The best books about JFK (John F. Kennedy)

4 authors have picked their favorite books about JFK and why they recommend each book.

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False Witness

By Patricia Lambert,

Book cover of False Witness: The Real Story of Jim Garrison's Investigation and Oliver Stone's Film JFK

Director Oliver Stone based his 1991 movie JFK on the failed late 1960s JFK assassination probe of New Orleans district attorney, Jim Garrison. In this investigative book, Lambert methodically deconstructs Garrison’s investigation and exposes it as a total fraud. Her prodigious original research both archives and interviews is woven into a faced-paced book that is utterly convincing.

False Witness

By Patricia Lambert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is, for the first time in its entirety, the story of the arrest and trial of Clay Shaw, charged with conspiracy in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.


Who am I?

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


I wrote...

Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

By Gerald Posner,

Book cover of Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

What is my book about?

Case Closed is the definitive reexamination of the JFK assassination. Published in 1993, on the 30th anniversary of America’s most infamous political murder, it was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer in History. I testified before Congress about the findings of my book: that Lee Harvey Oswald had, indeed, acted alone in killing JFK. 

Historian Stephen Ambrose said about Case Closed: “Posner has done a great service, in the process proving that a single researcher, working alone, is always preferable to a committee. This is a model of historical research. It should be required reading for anyone reviewing any book on the Kennedy assassination. Beyond the outstanding job of research, Posner is a dramatic storyteller. The recreation of Oswald's, and Jack Ruby's, personalities are wonderfully well done. This case has been closed by Mr. Posner's work.”

Book cover of On the Trail of the Assassins: My Investigation and Prosecution of the Murder of President Kennedy

The late New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison pursued the only criminal case in this controversy that has tried someone for conspiracy to murder Kennedy in court. He faced death threats, prosecution, infiltration, dirty tricks, and more in the late 1960s. He details what he went through and why he mostly blamed U.S. intelligence officials and agents for what he called a “coup d’etat.” His book was a major basis for director Oliver Stone’s 1991 film, JFK, in which Garrison played a minor role as Justice Earl Warren.

On the Trail of the Assassins

By Jim Garrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The book that inspired the movie JFK recounts Jim Garrison's attempt to solve the Kennedy assassination, and describes how Garrison was harrassed because of his allegations of government involvement in Kennedy's death.


Who am I?

In 1978, I happened to be the only person present in the cramped office of my college newspaper in Texas, when Kennedy assassination eyewitness Bill Newman entered. It was during the midst of the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations’ investigation into the matter. Newman was standing no more than 15 feet from Kennedy when he was shot. His account intrigued me, sending me on a search that has yet to end. I witnessed Kennedy’s funeral in Washington, D.C., as a boy, grew up in Dallas, and even shared the same birthday with him. Several articles I wrote on the assassination and ensuing research have won awards, including a Best in Show Feature Writing Award from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association. I have written books on other topics, but this is the one that most consumed me.


I wrote...

Death of the Rising Sun: A Search for Truth in the JFK Assassination

By Kevin James Shay,

Book cover of Death of the Rising Sun: A Search for Truth in the JFK Assassination

What is my book about?

Historians place the assassination of John F. Kennedy among the biggest watershed events of the 20th century. Since that 1963 tragedy, more than 2,000 books have covered various aspects of the assassination and its aftermath. Some have even claimed to solve the case. Veteran journalist Kevin James Shay focuses on presenting what occurred between Kennedy's 1960 presidential triumph and his assassination in an objective manner. The narrative, infused with behind-the-scenes details that have been brought to light in recent years, provides a compelling account that is particularly geared towards the average reader.

The book unearths some fresh details, such as about other attempts on Kennedy's life and the involvement of a Ku Klux Klan leader who opposed racial violence to the point that he became a government informant and likely helped prolong Kennedy’s life.

Crossfire

By Jim Marrs,

Book cover of Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy

A veteran Texas journalist who started teaching a course on the assassination at UT-Arlington in 1976, Marrs saw his comprehensive work published a year after Garrison’s book. Stone also used Marrs’ book as a prime source for his movie. Unlike Garrison, Marrs steered clear of pinning the assassination on mostly one group, covering the alleged roles of organized crime, anti-Castro Cubans, the military-industrial complex, oilmen, bankers, political opponents, and more. Some 25 major publishers turn down Marrs’ manuscript, which became a best-seller, before Carroll & Graf accepted it. The work was one of the first to tie together the various alleged conspiratorial groups.

