The most recommended books about fugitives

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61 authors created a book list connected to fugitives, and here are their favorite fugitive books.
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What type of fugitive book?


Toby and the Secrets of the Tree

By Timothee de Fombelle, Francois Place (illustrator), Sarah Ardizzone (translator)

Book cover of Toby and the Secrets of the Tree

Charline Davis Author Of Rowtu: The New Horizon

From Charline's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Dog lover Artist Dreamer Classical singer

Charline's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Charline love this book?

Translated from the French children’s novel by Timothée de Fombelle, this sequel to Toby Alone is miles deeper in emotion and pathos than most books for children today.

Set in a civilization of minuscule people living in and around a tree, Toby and the Secrets of the Tree is an exploration of human nature at its best and worst, encapsulating what the essence and beauty of life truly is. This heartfelt little epic hit me at just the right time in my life, and the message of hope through intense trials is an uplifting one for anyone who has faced adversity.

If you love character-driven books, this one is for you!

By Timothee de Fombelle, Francois Place (illustrator), Sarah Ardizzone (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The second and final part of the thrilling adventure of heroism and friendship in an unforgettable miniature world.

Toby's world is under greater threat than ever before. A giant crater has been dug right into the centre of the Tree, moss and lichen invade the branches, and one tyrant controls it all. Leo Blue, once Toby's best friend, now his worst enemy, is holding Elisha prisoner, hunting the Grass People with merciless force, capturing all who stand in his way, inflicting a life of poverty and fear. But returning after several years among the Grass People, Toby will fight back.…

Gone For Good

By Harlan Coben,

Book cover of Gone For Good

Kayla Perrin Author Of We'll Never Tell

From the list on surprise suspense twists.

Who am I?

I’m absolutely passionate about suspense stories, especially ones with killer twists. Maybe it’s all the crime shows I watch, but the motives for crimes are so wide and varied, and I love when the unexpected is explored in fiction. I’m also intrigued by stories about missing people and the myriad of reasons behind why they go missing–especially when things aren’t always what they seem. Whether it’s the missing who return years later or hints of them suddenly appear, I can’t help but get wrapped up in a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat guessing what might happen next! I try for great twists in my novels.

Kayla's book list on surprise suspense twists

Why did Kayla love this book?

Honestly, I could choose so many of Harlan Coben’s books. I love books about missing people–or people who are allegedly missing, disappeared years ago–but are they really gone? What happened? The guessing, the twists, the unraveling of the mystery hooks me from the beginning until the end. That’s what Coben does well with his stories about missing people, and in Gone For Good the secret of why the brother is missing and apparently–and surprisingly–not dead pulls you into a big, juicy mystery with tons of twists and turns. 

By Harlan Coben,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Will Klein lost the love of his life and his brother in the same moment ... A superb thriller from the No.1 bestselling author.

On October 17, eleven years ago, Julie Miller was found brutally strangled in the basement of her house in the township of Livingston, New Jersey. On that day, Will's brother, Ken Klein, became the subject of an international manhunt accused of the crime. He has not been seen since.

Will has tried to get on with his life in the intervening years. He has a beautiful new girlfriend, Sheila, and a job working with the homeless.…


By Marie Lu,

Book cover of Legend

Catherine Downen Author Of Ending In Cadence

From the list on fantasy told from multiple perspectives.

Who am I?

Storytelling has been a passion of mine since fifth grade. I’ve always loved the way authors can put you inside of a world and introduce you to a cast of characters who feel as real as the people around you. The characters you meet inside these books become a part of you, and the best way to connect a reader to these charming and brave characters is to let them tell their story. Tell it from all of their perspectives and let the reader come to know and love each of them. Why read a book and only love one character when you could find an entire found family within those pages?

Catherine's book list on fantasy told from multiple perspectives

Why did Catherine love this book?

Legend is one of those books that feels nostalgic when you read it. It perfectly mixes all of the elements from the 2010 dystopian classics, with a wonderful dual narration. In Legend we read the story through Day and June’s eyes. Both are from completely opposite parts of society, which makes the story twice as interesting. It even has elements of enemies to lovers! What this book does so well with its dual narration, is it lets you see more of the world that the author has created, which we wouldn’t normally get had she chosen to tell the book from one of these characters. Personally, I preferred Day’s POV, and the arc his story took. 

