84 books like Voodoo River

By Robert Crais,

Here are 84 books that Voodoo River fans have personally recommended if you like Voodoo River. 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 Maximum Bob

Susie Black Author Of Death by Cutting Table

From my list on authors who create the zaniest characters.

Who am I?

To be a successful sales exec, required my being an observant student of human nature. The same skill applied to my becoming a successful author. I discovered the most unforgettable people I encountered throughout my career were a lot like the zany oddballs my favorite authors created and the perfect models to base my cast of characters on. 

Susie's book list on authors who create the zaniest characters

Susie Black Why did Susie love this book?

As a woman who was raised to have a moral compass, I am outraged whenever someone in authority abuses their power and gets away with it.

While I don’t condone revenge, nonetheless, I have to admit I cheered when lewd, lecherous, law-bending Florida Judge Robert “Maximum Bob” Gibbs finally gets his comeuppance and is judged guilty by a grudge-bearing malefactor and sentenced to death-by alligator, a unique means of execution, to say the least.

Ingenious, more than slightly off-kilter Elmore Leonard is the undisputed king of criminal mayhem. His wacky, raucous Maximum Bob is a delightfully dark humorous tale chocked full of zany characters; a group of magnificent miscreants Mr. Leonard created, knowing his readers would love to hate.

By Elmore Leonard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling author of Be Cool and Get Shorty

When someone delivers an alligator to Judge Bob Gibbs' porch, there's no shortage of suspects - hard-sentencing, womanising redneck 'Maximum Bob' is pretty much the most unpopular man in Florida.

Throw into the mix the Crowe clan - about as primitive and aggressive as any alligator - a doped-up doctor on early release with a tag, quick-witted probation officer Kathy Baker, a mermaid and a long-dead slave girl called Wanda, and things get a tad complicated. And inevitably, they don't work out the way you might expect...


Book cover of Metzger's Dog

Michael Sheldon Author Of The Violet Crow

From my list on laugh-out-loud crime fiction.

Who am I?

I grew up in a Jewish home more focused on comedy than religion. I read Mad Magazine, watched The Three Stooges, and listened to Allan Sherman. The idea of a bar mitzvah was a cruel surprise, sprung on me at age 10. I flunked Hebrew school, yet got accepted at Yale. I majored in a Jewish girl who later broke my heart. So I began writing my first novel. It "almost" got published—another sad story—and I took a job with an editor in NYC who specialized in paranormal non-fiction. That was the spark for The Violet Crow—and my love for comic crime fiction. A new novel, Reveille in Birdland, is scheduled for completion in 2023.

Michael's book list on laugh-out-loud crime fiction

Michael Sheldon Why did Michael love this book?

I had the good fortune to meet Thomas Perry at a writers' conference a few years back. Perry is best known for fast-paced thrillers such as The Butcher's Boy, the Jane Whitefield series, and The Old Man.

On the topic of comic crime fiction, he observed that violent crime is serious business that's difficult to treat with levity. Perry tried it in his second novel. Published in 1983, Metzger's Dog follows Chinese Gordon and his gang as they romp through the southern California desert—blowing things up. Their target is a medical facility with a million dollars worth of cocaine. The heist goes perfectly, except Chinese Gordon also snatches a folder of documents that detail the CIA's meddling with foreign governments. Naturally the feds want those docs back—with extreme prejudice.

By Thomas Perry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The much-loved comic thriller by the author of the Edgar Award–winning The Butcher’s Boy is now, by popular demand, back in print, featuring a new Introduction by bestselling author Carl Hiaasen.

When Leroy “Chinese” Gordon breaks into a professor’s lab at the University of Los Angeles, he’s after some pharmaceutical cocaine, worth plenty of money. Instead, he finds the papers the professor has compiled for the CIA, which include a blueprint for throwing a large city into chaos. But how is the CIA to be persuaded to pay a suitable ransom, unless of course someone actually uses the plan to…


Book cover of Bank Shot

Susie Black Author Of Death by Cutting Table

From my list on authors who create the zaniest characters.

Who am I?

To be a successful sales exec, required my being an observant student of human nature. The same skill applied to my becoming a successful author. I discovered the most unforgettable people I encountered throughout my career were a lot like the zany oddballs my favorite authors created and the perfect models to base my cast of characters on. 

Susie's book list on authors who create the zaniest characters

Susie Black Why did Susie love this book?

Maybe it’s because the protagonist and her group of amateur sleuths in my series manage to make every mistake imaginable before they finally succeed in bringing the real killer to justice, that I am tickled pink by Donald E. Westlake’s cast of over-the-top-miscreants.