Crossfire

By Jim Marrs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What really happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963? Was the assassination of John F. Kennedy simply the work of a warped, solitary young man, or was something more nefarious afoot? Pulling together a wealth of evidence, including rare photos, documents, and interviews, veteran Texas journalist Jim Marrs reveals the truth about that fateful day. Thoroughly revised and updated with the latest findings about the assassination, Crossfire is the most comprehensive, convincing explanation of how, why, and by whom our thirty-fifth president was killed.


Who am I?

In 1978, I happened to be the only person present in the cramped office of my college newspaper in Texas, when Kennedy assassination eyewitness Bill Newman entered. It was during the midst of the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations’ investigation into the matter. Newman was standing no more than 15 feet from Kennedy when he was shot. His account intrigued me, sending me on a search that has yet to end. I witnessed Kennedy’s funeral in Washington, D.C., as a boy, grew up in Dallas, and even shared the same birthday with him. Several articles I wrote on the assassination and ensuing research have won awards, including a Best in Show Feature Writing Award from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association. I have written books on other topics, but this is the one that most consumed me.


I wrote...

Death of the Rising Sun: A Search for Truth in the JFK Assassination

By Kevin James Shay,

Book cover of Death of the Rising Sun: A Search for Truth in the JFK Assassination

What is my book about?

Historians place the assassination of John F. Kennedy among the biggest watershed events of the 20th century. Since that 1963 tragedy, more than 2,000 books have covered various aspects of the assassination and its aftermath. Some have even claimed to solve the case. Veteran journalist Kevin James Shay focuses on presenting what occurred between Kennedy's 1960 presidential triumph and his assassination in an objective manner. The narrative, infused with behind-the-scenes details that have been brought to light in recent years, provides a compelling account that is particularly geared towards the average reader.

The book unearths some fresh details, such as about other attempts on Kennedy's life and the involvement of a Ku Klux Klan leader who opposed racial violence to the point that he became a government informant and likely helped prolong Kennedy’s life.

Last Second in Dallas

By Josiah Thompson,

Book cover of Last Second in Dallas

In some ways, the current epidemic of crackpot “deep state” conspiracy theories can be traced to the miasma surrounding one of the greatest unsolved murders of our time, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Thompson’s new book is an antidote: a rigorous, transparent and compelling investigation of acoustic, photographic, and medical evidence. The philosophy professor turned San Francisco private eye interweaves his own fascinating personal journey with the story of how he came to find, examine, and re-examine forensic evidence that, he concludes, proves Kennedy was killed not by a lone assassin as the Warren Commission found, but in a cross-fire from at least two shooters.

Last Second in Dallas

By Josiah Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Last Second in Dallas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this long-awaited follow-up to his critically acclaimed 1967 classic, Six Seconds in Dallas, Josiah Thompson reveals major new forensic discoveries since the year 2000 that overturn previously accepted 'facts' about the Kennedy assassination. Together they provide what no previous book on the assassination has done - incontrovertible proof that JFK was killed in a crossfire.

Last Second in Dallas is not a conspiracy book. No theory of who did it is offered or discussed. Among the discoveries: The test showing that all recovered bullet fragments came from Oswald's rifle was mistaken. Several fragments could have come from bullets of…


Who am I?

Seth Rosenfeld is an independent investigative journalist and author of the New York Times best-seller Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power. As a staff reporter for The San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle, he specialized in using public records and won national honors including the George Polk Award. Subversives, based on thousands of pages of FBI records released to him as a result of several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, won the PEN Center USA’s Literary Award for Research Nonfiction Prize, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award, and other honors.


I wrote...

Book cover of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power

What is my book about?

In the mid-1960s, the FBI was secretly involved with three charismatic figures: the ambitious neophyte politician Ronald Reagan, the fierce but fragile radical Mario Savio, and the liberal university president Clark Kerr. Subversives traces these converging narratives in a dramatic and disturbing story of FBI surveillance, illegal break-ins, infiltration, planted news stories, poison-pen letters, and secret detention lists, all centered on the Free Speech Movement at the University of California’s Berkeley campus.