By Marie Lu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Legend is the much-anticipated dystopian thriller debut from US author, Marie Lu.

THE must-read dystopian thriller fiction for all teen fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth. A brilliant re-imagining of Les Miserables, the series is set to be a global film sensation as CBS films have acquired rights to the trilogy. The Twilight Saga producers, Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, will produce.

Los Angeles, California
Republic of America

He is Day.
The boy who walks in the light.

She is June.
The girl who seeks her brother's killer.

On the run and undercover,…


By Richard Ford,

Book cover of Canada

William Mark Habeeb Author Of Venice Beach

From the list on poignant coming-of-age about boys.

Who am I?

My novel Venice Beach—like the five books I recommend here—has been classified as a “coming-of-age” novel, a classification that I have no quarrels with as long as it’s understood that coming-of-age is not regarded simply as a synonym for “adolescence” or “being a teenager.” The coming-of-age years—generally defined as between ages 12 and 18—are so much more than a period of life wedged between childhood and adulthood. Coming of age is a process, not a block of time; it is a hot emotional forge in which we experience so many “firsts” and are hammered, usually painfully, into the shapes that will last a lifetime. 

William's book list on poignant coming-of-age about boys

Why did William love this book?

You’re fifteen years old, living unhappily with your feckless parents and unstable older sister in a small town in Montana. And then your family implodes: your parents are arrested for bank robbery and your sister flees to parts unknown. As troubling as the premise is, Canada becomes even darker and more ominous as young Dell Parsons travels alone to Saskatchewan to live with erstwhile family friends, but in fact enters a whole new world of intrigue and violence. Dell is a stoic character, and you desperately want to see his life take a turn for the better. What you get instead is a case study in resiliency and survival. Ford’s prose is powerful; every word counts, every sentence pulls you deeper into the story.

By Richard Ford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First, I'll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then the murders, which happened later.

In 1956, Dell Parsons' family came to a stop in Great Falls, Montana, the way many military families did following the war. His father, Bev, was a talkative, plank-shouldered man, an airman from Alabama with an optimistic and easy-scheming nature. Dell and his twin sister, Berner, could easily see why their mother might have been attracted to him. But their mother Neeva - from an educated, immigrant, Jewish family - was shy, artistic and alienated from their father's small-town world of money scrapes and living…

A Maiden's Grave

By Jeffery Deaver,

Book cover of A Maiden's Grave

Michael Prescott Author Of Tears for the Dead

From the list on crime thrillers that offer more than just thrills.

Who am I?

Ever since taking a college course in film noir, I've been in love with the cigarette-smoking, fedora-wearing, wisecracking tough guys (and gals) who inhabit the darkest corners of the modern world’s back alleys. The protagonist of Tears for the Dead, Bonnie Parker – named for the distaff half of Bonnie and Clyde – is my modest way of paying homage to this tradition, and incidentally having a lot of fun in the process.

Michael's book list on crime thrillers that offer more than just thrills

Why did Michael love this book?

I might have picked A Maiden’s Grave for the title alone, though you’ll have to read it to learn the subtle double meaning packed into those three words. But of course there’s a lot more to this fast-paced story of a school for the deaf caught in the crossfire of a police standoff. Jeffery Deaver deftly intertwines full-bodied characters, crackling tension, and emotionally affecting backstories. Reading it, I realized that it could have been a pretty ordinary police procedural and that only the author’s determination to add layers of depth and detail lifted it to a new level. 

By Jeffery Deaver,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


When a trio of desperate convicts hijack a bus carrying a group of deaf and mute schoolgirls, everyone is braced for a terrible tragedy.

FBI agent Arthur Potter is flown in to negotiate. But he has competition: local police, state troopers, politicians and the media are swarming. Not everyone has the same agenda.

And the killers will murder one innocent child an hour, on the hour, until their demands are met...

