36 books like What Meets The Eye

By Alex Kenna,

Here are 36 books that What Meets The Eye fans have personally recommended if you like What Meets The Eye. 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 Dog Soldiers

Max Ludington Author Of Thorn Tree

From my list on 1960s counterculture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated with the sixties and its counterculture ever since I was about eleven or twelve, and I found out that the summer I was born, 1967, was called the Summer of Love. Because of this fascination, I started reading writers like Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson at an early age. Then, I became a lover of the Grateful Dead and went on tour with them as a fan for a couple of years in my late teens. It was the best way remaining in this country, in the 1980s, to be a hippie in some real way. I still love the music and literature of that time.

Max's book list on 1960s counterculture

Max Ludington Why did Max love this book?

This book lays bare the furious tensions in American society during the Vietnam era. I have read it three times, and each time, it reveals new treasures and nuances.

It’s a dark story about a war correspondent who decides to get rich by smuggling heroin home from Vietnam. So, while it opens in Saigon, most of the book is set in a California riven by culture clashes and soured idealism. Stone is one of America’s best late-twentieth-century novelists.

By Robert Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Saigon during the last stages of the Vietnam War, a small-time journalist named John Converse thinks he'll find action - and profit - by getting involved in a big-time drug deal. But back in the States, things go horribly wrong. His courier disappears, probably with his wife, and a corrupt Fed wants Converse to find him the drugs, or else.

Dog Soldiers is a frightening, powerful, intense novel that perfectly captures the underground mood of the United States in the 1970s, when amateur drug dealers and hippies encountered the violent world of cops on the make and professional killers.…


Book cover of Devil in a Blue Dress

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?

What I really love about this novel is the voice of the main character, Ezekial “Easy” Rollins. Easy is not your typical P.I. A recently fired machinist in post-war Los Angeles, he’s just a guy trying to pay his bills. But he’s also a black man from the South trying to survive in a white, west-coast world. When a white gangster hires him to find a missing girl, Easy senses that he’s in extreme danger, but he has no choice but to take the job.

Told in the first-person, this book captures all of Easy’s doubt, dread, and defiance as he unravels the mystery.

By Walter Mosley,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Devil in a Blue Dress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Devil in a Blue Dress honors the tradition of the classic American detective novel by bestowing on it a vivid social canvas and the freshest new voice in crime writing in years, mixing the hard-boiled poetry of Raymond Chandler with the racial realism of Richard Wright to explosive effect.


Book cover of The Moving Target

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?

If there is one central defining quality of noir crime fiction, it is the main character’s struggle to preserve his moral center in a fundamentally corrupt and evil world. The best P.I. novels are able to render this kind of character in brushstrokes that are both beautiful and subtle.

One of my favorites is Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer, first introduced in this novel. When Archer is hired to find a missing rich guy in a tony, Southern California beach town, he finds himself knee-deep in violence, greed, and deceit, uncertain of who is guilty, who he can trust, and even who is worth saving. A moving target, indeed.

By Ross Macdonald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first book in Ross Macdonald's acclaimed Lew Archer series introduces the detective who redefined the role of the American private eye and gave the crime novel a psychological depth and moral complexity only hinted at before.

Like many Southern California millionaires, Ralph Sampson keeps odd company. There's the sun-worshipping holy man whom Sampson once gave his very own mountain; the fading actress with sidelines in astrology and S&M. Now one of Sampson's friends may have arranged his kidnapping.

As Lew Archer follows the clues from the canyon sanctuaries of the megarich to jazz joints where you get beaten up…


Book cover of Miami Blues

Lee Goldberg Author Of Calico

From my list on humor that makes us human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing crime stories since I was a child. They entertained me and helped me cope with a lot of family strife. My first novel was published in college and sold to the movies, which got me into screenwriting, leading to writing hundreds of hours of TV and fifty novels to date. The one thing all of my stories share is humor because I believe it’s an essential part of life–and of memorable story-telling. Humor makes characters come alive, revealing shades of personality and depths of emotion you wouldn’t otherwise see. Here are five books that taught me that it’s true and that continue to influence me as a writer. 

Lee's book list on humor that makes us human

Lee Goldberg Why did Lee love this book?

Creative writing instructors (and later TV showrunners and network executives) taught me that the protagonist in a crime story can be flawed, but he has to be likable, someone you want to spend time with and who you will root for.

