The most recommended murder books

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


Norco '80

By Peter Houlahan,

Book cover of Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History

Andrew Amelinckx Author Of Satellite Boy: The International Manhunt for a Master Thief That Launched the Modern Communication Age

From the list on narrative non-fiction that interweave crime and history.

Who am I?

I’ve been enthralled with history since childhood thanks to my late father, a college professor with a passion for the past. Our house was always filled with history books of all types and my father was a veritable encyclopedia who enjoyed answering my questions. When I became a crime reporter in the early 2000s, my predilection for history merged with my interest in crime and I ended up writing four books centered around historical crimes ranging in time from the 1700s to the 1960s. 

Andrew's book list on narrative non-fiction that interweave crime and history

Why did Andrew love this book?

Norco '80 is the kind of book that sticks with you long after you’ve finished reading it.

Peter Houlahan captures late 1970s Southern California in all its strangeness and gives a blow-by-blow account of one of America’s wildest bank robberies with perfect pacing that continues to ratchet up the action page after page. The shockingly violent robbery by five landscapers whose leader was an apocalyptic born-again Christian reshaped American law enforcement.

And we’re still feeling the aftereffects more than forty years later in the form of militarized police forces across the country. It’s a book that will keep you up at night telling yourself you’ll quit reading after one more chapter but, most likely, you’ll just keep going. 

By Peter Houlahan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Norco '80 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

5 young men. 32 destroyed police vehicles. 1 spectacular bank robbery. This “cinematic” true crime story transports readers to the scene of one of the most shocking bank heists in U.S. history―a crime that’s almost too wild to be real (The New York Times Book Review).

Norco ’80 tells the story of how five heavily armed young men―led by an apocalyptic born-again Christian―attempted a bank robbery that turned into one of the most violent criminal events in U.S. history, forever changing the face of American law enforcement. Part action thriller and part courtroom drama, this Edgar Award finalist for Best…

In the Blood

By Lisa Unger,

Book cover of In the Blood

Jenna Kernan Author Of The Nurse

From the list on psychological thrillers with a jaw-dropping twist.

Who am I?

I’m a certified crime junkie beginning with Helter Skelter and, more recently, FBI profiler Jack Douglas’ Mindhunter. This genre is a passion, but here’s the kicker, I started my writing journey in Western historical romance. I know, right? Then I had this wild idea: a psychologist who’s got a secret – her mother is a notorious serial killer on death row, and someone is imitating her crimes. Just like that A Killer’s Daughter was born! Now I’m always reading and listening to thrillers and true crime podcasts. Check out my newsletter to see what’s grabbing me. 

Jenna's book list on psychological thrillers with a jaw-dropping twist

Why did Jenna love this book?

I attended an author event at the coolest bookstore in Tampa in The Exchange building, and Lisa Unger was being interviewed by Colette Bancroft, the book editor for the Tampa Times.

Well, the book sounded wonderful, and it really is. The heroine in this story is smart, clever, and managed to keep one step ahead of the unusual, troubled boy she is hired to babysit. I loved this story and now have a signed copy on my keeper shelf.

By Lisa Unger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Best Mystery Novel of the Year (Sun-Sentinel)

A Best Book of the Year (Suspense Magazine)

A Silver Falchion Award Winner for Best Novel

A Best Book Nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards

A CBC Morning Show Top Book Pick

An Amazon Best Book of the Month 

An Indie Next Best Books of the Month Pick

"A brisk, crafty and fascinating psychological thriller... In The Blood is a complex mosaic as well, one that's tricky, arresting and meaningful." (The Washington Post)

Liar, liar, pants on fire . . . 

College senior Lana Granger has told so many lies about her…

The River of Souls

By Robert McCammon,

Book cover of The River of Souls

Alice Henderson Author Of A Solitude of Wolverines

From the list on gripping books set in the wild.

Who am I?

