The most recommended books on contract killing

Who picked these books? Meet our 27 experts.

27 authors created a book list connected to contract killing, and here are their favorite contract killing books.
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What type of contract killing book?


Book cover of Fletch

Gayleen Froese Author Of The Girl Whose Luck Ran Out

From my list on hard-boiled comfort reads for a disappointing world.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was nine years old, I joined a book club. The members were me and my dad. He’d throw detective books into my room when he was done with them, and I’d read them. We’d never discuss them. But that’s why hard-boiled detective fiction is comfort food for me and how I know it so well. I’ve been binging on it most of my life and learning everything the shamus-philosophers had to teach me. Now I write my own, the Ben Ames series, for the joy of paying it forward.

Gayleen's book list on hard-boiled comfort reads for a disappointing world

Gayleen Froese Why did Gayleen love this book?

When my shoulder are in knots, I can get a massage, or I can reread Fletch.

If you know the book, that will seem weird. It’s not a pretty story and it’s got a pile of seventies misogyny and homophobia that definitely grates. This is not a comfort read. Except it is, for me, because I.M. Fletcher is an artist in the medium of trouble.

This is the story of Fletch’s impossible mountain of problems, personal and professional, and watching him work makes me feel like I’ve seen someone solve a Rubik’s cube underwater with their eyes closed. At the start, a mess. At the end, elegance. Everything is sorted and resolved, no matter how reprehensibly Fletch got it done. My neck tension releases. I can go to bed.

By Gregory McDonald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book one in the bestselling mystery series that brought to life an iconic literary antihero of subversion and schemes
Fletch, investigative reporter extraordinaire, can’t be bothered with deadlines or expense-account budgets when it comes to getting his story.

Working undercover at the beach to dig up a drug-trafficking scheme for his next blockbuster piece, Fletch is invited into a much deeper narrative. Alan Stanwyk, CEO of Collins Aviation and all-around family man, mistakes the reporter for a strung-out vagabond and asks him for a favor: kill him and escape to Brazil with $50,000. Intrigued, Fletch can’t help but dig into…

Book cover of One of Us

Nikki Dudley Author Of Volta

From my list on memory and forgetting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by the idea of memory. What sticks in your mind, what is lost, what can be manipulated, how you see things in different ways to others, and how sometimes you can’t trust even your own memories. I studied psychology at A-level and that sparked an interest in me, especially in terms of repression and learned behaviours. I studied creative writing to MA level at university, where I wrote my first thriller, which also focuses on memory. I’m always searching for reads that make me look at human nature differently, or break me out of routine and can offer a surprise. Surprises keep things interesting! 

Nikki's book list on memory and forgetting

Nikki Dudley Why did Nikki love this book?

This is a sci-fi thriller with amazing concepts and a page-turning story! Meet Hap Thompson – his job is to take on other people’s memories. He carries bad memories for a few hours and gets paid for the privilege. When he gets landed with a bad memory by someone who won’t take it back, he finds himself on the run. Then, people start disappearing… This is a fab read – refreshing different with some sci-fi elements, but still a thriller by nature. Michael Marshall Smith’s writing is both dark, humorous, and inventive. I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect novel but for the ideas about memory and forgetting, it delivers a lot.

By Michael Marshall Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A mesmerising SF thriller from a master of the genre. Hap Thompson is a REMtemp, working the night hours, having people's anxiety dreams for them. For the first time in his life, Hap's making big money - and that should have been enough...

Hap Thompson has finally found something he can do better than anyone else. And it's legal. Almost. Hap's a REMtemp, working the night hours, having people's anxiety dreams for them. For the first time in his life, Hap's making big money - and that should have been enough.

But then Hap is made an offer he just…

Book cover of The Hitman's Guide to Making Friends and Finding Love

Barbara Elsborg Author Of Strangers

From my list on romance books to make you smile.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read lots of different genres, but my greatest passion in both writing and reading is romance. Though I am picky! I need humour in the stories. They don’t have to be funny on every page but I do like to smile occasionally when I’m reading. The ability to weave a plot, create interesting characters, and include humour is something I admire greatly. Even in the thrillers and suspense novels I read, it’s those touches of humour that bring the story to life for me. In the 50+ books I’ve written, none are without that spark of fun. Throw in a happy ever after – and you have a perfect romance, guaranteed to brighten the darkest of days. 