Starring in Bank Shot, Westlake’s zany characters are more like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. Gang leader John Dortmunder and the most inept group of criminals ever to stumble and bumble their way through an ill-fated caper are a rollicking treat that combines fast-moving suspense with laugh-out-loud wit as they attempt to steal a temporarily relocated bank that is inside a mobile home.

All Dortmunder has to do is get past seven security guards, put the bank-on-wheels in gear, and drive away. It’s a simple plan, until it all goes wrong… 

By Donald E. Westlake,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A crew of thieves hopes to hijack a mobile home full of money in this crime caper from “the funniest man in the world” (The Washington Post).

John Dortmunder has been working an encyclopedia-selling scam while waiting for his next big heist. Unfortunately, his latest mark seems to be wise to the con, and he has to cut his sales pitch short and make a quick escape.
 
But opportunity awaits: Main Street bank has temporarily relocated to a mobile home. All Dortmunder has to do is get past seven security guards, put the bank-on-wheels in gear, and drive away. It’s…


Book cover of Black Run

Michael Sheldon Author Of The Violet Crow

From my list on laugh-out-loud crime fiction.

Who am I?

I grew up in a Jewish home more focused on comedy than religion. I read Mad Magazine, watched The Three Stooges, and listened to Allan Sherman. The idea of a bar mitzvah was a cruel surprise, sprung on me at age 10. I flunked Hebrew school, yet got accepted at Yale. I majored in a Jewish girl who later broke my heart. So I began writing my first novel. It "almost" got published—another sad story—and I took a job with an editor in NYC who specialized in paranormal non-fiction. That was the spark for The Violet Crow—and my love for comic crime fiction. A new novel, Reveille in Birdland, is scheduled for completion in 2023.

Michael's book list on laugh-out-loud crime fiction

Michael Sheldon Why did Michael love this book?

I couldn't get enough of the character, Rocco Schiavone, from the TV series Ice Cold Murders, so I decided to check out the original novels by Antonio Manzini. They are equally good—or better.  Rocco is a police inspector from Rome who gets transferred to Aosta, an alpine ski resort town. In Black Run, Rocco instructs his provincial team in big-city police techniques, including cutting corners and avoiding superiors. He contrives useless errands to get his two dumbest cops out of the office. And he introduces his classification of Things That Are a Pain in the Ass, with "sand in your clams" at Level Seven and "unsolved homicide" at Level 10. Black Run begins on the slopes, at Level 10, with the discovery of an unidentified corpse mangled by a snowcat.

By Antonio Manzini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'He'd almost walked right over it when he finally saw it for what it was: a stain of red blood, churned into the white blanket of snow...'

After getting on the wrong side of the wrong people in Rome, Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone is exiled to Aosta, a small, touristy alpine town far from the cobbled streets and fritto misto of his beloved city.

Rocco's talent for solving crimes is matched only by his disdain for the rules and his eye for a beautiful woman. But when a mangled body is found on the ski slopes, he soon discovers…


Book cover of Heaven's Prisoners

R.J. McCarthy Author Of Quarry Steps to: A Tony Quarry Carolina Mystery

From my list on to experience The Quiet Man Effect.

Who am I?

I'm not interested in make-believe superheroes. Just as I write stories I have to believe could happen, my favorite novels must have a credible protagonist. Regardless of flaws and failings, he also must have a moral compass, an inclination to do right or, at least, to do something right. The protagonist represents the never-ending battle within to redeem ourselves. In that, he does what he can with what he has. I would term this particular genre The Quiet Man Effect relative to a 1952 movie about an American boxer who returns to his Irish roots to heal after killing a man in the ring.

R.J.'s book list on to experience The Quiet Man Effect

R.J. McCarthy Why did R.J. love this book?

The setting is 1988 bayou Louisiana. The protagonist, detective Dave Robicheaux, is an alcoholic who never stops battling to contain his flaws. After leaving the New Orleans Police Department, Robicheaux and his wife have opened a fishing-guide business. The plot is set in motion when he rescues a little girl after a plane crash that sets him on a collision course with the criminally cruel Bubba Rocque. Dimensional characters around Robicheaux add to the story like tesserae to a mosaic, none more than best friend, Clete Purcell.

By James Lee Burke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The second Dave Robicheaux novel from the award-winning crime writer.

Dave Robicheaux is trying to put a life of violence and crime behind him, leaving homicide to run a boat-rental business in Louisiana's bayou country. But one day while fishing in the Gulf with his wife Annie, he witnesses an event that will change his life forever.