In addition to being a writer, I’m also a wildlife researcher and therefore spend a lot of time in wild, remote areas. Using a variety of methods including bioacoustic studies, I undertake wildlife surveys to determine what species are present on lands that have been set aside for conservation. I ensure there are no signs of poaching and devise of ways to improve habitat. I have surveyed for the presence of grizzlies, wolves, spotted owls, wolverines, jaguars, endangered bats, and more. These remote settings inspired me to write my current thriller series about a wildlife biologist who encounters dangerous situations while working to protect endangered species.

Alice's book list on gripping books set in the wild

Why did Alice love this book?

Robert McCammon is one of our finest contemporary writers. He truly has the gift of making me feel like I’m in the settings of his books, as if I’ve experienced the tribulations and triumphs of his characters firsthand. River of Souls is no exception. It transported me back in time to the swamps of the Carolinas in 1703, where alligators and snakes prowled the dark waters. The main character, Matthew Corbett, is tasked with journeying up the Solstice River in search of an accused murderer. He encounters strange settlements steeped in mysticism. Tales of a mythical beast hunting humans in the fetid landscape add to the terror. But despite these challenges, Corbett, a smart, dynamic, honor-bound character, will stop at nothing to see justice done.

By Robert McCammon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Macabre surprises abound” in this historical thriller by a New York Times–bestselling author, centered on the search for an escaped slave accused of murder (Publishers Weekly).
Accompanied by his new friend Magnus Muldoon, professional problem solver Matthew Corbett is in the Carolina colony, where three enslaved people have managed to flee their captors—one of them accused of killing the daughter of a plantation owner. Their quest to close the case will take Matthew and Magnus to the place known as “the River of Souls” as they encounter alligators and Native American warriors—and a terrifying being known as the Soul Cryer…

The Blade Itself

By Joe Abercrombie,

Book cover of The Blade Itself

M. J. Kuhn Author Of Among Thieves

From the list on where no one is 'the good guy'.

Who am I?

I love a book where the good guys are pure-hearted and the bad guys are evil, but there's something so fascinating about a story where the lines of good and evil blur and bend. I firmly believe that everyone is the hero in their own story… and everyone is the villain in at least one other person’s story. My Tales of Thamorr duology features multiple heists and hijinks, and every member of our crew has plans to betray their fellows. My goal in writing stories where no one is the ‘good guy’ is to create a reading experience where you want to root for everyone and no one at the same time.

M. J.'s book list on where no one is 'the good guy'

Why did M. J. love this book?

In my opinion, any discussion of morally gray books and morally gray heroes is incomplete without the Lord of Grimdark himself, Joe Abercrombie.

The Blade Itself is the first book in the First Law trilogy. The story follows several points of view, including a murderous north man, a pompous soldier, and, my personal favorite, a snarky torturer. If you’re looking for a story where knights in shining armor win the day and the bad guy gets his just desserts, this isn’t the series for you.

But if you want characters so real they feel like they could walk right out of the page, expertly-paced action, and complex political machinations, check these books out! 

By Joe Abercrombie,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Blade Itself as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.

Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.

And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior…


By Ben Hubbard,

Book cover of MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed Bin Salman

Simon Henderson Author Of After King Fahd: Succession in Saudi Arabia

From the list on understanding modern Saudi Arabia.

Who am I?

British by birth, American by naturalization, Simon Henderson started in journalism as a trainee at the BBC before becoming its correspondent in Pakistan. Joining the Financial Times a year later, he was promptly sent to Iran to cover the 1979 Islamic revolution and went back again for the U.S. embassy hostage crisis. He now analyzes the Gulf states, energy, and the nuclear programs of Iran and Pakistan as the Baker fellow and director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Simon's book list on understanding modern Saudi Arabia

Why did Simon love this book?

The assiduous New York Times reporter digs deeply into the persona of the Saudi crown prince, and is rewarded with many anecdotes. Unsurprisingly, most are anonymous. A revealing one is: “One foreign official recalled that the prince’s leg never stopped bouncing during their meeting, making him wonder if the prince was nervous or on some sort of stimulant.”

By Ben Hubbard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Financial Times Book Best Book of the Year 2020

A Foreign Affairs Best Book of the Year 2020

The gripping, untold story of how Saudi Arabia's secretive and mercurial new ruler rose to power.