Barbara's book list on romance books to make you smile

Barbara Elsborg Why did Barbara love this book?

This book was the first I read by Alice Winters and it is laugh-out-loud funny. I see a lot of books that claim to be that, but this one really is. Alice has a great turn of phrase and you can’t help but fall in love with her characters. Leland is truly one of a kind. I went on to read every book she has ever written! That doesn’t happen very often for me.  

By Alice Winters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hitman's Guide to Making Friends and Finding Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What happens when a snarky hitman and a by-the-book PI cross paths? Leland Being a hitman has its perks, but I never thought getting an accidental mooning by an attractive PI while he’s caught on a fence would be one of them. While it’s not exactly love at first sight, he’s captured my interest and won’t let go.Suddenly, I find myself caught in a game of cat and mouse, determined to attract the attention of Jackson, the PI who should be my enemy. He pretends like he’s not flattered by my flowers and the mentions of my totally-not-fictitious blow-up doll…

Book cover of The Winter of Frankie Machine

Anthony Schneider Author Of Lowdown: A Mafia Romance Thriller

From my list on character-driven gangsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up on a diet of The Godfather, The Sopranos, thrillers, and gangster novels, and living in New York City with eye-opening trips to Sicily, I became slightly obsessed with the Mafia. I came to see the American Mafia as a quintessentially American fabric, woven of family, power, immigrants, money, history, loyalty, legacy, and, yes, crime.  

Anthony's book list on character-driven gangsters

Anthony Schneider Why did Anthony love this book?

Retired hitman Frankie Machianno thinks he’s left the past behind and can focus on the things that matter—wife, mistress, daughter, surfing, perfect kitchen, roasting coffee, cooking.

But someone is coming for him and wants him dead. The problem is: Frankie doesn’t know who. As he tries to figure it out, we learn about Frank, his family, his lover, and his past, from San Diego beach bum to mafia “button man.”

He’s my favorite kind of gangster—the good guy bad guy—and I couldn’t help but like Frank and fear for his life, as the novel hurtles toward its bittersweet conclusion.

By Don Winslow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Frank Machianno is the guy, a late-middle-aged ex-surf bum who runs a bait shack on the San Diego waterfront. That's when he's not juggling any of his other three part-time jobs or trying to get a quick set in on his long board. He's a beloved fixture of the community, a stand-up businessman, a devoted father to his daughter. Frank's also a hit man. Well, a retired hit man.

Back in the day, when he was one of the most feared members of the West Coast mob, he was known as Frankie Machine. Years ago, Frank consigned his mob ties…

Book cover of Don't Look for Me: A Carter Blake Thriller

Ian Coates Author Of Eavesdrop

From Ian's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Avid reader Techie Thriller lover

Ian's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Ian Coates Why did Ian love this book?

Cross’s thriller poses an intriguing puzzle at the start, the answer to which slowly unfolds through the book, ending with some big surprises that I loved. It’s not only that mystery that makes this such a good book, though.

The adrenaline almost made me breathless as the excitement and action scenes rapidly dragged me through the pages.

The twists and turns of the plot ensured it never lost my total attention, and I found I was totally absorbed by the thriller right to the end.

By Mason Cross,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Look for Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mason Cross, author of THE SAMARITAN, a Richard & Judy Book Club pick, returns with his gripping new thriller - perfect for fans of David Baldacci, Linwood Barclay and Mark Billingham.


Don't look for me.

It was a simple instruction. And for six long years Carter Blake kept his word and didn't search for the woman he once loved. But now someone else is looking for her.

He'll come for you.