'A real chiller, seething with violence and heart-stopping tension' Sunday Telegraph

Tar Baby

By Toni Morrison,

Book cover of Tar Baby

David Wright Faladé Author Of Black Cloud Rising

From the list on complicated Black-white relations.

Who am I?

For me, the American story is about “mixedness”—about the ways in which people of various backgrounds and beliefs have come together, oftentimes despite themselves, to make up our modern racial stew. It has been true since the Founding and is all the more so now, even as we, as a society, continue to want to resist it. These novels achieve what I aspire to in my own writing: the white characters are as complex as the Black ones. And in their struggles to make sense of the world, they all reveal the complexity and contradictions of American identity.

David's book list on complicated Black-white relations

Why did David love this book?

I came to Toni Morrison a little late. This was in the 1980s, after she’d won the Pulitzer. I read Song of Solomon first, upon the recommendation of a friend who told me he couldn’t read the end of the novel without bursting into tears. Next, Beloved: I was so awed that I reread it five times in a row!

At that point, I realized that I needed to circle back and start with her first books. The Bluest Eye and Sula both stunned me.

Then came Tar Baby. I immediately understood it to be different from the others. The novel has significant, primary characters who are white. In the other early novels, white characters might be present, but they are few and very secondary.

Six people live in relative luxury on a Caribbean island. Yet, despite themselves, their racial assumptions inform how they view and treat one…

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A ravishingly beautiful and emotionally incendiary reinvention of the love story by the legendary Nobel Prize winner

Jadine Childs is a Black fashion model with a white patron, a white boyfriend, and a coat made out of ninety perfect sealskins. Son is a Black fugitive who embodies everything she loathes and desires. As Morrison follows their affair, which plays out from the Caribbean to Manhattan and the deep South, she charts all the nuances of obligation and betrayal between Blacks and whites, masters and servants, and men and women.

She Walks These Hills

By Sharyn McCrumb,

Book cover of She Walks These Hills

Leslie Wheeler Author Of Rattlesnake Hill

From the list on where the sense of place becomes a character.

Who am I?

I’m a mystery author from sunny California who moved to New England to be close to my dark roots. Places spark my imagination. As a child, I’d look at a house and wonder, “What would it be like to live there, in that town and that landscape?” On family road trips, my parents fueled my desire for knowledge about different places by reading from the WPA guides to the states. The books I enjoy the most have a strong sense of place. I want my readers to experience my settings as fully as I do. Setting is where a book begins. Characters and story spring from this fertile ground.

Leslie's book list on where the sense of place becomes a character

Why did Leslie love this book?

I was drawn to this book because it’s loaded with atmosphere, and features hill folk like I do, with the difference that McCrumb’s characters inhabit the hills of Tennessee, while mine live in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. I especially like the way she weaves local lore and legends into the story, and how she reveals how the landscape appears to different characters, ranging from a long-ago woman, kidnapped by Indians who escapes and makes her way homeward, to a modern-day non-hillbilly who struggles to re-create her difficult journey. Then, there’s the way McCrumb adds a dash of the supernatural through a character with psychic powers—all of which have been grist to my fictional mill.

By Sharyn McCrumb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked She Walks These Hills as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Katie Wyler still crosses Ashe Mountain, and although a few can see her, Deputy Sheriff Martha Ayers doesn't believe in ghosts. Hiram Sorley has escaped after 30 years in prison and he's on his way home to Ashe Mountain. Only Martha seems to understand that Sorley's wife and daughter are in danger.

I Can't Wait on God

By Albert French,

Book cover of I Can't Wait on God

Lawrence Goldstone Author Of On Account of Race: The Supreme Court, White Supremacy, and the Ravaging of African American Voting Rights

From the list on for white people to learn about Black people.

Who am I?

When I was eight, my mother was called in to see the principal…yet again. He pulled me out of class, stood me in the hall for maximum intimidation value, then said to my mom, “Your son has no respect for authority.” Mom asked, “What about that, Larry?” My reply—and this is totally true—was, “He doesn’t mean respect. He means courtesy. You can demand courtesy, but you have to earn respect.” Those sentiments have not changed, which is why, I suppose, I have an extremely critical eye for history, especially American history, that deifies the winners. I don’t think we make ourselves stronger as a nation by pretending our leaders were somehow not as human in their flaws as the rest of us.  I prefer to look under what is called “conventional wisdom,” because that’s where the real story often lies.