Subversives provides a fresh look at the legacy of the sixties, sheds new light on one of America’s most popular presidents, and tells a cautionary tale about the dangers of secrecy and unchecked power.

John Kenneth Galbraith

By Richard Parker,

Book cover of John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics

In the 1950s and 1960s, J. K. Galbraith was probably America’s most famous economist. A Canadian, whose career began as an agricultural economist, Galbraith achieved notoriety in the United States as Director of the wartime Office of Price Administration, until he was forced to resign. He was one of the economists responsible for spreading Keynesian ideas in America, and became active in the Democratic Party, and a close friend and adviser to President John F. Kennedy. He was the author of a string of best-sellers: American Capitalism, The Great Crash:1929, The Affluent Society, and The New Industrial State, as well as a talented essayist and speech-writer, coining phrases that have become well known, including “the conventional wisdom” and “private wealth and public squalor.” Holding radical political views, he became an outsider to an economics profession that increasingly turned away from his non-technical literary style. Parker has…

John Kenneth Galbraith

By Richard Parker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Higher education is a strange beast. Teaching is a critical skill for scientists in academia, yet one that is barely touched upon in their professional training-despite being a substantial part of their career. This book is a practical guide for anyone teaching STEM-related academic disciplines at the college level, from graduate students teaching lab sections and newly appointed faculty to well-seasoned professors in want of fresh ideas. Terry McGlynn's straightforward, no-nonsense approach avoids off-putting pedagogical jargon and enables instructors to become true ambassadors for science.

For years, McGlynn has been addressing the need for practical and accessible advice for college…


Who am I?

Roger E. Backhouse has been a Professor of Economics and the University of Birmingham (in the UK) for many years, specializing in the history of economic ideas, and has written several books on contemporary economics and where the ideas came from. Knowing that many people lose interest when economics gets technical, he has picked biographies of modern economists who have led interesting lives as well as contributing to the development of their discipline, defining “modern” economists as ones who were active during his own lifetime, a criterion that excludes John Maynard Keynes, on whom several outstanding biographies have been written.


I wrote...

Founder of Modern Economics: Paul A. Samuelson: Volume 1: Becoming Samuelson, 1915-1948

By Roger E. Backhouse,

Book cover of Founder of Modern Economics: Paul A. Samuelson: Volume 1: Becoming Samuelson, 1915-1948

What is my book about?

When I was a student, around 1970, Paul Samuelson dominated economics. He was well known as the author of the textbook that, in 1948, changed the way introductory economics was taught. He had written articles perceived to be foundational to almost every field of economics: the theory of individual behavior, the provision of public goods, international trade, financial markets, the determination of employment and output, and much else. And yet there was a puzzle: how could a highly technical, mathematical economist have come to write a book that was as non-mathematical as Economics: An Introductory Analysis and which was so popular that millions of copies were sold?

My book, which is the first half of a full intellectual biography, tries to answer that question. As he liked to say, he was partly self-taught taking advantage of the freedom that Chicago and Harvard gave him, but he also had the best economics education that anyone could have had in the 1930s, anywhere in the world. It was his wartime experience that changed the young mathematical economist into the person who could communicate with students and politicians as fluently as with other economists.

As We Remember Her

By Carl Sferrazza Anthony,

Book cover of As We Remember Her: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the Words of Her Family and Friends

This volume collects the memories of people who were close to Jackie. Carl Anthony met Jackie, and better, he was in touch with Jackie’s friend Nancy Tuckerman, who helped him with addresses and telephone numbers. These are people who were willing to speak about Jackie following her premature death at the age of 65. Anthony is also an expert on presidential wives and families.

As We Remember Her

By Carl Sferrazza Anthony,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked As We Remember Her as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

irst Lady Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, childhood friends and dozens of others share their fond recollections of Jackie in As We Remember Her. This is the first time many of these people have ever spoken publicly about her, and the portrait that emerges is quite revealing. Behind the image of one of the 20th-century's most recognizable icons was a surprisingly substantive person -- a woman whose intelligence and political savvy were as remarkable as her famous charm and beauty. Jackie plunged fresh out of college into the world of journalism with her own girl-on-the-street column for the Washington Times. As…


Who am I?