Trenton Gage is a hitman with a talent for finding people - dead or alive. His next job is to track down a woman who's on the run,…

Book cover of The Cupcake Caper

Denise Swanson Author Of Murder of a Smart Cookie

From my list on feel good mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former school psychologist and author of over 45 books, I love reading about characters that are likable, plots that are believable, and settings that I want to visit. My years as a psychologist make it easy to spot poorly written characters that don’t ring true. It is also my years as a psychologist that makes me enjoy a light, humorous read with a guaranteed happy ending.

Denise's book list on feel good mysteries

Denise Swanson Why did Denise love this book?

This first book in Kelle Riley’s new series has it all—a plot full of twists and turns, a super-smart sleuth, and just a smidge of romance. I love that the sleuth doesn't act impulsively and instead observes and deduces. In addition, there are yummy recipes, a cranky rescue cat, and several quirky secondary characters. I especially like the couple who own a dog bakery and their trained dog that discourages the goose population.

By Kelle Z. Riley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Science is about solving puzzles. Why should solving a murder be any different?Dr. Bree Watson (aka Gabriella Catherine Mayfield-Watson) is comfortable solving chemistry problems. She isn’t comfortable finding her boss dead and being a suspect in his poisoning. Now she’s juggling: •A sexy marketing manager—who may, or may not—be a contract killer. •A handsome lead detective whose interest goes beyond the case. •The dead man’s cranky cat. •A goose-chasing dog in hot water with an animal rights group. •The search for the perfect cupcake recipe. •And, of course, someone who wants her out of the picture.And she thought getting a…

Book cover of Bone Rider

Casey Wolfe Author Of A Mage's Power

From my list on LGBTQ fantasy and science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

A member of the LGBTQ community, I set out to write books about people that looked like me, that were under-represented in the media. I’m disabled, living with multiple medical conditions and mental health issues, which also inform my writing. I self-identify as a “full-time geek” – I have a passion for history and science, as well as being an avid gamer. My reading (and writing) time is spent wandering through fantasy realms, traveling the outer reaches of space, or delving into historical time periods.

Casey's book list on LGBTQ fantasy and science fiction

Casey Wolfe Why did Casey love this book?

This sci-fi adventure seems insane when you read the premise – a cowboy, a hitman, and an alien AI armor? Somehow, this manages to actually work, and becomes a thrilling adventure, with a pretty unique romance and fun world-building. It’s just one of those books you need to read to believe.

By J. Fally,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Riley Cooper is on the run. Misha Tokarev, the love of his life, turned out to be an assassin for the Russian mob, and when it comes to character flaws, Riley draws the line at premeditated murder. Alien armor system McClane is also on the run, for reasons that include accidentally crashing a space ship into Earth and evading U.S. military custody. A failed prototype, McClane was scheduled for destruction. Sabotaging the ship put an end to that, but McClane is dubbed a bone rider for good reason―he can’t live without a host body. That’s why he first stows away…

Book cover of Indemnity Only

M. Lee Prescott Author Of Prepped to Kill

From my list on humor, pathos, and a loveable woman sleuth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of over thirty novels, including two mystery series. One is a cozy, small-town series, the Roger and Bess mysteries, the other a series that features a smart, resilient, courageous, sometimes bumbling women sleuth, Ricky Steele. I hope that she is loveable to readers. They often write to tell me she feels like their best friend. I tend to read the kinds of books I’ve recommended. Devour them actually. I also write in the genre. Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Janet Evanovich, and Marcia Mueller have inspired and entertained me throughout both my reading and writing life. 

M. Lee's book list on humor, pathos, and a loveable woman sleuth

M. Lee Prescott Why did M. Lee love this book?

This first book in the V.I. Warshawski series sizzles with heat, tension, danger, and even humor. In Indemnity Only readers meet V.I., the quintessential P.I. and she’s cool. She races through the mean streets of Chicago on a sometimes wild goose chase as she searches for a missing young woman. V.I. never gives up as she works to save her quarry’s life. Sara Paretsky is a wonderful writer and one of my true heroines in this genre. 