Lawrence's book list on for white people to learn about Black people

Why did Lawrence love this book?

A brilliant hypnotic novel that almost no one read. Albert French was the victim of a publishing nightmare—his editor and his publisher, both of whom had primed his novel for a major publicity push, left for new jobs before the pub date, after which his book was orphaned and abandoned. For anyone not in the book business, it might seem hard to believe that a terrific novel would be left to languish, but, sadly, such an event is not uncommon in American publishing.

Set in an African American section of Pittsburgh in 1950, I Can’t Wait on God evokes both the day-to-day lives of ordinary people and the striving and hopelessness of African Americans trying to escape the doomed existence to which so many are condemned.  French weaves a tale that is starkly realistic, yet with a mystical overtone that creates a sort of intoxicating haze. The narrative seems straightforward,…

By Albert French,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Can't Wait on God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The crowded joys and familiar despair of poor, back-alley life in 1950 Pittsburgh have a hold on most people there, but there are those who need to escape. Jeremiah Henderson and his woman, Willet Mercer, set their sights on New York City - but making good is easier said than done. Left with no choice but to give in to the pimp who'd like to try Willet on for size before selling her to his clientele, Jeremiah and Willet try to focus on the future. But just before the pimp has his way with her, Willet balks, stabbing him to…

The Old Man

By Thomas Perry,

Book cover of The Old Man

Mike Lawson Author Of Alligator Alley: A Joe DeMarco Thriller

From the list on crime from authors who never disappoint readers.

Who am I?

I’m the Edgar and Barry Award nominated author of twenty novels, sixteen in my Joe DeMarco series, three in my Kay Hamilton Series, and my standalone, Redemption. Prior to becoming a writer, I was a senior civilian executive working in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear propulsion program.  My books are mostly set in and involve characters in Washington, D.C., because Washington is a target-rich environment for a writer—and now more so than ever.

Mike's book list on crime from authors who never disappoint readers

Why did Mike love this book?

I’ve always been a Thomas Perry fan going all the way back to The Butcher’s Boy, and thoroughly enjoyed his Jane Whitefield series. His novel, The Old Man, was recently adapted for television, starring Jeff Bridges, who’s perfect as the protagonist. The thing I’ve always appreciated about Perry’s books is his careful plotting and attention to detail, which is particularly noticeable in the Jane Whitefield books.  The other thing about his books is the way he can turn a villain —like the Butcher’s Boy—into a likable protagonist.  

By Thomas Perry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


A finalist for the Barry Award for Best Thriller

To all appearances, Dan Chase is a harmless retiree in Vermont with two big dogs and a grown daughter with a
life of her own. But most sixty-year-old widowers don't have multiple drivers' licenses, savings stockpiled in banks across the country and two Beretta nanos stashed in the spare bedroom closet. Most have not spent decades on the run.

Now, the toppling of a Middle Eastern government suddenly makes Dan Chase, and the stunt he pulled thirty-five years ago as a young hotshot in army intelligence,…


By Gregory David Roberts,

Book cover of Shantaram

Trebor Healey Author Of Falling

From Trebor's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Adventurous Friendly Curious Inspiring Altruistic

Trebor's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Trebor love this book?

This is a grand adventure of a novel that, like India itself, contains pretty much everything.

A compelling tale of a man who escaped from prison and tried to lose himself in the vastness of India, beautifully rendered here in all its sensory splendor and squalor. Lin does lose himself, and in the process, it’s how he finds himself.

This is very much a story of how the inner reflects the outer and vice versa, it is a love story between a man and a woman, a man and a culture, and a man and himself, as Lin re-learns to live and connect in the rawest and most vital place on earth.

This is a popular book among travelers, and I can see why, as the attention to detail, character, culture, and history serves as a superlative travel guide to the subcontinent.

