The best conspiracy books

Who picked these books? Meet our 48 experts.

48 authors created a book list connected to conspiracies, and here are their favorite conspiracy books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission

What type of conspiracy book?


Son of the Storm

By Suyi Davies Okungbowa,

Book cover of Son of the Storm

Eugen Bacon Author Of Mage of Fools

From the list on afro-centric speculative fiction from Africa.

Who am I?

I am an African Australian writer and have a deep passion for black people's stories. I write across genres and forms, and my award-winning works are mostly Afrocentric. I have a master's degree in distributed computer systems, with distinction, a master's degree in creative writing, and a PhD in creative writing. I am especially curious about unique voices in black speculative fiction in transformative stories of culture, diversity, climate change, writing the other, and betwixt. I am an author of several novels and fiction collections, and a finalist in the 2022 World Fantasy Award. I was announced in the honor list of the 2022 Otherwise Fellowships for ‘doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction’.

Eugen's book list on afro-centric speculative fiction from Africa

Discover why each book is one of Eugen's favorite books.

Why did Eugen love this book?

This first book in the Nameless Republic trilogy comes after Okungbowa’s award-winning novel, David Mogo Godhunter, where gods cast a new Lagos into chaos. Son of the Storm offers a powerful voice to women, featuring a prominent female cast in politics, greed, and revenge. Herein is a world strewn with betrayal and superstition. The story ends on a cliff, paving way for the second book in the trilogy by Orbit.  

By Suyi Davies Okungbowa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Son of the Storm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Fantastical beasts and forgotten magic propel a story about ambition and conspiracy." —Fonda Lee

"Everything I love to see in a fantasy story. Masterful." —Jenn Lyons

"[A]mbition and intrigue cause surprises on nearly every page." ―NPR Books

From city streets where secrets are bartered for gold to forests teeming with fabled beasts, a sweeping epic unfolds in this richly drawn fantasy inspired by the pre-colonial empires of West Africa. 

In this world, there is no destiny but the one you make.

In the ancient city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness—except he doesn’t…

Book cover of Leo Gray and the Lunar Eclipse

Evonne Blanchard Author Of Amelia, the Merballs and the Emerald Cannon

From the list on space books that will launch your kids into orbit.

Who am I?

I’m a science fiction and fantasy children’s book author, who loves everything about space and science fiction. I’ve been fascinated by space ever since I was little; mesmerized by clips of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon. As a teenager, War of the Worlds by H.G Wells was my favorite book! My daughter’s complete lack of interest in space inspired me to write a space adventure series. How could I make space entertaining? When it comes to children, I’m a big fan of mixing space facts with a dollop of space fiction, so I hope you will enjoy the collection of books on this list!

Evonne's book list on space books that will launch your kids into orbit

Discover why each book is one of Evonne's favorite books.

Why did Evonne love this book?

The year is 2113 and Leo Gray is like any other normal science-loving boy. Except for his incredibly embarrassing family of course, who weirdly insists on living and dressing like it’s still 2013! Poor Leo has to wear century-old outfits and live in a house full of ancient clocks and TVs. Meanwhile everyone else zips around on flying cars and wears the latest electronic clothes. Leo is desperate to win a science competition so that he can attend the lunar academy on the moon, but his Dad is equally determined to keep him here on earth. Twists and turns abound. Why are the trees disappearing? What about those mysterious aliens the Lunalings? Leo will uncover the truth. But will he have enough time to save Earth from destruction?

By K.J. Kruk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leo Gray and the Lunar Eclipse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What kid hasn't dreamed of going to the moon? That dream for eleven-year-old Leo Gray is about to come true-but he's in for the surprise of his life!
In the year 2113, most people live in robotically maintained homes, ride around in self-flying cars, and wear ozone-resistant clothes. Most people that is; just not Leo Gray's parents. They're stuck in the past, and science know-it-all Leo is completely fed up with his beyond-embarrassing living arrangement with them. But when he enters a rocket-building competition for a chance to attend the Lunar Academy, Leo's luck finally seems to turn in his…

Acts of Faith

By Philip Caputo,

Book cover of Acts of Faith

Nicholas Coghlan Author Of Collapse of a Country: A Diplomat's Memoir of South Sudan

From the list on how it all went wrong for South Sudan.

Who am I?

I grew up in Britain and emigrated to Canada in 1981. I was a late starter in the Canadian Foreign Service, which I joined for the not-very-laudable reason that I wanted to travel to interesting places and get paid for it. Little by little, starting with the 1994 Zapatista uprising in Mexico, I found myself drawn to conflictive states—Colombia, Pakistan, Sudan, South Sudan—where, with growing seniority and responsibility, it fell to me to recommend Canadian government approaches to aid, development, human rights, and conflict resolution. South Sudan is a tragedy that I can’t help thinking about. I can see where everything went wrong, but it’s much more difficult to see how it can be fixed.  