Even in his youth as a prince among thousands of princes, Mohammed bin Salman nurtured sweeping ambitions. He wanted power - enough of it to reshape his hyper-conservative, insular Islamic kingdom.

When his elderly father took the throne in 2015, MBS got his chance. As the hands-on-ruler, he made seismic changes, working doggedly to overhaul the kingdom's economy, loosen its strict Islamic social codes and…


By Femi Kayode,

Book cover of Lightseekers

Michael Stanley Author Of A Deadly Covenant

From the list on African noir thrillers.

Who are we?

Michael Stanley is actually two people—Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip both South Africans, passionate about Africa and its cultures. We read a lot of books set in or concerning Africa. We think of African thrillers as Sunshine Noir—things are always at their most deadly in the glare of the sun! The diverse cultures generate complex character clashes and intriguingly original plots. We believe some of the best thrillers anywhere are set in Africa and written by African writers. Michael writes an article every month titled Africa Scene for the International Thrillers Writers magazine (The Big Thrill) where he interviews an author about a new thriller set in Africa.

Michael's book list on African noir thrillers

Why did Michael love this book?

Loosely based on a true story, Lightseekers explores the dynamics of mob violence and how it can be manipulated. What persuaded a gang of boys at a rural university to behave as they did? Why was the response so out of proportion? How was the local politics involved and why? In this thriller we know what happened, the mystery is why and how it happened the way it did. A superb debut.

By Femi Kayode,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Waterstones Thriller of the Month 'Lightseekers is ripe with all the twists and turns you could hope for... A fast-paced thriller that offers insight into the ever present tensions in a poverty stricken community. An action-packed and spirited debut' Oyinkan Braithwaite, author of My Sister, the Serial Killer Selected as a Best Crime Novel of the Month by The Times, Sunday Times, Independent, Guardian, Observer, Financial Times and Irish Times. Winner of the 2019 UEA Crime Writing Prize, Lightseekers is the start of a major new crime series introducing investigative psychologist Dr Philip Taiwo. When three young students are brutally…

Book cover of Murder at the Lakeside Library

Denise Swanson Author Of Murder of a Smart Cookie

From the list on feel good mysteries.

Who am I?

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

Denise's book list on feel good mysteries

Why did Denise love this book?

Holly Danver’s first book in the Lakeside Library series is fast-paced and an easy read that skillfully evokes both the charm and the quirks of a small town. The setting is fun and the characters are likable. It has delightful touches and twists with a nimble plot that will keep you turning the pages until the very end. It provides a fictional vacation at a rustic Wisconsin cabin that includes a private lending library

By Holly Danvers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Murder at the Lakeside Library as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this series debut perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Miranda James, Rain Wilmot must discover the killer, before the book closes on her life.

Rain Wilmot has just returned to her family's waterfront log cabin in Lofty Pines, Wisconsin after the untimely death of her husband. The cabin is peaceful compared to Rain's corporate job and comes with an informal library that Rain's mother, Willow, used to run. But as Rain prepares for the re-opening of the library, all hopes for a peaceful life are shattered when she discovers the body of Thornton Hughes, a real estate buyer,…

The Iron Dragon's Mother

By Michael Swanwick,

Book cover of The Iron Dragon's Mother

Vajra Chandrasekera Author Of The Saint of Bright Doors

From the list on feeling lost and obsessed by a haunted world.

Who am I?

I’m Vajra Chandrasekera, from Colombo, Sri Lanka. I’m a writer, and more importantly, a reader. My favourite kind of book is bigger on the inside, the kind that drops you into a world too big and too weird to really get a handle on, a world that’s strange in ways you feel you recognize, like how sometimes you wake up from a dream and think, I’ve dreamed about that place and those people before, but you can’t tell if you have, or whether you dreamed the memory, too. You read the book and look at the world and you ask yourself: Did I dream those people, that place? Or is this the dream?

Vajra's book list on feeling lost and obsessed by a haunted world

Why did Vajra love this book?

Technically—very technically—this is the conclusion of a trilogy, but it’s more three standalone novels that have some things to say to, and about, each other.