They were all wrong. The detective hero of this book borders on repulsive, and the world he lives in is dark, violent, and a touch grotesque…but also very, very funny. The humor not only makes it all palatable but somehow even more vivid and powerful. And entertaining, oh, how entertaining.

There may not be a single likable character in the whole book, and I don’t care. I love every word. 

By Charles Willeford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After a brutal day investigating a quadruple homicide, Detective Hoke Moseley settles into his room at the un-illustrious El Dorado Hotel and nurses a glass of brandy. With his guard down, he doesn’t think twice when he hears a knock on the door. The next day, he finds himself in the hospital, badly bruised and with his jaw wired shut. He thinks back over ten years of cases wondering who would want to beat him into unconsciousness, steal his gun and badge, and most importantly, make off with his prized dentures. But the pieces never quite add up to revenge,…


Book cover of Murder at Melrose Court: A 1920s Country House Christmas Murder

Kris Bock Author Of Something Shady at Sunshine Haven

From my list on mystery series when you need a laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I make a snarky remark during a party, chances are one person will catch my eye with the amused look that says, “I saw what you did there.” Everyone else will keep right on talking. But in a book, the reader is right there in the character’s head, which lets your audience catch those subtle humorous comments. In my mystery series, The Accidental Detective, Kate shares witty observations about life with the reader – making Kate funnier than I am. I don’t do as much slapstick and joking (in life or in fiction), but I enjoy writers who pull off those forms of humor well. Humor makes life’s challenges bearable

Kris' book list on mystery series when you need a laugh

Kris Bock Why did Kris love this book?

In this historical mystery set in the 1920s, the hero-narrator is likable and a bit goofy. He reminded me of Bertie Wooster in the Jeeves stories by PG Wodehouse, but Heathcliff is more intelligent. The mystery was complicated and puzzling, with added fun from the 1920s setting. It’s hard to investigate when phone lines are down and roads become impassable in poor weather. I've read the rest of the series, and they’re all pretty strong. Some move the action to Scotland or Egypt for extra 1920s travel excitement. They’re perfect reads when you want a light cozy with historical charm and some chuckles along the way.

By Karen Baugh Menuhin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Murder at Melrose Court as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book 1 in The Heathcliff Lennox series

It's 1920 and Christmas is coming. Major Lennox finds a body on his doorstep - why on his doorstep? Was it to do with the Countess? Was it about the ruby necklace? Lennox goes to Melrose Court home to his uncle, Lord Melrose, to uncover the mystery. But then the murders begin and it snows and it all becomes very complicated....

Major Heathcliff Lennox, ex-WW1 war pilot, six feet 3 inches, tousled, dark blond hair, age around 30 - named after the hero of Wuthering Heights by his romantically minded mother - much…


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 Word is Murder

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?

Another writer-hero, Anthony Horowitz writes as himself in this page-turning whodunit. Well-known for his television work on Midsomer Murders, Poirot, and Foyle’s War, Horowitz knows how to craft a mystery. When ex-cop turned private investigator Nathaniel Hawthorne approaches Horowitz about ghostwriting a book about his cases, Horowitz isn’t interested. Annoying and eccentric, Hawthorne isn’t someone Horowitz wants to be around, let alone write about. But when a famous actor’s wealthy mother is murdered six hours after planning her own funeral, Horowitz gets pulled into the investigation anyway. Though very much a Sherlock Holmes and Watson relationship, Hawthorne and Horowitz are more adversarial, making them an entertaining team. You want them to be friends, but then again, you don’t. The word isn’t just murder, but funny, engaging, and endearing, too.  

By Anthony Horowitz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'EASILY THE GREATEST OF OUR CRIME WRITERS' Sunday Times

Chosen as one of Crime Time's books of the year! If you enjoyed BBC's Sherlock, you'll LOVE The Word is Murder.
_________________

Buried secrets, murder and a trail of bloody clues lie at the heart of Anthony Horowitz's page-turning new detective series.

SHE PLANNED HER OWN FUNERAL. BUT DID SHE ARRANGE HER OWN MURDER?

A woman is strangled six hours after organising her own funeral.

Did she know she was going to die? Did she recognise her killer?

Daniel Hawthorne, a recalcitrant detective with secrets of his own, is on the…


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.

'EASILY THE GREATEST OF OUR CRIME WRITERS' SUNDAY TIMES

'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…


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