Nicholas' book list on how it all went wrong for South Sudan

Discover why each book is one of Nicholas' favorite books.

Why did Nicholas love this book?

Philip Caputo made his name—and won a Pulitzer—for a memoir of the Vietnam War. Acts of Faith is a novel but is equally searing: an indictment of adrenaline-driven aid junkies, missionaries, and uncritical western politicians who connived in the 1990s with African warlords to create what would become South Sudan. I turned the pages of this book with a growing sense of familiarity. Many of Caputo’s characters—the soldiers, the bush pilots, the priests—are based on real people that I knew. But you don’t need to know the history to find this a compelling read.

By Philip Caputo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Philip Caputo’s tragic and epically ambitious new novel is set in Sudan, where war is a permanent condition. Into this desolate theater come aid workers, missionaries, and mercenaries of conscience whose courage and idealism sometimes coexist with treacherous moral blindness. There’s the entrepreneurial American pilot who goes from flying food and medicine to smuggling arms, the Kenyan aid worker who can’t help seeing the tawdry underside of his enterprise, and the evangelical Christian who comes to Sudan to redeem slaves and falls in love with a charismatic rebel commander.

As their fates intersect and our understanding of their characters deepens,…

Red Widow

By Alma Katsu,

Book cover of Red Widow

JJ Savaunt Author Of Barren

From the list on detecting bullsh*t.

Who am I?

Writing is my life. As a child I wrote poems, scripts, and short stories. A couple of decades, a BCALA literary award, and a three-book deal later, my wild imagination has grown into a passion for exposing the truth. In 2020, a third of the 300,000 missing women in the United States were Black, and in that same year, I was almost a victim of human trafficking myself. With this second chance, I write to bring awareness and attention to women who cannot speak for themselves. I write to shed light on the truth and these five books have helped me on my journey.  

JJ's book list on detecting bullsh*t

Discover why each book is one of JJ's favorite books.

Why did JJ love this book?

This action-packed spy thriller kept me on edge from the first chapter mostly due to the beautiful prose, but also because it depicts the CIA in an accessible way. The book taught me to analyze people based on not their words or actions, but their intentions. Diving headfirst into the political hierarchy of the esteemed agency, this book highlights that no one—especially the co-worker you sit next to and eat lunch with every day—can be trusted. Fun and fast-paced, Red Widow drops you in a body of water and just when you think you’re in a swimming pool, you find out you’re in the ocean. 

By Alma Katsu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A wicked sharp spy novel…Equal parts Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Killing Eve.” –S. A. Cosby, author of Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears

An exhilarating spy thriller written by an intelligence veteran about two women CIA agents whose paths become intertwined around a threat to the Russia Division--one that's coming from inside the agency.

Lyndsey Duncan worries her career with the CIA might be over. After lines are crossed with another intelligence agent during an assignment, she is sent home to Washington on administrative leave. So when a former colleague--now Chief of the Russia Division--recruits her for an internal investigation,…

Kushiel's Dart

By Jacqueline Carey,

Book cover of Kushiel's Dart

Tom Doyle Author Of Olympian Games: Agent of Exiles 2

From the list on alternate/secret histories that blew my mind.

Who am I?

I love history, and it infuses most of my fiction. Since I first picked up a book, I’ve never stopped learning about the past. Now, I listen to college courses and podcasts and read books both popular and academic. Sometimes this is for my writing or personal travel, but those things are often just excuses for the fun of immersion in a subject. I particularly enjoy reading and writing alternate/secret history because it merges creative imagination with factual scholarship. But I’m picky about the use of history in all media—factual sloppiness bumps me out of a story as quickly as bad physics drives a scientist from an SF movie. 

Tom's book list on alternate/secret histories that blew my mind

Discover why each book is one of Tom's favorite books.

Why did Tom love this book?

After I quit my law firm and was trying to decide what (if anything) I wanted to write, I read Kushiel’s Dart. This book convinced me that whatever stories I wanted to tell, no matter how extreme, I could tell them within science fiction/fantasy. And it really puts the “alternate” in alternate history.

During the Roman Empire, angels came to earth and mated with mortals in the area of modern France, again producing a race like the biblical Nephilim, only sexier, and with one commandment: “Love as thou wilt.” In this Europe that never knew a dark age, the angels’ descendants pursue love, power, and intrigue, and at the center of their plots is Phèdre, a courtesan spy fighting to save her land from betrayal.

Shocking and wonderful stuff! 

