The best books about deception

Who picked these books? Meet our 38 experts.

38 authors created a book list connected to deception, and here are their favorite deception books.
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What type of deception book?


Jane Doe

By Victoria Helen Stone,

Book cover of Jane Doe

Sarah A. Denzil Author Of The Housemaid

From the list on for fans of Gone Girl.

Who am I?

I’ve enjoyed dark fiction ever since I picked up Dracula for school. But I mostly avoided crime and thriller fiction. I couldn’t relate to a rogue detective with an alcohol problem or an FBI agent on the heels of the next Hannibal Lector. Police procedural books just aren’t my thing. But then Gone Girl came out and changed the genre. The domestic suspense subgenre has exploded over the last decade, and now there’s an abundance of books centered around the dangers within our family and friendship circle. And isn’t that the scariest part of life? Serial killers are rare, but domestic violence is, unfortunately, not rare. Where is more dangerous than in our own homes?

Sarah's book list on for fans of Gone Girl

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

Why did Sarah love this book?

If you enjoyed Gone Girl, I’m guessing you have a soft spot for a well-written sociopath. Jane Doe will be right up your street and then some. Jane is the kind of sociopath you can’t help but love. She’s funny, she’s misanthropic and she doesn’t care about what anyone else thinks. But best of all, Jane is on a revenge mission and despite every horrible thing she does, you’ll still love her.

By Victoria Helen Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

Jane's days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She's just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes-meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven's bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced…

The Postscript Murders

By Elly Griffiths,

Book cover of The Postscript Murders

Susan McCormick Author Of The Fog Ladies

From the list on mysteries with senior sleuths and older characters.

Who am I?

I am a doctor, an award-winning writer, and lifelong lover of mysteries. Many mysteries feature smart characters. I prefer those with wise characters, who can teach me something about a life well-lived. Or not. Sometimes the mistakes are more instructive and more fun. Stories with older characters offer a plethora of life experience and wisdom, and usually poignancy and humor as well. From my life as a doctor and my daily visits to my mother’s retirement community dinner table, I see seniors who are strong, wise, vital, and often overlooked. I love stories that give voice to this robust and rich generation who have so much to offer.

Susan's book list on mysteries with senior sleuths and older characters

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

Why did Susan love this book?

This is Book 2 in a series but can easily be read alone.

It introduces several older characters, including the page one murder victim, each of whom is so well-sketched they could be your friend or neighbor. The story has an excellent murder, a twist, wonderful characters, and humor.

The best is that the unlikely sleuths are a mixture of old and young, male and female, many backgrounds, yet all best of friends and all very funny yet sometimes heartbreaking.

By Elly Griffiths,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?



The ultimate gripping murder mystery to curl up with, from the bestselling author of The Stranger Diaries and the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka's account of Peggy Smith's death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her...

And that Peggy Smith had been a 'murder consultant'…

Diversion and Deception

By Whitney T. Bendeck,

Book cover of Diversion and Deception: Dudley Clarke's a Force and Allied Operations in World War II

Helen Fry Author Of The Walls Have Ears: The Greatest Intelligence Operation of World War II

From the list on deception in WW2.

Who am I?

Helen is an ambassador for the Museum of Military Intelligence, a trustee of the Friends of the Intelligence Corps Museum, and a trustee of the Medmenham Collection. Her latest book Spymaster: The Man Who Saved MI6 about one of the greatest spies of the 20th century, was a Daily Mail best biography for 2021. Her history of MI9—the first such history for over 40 years—was shortlisted for The Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History. 

Helen's book list on deception in WW2

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

Why did Helen love this book?