A small two-engine plane suddenly crashes into the sea and Robicheaux dives down to the wreckage to find four bodies and one survivor; a little girl miraculously trapped in a pocket of air. When the authorities insist only three bodies were recovered from…


Book cover of In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead

Robin Yocum Author Of The Sacrifice of Lester Yates

From my list on the baddest badass dudes of crime fiction.

Who am I?

My novels range from coming-of-age to suspense. I was an award-winning crime and investigative reporter for the Columbus Dispatch for 11 years. That background helps me with the investigative aspects of my books. I enjoy exploring the moral dilemmas often presented in real life. My characters all have morals, but I like putting them in compromising situations. It’s easy to sit back and judge others, but how far would you go to keep your own son out of jail? Would the love of your son get in the way of your morals? It’s never black or white. Most of life is spent dancing in and out of the vast gray area in the middle. 

Robin's book list on the baddest badass dudes of crime fiction

Robin Yocum Why did Robin love this book?

Dave Robicheaux is a New Iberia, Louisiana, sheriff’s detective in a series by James Lee Burke. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of Dave. He is righteous, but flawed. He regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, struggles with nightmares of Viet Nam and other unseen demons, but has an acute sense of right and wrong. In Crusader’s Cross, his loyal sidekick, Cletus Prucell says of Dave, "He's got polka dot giraffes running around in his head, but he's the best guy I've ever known.” I’m a Burke fan, and I like everything he writes. In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead, and Purple Cane Road are my personal favorites. In Electric Mist, Dave is drawn into a 40-year-old unsolved murder that he witnessed as a college freshman. In the midst of his investigation, Dave has regular conversations with the ghost of Confederate General John Bell Hood.…

By James Lee Burke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The sixth in the New York Times bestselling Dave Robicheaux series delivers a heart-pounding bayou manhunt—and features “one of the coolest, earthiest heroes in thrillerdom” (Entertainment Weekly ).

When Hollywood invades New Iberia Parish to film a Civil War epic, restless specters waiting in the shadows for Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux are reawakened—ghosts of a history best left undisturbed.

Hunting a serial killer preying on the lawless young, Robicheaux comes face-to-face with the elusive guardians of his darkest torments— who hold the key to his ultimate salvation or a final, fatal downfall.


Book cover of The Last Detective

M.W. Craven Author Of Fearless

From my list on sidekicks in crime fiction.

Who am I?

I am a British crime writer with a love of American crime fiction, particularly books with dark plots and quirky, unique characters. I am the author of the Sunday Times bestselling, multiple award-winning, Washington Poe series and the new Ben Koenig series but am first a reader—I read over a hundred books a year. I love discovering a new-to-me series that has a back catalogue for me to work through, and I appreciate recommendations. I’ve been a full-time author since 2015 and, as I suspected, it’s my dream job.

M.W.'s book list on sidekicks in crime fiction

M.W. Craven Why did M.W. love this book?

Although many fans consider Crais’s preceding book, L.A. Requiem, to be his masterpiece, I’ve chosen this because it perfectly encapsulates the relationship between flamboyant Elvis Cole and his partner, the enigmatic Joe Pike.

Pike is the ultimate sidekick. He’s taciturn, monosyllabic, and extremely complex. Dangerous as hell and completely loyal to Cole and anyone in Cole’s life; he’s taken bullets, knives—a whole bunch of weapons during the nineteen-book series.

In The Last Detective, the son of Cole’s girlfriend gets kidnapped and the evidence points to Cole’s service in Vietnam. Cole’s first call isn’t to the LAPD, it’s to Joe Pike. His message: ‘Joe, I’m scared.’ Pike drops everything and together they start hunting...

Pike is the third sidekick on my list to get his own series.

By Robert Crais,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'THE LAST DETECTIVE is literally a thrill-a-minute read. Crais is on top form, which, believe me, is about as good as it gets. Don't miss it' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

'The narrative is taut, the menace palpable, the suspense unbearable' DAILY TELEGRAPH

Elvis Cole has got a problem to solve - and this time it's personal.

Elvis Cole's girlfriend, Lucy, is out of town, and she has left her young son Ben in Elvis's care. Elvis and Lucy have had a few problems lately - not least over his job as a private investigator. But at last things seem to be…


Book cover of The Wanted

John L. DeBoer Author Of The Girl from Belgrade

From my list on thrillers that don’t skimp on character development.

Who am I?

I’m a retired surgeon and have no expertise in espionage, law enforcement, or the legal system. But I enjoy thriller novels that feature these things, and I follow the adage, “Write what you like to read.” But I do have medical/surgical expertise and have followed another adage: “Write what you know,” so I have inserted medical situations into many of my stories and one of my published books is a medical thriller. What I like about thrillers is the ability to show each side of the conflict. The good guys against the bad guys, neither side knowing what the other is doing. But the reader knows, and this adds to the suspense.