By Gregory David Roberts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major television series from Apple TV+ starring Charlie Hunnam!

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.”

An escaped convict with a false passport, Lin flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of Bombay, where he can disappear. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter the city’s hidden society of beggars and gangsters,…


By James L Swanson,

Book cover of Manhunt: The Twelve-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer

Jeff Matthews Author Of One Must Tell the Bees: Abraham Lincoln and the Final Education of Sherlock Holmes

From the list on the Civil War without all the battlefield stuff.

Who am I?

My twin passions are the fictional stories of Sherlock Holmes, and American history as told on the battlefields of the Civil War—and I have long thought that we make history boring, focusing on battles and dates, and not on the individuals who made it happen (Lincoln above all). So why not shake it up? In One Must Tell the Bees, the rational but very fictional Sherlock Holmes brings to life the accomplishments of the shrewd, incisive but very real Abraham Lincoln in a way that I hope adds to our understanding of Lincoln’s accomplishments, even as our country struggles to reassess the meaning of that portion of our history.

Jeff's book list on the Civil War without all the battlefield stuff

Why did Jeff love this book?

Get your mind around this: John Wilkes Booth shot and killed President Lincoln in the presidential box at Ford’s Theater, then leapt onstage in front of 1,500 people who had heard the shot, had seen the smoke billow out from Lincoln’s box, had heard Clara Harris scream “He has shot the President!” then ran out the back of the theater, jumped on a one-eyed horse and vanished…for 12 days. 

How Booth could have disappeared so completely after such a public act says a lot about relations between North and South as the Civil War was winding down (he was aided by a few unscrupulous Confederate sympathizers along the way).

Swanson’s edge-of-your-seat depiction of the manhunt makes it compelling reading, and a fitting end to a study of the Civil War that does not involve getting bogged down in every battlefield engagement and which general won which battle. 

By James L Swanson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An enthralling hour-by-hour account of the twelve days in 1865 between President Abraham Lincoln's assassination and the capture and death of his murderer, John Wilkes Booth. From 14th to 26th of April 1865, the hunt for Booth and his accomplices transfixed, thrilled and horrified a nation of mourners as Booth led the army on a wild chase through the swamps of Maryland and into the forests of Virginia. At the centre of the story is the ultimate anti-hero: John Wilkes Booth. A handsome stage actor, Booth was as famous in his day as any big Hollywood star today, but threw…

What Angels Fear

By C. S. Harris,

Book cover of What Angels Fear

Michelle Bennington Author Of Widow's Blush: A Widows & Shadows Mystery

From the list on traveling back in time.

Who am I?

I was an English major in college. In pursuing my love of books and language, I fell into a love of history. The passion for history began with author biographies as I tried to understand how the culture affected various authors’ writings. This is why my history strength resides in European history, because most of my favorite authors come from Europe. The more I read of the biographies, I often came across historical events I wasn’t knowledgeable about and so fell down a rabbit hole of historical research. The more I learn, the more I love history! 

Michelle's book list on traveling back in time

Why did Michelle love this book?

This is a fantastic genre fiction book series, and there are 14 or 15 books in this series, but I’ll mention only the first: What Angels Fear. So far, I’ve read the first four books, and I love this series!

It’s set in Regency England around 1811. Sebastian St. Cyr is a Viscount who gets involved in solving murders. I love this series for the superb and rich details she includes in her stories. It brings Regency England to life. Mystery. A touch of romance. History. Adventure. This series has it all!

By C. S. Harris,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked What Angels Fear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Harris' riveting debut delivers a powerful blend of political intrigue and suspense ...This fresh, fast-paced historical is sure to be a hit.' - Publishers WeeklyIt's 1811, and the threat of revolution haunts the upper classes of King George III's England. Then a beautiful young woman is found savagely murdered on the altar steps of an ancient church near Westminster Abbey. A duelling pistol discovered at the scene and the damning testimony of a witness both point to one man, Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, a brilliant young nobleman shattered by his experience in the Napoleonic Wars.Now a fugitive running for…

The Outsiders

By S.E. Hinton,

Book cover of The Outsiders

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta Author Of Ark

From Elisabeth's 9-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Fairy tale mom Poet Teacher Tea drinker Traveler

Elisabeth's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Elisabeth's 9-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Elisabeth's 9-year-old love this book?