Many of my books have been on the British monarchy. Jackie was the only figure who came close to being an American queen. Her clothes drew me to her at first. Later, her decision to have an editorial career after her children were grown gave me the idea for a new biographical approach to her. I still admire Jackie for that, as well as for her low-key regality, about which she had a sense of humor.


I wrote...

Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books

By William Kuhn,

Book cover of Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books

What is my book about?

Jackie Kennedy is famous for her time with JFK in the White House and later with Onassis on his yacht. The last twenty years of her life, however, were the best. She was free of husbands. She was building a career as a book editor. She produced nearly 100 books in this period. These books offer insights into her tastes and passions as a reader. They even offer insights on her own life story.

Whether she was commissioning works on celebrities who had to hide from their own renown, or on Camelot, or on the philosophy of fashion, the stories of her books provide a new angle on what Jackie was really like.

Marina and Lee

By Priscilla Johnson McMillan,

Book cover of Marina and Lee: The Tormented Love and Fatal Obsession Behind Lee Harvey Oswald's Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Author Priscilla McMillan was at the crossroads of history. She worked as a junior aide for Senator John Kennedy before she went to Moscow as a reporter during the height of the Cold War. There, in 1959, she interviewed an American marine who had recently defected to the Soviet Union. He was Lee Harvey Oswald. After JFK was killed in 1963, McMillan befriended Oswald’s widow, Marina, and spent hundreds of hours interviewing her. The result of McMillan’s unprecedented direct access to the Oswalds is an unmatched personal study of a troubled young man who turned into one of history’s most notorious assassins. 

Marina and Lee

By Priscilla Johnson McMillan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“The single best book ever written on the Kennedy assassination” -- Thomas Mallon, author of Mrs. Paine's Garage: And the Murder of John F. Kennedy
 
“It is not at all easy to describe the power of Marina and Lee . . . It is far better than any other book about Kennedy . . . Other books about the Kennedy assassination are all smoke and no fire. Marina and Lee burns.” —New York Times Book Review

Marina and Lee is an indispensable account of one of America’s most traumatic events and a classic work of narrative history. In her meticulous—at…


Who am I?

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


I wrote...

Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

By Gerald Posner,

Book cover of Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

What is my book about?

Case Closed is the definitive reexamination of the JFK assassination. Published in 1993, on the 30th anniversary of America’s most infamous political murder, it was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer in History. I testified before Congress about the findings of my book: that Lee Harvey Oswald had, indeed, acted alone in killing JFK. 

Historian Stephen Ambrose said about Case Closed: “Posner has done a great service, in the process proving that a single researcher, working alone, is always preferable to a committee. This is a model of historical research. It should be required reading for anyone reviewing any book on the Kennedy assassination. Beyond the outstanding job of research, Posner is a dramatic storyteller. The recreation of Oswald's, and Jack Ruby's, personalities are wonderfully well done. This case has been closed by Mr. Posner's work.”

Reclaiming History

By Vincent Bugliosi,

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

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

Reclaiming History

By Vincent Bugliosi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

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

The brilliant…


Who am I?

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


I wrote...

Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

By Gerald Posner,

Book cover of Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

What is my book about?

Case Closed is the definitive reexamination of the JFK assassination. Published in 1993, on the 30th anniversary of America’s most infamous political murder, it was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer in History. I testified before Congress about the findings of my book: that Lee Harvey Oswald had, indeed, acted alone in killing JFK. 

Historian Stephen Ambrose said about Case Closed: “Posner has done a great service, in the process proving that a single researcher, working alone, is always preferable to a committee. This is a model of historical research. It should be required reading for anyone reviewing any book on the Kennedy assassination. Beyond the outstanding job of research, Posner is a dramatic storyteller. The recreation of Oswald's, and Jack Ruby's, personalities are wonderfully well done. This case has been closed by Mr. Posner's work.”

Castro's Secrets

By Brian Latell,

Book cover of Castro's Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, The CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Intelligence expert, professor, and former National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, Dr. Brian Latell, offers insight into Cuban Intelligence and their—largely—successful infiltration of the US security apparatus. Based on interviews with high-level defectors, the book delves into Castro’s mindset with assassination plots and uncover operations emanating from both sides of the Florida Straits as well as a behind-the-scenes look at some key events of the Cold War.