John's book list on thrillers that don’t skimp on character development

John L. DeBoer Why did John love this book?

There isn’t a Robert Crais novel I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed, but I especially like the ones featuring PI Elvis Cole and his no-nonsense, stoic buddy Joe Pike. What is especially good about this novel is the character development of the two antagonists. Their personalities, often clashing with each other, make them more than one-dimensional killers, adding spice to the story—something I try to do in my own books.

By Robert Crais,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Just keeps getting better and better' Evening Standard
As addictive as Lee Child and as explosive as Michael Connelly - THE WANTED is the new thriller from Robert Crais, and a NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Seventeen-year-old Tyson is a normal teenaged boy - he's socially awkward, obsessed with video games, and always hungry. But his mother is worried that her sweet, nerdy son has started to change... and she's just found a $40,000 Rolex watch under his bed. Suddenly very frightened that Tyson has gotten involved in something illegal, his mother gets in touch with a private investigator named Elvis…


Book cover of Swan Peak

Edmond Gagnon Author Of Trafficking Chen

From my list on crime from a retired police detective.

Who am I?

I am a retired police officer who worked the streets and conducted criminal investigations for over thirty-one years in a busy city with Detroit as a neighbor. I handled everything from narcotics to arson and murder. Having lived the life, I truly enjoy a well-written crime novel, especially those inspired by real events. That is what I also write. I prefer crime stories where the protagonist is truer to life and doesn’t possess superpowers.  

Edmond's book list on crime from a retired police detective

Edmond Gagnon Why did Edmond love this book?

Dave Robicheaux is one of my favorite characters, perhaps because I can relate to him so easily. James Lee Burke is a master of metaphors and he can offer descriptions of the sky like no other. His storytelling is enjoyable and almost philosophical at times.

In this book Burke's firsthand knowledge of the pristine scenery in Northern Montana shines above his usual inside look at the Louisiana bayou country. Robicheauxs's sidekick, Clete Purcel, is a colorful and easily likable character.

Swan Peak wasn’t as exciting as the other Robicheaux novels I’ve read but it was still a great page-turner and good story.

By James Lee Burke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Trouble follows Dave Robicheaux.

James Lee Burke's new novel, Swan Peak, finds Detective Robicheaux far from his New Iberia roots, attempting to relax in the untouched wilderness of rural Montana. He, his wife, and his buddy Clete Purcell have retreated to stay at an old friend's ranch, hoping to spend their days fishing and enjoying their distance from the harsh, gritty landscape of Louisiana post-Katrina.

But the serenity is soon shattered when two college students are found brutally murdered in the hills behind where the Robicheauxs and Purcell are staying. They quickly find themselves involved in a twisted and dangerous…


Book cover of Brown's Requiem

Steven Powell Author Of Love Me Fierce In Danger: The Life of James Ellroy

From my list on the king of LA noir James Ellroy.

Who am I?

I have been fascinated by James Ellroy’s life and writing since I first discovered it as a lonely teenager on a rainswept family holiday. He went through dark times; the unsolved murder of his mother and his subsequent struggles with addiction. But how he overcame this to become one of America’s greatest writers is an inspiring story and has inspired me to get through my own personal turmoil. Indeed, many Ellroy readers will attest to how his life story and writing helped them overcome their struggles. Now as Ellroy’s biographer, I am continually drawn back to his work. Reading just a few pages allows me to contemplate what Ellroy calls ‘the Wonder’.

Steven's book list on the king of LA noir James Ellroy

Steven Powell Why did Steven love this book?

This was James Ellroy’s debut novel and has been all but forgotten compared to the masterpieces he later produced. But there is so much in this book that reveals why Ellroy was destined for greatness: strong plotting, vivid characters, electrifying prose. The plot involves a car repo man who takes on a private eye case for an oddball golf caddy. The plot owes a lot to Raymond Chandler, but it still feels original in Ellroy’s hands. Allow yourself to be swept away by it.

By James Ellroy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beneath the slick, glittering surface of L.A., an underworld of depravity and wickedness reins. Fritz Brown is a part-time private eye and full-time repo-man who gets his kicks listening to classical music. But the waters get too deep for Brown when he takes a case from a cash-flashing golf caddy named Freddy “Fat Dog” Baker that puts him on the trail of his client’s sister and the older gentleman she’s run off with. But more suspicious than his sister, a classy cellist, is Fat Dog himself, who has a past more sordid than he lets on. Diving into a cesspool…


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