This is perhaps an unusual choice in that it focuses on deception outside the sphere of countries usually covered by historians. Bendeck explores the numerous deceptions around D-Day, in a cluster of operations that were known as Plan Bodyguard. He explores the little-known, but vital, Plan Zeppelin which was the largest and most complex of the Bodyguard plans. Plan Zeppelin, in conjunction with A Force’s strategic deception plans in the Mediterranean, succeeded in convincing Hitler to hold back sixty German divisions from southern France and move them to the Balkans in time for D-Day. Focusing on the years 1943 to 1945, Bendeck illuminates how A Force, under the leadership of charismatic Dudley Clarke, orchestrated both strategic and tactical deception plans to create the illusion of military threats by the Allies to German defences and troops across the southern perimeter of Europe. Her book is a nuanced and important…

By Whitney T. Bendeck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Among the operations known as Plan Bodyguard, the deception devised to cover the Allies' Normandy landing, was the little known but critical Plan Zeppelin, the largest and most complex of the Bodyguard plans. Zeppelin, in conjunction with the Mediterranean Strategy, succeeded in pinning down sixty German divisions from southern France to the Balkans in time for D-Day. This was the work of "A" Force, Britain's only military organization tasked with carrying out both strategic and tactical deception in World War II. Whitney T. Bendeck's Diversion and Deception finds "A" Force at its finest hour, as the war shifted from North…

How to Lie with Maps

By Mark Monmonier,

Book cover of How to Lie with Maps

Matt Duckham Author Of GIS: A Computing Perspective

From the list on maps and mapmaking.

Who am I?

I’ve been surrounded by maps all my life. As a child, a highlight of family summer holidays was the night before, pouring over road maps, planning every step of our drive from my home in rural English midlands, via the cross-channel ferry, to a rented gîte in France, perhaps in the Dordogne or the Loire Valley. Maps are to me a paragon of design: a true marriage of science and art. In an amazingly compressed space, a well-designed map can be incredibly beautiful at the same time as containing an incredible amount of raw data, more than could be contained in reams of tables or many pages of text. 

Matt's book list on maps and mapmaking

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

Why did Matt love this book?

Maps are, by their nature, distortions. Maps by necessity simplify, abstract, and abridge the world, lest they approach the 1:1 scale map parodied by Lewis Carrol’s famous Paradox of the Map. 

This fundamental contradiction — that maps can only communicate something about the world because they explicitly don’t communicate everything about the world — is the central message of Mark Monmonier’s classic book. 

Although not written as a textbook, the book’s systematic and thorough approach to exploring has made it a recommended text in many University cartography courses, even today. Indeed, despite a revolution in mapping technologies over the past 30 years, the core content remains substantially unchanged and just as relevant in the third edition in 2018 as it was when I first read this book in the 1990s. 

By Mark Monmonier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Lie with Maps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An instant classic when first published in 1991, How to Lie with Maps revealed how the choices mapmakers make--consciously or unconsciously--mean that every map inevitably presents only one of many possible stories about the places it depicts. The principles Mark Monmonier outlined back then remain true today, despite significant technological changes in the making and use of maps. The introduction and spread of digital maps and mapping software, however, have added new wrinkles to the ever-evolving landscape of modern mapmaking. Fully updated for the digital age, this new edition of How to Lie with Maps examines the myriad ways that…

Spy the Lie

By Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, Susan Carnicero

Book cover of Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception

Abby Ellin Author Of Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married

From the list on secrets, lies, deception and double lives.

Who am I?

I'm an award-winning journalist, a frequent New York Times contributor (and former business columnist for The Times), and the author of, most recently, Duped: Double Lives, False Identities and the Con Man I Almost Married. Duped was turned into the #1 Spotify-original podcast, Impostors: The Commander, which I hosted and executive produced. I was also a producer/reporter on The NY Times Presents documentary film To Live and Die in Alabama, about the execution of Nathaniel Woods. As of press time, my greatest accomplishments have been summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro (with a broken wrist!), learning to play the cello at 35, and naming Karamel Sutra for Ben and Jerry’s.

Abby's book list on secrets, lies, deception and double lives

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

Why did Abby love this book?

Is it possible to detect deception? Can you really tell if someone’s lying just by looking at their body language? If so, what are the cues? When I was writing Duped, I decided to take a class with the authors, who were former CIA agents. I learned a ton. 

By Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, Susan Carnicero

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Imagine how different your life would be if you knew when someone was lying or telling you the truth. Whether hiring a new employee, assessing the veracity of legal testimony, investing in a financial interest, knowing when your boss is being completely up-front, ascertaining whether your child is being totally honest with you, or even dating someone new, having the ability to unmask a lie can have far-reaching and even life-altering consequences. As former CIA agents, Philip Houston, Mike Floyd and Susan Carnicero are among the worlds best at recognizing deceptive behaviour. "Spy The Lie" chronicles the fascinating story of…

The Kiss of Deception

By Mary E. Pearson,

Book cover of The Kiss of Deception

Katie L. Carroll Author Of Elixir Bound

From the list on YA fantasy full of dark secrets and epic adventures.

