read true crime books on the subject, and I wanted to infuse the reality and truth of real-life events into my fictional novel. In a similar vein, these books represent a range of thrillers inspired by true events, ranging from cults to serial killers to teenage criminals. I hope you find these books as gripping and haunting as I do.

Kate's book list on thrillers inspired by real events

Kate Robards Why did Kate love this book?

I found this novel to be emotionally gripping and suspenseful. It is a historical thriller rooted in truth. It follows women affected by a serial killer in the seventies.

The killer is a depiction of Ted Bundy, though he’s only referred to as “the defendant”—a purposeful choice on behalf of Knoll, who succeeds in taking away his notoriety while giving a name to the women he affected. I appreciate that by focusing on the victims and survivors, it flips the narrative on its head, veering away from the predictable or sensational.

Knoll's writing is, as always, superb. I applaud Knoll for her fresh take on the true crime genre, for not romanticizing a killer, and for crafting a relatable, moving tribute to victims and survivors.

By Jessica Knoll,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bright Young Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Richard & Judy Book Club pick
New York Times Bestseller
A Goodreads Choice Award Finalist


Bright Young Women is an unflinching thriller based on Ted Bundy's heinous crimes, as two women search for justice in the wake of his brutal murders. From Jessica Knoll, author of the New York Times bestseller and #1 Netflix movie Luckiest Girl Alive.

'A compelling, almost hypnotic read' - Lisa Jewell, bestselling author of None of This is True

'Knoll deconstructs the myth of a criminal mastermind, revealing the women he seeks to destroy as the truly brilliant ones' - Flynn Berry, author of…


Book cover of Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Why am I passionate about this?

When I decided to write about psychopathic killers, I studied real stories and facts about these people. I also read about 80 novels a year as well as writing crime thriller novels. I’ve won more than a few awards and keep studying my craft. Makes me feel young. I love stories with action that make you think and are a little different and unique. I want to make a reader cry and laugh, which is what I look for in a good novel. So, when I write about serial killers, I try to keep it real. I love it!

Mike's book list on serial killer novels that are unique, thought-provoking, action-filled, and that you won't forget

Mike Slavin Why did Mike love this book?

Who hasn't heard of Dexter? A serial killer, a psychopath, who only kills bad guys: a great book, a TV series, and an iconic character.

Dexter is funny and carefree. He likes kids, but he's not sure why. He cares for his foster sister. He doesn't kill anyone who's not bad. He doesn't like sex, so that takes an icky part of most serial killers away too.

All of this is the genius of the author. I loved it! And this is just the first book in the series.

By Jeff Lindsay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Meet Dexter Morgan, a polite wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him abide by a different set of rules. He’s a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him immensely likeable: he only kills bad people. • The Killer Character That Inspired the Hit Showtime Series Dexter

And his job as a blood splatter expert for the Miami police department puts him in the perfect position to identify his victims. But when a series of brutal murders bearing a striking similarity to his own style start turning up, Dexter is caught…


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