The first book, The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, was hugely influential on me as a reader and writer, and on speculative fiction as a field. This one, two decades later, is the most direct about the mutual imbrication, the bidirectional haunting, between our world and theirs.

Swanwick’s Dragon books do indeed feature dragons, except the iron dragons are mechanical, warplanes bonded to their human pilots, in a version of Faerie that has fully integrated vile modernity and knows our souls all too well. 

By Michael Swanwick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Award-winning author Michael Swanwick returns to the gritty, post-industrial faerie world of his New York Times Notable Book The Iron Dragon’s Daughter with the standalone adventure fantasy The Iron Dragon’s Mother.

Caitlin of House Sans Merci is the young half-human pilot of a sentient mechanical dragon. Returning from her first soul-stealing raid, she discovers an unwanted hitchhiker.

When Caitlin is framed for the murder of her brother, to save herself she must disappear into Industrialized Faerie, looking for the one person who can clear her.


Postmark Murder

By Mignon G. Eberhart,

Book cover of Postmark Murder

Elisabeth Grace Foley Author Of Land of Hills and Valleys

From the list on vintage mystery-suspense.

Who am I?

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved history, devoured mystery fiction, and scribbled my own stories. Today I combine all those passions by writing books in classic mystery-suspense style, but set in the place and the period of history that fascinates me the most: the American West. I firmly believe that the Old West should be treated not merely as a myth or a set of tropes, but a historical period in its own right, and so I love to use it as the setting for character-driven stories drawing on my favorite elements of the mystery genre.

Elisabeth's book list on vintage mystery-suspense

Why did Elisabeth love this book?

Laura March is serving as temporary guardian of a little refugee girl who may be the next heir to a fortune when a man claiming to be the child’s father turns up at her door—and when shortly afterward he turns up dead, Laura is both a suspect and a target for the real killer in this atmospheric whodunit. The fun of this one lies in its wintry 1950s Chicago setting: the foggy streets, high-rise apartment buildings, corner phone booths and drugstores, and department stores decorated for Christmas.

By Mignon G. Eberhart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From one of the most prolific authors of the Golden Age of mystery: “A nice example of [Eberhart’s] powers . . . Intelligently complicated” (The New Yorker).
 When Conrad Stanley dies, Laura is the only heir not concerned with her slice of his estate. Orphaned at a young age, she was Stanley’s ward, and cannot celebrate the death of the only father she ever knew. The executors of Stanley’s will find that he had a Polish relative, Conrad Stanislowski, who is due part of the inheritance. A search for Stanislowski produces only his daughter: eight-year-old Jonny, who comes to Chicago…

Duet for the Devil

By T. Winter-Damon, Randy Chandler, Edward Lee

Book cover of Duet for the Devil

David L. Tamarin Author Of Hurting My Toys: Spiritual Suicide

From the list on extreme horror.

Who am I?

My experience and expertise – I am not only a reader of horror, in particular extreme horror, but I am a published writer with several hundred writing credits. I have had hundreds of stories and articles published on many websites, magazines, and anthologies including a story in Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 5. For eleven years I wrote articles on the bizarre and morbid for Girls and Corpses magazine. I have been consistently writing for 20 years, and have also helped write several independent horror films. I have written many reviews and interviews as well, most recently in Phantasmagoria Magazine.

David's book list on extreme horror

Why did David love this book?

Two of the top voices in extreme horror fiction unite to create a surreal road trip to hell. Loosely based on the crimes of the Zodiac Killer, as well as several other serial killers, Duet for the Devil pushes all possible boundaries and stands as a monumental achievement in Extreme Horror. Featuring hundreds of pages of brutality and disturbing criminal behavior, the book is not one to be forgotten.

By T. Winter-Damon, Randy Chandler, Edward Lee

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

DUET FOR THE DEVIL is a brutal and grim tale of The Zodiac Killer, serial slayers, drugs, dark gods, black magicks, detectives, and a dog-a road trip to oblivion. You've never read a hardboiled crime/erotic horror novel anything like this before- DUET FOR THE DEVIL completely redefines the meaning of extreme...and shatters, once and for all, the perceived limits of hardcore horror...