My son was really taken by the ways that the author portrays kids—not much older than him and not so long ago—dealing with an unsafe social scene in ways that are far above their maturity level.

He also loved the pack loyalty among the greaser gang, as well as the small bursts of empathy between the rival gangs after both groups have lost members.

By S.E. Hinton,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Outsiders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

50 years of an iconic classic! This international bestseller and inspiration for a beloved movie is a heroic story of friendship and belonging.

Cover may vary.

No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he's got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends-true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is…

Peace Like a River

By Leif Enger,

Book cover of Peace Like a River

Kelly Flanagan Author Of The Unhiding of Elijah Campbell

From the list on making you fall in love with male protagonists.

Who am I?

As a clinical psychologist, a man, and a human being on his own journey of healing and becoming, I suppose I’m interested in stories with struggling but lovable male protagonists because I’m the struggling male protagonist in my own life story, learning how to fall in love again with myself and my story and the little boy who lives on within me. The courage my clients show in the process of facing their pain and finding something beautiful in it is inspiring to me. I hope my life reflects that courage, too. And I want to write stories that give others hope and inspiration for this kind of healing, as well.  

Kelly's book list on making you fall in love with male protagonists

Why did Kelly love this book?

When I was thirty-one, on a Marine base in Virginia, I had a spiritual awakening. I stepped out of my ego and saw it from the outside—this thing I’d thought was myself but was actually a persona I’d fabricated to protect myself. The experience left me no longer wanting to solve the mystery of life, but wanting to live in the mystery. Peace Like a River is the embodiment of this longing to live in the mystery of existence. Narrated by a young boy whose father’s mysterious, other-worldly powers are revealed again and again as his older brother faces and flees from murder charges, this book leaves you with the hope that the things we can’t see are even more graceful than we can imagine.

By Leif Enger,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Peace Like a River as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Israel Finch and Tommy Basca, the town bullies, break into the home of school caretaker Jeremiah Land, wielding a baseball bat and looking for trouble, they find more of it than even they expected. For seventeen-year-old Davey is sitting up in bed waiting for them with a Winchester rifle. His younger brother Reuben has seen their father perform miracles, but Jeremiah now seems as powerless to prevent Davey from being arrested for manslaughter, as he has always been to ease Reuben's daily spungy struggle to breathe. Nor does brave and brilliant nine-year-old Swede, obsessed as she is with the…

American Woman

By Susan Choi,

Book cover of American Woman

Andy Mozina Author Of Tandem

From the list on literary with criminal protagonists.

Who am I?

I like books in which there are moral stakes, which sometimes draws me to stories with criminals, and I like when the character at the center of the problem is complex or destabilizes things. Dark humor always helps. Average people should be able to see themselves in some way in the criminal’s bad behavior or at least in their desires. I have published two story collections and two novels. My first collection of short stories won the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award. My fiction has appeared in Tin House, Southern Review, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere. I'm a professor of English at Kalamazoo College. 

Andy's book list on literary with criminal protagonists

Why did Andy love this book?

I’m fascinated by novels that treat famous real events from an insider perspective.

In this case, it’s the events following the Symbionese Liberation Army’s kidnapping of Patty Hearst in 1974. Fugitive SLA members, including a character based on Hearst, are sheltered by a former radical, Jenny Shimada (based on Wendy Yoshimura), who is also wanted by the FBI in connection with the bombing of draft offices.

Jenny is a sort of house mother to the volatile fugitives, who hope to write a book while in hiding to raise money for their cause, but inevitably she is drawn into their latest dangerous scheme. Filled with brilliant character studies, the novel astutely shows connections between the tortured personalities of individuals and the public acts they commit which end up shaping our culture. 

By Susan Choi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fictionalization of the Patty Hearst kidnapping focuses on Jenny Shimada, a Japanese-American woman who helps Pauline and her kidnappers during their stay in a New York State farmhouse.