Who am I?

I started reading young adult fantasy by the likes of Tamora Pierce and Garth Nix in my teens and was instantly hooked. I stuck with it into my adult years because YA fantasy has always been full of rich worlds, complex characters, and fast-paced plots. My younger sister also loved these stories, so when she passed away at a tragically young age, it spurred me on to write my own YA fantasy in memory of her. This list includes some of my favorites—ones I know she would have loved as well.

Katie's book list on YA fantasy full of dark secrets and epic adventures

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

Why did Katie love this book?

When I finished this book, I immediately wanted to go back and read it again! Princess Lia flees her home on the day of her arranged wedding, only to find herself falling in love with two handsome strangers. She has no idea one is her betrothed prince and the other is an assassin hired to kill her. In a masterful storytelling move, the reader gets into both the love interests' heads but has no idea which is the prince and which is the assassin.

By Mary E. Pearson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia's life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight - but she doesn't - and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighbouring kingdom - to a prince she has never met. On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive - and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an…

Mr. Wrong Number

By Lynn Painter,

Book cover of Mr. Wrong Number

Julie Navickas Author Of I Loved You Yesterday: Book One in the Trading Heartbeats Trilogy

From the list on romance that will both shatter and stitch your heart.

Who am I?

I grew up watching soap operas and swapping novels with my grandma and mom. Romantic stories have been a part of who I am ever since I was old enough to get my hands on Nora Roberts! Now, thanks to my love for the books that inspire love, I’m a romance novelist myself, having penned the Trading Heartbeats trilogy. Each novel is a recipient of a first place BookFest award and has been traditionally published by Inkspell Publishing. I write with raw emotion and work to really shatter hearts of readers—only to repair them on the final pages. I have dual master’s degrees in organizational communication and English studies from Illinois State University. 

Julie's book list on romance that will both shatter and stitch your heart

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

Why did Julie love this book?

Mr. Wrong Number is simply charming!

From the first page, Olivia and Colin had me in a fit of giggles, fully enamored with their witty banter and incredible push-pull chemistry. If you’re looking for a light-hearted read with a relatable, sloppy heroine and a powerful, smitten hero, you need Lynn Painter’s Mr. Wrong Number in your hands.

It’s a swoon-worthy romance that promises all the feels! 

By Lynn Painter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Things get textual when a steamy message from a random wrong number turns into an anonymous relationship in this hilarious rom-com by Lynn Painter.

Bad luck has always followed Olivia Marshall...or maybe she's just the screw-up her family thinks she is. But when a "What are you wearing?" text from a random wrong number turns into the hottest, most entertaining—albeit anonymous—relationship of her life, she thinks things might be on the upswing....

Colin Beck has always considered Olivia his best friend's annoying little sister, but when she moves in with them after one of her worst runs of luck, he…

Apples Never Fall

By Liane Moriarty,

Book cover of Apples Never Fall

Nicole Hackett Author Of The Perfect Ones

From the list on the non-Instagrammable parts of motherhood.

Who am I?

When I was pregnant for the first time, I knew exactly the sort of mother I was going to be. I had read all the articles, bookmarked all the tastefully filtered Instagram posts. But then I had my son, and I realized almost immediately how little I knew. It turns out that while those tender Instagram moments do happen (and they truly are magic), there are just as many moments that can only be described as: WTF? My novel, The Perfect Ones, goes deep behind the screens of two Instagram influencers and their messy, conflicting, and fundamentally human feelings on motherhood. Here are five more books about the parts that don’t make the Instagram grid.

Nicole's book list on the non-Instagrammable parts of motherhood

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

Why did Nicole love this book?

Full discloser: Liane Moriarty could write a book about lawn fertilizer, and I’d probably read it.

All of her books achieve that elusive balance between sincerity and laugh-out-loud humor, and this is no exception. The story revolves around the disappearance of Joy Delaney, a mother to four adult children and retired owner of Delaney Tennis Academy.