Book cover of The Last of the Moon Girls

Katie Munday Williams Author Of Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel: The Story of Anne Bradstreet, America's First Published Poet

From Katie's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Playful Bookworm Mom Dreamer Adventurous

Katie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Katie's 8-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Katie love this book?

Despite the fact that this book was fairly predictable in its plot, I loved the way the main character ends up digging into her past to discover who she truly is. She finds forgiveness and love along the way, which, while trite, also resonates on many levels.

Life is so packed with big and little hurts that eventually, a person can get too weighed down, hauling them all around. Learning to understand people’s actions and show empathy is a lesson we can all benefit from. 

By Barbara Davis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts Bestseller.

A novel of secrets, memory, family, and forgiveness by the bestselling author of When Never Comes.

Lizzy Moon never wanted Moon Girl Farm. Eight years ago, she left the land that nine generations of gifted healers had tended, determined to distance herself from the whispers about her family's strange legacy. But when her beloved grandmother Althea dies, Lizzy must return and face the tragedy still hanging over the farm's withered lavender fields: the unsolved murders of two young girls, and the cruel accusations that followed Althea to her grave.

Lizzy wants nothing more than to sell…

A Mother's Reckoning

By Sue Klebold,

Book cover of A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy

Laura Jean Baker Author Of The Motherhood Affidavits: A Memoir

From the list on the dark complexities of motherhood.

Who am I?

I wear many aprons. I am a writer; a professor of creative writing and literature; a mother to five children – daughters and sons; the wife of a criminal defense attorney; and the daughter of therapists. I read and write at the intersection of these influences: crime, motherhood, and psychology. When I teach children’s literature, I lean toward the Brothers Grimm. Childhood is grittier – more suspenseful – when we darken the stories. The same is true of motherhood. Nobody wants to read about a perfect mother, especially when mothers spend so much of our psychic energy worried about our children in the forms of violence, illness, and death. I prefer to seek out books that complicate the otherwise pristine stories of our lives we pretend to tell.

Laura's book list on the dark complexities of motherhood

Why did Laura love this book?

If you vividly remember the Columbine High School shooting or any of the horrific moments of spectacle violence in the subsequent two decades (Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Parkland, etc.), this book answers questions you might have been afraid to ask, such as, how do parents of these “monsters next door”– in particular their mothers – survive in the wake of such horror, and where do they find grace? As a mother to three boys and two girls, in a 21st-century America that continues to be plagued by gun violence, I read (and re-read) Sue Klebold’s honest story, aware on every page, that the reverberating effects of Columbine, complete with active-shooter training in our kids’ schools, still permeate our everyday lives.

By Sue Klebold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.

For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan's mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could…

Book cover of The Columbus Stocking Strangler

Rob St. Clair Author Of Saving Stacy: The Untold Story of the Moody Massacre

From the list on true crime tragedies.

Who am I?

Working as a prosecutor, trial lawyer for defendants, and as a magistrate, I’m always bothered by the misconception most people have of our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, cops are crooked, judges are corrupt, and witnesses lie on the stand. Not everyone, not every day, but more often than you would ever imagine. I write true crime books about cases where the underlying focus is on officials who are incompetent, derelict in their duties, or simply downright corrupt. The cases are always suspenseful, but justice is rarely served, and both the defendant and the public are the ones who lose.

Rob's book list on true crime tragedies

Why did Rob love this book?

When you live in Columbus, Georgia, this one takes on special meaning. During an eight-month period in 1977 and 1978, Columbus was terrorized by a mysterious serial killer who raped and ritualistically strangled seven elderly women in one of the community’s finer neighborhoods.

Despite intensive efforts on the part of the police, who proved to be incompetent, the Stocking Strangler, as he came to be known, managed to elude capture. After the last murder in April 1978, the case went cold. In the spring of 1984, a series of fortuitous events connected to an unrelated murder and a stolen pistol led to the capture of Carlton Gary, who had recently escaped from a South Carolina prison.

Following a dramatic trial in August 1986, Gary was convicted of three of the seven Columbus murders and sentenced to death, a penalty that would not be carried out until March 2018.