By Jacqueline Carey,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Kushiel's Dart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The lush epic fantasy that inspired a generation with a single precept: Love As Thou Wilt

The first book in the Kushiel's Legacy series is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. A world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, deposed rulers and a besieged Queen, a warrior-priest, the Prince of Travelers, barbarian warlords, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess...all seen through the unflinching eyes of an unforgettable heroine.

A nation born of angels, vast and intricate and surrounded by danger... a woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm...


The Chancellor Manuscript

By Robert Ludlum,

Book cover of The Chancellor Manuscript: A Novel

Gary McAvoy Author Of The Magdalene Deception

From the list on reads if you don’t feel like sleeping.

Who am I?

Apart from being an armchair historian and author of thriller and suspense novels, I’ve been a lifelong collector of original handwritten historical manuscripts—parchments and papyri from medieval times, papal documents from the Middle Ages, ancient illuminated manuscripts from hundreds of years ago, Gregorian chanting parchments…anything memorializing the human need to communicate and tell stories or document historical events. My home is like a museum, with framed historic written memorabilia on every wall, precious reminders of moments in time when someone thought what they were doing needed to be documented, usually in some form of achingly beautiful calligraphy when art was more important than expediency.

Gary's book list on reads if you don’t feel like sleeping

Discover why each book is one of Gary's favorite books.

Why did Gary love this book?

Robert Ludlum has been a favorite author of mine for years and was the inspiration for me to become a writer myself some thirty years ago. His plotlines are so intricately woven you question whether the stories are actually true. Of course, he’s best known for the Jason Bourne series, but those weren’t my favorite of his books. The Chancellor Manuscript stands out for its breathtakingly intricate plotting and well-drawn characters. One of those books you can read again years later and it will still be fresh.

By Robert Ludlum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“[The Chancellor Manuscript] exerts a riveting appeal, as it seems to justify our worst nightmares of what really goes on in the so-called intelligence community in Washington.”—The New York Times Book Review

Did J. Edgar Hoover die a natural death? Or was he murdered? When a group of high-minded and high-placed intellectuals known as Inver Brass detect a monstrous threat to the country in Hoover’s unethical use of his scandal-ridden private files, they decide to do away with him—quietly, efficiently, with no hint of impropriety. Then bestselling thriller writer Peter Chancellor stumbles onto information that makes his previous books look…

The Peculiarities

By David Liss,

Book cover of The Peculiarities

Sean Gibson Author Of The Camelot Shadow: A Novel

From the list on mix magic and mystery with history.

Who am I?

I made the mistake of reading Dracula as an eight-year-old (thanks, Mom and Dad, for paying attention to what I brought home from school book fairs). Beyond disrupting my sleep pattern, there were two significant consequences to this decision: 1) I became enthralled with the intersection of historical detail, mystery, and magic, an enchantment that continues to this day; and 2) I ultimately majored in English literature, with a concentration in Victorian literature. To my professors’ chagrin, I put that education to use in concocting my own historically-based magical mysteries (sorry, Dr. Steinitz). But hey—I’ve always got good recommendations in this milieu.

Sean's book list on mix magic and mystery with history

Discover why each book is one of Sean's favorite books.

Why did Sean love this book?

The Peculiarities offers a delightful and occasionally droll mix of alternate history, mystery, the arcane, and Victorian atmosphere. Liss, who writes killer historical fiction, has been spreading his tendrils into more fantastic fare of late and he’s got a real gift for it. The characters he develops over the course of this fantastical tale are so endearing that I took my time down the homestretch of this book because I didn’t want it to come to an end; I wanted to keep hanging out with them…even the notorious—and in Liss’s hands, occasionally rakish—Aleister Crowley. 

By David Liss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Buzzfeed Best Book of the Month

From popular historical fiction author David Liss (A Conspiracy of Paper) comes the tale of a clueless young man embroiled in a deadly supernatural mystery in Victorian London. Rooted in strange conspiracies and secret societies, this absurdist comedic romp combines strange bedfellows with murderous creatures, resulting in an unexpectedly delightful consequences.

“Intricate plotting, exquisite pacing, crackling suspense, and fascinating historical rabbit hole revelations.”
—Shelf Awareness

Thomas’s problems are more serious than those of a typical young Victorian gentleman. His elder brother may be sabotaging the family’s bank. His childhood friend has died under…

Book cover of The Terror Conspiracy: Deception, 9/11 & the Loss of Liberty

DC Alden Author Of The Angola Deception

From the list on coverups and conspiracies.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a voracious reader, and from an early age I was drawn to military, political, and science fiction thrillers because they explored a world of black operations, ruthless cabals, and clandestine government programmes. Later, I discovered that such a world exists, one where the military-industrial complex exerts enormous power and influence, a world of secretive global agendas, of dark actors controlling corrupt politicians, and cold-blooded military contractors, their allegiances no longer tied to any national flag but to mega-wealth cabals, offshore accounts, and vast pension funds. A world of shadows, where the light rarely shines, and the truth remains hidden. A truth often stranger than fiction.