My favorite part of the book (and there are many!) is the glimpse into Joy’s inner life as a seasoned mother, which is different from yet fundamentally similar to my own experience as a young mom.

By Liane Moriarty,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Apples Never Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

From Liane Moriarty, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers, comes Apples Never Fall, a novel that looks at marriage, siblings, and how the people we love the most can hurt us the deepest.

The Delaney family love one another dearly―it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .

If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?

This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.

The Delaneys are fixtures in…

Operation Mincemeat

By Ben Macintyre,

Book cover of Operation Mincemeat : The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II

Danny Orbach Author Of Fugitives: A History of Nazi Mercenaries During the Cold War

From the list on covert operations making your blood boil.

Who am I?

I am an Israeli military historian, addicted to stories on the unusual, mysterious and unknown. While many of my fellow scholars are interested in the daily and the mundane, I have taken a very different course. Since childhood, I've been fascinated by decisions human beings make in times of crisis, war, and other situations of partial knowledge and moral ambiguity. Therefore, I wrote on coups d’etat, military undergrounds, covert operations, and espionage. After graduating with a PhD from Harvard University, I began teaching world military history, modern Japanese history, and the history of espionage at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For me, reading about covert operations is both a hobby and a profession.

Danny's book list on covert operations making your blood boil

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

Why did Danny love this book?

Some espionage stories are so absurd as to defy belief, and yet they are true. This masterpiece by Ben Macintyre tells the story of such a plot: the story of Operation Mincemeat, a successful British attempt to deceive the Germans by planting false documents on a dead body, then dropping it on Spanish shores and into the clutches of Germany’s many spies. For me, this successful deception story was fascinating not only because of the breathtaking pace of events, but mainly due to its curious literary dimension. In order to make the deception work, the British designed the life story of “William Martin,” an officer that never was, using their literary skills to create a credible character of an English military gentleman. As Macintyre shows, they played exactly into the stereotypes of the German enemies on “Britishness.” Elaborating on this process, this book is a fascinating espionage story of double…

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One April morning in 1943, a sardine fisherman spotted the corpse of a British soldier floating in the sea off the coast of Spain and set in train a course of events that would change the course of the Second World War. Operation Mincemeat was the most successful wartime deception ever attempted, and certainly the strangest. It hoodwinked the Nazi espionage chiefs, sent German troops hurtling in the wrong direction, and saved thousands of lives by deploying a secret agent who was different, in one crucial respect, from any spy before or since: he was dead. His mission: to convince…

Been There, Married That

By Gigi Levangie,

Book cover of Been There, Married That

Marc D. Giller Author Of Candidate Z

From the list on not minding your workout as much.

Who am I?

Just your friendly neighborhood thriller novelist. When people find out I write books, they inevitably enquire, “Really? Have I read anything of yours?” Well, funny you should ask! I’ve been cranking out stories since I was sixteen but took a couple of decades to finally land a publishing deal for my debut novel Hammerjack and its sequel Prodigal (Bantam Spectra). A lifelong Star Trek fan, I’ve also published the novella “Revenant” in the collection Seven Deadly Sins (Gallery Books). My latest is the high-tech thriller Candidate Z, available on Amazon.

Marc's book list on not minding your workout as much

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

Why did Marc love this book?

My wife found this on my Kindle among the Michael Crichton and Jack Carr, and couldn’t believe I bought it—but after having made the delight of her acquaintance on Twitter, I decided to give Gigi’s latest novel a try. And boy, am I glad that I did! A screenwriter (Stepmom) and veteran Los Angelino herself, Levangie knows the ins and outs of the Hollywood lifestyle where showbiz is the only biz and the characters are always jockeying to be seen but never to be believed. No mysteries here—just a lot of laughs, with an endearing protagonist who provides the center of gravity to an orbit of crazy family and friends. Highly recommended.

By Gigi Levangie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Been There, Married That as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a world where therapists look like the Real Housewives of Equinox, where friends dispense Xanax like Pez, and where a woman’s status is directly linked to the how few carbs she eats…can one Hollywood wife take back her life?