This convoluted…

By William Rawlings,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During an eight-month period in 1977 and 1978, the city of Columbus, Georgia, was terrorized by a mysterious serial killer who raped and ritualistically strangled seven elderly women in one of the community's finer neighborhoods. Despite intensive efforts on the part of police the Stocking Strangler, as he came to be known, managed to elude capture. After the last murder in April 1978, the case went cold. In the spring of 1984, a series of fortuitous events connected to an unrelated murder and a stolen pistol led to the capture of Carlton Gary, who had recently escaped from a South…


By Maryanne Melloan Woods,

Book cover of Lazarus

Candice Marley Conner Author Of The Existence of Bea Pearl

From the list on YA mysteries to channel your inner Nancy Drew.

Who am I?

I grew up reading Nancy Drew books creekside in an Alabama swamp and developed a deep adoration of mysteries with atmospheric, creepy settings. I love the idea of strong female protagonists who take matters into their own hands and don’t sit idly by, so not only do I read books that have them as main characters, but I write them too. In addition to writing, I’m lucky enough to be a kidlit haint at a haunted indie bookshop, so reading and recommending the books I enjoy is literally my job!

Candice's book list on YA mysteries to channel your inner Nancy Drew

Why did Candice love this book?

Another good small-town mystery, I recommend Lazarus if you prefer your whodunits full of heart and humor. Margo and Hank are the sweetest teen detective couple since Nancy Drew and Ned Nickerson. Only problem is Hank’s dead. 

The book is a dual POV, and their love for each other comes out of the pages as they grapple with what haunts them. In Margo's situation, the cold case death of her mother, and in Hank's, his accidental murderers plotting something nefarious, and wondering what's best for Margo--stay with her to protect her, or move on so she can too.

Every time I thought I figured out who the killer could be, Hank or Margo brought another neighbor’s secrets to light. The cornfield-filled, rural Nebraska setting lent creepy vibes.

By Maryanne Melloan Woods,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Margo and Hank are teen detectives in tiny, god-forsaken Lazarus, Nebraska. They have a profoundly deep relationship; the only hitch is that Hank has been dead for two months.The pair team up to solve a local murder, with Margo doing the everyday gumshoe work and the late Hank spying on suspects unseen. At the same time, Margo attempts to solve the cold case of her mother’s murder seven years ago. As Margo’s quest becomes more perilous, Hank will try to protect her, anguished that he can’t do more as she finally battles the sinister forces that killed her mother.


By Emma Donoghue,

Book cover of Slammerkin

Maryka Biaggio Author Of Parlor Games

From the list on wily, take-charge women.

Who am I?

Ever since I stumbled across the story of May Dugas, who the Pinkertons described as “the most dangerous woman in the world,” I’ve been fascinated by women who were born into lowly circumstances and yearned to better themselves. How far were they willing to go to rise above their station? This question takes on added weight for women in earlier eras—when women’s choices and opportunities were limited. So I’ve long been attracted to historical fiction that examines just these questions. And I’ve enjoyed hearing readers’ reactions to May’s story when I visit book clubs. What reader isn’t fascinated by stories of transgression and daring?

Maryka's book list on wily, take-charge women

Why did Maryka love this book?

Maybe it’s because of my working-class roots, but Mary Saunders, an obscure but very real historical figure, is the sort of woman I wanted to root for. After all, it takes initiative, ingenuity, and not a small dose of impetuosity to rise from a lower-class schoolgirl to, well, some higher station. I was saddened to see how Mary’s yearnings to free herself from the shackles of her class forced her into prostitution at a young age. But when she made a dangerous misstep that set her on the run and landed her a position of a household seamstress, I couldn’t help but fear the worst for her. I was glued to the page in Emma Donoghue’s rich and provocative tale of this young girl’s quest for a better life.