It’s very interesting to learn more about Castro’s mindset beyond the news headlines and how he managed to maintain power after the revolution. However, the real bombshell is an anecdote given by a former Cuban radio operator during the 1960s. I won’t give anything away, but it certainly adds fodder to the JFK assassination, giving one something to think about without falling into a deluge of conspiracy theories. Compelling reading from a true expert in the area.

Castro's Secrets

By Brian Latell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Published to glowing reviews, thisriveting narrative takes us back to when the Cuban Revolution was young and offers a new and surprising look at Fidel Castro. Drawing on interviews with high-level defectors from Cuban intelligence, Cuba expert Brian Latell creates a vivid narrative that chronicles Castro's crimes from his university days through nearly 50 years in power. As Cuba's supreme spymaster Fidel built up an intelligence system that became one of best and most aggressive anywhere. Latell argues that the CIA grossly underestimated the Cubans' extraordinary abilities to run moles and double agents and to penetrate the highest levels of…


Who am I?

I lived in Latin America for six years, working as a red cross volunteer, a volcano hiking guide, a teacher, and an extra in a Russian TV series (in Panama). Having travelled throughout the region and returning regularly, I’m endlessly fascinated by the culture, history, politics, languages, and geography. Parallel to this, I enjoy reading and writing about the world of international espionage. Combining the two, and based on my own experience, I wrote my novel, Magical Disinformation, a spy novel set in Colombia. While there is not a huge depth of spy novels set in Latin America, I’ve chosen five of my favourites spy books set in the region.


I wrote...

Magical Disinformation

By Lachlan Page,

Book cover of Magical Disinformation

What is my book about?

Oliver Jardine is a British spy in Colombia, enamoured with local woman Veronica Velasco. As the Colombian government signs a peace agreement with the FARC guerrillas, Her Majesty’s Government decides a transfer is in order to focus on more pertinent theatres of operation. In a desperate attempt to remain in Colombia, Jardine begins to fabricate his intelligence reports. But the consequences soon take on a life of their own.

In the era of ‘fake news,’ in the land of magical realism, fiction can be just as dangerous as the truth...

Christine Falls

By Benjamin Black,

Book cover of Christine Falls

Christine Falls is the first in a series of crime novels by Booker-winning author John Banville, writing as Benjamin Black. The novels are set in Ireland in the 1950s and they feature Quirke, a misanthropic, hard-drinking, depressive pathologist. All the novels in the series are master classes in how to manage setting, character, and language. All of them are great reads. I’ve chosen Christine Falls because it’s the first in the series. It starts with a presumed suicide and widens to feature corruption and betrayal by family, church, and state.

Christine Falls

By Benjamin Black,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the debut crime novel from the Booker-winning author, a Dublin pathologist follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of
a conspiracy among the city's high Catholic society

It's not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It's the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his…


Who am I?

I’ve always read and loved crime fiction – so much so I did a doctorate in it. I believe good crime fiction has the capacity to explore particular societies, places, and times in interesting and enjoyable ways. I also like crime fiction’s focus on character, and particularly in crime series which show a character evolving over time. That’s why I chose the theme of ‘flawed detective’ and that’s what I’m trying to do in my Schalk Lourens series, of which Present Tense is the first. I hope you enjoy it, and also the other books I’ve recommended here.


I wrote...

Present Tense: A Schalk Lourens Mystery

By Natalie Conyer,

Book cover of Present Tense: A Schalk Lourens Mystery

What is my book about?

Present Tense is a police procedural set in present-day South Africa, in Cape Town. Schalk Lourens, a cop with a past he’s ashamed of, must investigate the murder of his ex-boss, an execution that recalls the bad old days of apartheid. His investigation is made more difficult by the tensions of post-apartheid society. Schalk must tread a line between the new regime and the old, between personal and professional, between justice and revenge.

Present Tense won the 2020 Ned Kelly Award for a debut novel and was shortlisted for the Davitt Awards. The Sydney Morning Herald called it "superbly structured" and with a "cast of engaging characters."

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