The Ratline

By Philippe Sands,

Book cover of The Ratline: The Exalted Life and Mysterious Death of a Nazi Fugitive

Stephen Fredman Author Of A Menorah for Athena: Charles Reznikoff and the Jewish Dilemmas of Objectivist Poetry

From the list on blending Jewish history with a personal quest.

Who am I?

As an enthusiastic and eclectic reader, one of my great joys is recommending books to others. I was able to indulge this joy consistently while teaching at a university, introducing students to authors and books and topics they otherwise might never have encountered. I find this same excitement in my own writing, searching for ways to reveal to others the magnificent wealth I find in modern poetry and in the brilliant concepts of poetic thinking.

Stephen's book list on blending Jewish history with a personal quest

Why did Stephen love this book?

Sands traces the life of Baron Otto von Wächter, an Austrian SS official, who created and oversaw the Kraków ghetto and was indicted for the murder of more than 100,000 Jews and Poles.

Accompanying Sands on his interviews and research is Wächter’s son, Horst, who knows his father only through what he has heard from his mother and read in her diaries and letters. Horst is horrified by Nazi atrocities but believes his father was a “good man.”

With the pace of a gripping spy thriller, Sands brings Horst deeper and deeper into the lives of his parents, including Otto’s years on the Ratline—the route through which Nazis, often aided by the Vatican, fled Europe after the end of World War II. 

By Philippe Sands,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A tale of Nazi lives, mass murder, love, Cold War espionage, a mysterious death in the Vatican, and the Nazi escape route to Perón's Argentina,"the Ratline"—from the author of the internationally acclaimed, award-winning East West Street.

"Hypnotic, shocking, and unputdownable." —John le Carré, internationally renowned bestselling author

Baron Otto von Wächter, Austrian lawyer, husband, father, high Nazi official, senior SS officer, former governor of Galicia during the war, creator and overseer of the Krakow ghetto, indicted after as a war criminal for the mass murder of more than 100,000 Poles, hunted by the Soviets, the Americans, the British, by Simon…

Winter's Bone

By Daniel Woodrell,

Book cover of Winter's Bone

Jeff Billington Author Of Chicken Dinner News

From the list on an honest look at rural America.

Who am I?

Nearly a quarter century has passed since my childhood spent in the Ozark Mountains, but it still remains home. It’s a unique corner of America, not quite the South and not quite the Midwest, but undeniably country. Growing up there on a farm, near towns in decades-long decline, I saw the best and worst of rural life, and of the folks who call it home. That place and those people inspire me and my writing, driving me to show the Ozarks and its people as complex and ever changing. I aspire to move past the nostalgia of rural life, but not at the sacrifice of its beauty and charm.

Jeff's book list on an honest look at rural America

Why did Jeff love this book?

Having grown up in the rural Ozark Mountains, I saw firsthand both the best of its people and the worst of the fragile edges of its society.

Winter’s Bone is a book that unapologetically tells a story of how these two aspects are not exclusive of each other. From the protective and driven daughter of a poor hill family to the destructive and brutal reality that the intrusion of drugs has brought to rural America, Woodrell’s complex work explores loyalty and contradiction while emphasizing the gray area that often exists in community morals.

It’s a book that will pull you in – giving you drama, crime and an appreciation for how perseverance for a cause or duty can endure in even the most hostile situation. 

By Daniel Woodrell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a fiercely original tale of love, heartbreak and resilience in the lonely wastes of the American Midwest. The last time Ree saw her father, he didn't bring food or money but promised he'd be back soon with a paper sack of cash and a truckload of delights. Since he left, she's had to look after her mother - sedated and losing her looks - and her two younger brothers. Ree hopes the boys won't turn out like the others in the Ozark mountains - hard and mean before they've learnt to shave. One cold winter's day, Ree discovers…


By Trevanian,

Book cover of Shibumi

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

Why did Gary love this book?