Agnes Murphy Nash is in big trouble. When she returns home one evening only to find the locks changed on the gates of their mansion, the security guard breaks the news: her famous producer husband has filed for divorce. And he’s not going to play fair. Trevor Nash wants custody of their tween daughter, Pep, but only for the sake…

A Shadow Intelligence

By Oliver Harris,

Book cover of A Shadow Intelligence

Victor Robert Lee Author Of Performance Anomalies

From the list on spy books set in Asia.

Who am I?

I write about Asia, where I have spent a chunk of my life. My non-fiction reporting has centered on Beijing's territorial ambitions, including its ongoing takeover of the South China Sea, which in a sense was prefigured by the plot of my novel Performance Anomalies. The main character, Cono 7Q, has been pecking at my brain for many years, abetted by my brushes with spooks in the underbelly of Central Asia and China. I use a pen name so my travel in certain countries can be less encumbered.

Victor's book list on spy books set in Asia

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

Why did Victor love this book?

This novel is set in Kazakhstan, with which I have a longstanding love-hate relationship. But that's not the reason I praise the book. In 2014 The Guardian asked the espionage novelist Charles Cumming, "Has modern technology killed spy thrillers?" Oliver Harris shows us the answer is No. Deep fake videos, manipulated social media, conjured digital backstories, intentionally corrupted data sets, geotracking, wifi tricks, hacked networks-- they're all here in spades, part of the new tradecraft. They don't overwhelm the story, they feed it. Russian militias are positioning to take a bite out of snow-coated Kazakhstan-- our friends in Ukraine will be uncomfortably familiar with at least one part of this tale.

By Oliver Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


“An absorbing, superbly written novel likely to stand as one of the best spy novels of the year.”
—Kirkus, starred review

Elliot Kane reflects the dark side of MI6. He is the instrument of an agency that puts two years and more than £100K into training recruits to steal cars, hack bank accounts, strip weapons, and employ everything from blackmail to improvised explosives in service of Crown and Country. After fifteen years overseas embroiled in events that never make the news, Kane is a ghost in his own life, assuming and shedding personalities with…

The Housekeeper

By Natalie Barelli,

Book cover of The Housekeeper

Marie Still Author Of We're All Lying

From the list on whiplash inducing twists.

Who am I?

As a reader and a writer, I am drawn to the darker side of human nature. Dysfunctional families, toxic relationships, liars, murderers, bring on the bad. An avid reader of horror and thrillers, I love a jaw-dropping twist. I aim for that feeling in my own novels, opening up reader questions and slowly delivering satisfying answers until the final big reveal. While inside my head is very dark and murdery, outside I live a very normal, law-abiding life, in Tampa with my husband, our four kids, and two dogs.  

Marie's book list on whiplash inducing twists

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

Why did Marie love this book?

Revenge is sweet, or is it? Claire has a bone to pick with Hannah, who she blames for ruining her life. She infiltrates Hannah’s picture-perfect life by posing as a housekeeper. All that glitters isn’t gold, and when Claire moves in with Hannah, her husband, and their newborn, she discovers she’s not the only one with secrets. I can blame a few sleepless nights on this book, as I furiously flipped pages to get to the end.   

By Natalie Barelli,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"...Dark and bitingly funny!"

She's a liar. She's a stalker. She's in your house.

When Claire sees Hannah Wilson at an exclusive Manhattan hair salon, it's like a knife slicing through barely healed scars. It may have been ten years since Claire last saw Hannah, but she has thought of her every day, and not in a good way. So Claire does what anyone would do in her position—she stalks her.

Hannah is now Mrs. Carter, living the charmed life that should have been Claire's. It's the life Claire used to have, before Hannah came along and took it all…

Apple Tree Yard

By Louise Doughty,

Book cover of Apple Tree Yard

Warren Slingsby Author Of To Catch A Storm

From the list on strong female leads and dark secrets.

Who am I?

I love to write about crime. I have no idea why. I don’t have any real-life experience of crime. Honest. I enjoy setting books in the places that I love to visit. So Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Nice all feature strongly here. And so far, the two novels I’ve written of which one is available on Amazon, have had strong female protagonists. I guess I find it interesting for a woman to take on a bunch of nasty men. And I studied art and the history of art at college, so everything I have written in terms of novels has been in the world of stolen art. 