DC's book list on coverups and conspiracies

Discover why each book is one of DC's favorite books.

Why did DC love this book?

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Satam al-Suqami, a hijacker aboard American Airlines Flight 11, died when the aircraft slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre. Miraculously, his passport survived the devastating impact and landed intact on the street several blocks from the World Trade Centre. The black boxes from both Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, built to withstand air crashes, did not survive.

This is one of many incredible facts to emerge in the aftermath of the world’s deadliest terror attack, and New York Times best-selling journalist Jim Marrs does an exceptional job of exposing many of the inconsistencies in the official narrative that led to the ‘War on Terror’ and, as Marrs argues, the quiet war on liberty and freedom. A must-read for those who suspect that there was more to that terrible day than meets the eye.

By Jim Marrs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jim Marrs presents the official government pronouncement on 9/11 as an obvious conspiracy. The only question is whose conspiracy it was. According to the government, the conspiracy involved about nineteen suicidal Middle Eastern Muslim terrorists, their hearts full of hatred for American freedom and democracy, who hijacked four airliners, crashing two into the Twin Towers of New York City’s World Trade Center and a third into the Pentagon, near Washington, DC. The fourth airliner reportedly crashed in western Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to overcome the hijackers. To add insult to injury, this whole incredible Mission Impossible operation, which defeated a…

Three Days to Never

By Tim Powers,

Book cover of Three Days to Never: A Novel

Tone Milazzo Author Of The Faith Machine

From the list on spies in strange places.

Who am I?

Spies are everywhere across the panorama of fictional tropes, in fantasy, science fiction, horror, and historical fiction. Spies are like salt. No matter the genre, drop a little espionage into the mix, and it tastes better. There’s an inherent complexity to a spy, a dichotomy baked into the profession, simultaneously a criminal and an agent of the government. A spy could be a one-man-army, a smooth-talker, or someone inside your computer network, but no matter who they really are, they’re never who they seem. The spy plays with identity, loyalty, and integrity in ways that the worst of us do but is safely compartmentalized in fiction for our enjoyment.

Tone's book list on spies in strange places

Discover why each book is one of Tone's favorite books.

Why did Tone love this book?

Tim Powers is my #1 role model. His secret history novels take a figure or incident from history that happens to be surrounded by unexplained weirdness, then explain all these strange, loose threads through the supernatural. His work scratches the itch for both history buffs and the (harmlessly) conspiracy-minded.

To call Three Days to Never a supernatural thriller would be reductionist. Powers casts a wide net when gathering story elements; Einstein’s fictional, time-traveling family is the centerpiece, but Mossad agents, a collective of magicians, and Charlie Chaplin’s legacy are all thrown into the mix. All are seeking the secret to time travel.

Powers writes free from the limitations of the genre. Breaking the boundaries imposed by marketing and showing the reader what’s possible when the imagination is unbound.

By Tim Powers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Three Days to Never as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Three Days to Never by Tim Powers is a whip-smart scientific thriller cum fantasy novel that posits: what happened to Albert Enistein’s scientific discoveries that haven’t been unveiled? The answer lies in a old Charlie Chaplin movie, the Mossad, and an ancient European faction that will go to any lengths to keep past sins secret.

A young tween and her college professor father must quickly unveil the mystery of a potential weapon more deadly than an atomic bomb or our world—past, present, and future will be destroyed.

In this edition that includes additional insights from the author, background material, suggestions…

The Last Cuentista

By Donna Barba Higuera,

Book cover of The Last Cuentista

Alexandra V. Méndez Author Of What the Jaguar Told Her

From the list on the power of stories and finding your voice.

Who am I?

Stories and the myriad ways they’re told fascinate me. Growing up in Atlanta with Mexican and American heritage, I first learned about Mexican códices—centuries-old books that tell stories through images—on a trip to visit family in Mexico. Later, I studied the history and literature of Latin America at Harvard and got a Ph.D. in Latin American and Iberian Cultures and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. I’ve studied storytelling in many forms, from Mesoamerican maps to early Spanish chronicles of exploration and invasion, to modern Latin American novels. The books listed here celebrate oral storytelling, written traditions, and artistic expression, and they take seriously the perspectives of young people.

Alexandra's book list on the power of stories and finding your voice

Discover why each book is one of Alexandra's favorite books.

Why did Alexandra love this book?

Twelve-year-old Petra Peña tenderly recounts family stories about Earth in a dystopian, sci-fi context far from our home planet.