I first read Shibumi in the 1970s when it was originally published, and it changed my entire philosophy about life. The cast of characters, led by assassin Nicholai Hel, his concubine Hana, and other characters are exquisitely well drawn, and each has their own distinct character traits, some endearing and others truly despicable. The book is at once exciting, sexy, funny, satirical, philosophical, and educational. Readers learn about Japanese, Chinese, and Basque cultures, World War II history, and even spelunking, all the while Nicolai deals with the evil forces of the CIA, NSA, MI5, and MI6. A brilliant writer, Trevanian was also a philosopher of sorts, giving us his take on society and how we relate to one another. One of those books that hold up well over time and you just never forget.

By Trevanian,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A classic spy novel from the bestselling author, Trevanian, about a westerner raised in Japan who becomes one of the world's most accomplished assassins.

Nicholai Hel is the world’s most wanted man. Born in Shanghai during the chaos of World War I, he is the son of an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father and is the protégé of a Japanese Go master. Hel survived the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world’s most artful lover and its most accomplished—and well-paid—assassin. Hel is a genius, a mystic, and a master of language and culture, and his secret…

The Nazi Hunters

By Andrew Nagorski,

Book cover of The Nazi Hunters

Josh Weiss Author Of Sunset Empire

From the list on hunting and battling Nazi war criminals.

Who am I?

Raised in a proud Jewish home, I was instilled with an appreciation for my cultural heritage from a very young age. Today, I am utterly fascinated with the convergence of Judaism and popular culture in film, television, comics, literature, and other media. After college, I became a freelance entertainment journalist, writing stories for SYFY WIRE, The Hollywood Reporter, Forbes, and Marvel Entertainment. I currently reside in Philadelphia with my wife, Leora, and adorable Cavapoo, Archie.

Josh's book list on hunting and battling Nazi war criminals

Why did Josh love this book?

All fiction has some kind of basis in reality.

The bestsellers penned by Forsyth, Levin, and Goldman would not exist without the true stories of the men and women who worked tirelessly in the years after World War II to bring escaped Nazis to justice.

Nagorski’s wonderfully researched work of non-fiction shines a much-deserved light on those individuals who sought closure on behalf of the murdered 6 million when no one else cared to do so: Fritz Bauer, Simon Wiesenthal, Tuvia Friedman, Elizabeth Holtzman, Beate, and Serge Klarsfeld, and more.

By Andrew Nagorski,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

More than seven decades after the end of the Second World War, the era of the Nazi Hunters is drawing to a close as they and the hunted die off. Their saga can now be told almost in its entirety.
After the Nuremberg trials and the start of the Cold War, most of the victors in World War II lost interest in prosecuting Nazi war criminals. Many of the lower-ranking perpetrators quickly blended in with the millions who were seeking to rebuild their lives in a new Europe, while those who felt most at risk fled the continent. In Pursuit…


By Nnedi Okorafor,

Book cover of Noor

Lavanya Lakshminarayan Author Of The Ten Percent Thief

From the list on science fiction novels exploring the near future.

Who am I?

I’m a novelist and game designer from Bangalore. I’ve been a lifelong reader of science fiction and fantasy. Growing up, I almost never encountered futures that included people like me—brown women, from a country that isn’t the UK/ US, and yet, who are in sync with the rapidly changing global village we belong to. Over the last decade, though, I've found increasing joy in more recent science fiction, in which the future belongs to everyone. The Ten Percent Thief is an expression of my experiences living in dynamic urban India, and represents one of our many possible futures. 

Lavanya's book list on science fiction novels exploring the near future

Why did Lavanya love this book?

This book delves into several themes that scare me about the present, including identity and personhood, surveillance states, and capitalism.

It’s set in futuristic Nigeria, now run by Ultimate Corp, a global corporation that reads like a billionaire tech bro dream-come-true, AKA bad news for everyone else. We follow Anwuli Okwudili, a disabled young woman with cybernetic prosthetics who’s on the run from the law. With a relentless pace, this book effortlessly weaves between the deeply personal struggles of its protagonist and big, world-changing ideas. It forces readers to confront terrifying questions about where we're heading.

By Nnedi Okorafor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria.

Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt...natural, and that's putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was "wrong". But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world…