Warren's book list on strong female leads and dark secrets

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

Why did Warren love this book?

Apply Tree Yard is along the lines of The Girl On The Train. A deeply flawed main character. Someone who’s done something she shouldn’t have. As her life hangs in the balance in a courtroom, everything depends on her remembering how and why she had sex with a random man. 

By Louise Doughty,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Soon To Be a STARZ Mini-Series, Starring Emily Watson

Yvonne Carmichael sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Before all of this, she was happily married, a successful scientist, a mother of two. Now she is a suspect, squirming under florescent lights and the penetrating gaze of the alleged accomplice who is sitting across from her, watching: a man who is also her lover. As Yvonne faces hostile questioning, she must piece together the story of her affair with this unnamed figure who has charmed and haunted her. It is a tale of sexual intrigue and ruthless urges—and…

The Woman in White

By Wilkie Collins,

Book cover of The Woman in White

Sam Hepburn Author Of The Mistake I Made

From the list on troubled women struggling to hold it together.

Who am I?

Growing up as the child of a damaged, resentful mother certainly took its emotional toll and led me to embark on some pretty destructive early relationships. After a series of painful personal losses I spent time as a single mum, struggling to parent, deal with grief and hold down a job as a TV producer. I tried self-help books, therapy, and nicotine to get by, but it was the support and humour of women who had survived their own ordeals which enabled me to come out the other side. But as a writer and a reader I'm intrigued by troubled women, the traumas that shape them, and the things they do to survive.

Sam's book list on troubled women struggling to hold it together

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

Why did Sam love this book?

My long-held obsession with Victorian sensationalist fiction is probably why I write psychological thrillers.

The Woman in White has always been an inspiration and for me one of its most intriguing characters is Laura Fairlie, whose emotional frailty, like that of so many women, makes her prey to the hideous machinations of abusers who seek to control her. Unlike modern women however, she is not merely at the mercy of people, she is at the mercy of the restrictive laws of the society in which she lives.

And yet, with the help of determined friends, her extraordinary stoicism, and some pretty outlandish coincidences she manages to survive against the odds. Hurrah!

By Wilkie Collins,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Woman in White as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

HarperCollins is proud to present its range of best-loved, essential classics.

'The woman who first gives life, light, and form to our shadowy conceptions of beauty, fills a void in our spiritual nature that has remained unknown to us till she appeared.'

One of the earliest works of 'detective' fiction with a narrative woven together from multiple characters, Wilkie Collins partly based his infamous novel on a real-life eighteenth century case of abduction and wrongful imprisonment. In 1859, the story caused a sensation with its readers, hooking their attention with the ghostly first scene where the mysterious 'Woman in White'…

The Night Ocean

By Paul La Farge,

Book cover of The Night Ocean

John Mantooth Author Of Holy Ghost Road

From the list on appealing to horror readers and non-horror readers.

Who am I?

I don’t consider myself specifically a horror reader (or writer for that matter!) any more than I consider myself a fantasy, mystery, or science fiction reader. As a writer (under my real name John Mantooth as well as my pseudonym, Hank Early), much of my work has been classified as horror, though I take pride in my novels appealing to people who aren’t typically well-versed in the genre. So, it got me thinking… what are some novels that may or may not be classified as horror that will appeal to a wide range of readers? I call these books horror-adjacent, and no matter what you typically read, I think you’ll enjoy them. 

John's book list on appealing to horror readers and non-horror readers

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

Why did John love this book?

Where to begin with this beautiful novel? I read it several years ago, and the melancholy and magic of this one has stayed with me. At its core, it’s about a young HP Lovecraft (with a guest appearance from William Burroughs) and his love affair with a Florida man. It’s also about truth and the nature of story, the way tales unfold with each telling, and in some ways it’s a spiritual successor to Devil House by John Darnielle. An epic novel that demands (and rewards) rereading. 

By Paul La Farge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the award-winning author and New Yorker contributor, a riveting novel about secrets and scandals,  psychiatry and pulp fiction, inspired by the lives of H.P. Lovecraft and his circle.