Her memories and stories evoke a beauty that clashes spectacularly with the aseptic spaceship and the repressive government that takes control of it. What kept me turning pages were Petra’s strong relationships with her family—including her grandmother, Lita, who tells her old Mexican legends, and her little brother, Javier—and the way Petra’s stories reflect these strong, human relationships.

When she tells stories to younger kids on the spaceship, it is a subversive act that brings the characters closer. I resonated with the novel’s message that stories are a way to bring people together despite the odds, and they are vital to the survival of humanity as we know it. 

By Donna Barba Higuera,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An unforgettable journey through the stars, to the very heart of what makes us human. The incredible Newbery Medal-winning novel from Donna Barba Higuera.

"Gripping in its twists and turns, and moving in its themes - truly a beautiful cuento."

Habia una vez . . .

There lived a girl named Petra Pena, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita.

But Petra's world is ending. Earth will soon be destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children - among them Petra and her family - have…

Rule by Secrecy

By Jim Marrs,

Book cover of Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids

Anthony Lo Cascio Author Of Food As A Prescription: A Handbook for Those Currently On or Prescribed a Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Corn-Free and/or Dairy-Free Diet

From the list on life-changing books.

Who am I?

Being a worldwide entertainer, I lived a lot of life in a short period of time. It takes something unusual and of high quality to really get my attention or make an impact on me. These books fit that bill. They kept me entertained & interested in the knowledge they possess. I strive to seek information that isn’t typically presented in everyday life. I hope these books & their subjects will have a huge impact on you as well.

Anthony's book list on life-changing books

Discover why each book is one of Anthony's favorite books.

Why did Anthony love this book?

Rule by Secrecy was an eye-opening, non-fiction book that gave me a greater understanding of the world we live in. The historical background it taught me about humanity and how it was developed changed my whole perspective on the world and how I approached it. I found the material fascinating.

By Jim Marrs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rule by Secrecy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What secrets connect Egypt's Great Pyramids, the Freemasons, and the Council on Foreign Relations? In this astonishing book, celebrated journalist Jim Marrs examines the world's most closely guarded secrets, tracing the history of clandestine societies and the power they have wielded - from the ancient mysteries to modern-day conspiracy theories. Searching for truth, he uncovers disturbing evidence that the real movers and shakers of the world collude covertly to start and stop wars, manipulate stock markets, maintain class distinctions, and even censor the news. Provocative and utterly compelling, Rule by Secrecy offers a singular worldview that may explain who we…

A Winter's Promise

By Christelle Dabos, Hildegarde Serle (translator),

Book cover of A Winter's Promise

Astrid Carlen-Helmer Author Of The Demon King’s Interpreter

From the list on capturing France's most epic love stories.

Who am I?

I am a French-American writer with a passion for young adult stories and flawed female characters. Born and raised in France in a household without a TV, I spent my entire childhood reading avidly, which in turn led me to study Literature and Film. In fact, most of my life, I have been inspired by novels that offer windows into new worlds that open up possibilities. Some of the novels from the list below feature some of my favorite characters, and provide insights into other worlds and other times. 

Astrid's book list on capturing France's most epic love stories

Discover why each book is one of Astrid's favorite books.

Why did Astrid love this book?

Beneath her shabby scarf and thick glasses, Ophelia hides singular gifts: she can read the past of objects, and walk through mirrors, into other worlds.

Unexpectedly betrothed to an icy foreigner, Thorn, Ophelia is torn from her peaceful home and must learn to survive in a new place, cold and cruel. She quickly comes to realize that she is at the center of a conspiracy that could threaten the entire universe.

This fantasy novel is richly layered and incredibly gripping. But while the plot and world are brilliantly crafted, what truly stuck with me is the “will they, won’t they” love story at its core, so emotional you won’t be able to put the book down. 

By Christelle Dabos, Hildegarde Serle (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Winter's Promise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Amazon Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book of 2018

One of Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best YA Books of 2018

One of Publishers Weekly's Best YA Book of the Year

A National Indie Bestseller

Longlisted for Irish YA prize Great Reads Award

Lose yourself in the fantastic world of the arks and in the company of unforgettable characters in this French runaway hit, Christelle Dabos’ The Mirror Visitor quartet.

Plain-spoken, headstrong Ophelia cares little about appearances. Her ability to read the past of objects is unmatched in all of Anima and, what’s more, she possesses the ability to travel through mirrors, a skill passed…

Gone Tomorrow

By Lee Child,

Book cover of Gone Tomorrow

Susan Fleet Author Of Guilty

From the list on crime with a quirky series character.

Who am I?