By Sara Paretsky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Meeting an anonymous client on a sizzling summer night is asking for trouble. Especially when the client lies and tells V.I. Warshawski he's the prominent banker John Thayer, looking for his son's missing girlfriend. But V.I. soon discovers the real John Thayer's son - and he's dead.

As V.I. begins to question her mysterious client's motives, she sinks deeper into Chicago's darker side: a world of gangsters, insurance fraud and contract killings. And while she must concentrate on saving the life of someone she has never met, it becomes clear that she is in danger of losing her own.

Book cover of The Queen's Executioner

Sally Altass Author Of The Witch Laws: Book One of The Moon Magic Chronicles

From my list on fantasy sweeping you into a beautiful, scary world.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I read, I’m not just seeing the words on a page; I’m escaping into the world crafted by the author. Since I was a child, I’ve always been a lover of fantasy – it was an escape for me to slip between the pages and be a part of the world inside them. Especially if they were beautiful and filled with hidden danger. I wanted to have my heart pound out of my chest, to have the thrill of magic, wonder, and fear. Now, I try to write those types of worlds; because of the books which inspired me. I only hope you love them as much as I do. 

Sally's book list on fantasy sweeping you into a beautiful, scary world

Sally Altass Why did Sally love this book?

The first book in an ever-growing world, The Queen’s Executioner introduces us to Daphne Holdfast. 

An immensely talented vision mage, Daphne is able to use her powers to speak to others, to manipulate others, and is unmatched when in combat. And she’s about to find out that her government and religion have been lying to her and the occupants of the Star Continent. Now, she’ll do whatever she can to save the people she loves. 

I fell in love with Daphne from the first introduction of her, and the Star Continent completely and utterly captivated me – from the tip of Kell to the deserts of the Holdings. Both beautiful and deadly in equal parts, depending on who you happened to bump into while roaming the lands. 

By Christopher Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rahain - a land where the mage-born rule and everyone else is expendable.

A slave, a politician and an assassin find themselves the unlikely heroes that could bring the republic to its knees.

Killop is a slave with a secret: his sister is a renegade Fire Mage. Hunted by the Rahain, her capture could lead to the death of thousands.

Laodoc is a politician who loves his country but has grown to hate many of its ancient traditions. He risks losing his family, his career and his liberty to fight for what he believes in.

Battle Mage Daphne Holdfast is…

Book cover of Call the Coroner

Dina Thala Author Of The Director Must Die: A Stardust story

From my list on about love hate.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dostoevsky wrote that the opposite of love is not hatred, it is indifference. That’s why I have always been fascinated by the topic of love hate. They are not opposed, they are somehow connected, and when I started writing romance I spent an insane amount of time trying to understand how people cross the bridge from hate to love. It makes for incredible stories of seduction, corruption, resilience, and ultimately happiness. As a ‘villain writer’ who enjoys writing about passionate characters going the extra mile, burning the world down to keep their love warm, I am familiar with the tropes and my imagination knows no bounds.

Dina's book list on about love hate

Dina Thala Why did Dina love this book?

Daniel doesn’t care about life anymore. He only cares about finding the hitman who killed his wife, the only person he ever loved. Unfortunately, when he does find him, his hatred and contempt for the man are only matched by their fiery attraction. Can he betray his wife? With the very man who killed her? This is true love/hate, starting very much on the hate side, and remaining so for a long time, even when the passion is burning high and they have to hide from other Mafiosi. Very much a violent read, I am a fan of the guilt and of the bi trope. This very desperate, very edgy MM mafia love/hate romance will blow your mind, the darkness and the hotness are unforgettable.

By Avril Ashton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the AWARD-WINNING author of the bestselling BROOKLYN SINNERS series comes a dark, twisted tale of pain, revenge, and the deadliest emotion of 

A clash of wills between predators…

He’s been living underground for a long time, but the only thing guaranteed to bring Daniel Nieto back to the surface is the identity of his wife’s killer. With the whisper of one name, he puts it all on the line for vengeance. He’s got plans for Stavros Konstantinou.

The title of monster fits too well for Stavros to want to be anything other than what he is. Time spent…