Marina Willett, M.D., has a problem. Her husband, Charlie, has become obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft, in particular with one episode in the legendary horror writer's life: In the summer of 1934, the "old gent" lived for two months with a gay teenage fan named Robert Barlow, at Barlow's family home in central Florida. What were the two of them up to? Were they friends--or something more? Just when Charlie thinks he's…

Deadly Deception

By TJ Logan,

Book cover of Deadly Deception

Dee S. Knight Author Of Naval Maneuvers

From the list on erotic romance with a military theme.

Who am I?

Passionate military members are my jam, and I feel pretty confident writing about them. First, I write erotic romance myself, giving me something of an inside view of what makes a good erotic romance with a military vibe. Second, I read a lot of them. Even if the story is a mite slow, you’ve got that alpha military guy who’s going to pull the story out. Or at least, that’s the way it’s worked in every military erotic romance I’ve read. Last, as I mentioned earlier, I was raised in the Navy. I’ve seen lots of men in uniform and the sight never fails to give me a thrill. I think I recognize that passion when I see it.

Dee's book list on erotic romance with a military theme

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

Why did Dee love this book?

Deadly Deception is not technically about a member of the military, but Jonathan O’Halleran is guided in his actions by his recent time in the SEALs, so I say it counts. This book is fast action as Jonathan seeks a traitor who is responsible for bringing death to his family. Very steamy, so you know I liked it! Really good writing, which is always something I look for.

By TJ Logan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A warrior devastated by an unimaginable loss …

Navy SEAL Jonathan O’Halleran’s world is upended by tragic loss. Civilian life as a single father and hunting down the traitor responsible for bringing death to his family’s doorstep are only temporary distractions from his grief, anger, and guilt.

A tough as hell woman who doesn’t know how to trust …

Andréa Swain is a brilliant, stubborn NSA Interrogations Tactics Specialist with serious daddy issues. She is yanked from the front lines in Afghanistan and ordered to work with a surly Navy SEAL who blames her for his friend’s death.

Can they…

Operation Mincemeat

By Ben Macintyre,

Book cover of Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory

Peter Dixon Author Of Return to Vienna: The Special Operations Executive and the Rebirth of Austria

From the list on living undercover in constant danger during WW2.

Who am I?

Hodder and IVP had already published two of my earlier books—during my three decades as a Royal Air Force pilot and another one leading a conflict resolution NGO—when my journey as a WW2 author began. It all started with my wife's book about her German mother and British Intelligence Corps father (The Bride's Trunk). That got me interested in the links between 'the Corps' and the Special Operations Executive. Three SOE books later, I’m following the organisation into Austria. I've barely scratched the surface of undercover operations and I’m always finding new niches to discover.

Peter's book list on living undercover in constant danger during WW2

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

Why did Peter love this book?

I hope to get close to Ben Macintyre’s style, while still keeping the accuracy that my researcher background demands. Many of us know the story, and have even seen the film, of how a dead, fictitious Royal Marines officer, dropped from a submarine off the Spanish coast, fooled the Nazis into thinking Greece would be invaded instead of Sicily. But Macintyre tells it with such drama that the book is a must-read.

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A NETFLIX FILM STARRING COLIN FIRTH • The “brilliant and almost absurdly entertaining” (Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker) true story of the most successful—and certainly the strangest—deception carried out in World War II, from the acclaimed author of The Spy and the Traitor

“Pure catnip to fans of World War II thrillers and a lot of fun for everyone else.”—Joseph Kanon, The Washington Post Book World

Near the end of World War II, two British naval officers came up with a brilliant and slightly mad scheme to mislead the Nazi armies about where the…

A Court of Wings and Ruin

By Sarah J. Maas,

Book cover of A Court of Wings and Ruin

Jennifer Ivy Walker Author Of The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven

From the list on paranormal romances with shapeshifting warriors.

Who am I?

I have always loved fairy tales, myths, and fantasy, having developed a vivid imagination during childhood because we lived far from friends. When I began studying French, I discovered a love for medieval legends such as Tristan et Yseult.  During trips to France, I explored troglodyte caves of the Loire Valley and prehistoric grottos, such as La Grotte de Lascaux. The more I researched legends and myths, the more my fantasy world of paranormal romance and shapeshifting warriors evolved.

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

Why did Jennifer love this book?