My print-journalist father covered the crime beat. He often took me with him to the police station and I got hooked on crime. My background is eclectic, a professional trumpet player with a BA in Mathematics and a Masters in Fine Arts. While teaching at Berklee College of Music in Boston, I discovered my dark side and began writing crime thrillers. Most are inspired by actual events or news reports about stalkers, domestic homicides, or serial killers. In 2001, I moved to New Orleans. My crime thriller series features NOPD Homicide Detective Frank Renzi. I'm fortunate to be able to consult three former NOPD homicide detectives who advise me on police procedures and investigations.

Susan's book list on crime with a quirky series character

Discover why each book is one of Susan's favorite books.

Why did Susan love this book?

Picture Jack Reacher on an NYC subway car at 2 AM with a suicide bomber. Will she blow up the car and everyone in it? I love how Lee Child keeps us in suspense, not just for a page or two, for twenty-seven pages! Reacher finds out the woman had a dangerous secret, but everyone he talks to lies to him. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger and more questions. 

But many people want Reacher to stop asking questions: a former Delta Force operative running for the US Senate, two Al Qaeda agents, NYC cops, and FBI agents. They want Reacher to get lost and forget the suicide bomber. Fat chance! The complex plot will intrigue you. The climactic ending will terrify you even more than the suicide bomber.

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Enhances his status as a mythic avenger. . .You'll be left with a thumping heart and a racing pulse but, be warned, Chapter 63 will give you nightmares." (Evening Standard)

Suicide bombers are easy to spot.
They give out all kinds of tell-tale signs.There are twelve things to look for.No one who has worked in law enforcement will ever forget them.

New York City.The subway, two o'clock in the morning.
Jack Reacher studies his fellow passengers.Four are OK.The fifth isn't.
The train brakes for Grand Central Station.

Will Reacher intervene, and save lives?
Or is he wrong?Will his intervention cost…

Reclaiming History

By Vincent Bugliosi,

Book cover of Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Gerald Posner Author Of Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

From the list on who killed JFK.

Who am I?

I was in the fourth grade when JFK was assassinated. I grew up in the late 1960s as conspiracy theories about ‘who killed Kennedy’ flourished. Jack Ruby’s murder of Oswald made me suspect the mafia played a role. After Oliver Stone’s controversial 1991 JFK film, I convinced a publisher to allow me to reexamine the assassination. I did not expect to solve the case. Halfway through my research, however, I realized there was an answer to ‘who killed Kennedy.’ It was not what I had expected. I discovered that the story of how a 24-year-old sociopath armed with a $12 rifle managed to kill the president was a far more fascinating one than I could have ever envisioned.

Gerald's book list on who killed JFK

Discover why each book is one of Gerald's favorite books.

Why did Gerald love this book?

Bugliosi, the famed former Los Angeles prosecutor of Charles Manson, directs his attention to dismissing the conspiracy theories in the JFK murder in his massive (1648 page) tome. Bugliosi writes with the caustic tone of a prosecutor and covers just about every issue in some detail. It is a great reference book and concludes that Oswald alone killed Kennedy. Published 14 years after Case Closed, I often refer to it as Case Still Closed.

By Vincent Bugliosi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At 1:00 p.m. on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead, the victim of a sniper attack during his motorcade through Dallas. That may be the only fact generally agreed upon in the vast literature spawned by the assassination. National polls reveal that an overwhelming majority of Americans (75%) believe that there was a high-level conspiracy behind Lee Harvey Oswald. Many even believe that Oswald was entirely innocent. In this continuously absorbing, powerful, ground-breaking book, Vincent Bugliosi shows how we have come to believe such lies about an event that changed the course of history.

The brilliant…

Six Days of the Condor

By James Grady,

Book cover of Six Days of the Condor

Jonathan Payne Author Of Citizen Orlov

From the list on spy thrillers for readers of literary fiction.

Who am I?

I’m a reader and writer of thrillers, especially espionage, but I also love literary fiction, including contemporary writers like Kazuo Ishiguro, Mohsin Hamid, and Amor Towles. And I enjoy reading classic writers including Gogol, Dostoyevsky, and Kafka. So, when it comes to reading thrillers, I gravitate towards those that are very well written, with precise prose and evocative imagery. This is my crossover list of the best five spy thrillers for readers of literary fiction. If you’re a literary reader interested in dabbling in a bit of espionage, these five books would be a great place to start.  

Jonathan's book list on spy thrillers for readers of literary fiction

Discover why each book is one of Jonathan's favorite books.

Why did Jonathan love this book?

This spot very nearly went to the great John le Carre, perhaps his brilliant The Little Drummer Girl.

Grady’s debut is not as complex or as dense as le Carre, but it holds a special place in my heart, partly because of its back story.

Grady was a young congressional staffer in my adopted hometown of Washington, DC when he dreamed up a covert CIA unit whose role is to monitor foreign intelligence operations by scouring books and magazines from around the world.