By Emma Donoghue,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in London and Monmouth in the late 1700s, this is an extraordinary novel about Mary Saunders, the young daughter of a poor seamstress. Mary hungers greedily for fine clothes and ribbons, as people of her class do for food and warmth. It's a hunger that lures her into prostitution at the age of thirteen. Mary is thrown out by her distraught mother when she gets pregnant and almost dies on the dangerous streets of London. Her saviour is Doll - a prostitute. Mary roams London freely with Doll, selling her body to all manner of 'cullies', dressed whorishly in…

Hold Back the Night

By Axel Blackwell,

Book cover of Hold Back the Night

Armand Rosamilia Author Of Shake Down

From the list on tropical author thrillers.

Who am I?

I am such a huge fan of Thrillers. Always have been, since I started reading Dean Koontz at 12. The Tropical Authors listed are some of my favorites, but they are a stepping stone to other great authors who write unique thrillers as well. I hope you’ll check them out, and let me know if you find a new favorite. I also love suggestions as well. (Of other authors, please don’t be tacky and suggest your own book!) 

Armand's book list on tropical author thrillers

Why did Armand love this book?

The author’s work with Dawn Lee McKenna might be more fighting for this list (check out The Stillwaters Suspense Series) but I absolutely love this series because the main characters are fun to follow along with. They are so multi-dimensional, and the dialogue is outstanding. I could read chapter after chapter of them chatting about nothing, and still enjoy it. The action is well-written and not hokey, which I love. The twists and turns will leave you wanting more, and I cannot wait to read more from Axel in the future. You should, too! 

By Axel Blackwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

4:23 a.m. The phone rings. The officer on the other end says, “It’s a bad one, Darren. Can you come?” Darren McDaniel has worked dozens of homicides in his years as a detective. It’s a dark and gritty business, and he’s prepared to handle whatever it throws at him. Or so he once believed.The pre-teen girl is dead, dressed in a white princess gown, lying on a bus stop bench. There’s a steel chain clamped to her ankle. A cryptic message scrawled across the booth’s dusty glass wall may be the only clue.As McDaniel plunges into the case, he isn’t…

Lost Girls

By Robert Kolker,

Book cover of Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery

Deborah Halber Author Of The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America's Coldest Cases

From the list on cold cases involving unidentified victims.

Who am I?

I’d always known about the Lady of the Dunes. I’d read about how she was found in the dunes of Provincetown, Massachusetts, on July 26, 1974. I didn’t know about the tens of thousands of other unidentified victims like her, stowed around the US in the back rooms of morgues and unmarked graves. As a journalist who has always given a voice to those who struggle to be heard, I feel compelled to research and write about these Jane and John Does and the people who work to keep their cases in the public eye. I share a unique bond with writers who do the same.

Deborah's book list on cold cases involving unidentified victims

Why did Deborah love this book?

It was chilling to learn that the bodies of several apparently unconnected young women had been discovered at a desolate Long Island beach in 2010. Five of the victims turned out to be sex workers who advertised on Craigslist. Through in-depth interviews with the victims’ families, Kolker illuminates these young women as individuals and pieces together their lives and their movements just before their murders.

By Robert Kolker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lost Girls 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

"Rich, tragic...monumental . . . true-crime reporting at its best."-Washington Post

The bestselling account of the lives of five young women whose fates converged in the perplexing case of the Long Island Serial Killer. Now updated, with a new epilogue by the author.

One late spring evening in 2010, Shannan Gilbert-after running through the oceanfront community of Oak Beach screaming for her life-went missing. No one who had heard of her disappearance thought much about what had happened to the twenty-four-year-old: she was a Craigslist escort who had been fleeing a…

Concrete Desert

By Jon Talton,

Book cover of Concrete Desert

Carl and Jane Bock Author Of Day of the Jaguar: An Arizona Borderlands Mystery

From the list on mysteries about the American Southwest.

Who are we?

Deserts are inherently mysterious places. This likely explains why so many good mystery novels have been set in them. We spent better than forty years doing field work in the American Southwest, and we have found mystery novels based in this region among the very best. All good mystery novels must have strong plots and memorable characters, but to us an equally important component is setting. Jane is a botanist with expertise in the use of plant evidence in solving murder cases. Carl is a vertebrate zoologist and conservation biologist. Upon retirement we began writing mysteries. Some are set in the desert grasslands of Arizona, and all are inspired by the southwestern authors we have selected as our favorites.     