I loved how otherworldly mates Rhys and Feyre formed a fierce alliance with the winged Illyrian warriors of the Night Court. A fiery novel of passion, power, politics, and pain—all wrapped up in a sizzling, steamy, paranormal romance filled with fantasy and Fae!

To me, the passion between Rhys and Feyre is very much like The Phantom of the Opera, which I adored. Rhys is dark, mysterious, and dangerously seductive, like the Phantom. And Feyre, like Christine Daaé, is irresistibly drawn to the fiercely loyal man within the terrifying beast.

By Sarah J. Maas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Court of Wings and Ruin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The epic third novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's actions and learn what she can about the invading king threatening to bring her land to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit. One slip could bring doom not only for Feyre, but for everything-and everyone-she holds dear.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre endeavors to take her place amongst the High Fae of the land, balancing…

The Less People Know About Us

By Axton Betz-Hamilton,

Book cover of The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity

Ericka Clay Author Of A Violent Hope

From the list on female protagonists from dysfunctional families.

Who am I?

As a female writer, I love digging into the minds of women characters, especially in light of their family circumstances. I think we can sometimes underestimate the importance of a strong, loving family unit in terms of personal development. But what’s amazing is how a person’s story can be redeemed even if they were raised in a less-than-ideal environment. Even though I got pretty lucky in the parent department, I know not a lot of people have. And I love showing others through fiction that despite hardships they’ve had to face along the way, they are still loved and still wanted by a God who knows them better than anyone.

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Why did Ericka love this book?

This book hooked me from the get-go. Axton Betz-Hamilton is raised by two parents who are the victims of stolen identities. She lives in a world of paranoia fostered by this incident and watches as the two people she’s closest to begin to turn on each other. Years later, Axton discovers she’s also the victim of identity theft and the journey she takes to figure out why is a nail-biter!

By Axton Betz-Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Less People Know About Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Axton Betz-Hamilton grew up in small-town Indiana in the early '90s. When she was 11 years old, her parents both had their identities stolen. Their credit ratings were ruined and they were constantly fighting over money. This was before the age of the Internet, when identity theft became more commonplace, so authorities and banks were clueless and reluctant to help Axton's parents.

Axton's family switched PO Boxes, changed all of their personal information and moved to different addresses but the identity thief followed them wherever they went. Convinced that the thief had to be someone they knew, Axton and her…

Lady Audley's Secret

By Mary Elizabeth Braddon,

Book cover of Lady Audley's Secret

Amy Carol Reeves Author Of Ripper (A Ripper Novel)

From the list on to get your Sherlock Holmes fix.

Who am I?

I think the lure of the detective novel lies in our human instinct to problem solve. There’s something satisfying about following a smart, observant, and even flawed character as they solve a crime. We’re working through a complicated puzzle, deciphering clues and theorizing, alongside the detective. Personally, I love detective novels set in richly drawn historical settings. I grew up addicted to Edgar Allan Poe and Sherlock Holmes stories. I remember reading The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins in a few days because I couldn’t put it down. The following books are a must-have for any Sherlock Holmes fans.

Amy's book list on to get your Sherlock Holmes fix

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

Why did Amy love this book?

Often overlooked on detective fiction lists, Lady Audley’s Secret is a hidden gem. My favorite Victorian detective novel, I didn’t discover the book until grad school, and since have taught it in numerous British lit courses. When Robert Audley becomes curious about the beautiful, young bride of his uncle, Michael Audley, he starts investigating her past. He finds surprising ties to his friend George Talbot, who, years earlier, abandoned his young wife and son to seek his fortune in Australia. What I love about this book is how Braddon plays with Victorian anxieties—particularly preoccupations with the unconventional means a woman might go through to escape unhappiness. 

By Mary Elizabeth Braddon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally published in Robin Goodfellow magazine, Lady Audley's Secret is the essential work of Mary Elizabeth Braddon and is considered a staple of sensation fiction. The story centers on a mysterious woman, whose dark past slowly comes to light.

Lady Audley is a former governess who marries the wealthy widower, Sir Michael Audley. She thoroughly enjoys the life of privilege and status associated with her new husband. Although she appears beautiful and polished, Lady Audley is more than meets the eye. She has a dark secret that could jeopardize everything she's worked for. To maintain her facade, she plots and…