When the novel was adapted into the movie Three Days of the Condor, it was seen by KGB generals who—assuming it was based on truth—set up a similar unit of their own. Amazing but true.

By James Grady,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Six Days of the Condor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'From the bottom of the stairwell Malcolm could only see that the room appeared to be empty. Mrs Russell wasn't at her desk. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed that Dr. Lappe's door was partially open. There was a peculiar odour in the room . Malcolm tossed the sandwich bags on top of Walter's desk and slowly mounted the stairs.

'He found the sources of the odour. As usual, Mrs Russell had been standing behind her desk when they entered. The blast from the machine gun in the mailman's pouch had knocked her almost as far back…

The Stranger

By Harlan Coben,

Book cover of The Stranger

Robert Darke Author Of The Accidental Courier

From the list on thrillers to keep you reading until the wee hours.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a thrill seeker ever since I was a child when I was often in trouble for going on some adventure or other. Before turning to writing, my career included investigative elements from being a customs officer catching smugglers to detecting fraudsters. Later in life, I learned to ride motorcycles and biking has become a new passion of mine. Small wonder then that I enjoy reading thrillers, and now writing them. I’ve published two fast-paced novels and am currently working on my next full-length project. I sincerely hope you get the same pleasure and enjoyment as I did from my book recommendations. 

Robert's book list on thrillers to keep you reading until the wee hours

Discover why each book is one of Robert's favorite books.

Why did Robert love this book?

Harlan Coben has created various series-character books but my favourites are without doubt his stand-alone novels. Of these, I’ve chosen The Stranger as it starts when the ‘stranger’ in the title sidles up to a man in a bar and tells him a secret that will change his life forever. The stranger’s motives do not immediately become apparent until quite late in the book. Coben is always inventive and maintains interest throughout. In the case of his stand-alone novels, I like that he involves ordinary people becoming embroiled in extraordinary circumstances. His characters are believable and relatable and, as he tightens his grip, you fear for them and this fear builds for the reader and is maintained right until the end.

By Harlan Coben,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


A secret destroys a man’s perfect life and sends him on a collision course with a deadly conspiracy in this shocking thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben.

The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. Their identity is unknown. Their motives are unclear. Their information is undeniable. Then they whisper a few words in your ear and disappear, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world...

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a…

The Sorcerer's Tale

By Alec Ryrie,

Book cover of The Sorcerer's Tale: Faith and Fraud in Tudor England

Darren Oldridge Author Of Strange Histories: The Trial of the Pig, the Walking Dead, and Other Matters of Fact from the Medieval and Renaissance Worlds

From the list on dangerous spirits.

Who am I?

I fell in love with history when I saw how it led to alternative ways of seeing the world – ways of understanding things that are now largely abandoned. I do not believe in “dangerous spirits.” But I know that people much smarter than me once took them for granted and thought carefully about their various activities. My work tries to recreate this lost intellectual landscape. In books like Strange Histories and The Devil: A Very Short Introduction, I have done my best to map out this landscape for general readers. This complements my academic role as Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Worcester.  

Darren's book list on dangerous spirits

Discover why each book is one of Darren's favorite books.

Why did Darren love this book?

A neglected classic of popular history. This book taught me things about the history of magic that now seem so obvious and important that I wonder how I missed them before. Ryrie tells the story of the fraudulent magician Gregory Wisdom, whose deception of a Tudor nobleman led to allegations of attempted murder by witchcraft. More broadly, he reveals a world in which the widespread acceptance of occult phenomena made counterfeit magic alluringly credible, and charlatans co-existed with “genuine” practitioners of magic. I know of no other book that describes the twilight world of fake and real sorcery with such vividness and insight.

By Alec Ryrie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An earl's son, plotting murder by witchcraft; conjuring spirits to find buried treasure; a stolen coat embroidered with pure silver; crooked gaming-houses and brothels; a terrifying new disease, and the self-trained surgeon who claims he can treat it.

This is the world of Gregory Wisdom, a physician, magician, and consummate con-man at work in sixteenth-century London. In this book, Alec Ryrie uses previously unknown documents to reconstruct this extraordinary man's career. The journey takes us through the cut-throat business of early modern medicine, down to Tudor London's gangland of fraud and organized crime; from the world of Renaissance magi and…

The Hit

By David Baldacci,

Book cover of The Hit

Lee Gimenez Author Of The Media Murders

From the list on murder mystery from award-winning thriller author.

Who am I?

I’m a mystery writer and I’ve had 16 award-winning novels published. I also love to read mystery and thriller novels, and I read them voraciously. I’m best known for my highly-acclaimed J.T. Ryan mysteries and I was a Finalist for the Author Academy Award. Also, many of my books were Featured Novels of the International Thriller Writers Association. I’m also a multi-year nominee for the Georgia Author of the Year Award. 