Carl's book list on mysteries about the American Southwest

Why did Carl love this book?

David Mapstone is a failed PhD academic who comes home to Phoenix, Arizona, where an old friend with the sheriff’s department takes pity and finds him a job solving cold cases. It turns out he’s good at it, but he is less successful in coping with the urban sprawl that has nearly obliterated the best parts of his hometown. In Concrete Desert, the first in Talton’s series, Mapstone reconnects with an old flame when she asks him to solve the mystery of her missing sister. While doing so, he stumbles on an eerie connection with an unsolved mystery from forty years earlier. We especially liked this book and the whole series because of the author’s skillful depiction of the old and the new, and the best and the worst, of a city in the process of gobbling up an American desert. 

By Jon Talton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At loose ends, David Mapstone gets an assignment from a friend in the sheriff's office - go through the old "unsolved" files and clear them out one way or another. David doesn't expect to find any connection to the present or anything personal in any of these ancient cases. But when an old girlfriend turns up at his door asking him to help find her missing sister and the sister is later found murdered. David is atonished to see that her killing so closely parallels a 40-year-old case that it cannot be a coincidence.

No One Will Miss Her

By Kat Rosenfield,

Book cover of No One Will Miss Her

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

Why did Marc love this book?

Genre fiction tends to lean on tropes and be somewhat predictable, particularly thrillers (I have yet to read a Robin Cook novel in which I didn’t figure out the villain halfway through the book)—but in her debut mystery, YA and popular culture writer Kat Rosenfeld subverts all that and give us a genuinely original tale of greed, envy, treachery, and murder with well-drawn characters and a mastery of setting.  The greatest trick she pulls is leading you to believe that you’re reading one kind of story, before pulling a switcheroo that changes everything—and believe me when I say, you won’t see it coming.

By Kat Rosenfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No One Will Miss Her as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Blade-sharp, whip-smart, and genuinely original - a thriller to refresh your faith in the genre, your belief that a story can still outpace and outsmart you."- A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in The Window

"Clever and surprising...The superb character-driven plot delivers an astonishing, believable jolt."-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Deserves two big thumbs up. Readers will be gripped by this astonishing story in which one gasp-inducing twist follows on the heels of another. A unique page-turner that just begs to be turned into a movie." -Booklist (starred review)

A smart, witty, crackling novel of…

Murder Before Evensong

By Richard Coles,

Book cover of Murder Before Evensong

Kitty Murphy Author Of Death in Heels

From the list on murder mysteries to brighten your day.

Who am I?

I adore crime fiction, especially mysteries. They make sense. In the real world, crime rarely has the resolution of fiction, and almost never has Belgian detectives with very neat moustaches, or old ladies solving a who-dunnit… I grew up reading these books, mentally inhaling everything from Christie to Rankin to McDermid, and now I spend my days writing brutal but quite silly murders solved by a woman who would really rather wear an old grey fleece and jeans than a sparkly dress, and her friends, the fictional TRASH drag family. Murder mysteries are fun – perfect escapism. In a world so messed up as ours is right now, don’t we need to escape into fiction?

Kitty's book list on murder mysteries to brighten your day

Why did Kitty love this book?

Great characters, high drama over a toilet, and a very murdery murder. Perfect cozy crime.

Canon Daniel Clement stands between two sides of a war over the installation of a new toilet in the church. The writing is gentle and yet brilliant, comfortable and funny, and also has moments of poignant tenderness. 

Extra points for having dogs in the story.

By Richard Coles,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


'Cosy crime with a cutting edge'

'Even better than I knew it would be'

'Devotees of Midsomer Murders and Agatha Christie's Miss Marple stories will feel most at home here'

'Charming and funny'
OBSERVER, Thriller of the Month

'I've been waiting for a novel with vicars, rude old ladies, murder and sausage dogs ... et voila!'

'The unlikely heir to Barbara Pym'

'Whodunnit fans can give praise and rejoice'

'A cunning whodunnit... A sharp…