Lee's book list on murder mystery from award-winning thriller author

Discover why each book is one of Lee's favorite books.

Why did Lee love this book?

The Hit is my favorite of David Baldacci's many novels. It's a page-turning, pulse-racing action thriller with one of the best plots I've ever read. I found Will Robie, the main character in the book, a riveting personality. He's a U.S. government agent and the man the government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst. No one can match Robie's talents as a hitman. No one, except Jessica Reel. A fellow assassin, Reel is every bit as lethal as Robie. And now she's gone rogue, turning her gun sights on other members of their agency. I found the captivating characters, the plot line, and the relentless pace of this novel a great read. It kept me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the last.

By David Baldacci,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Hit is David Baldacci's blockbuster follow up to The Innocent, the smash-hit bestseller featuring U.S. government assassin, Will Robie.


Government hitman Will Robie is an elite killer. Called on by the US authorities to assassinate enemies of the state, his formidable skill set makes him an irreplaceable asset to his employers. But when he's given his next target, he knows he's about to embark on his toughest mission yet.

Reports indicate fellow assassin Jessica Reel has gone rogue, leaving a trail of deaths in her wake including her handler. To stop…


By Andy Weir,

Book cover of Artemis

Sarena Straus Author Of ReInception

From the list on science fiction with kick ass female characters.

Who am I?

I've always loved science fiction, but first developed my love for storytelling as a prosecutor in the Bronx where I would weave the tale of a crime into a coherent story for a jury’s consideration. After several years of prosecuting sex crimes and crimes against children, and publishing a book about that experience, I had enough of the real world and returned to my first love for novel writing. Science fiction is a male-dominated field and most sci-fi heroes are male. My greatest influences are male characters and authors, but I always wished for more diversity in the genre. I’m excited to share this passion and hope it will inspire authors and readers!  

Sarena's book list on science fiction with kick ass female characters

Discover why each book is one of Sarena's favorite books.

Why did Sarena love this book?

Jazz Bashara, Andy Weir’s bad-ass female MC in Artemis, is one of my favorite female sci-fi protagonists of all time. Jazz is a “moon-girl” who makes her living on the Moon’s first city by using her job as a porter to smuggle contraband onto rocket deliveries via a childhood pal on Earth. An apostate Muslim, Jazz is wicked smart, funny as hell, and has a morale code that defies logic yet, somehow, makes complete sense. Weir brings his signature sense of humor to this character without dumbing her down or sexing her up. He takes us on a great adventure as she blows things up, especially her relationships, and then tries to repair the damage without getting deported from the Moon or, worse yet, disappointing her father. 

By Andy Weir,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The bestselling author of The Martian returns with an irresistible new near-future thriller—a heist story set on the moon.

Jasmine Bashara never signed up to be a hero. She just wanted to get rich.
Not crazy, eccentric-billionaire rich, like many of the visitors to her hometown of Artemis, humanity’s first and only lunar colony. Just rich enough to move out of her coffin-sized apartment and eat something better than flavored algae. Rich enough to pay off a debt she’s owed for a long time.
So when a chance at a huge score finally comes her way, Jazz can’t say no.…


By Rachael Sparks,

Book cover of Resistant: A Novel

Evette Davis Author Of 48 States

From the list on being scared of the future (if you enjoy that).

Who am I?

I’ve worked in journalism, politics, and public policy for 30-plus years and watched as the extreme voices gained the most traction on either side of a debate. On social media, these minority views often dominate the discussion. 48 States is a stand-alone novel highlighting the problems of extremist viewpoints in a civil society. I also have another book series that features a political consultant who discovers she's a witch and joins a secret society that uses magic to manipulate elections to protect humanity. Bottom line: if I can’t fix political discourse for a living, I can write science fiction novels that contemplate how to do it.

Evette's book list on being scared of the future (if you enjoy that)

Discover why each book is one of Evette's favorite books.

Why did Evette love this book?

I came across this little gem of a novel through Libby, the app I use to borrow ebooks from the San Francisco Public Library. What I liked about the story's premise was the idea of bacteria evolving beyond what modern antibiotics can manage and how that could turn a simple paper cut into a deadly injury. 

By Rachael Sparks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A thrilling debut in the style of Crichton or A.G. Riddle, Resistant imagines a chilling-and entirely plausible-future where antibiotics don't work, and weaves adventure, romance, and science into a thrilling chase for a cure.

In the final battle with drug-resistant bacteria, one woman's blood holds a secret weapon.

Rory and her father have survived the antibiotic crisis that has killed millions, including Rory's mother-but ingenuity and perseverance aren't their only advantages. When a stoic and scarred young military veteran enters their quiet life, Rory is drawn to him against her better judgment . . . until he exposes the secrets…