The most recommended murder books

Who picked these books? Meet our 816 experts.

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?


Book cover of Tall Tails Secret Book Club: The Secret Library Cozy Mysteries

Debbie De Louise Author Of A Stone's Throw

From the list on mystery series featuring libraries and librarians.

Who am I?

I enjoy reading and writing cozy mysteries, especially ones that feature libraries and cats because I’m a librarian and have three cats of my own. I like cozies because they focus on characters who can become your fictional friends as you learn more about them with each book. I like the fact that there’s a minimum of violence and even though there may be romance, there are no explicit sex scenes. I’ve always enjoyed reading stories with twists and secrets that are revealed slowly to the reader. These are the type of books that you can savor along with a cup of tea seated next to a purring cat. 

Debbie's book list on mystery series featuring libraries and librarians

Why did Debbie love this book?

As a cat lover, the cover of this book drew my attention, and I also loved the title which hinted at a secret. Both play big roles in the book that features a private library in a strange mansion where the main character, Laura Lee, accepts a summer job as a housekeeper. When the chauffeur is murdered and a valuable crown is missing, Laura Lee investigates the mystery with the help of Hank the cat who travels through the house via secret passageways and seems to know many of the mysteries of the house. As a fan of gothic mysteries, I found this book a great read and look forward to reading more in the series.

By Ceecee James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tall Tails Secret Book Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A mysterious mansion, a suspicious death, and a cat too smart for its own good…When Laura Lee took the summer job as a housekeeper at the old Thornberry Estate, she knew it was a creepy place, but she had no idea how creepy. Mrs. Fitzwater warned her to keep her mind on her work and her nose in her own business, but one thing after another leads her astray, between the mansion giving up its puzzles as she goes about her work, fun secrets to share with the clever ladies in her book club who are always up for a…

The Vinyl Detective

By Andrew Cartmel,

Book cover of The Vinyl Detective: Low Action

Lesley Kelly Author Of The Health of Strangers

From Lesley's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Crime fiction fan Current affairs junkie

Lesley's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Lesley love this book?

I stumbled across the Vinyl Detective novels this year and pretty much binge read them. Such a brilliant idea that there could be a whole range of crimes connected to different genres of music – all of it on collectible vinyl.

I’m totally in love with the characters in this book: the Vinyl Detective himself, his girlfriend Nevada, and the hilarious brood of friends and supporting characters. And best of all, while writing this review I checked a couple of details on Amazon and saw that there is a new Vinyl Detective novel out!

By Andrew Cartmel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Vinyl Detective goes punk in his fifth hilarious adventure. "Like an old 45rpm record, this book crackles with brilliance." David Quantick on Written in Dead Wax.

Semi-retired god of rock guitar and local poseur Erik Make Loud has got himself a new girlfriend. Helene Hilditch - formerly known as Howlin' Hellbitch - of all-girl punk outfit Blue Tits is a mean guitarist, someone is trying to kill her.

With a rare pressing of the Blue Tits' first album to find, the Vinyl Detective and Nevada are called in to help. But this time the question is who isn't a…

The Madness of Crowds

By Louise Penny,

Book cover of The Madness of Crowds

Linda Howe-Steiger Author Of Terroir: A Morgan Kendall Wine Country Mystery

From the list on cozy mysteries that have a secondary ethical theme.

Who am I?

Born in Ohio, transplanted to Northern California, I’ve played many roles in life, including college teacher, environmental writer, urban planner, political activist, and mom. In the evening, when my body aches with tiredness, but my brain won’t stop churning on whatever subject I wrestled with that day, I love a good but “meaty” little cozy—one with a clever puzzle, something to make me smile, and a secondary theme that goes a bit into an important, really engaging topic. Then I snuggle down and enjoy my kind of decompression reading. After retirement, I started to write my own “cozies plus.” I hope you enjoy my picks.  

Linda's book list on cozy mysteries that have a secondary ethical theme

Why did Linda love this book?

I have liked all the Gamache books, but this one blew me away.

Not just another clever puzzle-solving entertainment (which it is). It’s also a compelling meditation on the ethics of free speech in our world today as we struggle with a pandemic and elect autocrats into seats of power.

And this isn’t just any free speech, but speech coolly advocating for euthanizing the elderly and disabled, because caring for them is too expensive, and a waste—they’ll die anyway and leave society with much-reduced ability to care for those with a real chance to survive.

This speaker is a reputable academic, popular, and with hard data to support her position. Which is why someone wants to kill her. Which is why Gamache is brought in.

By Louise Penny,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The incredible new book in Louise Penny's #1 bestselling Chief Inspector Gamache series.

When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is asked to provide crowd control at a statistics lecture given at the Universite de l'Estrie in Quebec, he is dubious. Why ask the head of homicide to provide security for what sounds like a minor, even mundane lecture?

But dangerous ideas about who deserves to live in order for society to thrive are rapidly gaining popularity, fuelled by the research of the eminent Professor Abigail Robinson. Yet for every person seduced by her theories there is another who is horrified by…

The Gates Of Janus

By Ian Brady,

Book cover of The Gates Of Janus

Jonathan R.P. Taylor Author Of Meat: Memoirs Of A Psychopath

From the list on most disturbing stories that you can not put down.

Who am I?

I’m an award-winning British singer/songwriter who you have probably never heard of. Since completing my first novel I’ve also titled many other multi-genre works. My passion is based on anything and everything that has never been done before. I say this; “If you wish to feel happy, take a pill - if you seek a cure, then face the truth.” I’ve written songs about 9/11, The Holocaust, Execution by hanging in Iran – all themes that many would say are ‘unapproachable’. I am a Neurodiverse writer who won the Principal’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education – let me share that success with you. My disability is a gift, not a curse.

Jonathan's book list on most disturbing stories that you can not put down

Why did Jonathan love this book?

This infamous child killers work remains banned in my home country (UK) but is widely available online. Brady and Hindley (his partner) were child killers, both incarcerated for life and both died in prison.

This book was read for curiosity only, whilst writing my own ‘inside the mind of a psychopathic killer’ narrative, I wanted to understand how a ‘real serial killer’ would really think. He wrote The Gates of Janus whilst incarcerated at Ashworth high-security psychiatric hospital.

Brady’s intention was that it be published anonymously, however, this could never be allowed to happen. It is in 2 parts 1) He describes his involvement in the 6 murders from the perspective of ‘understanding himself’ and part 2) His advice as offered to law enforcement in solving such future cases (in this it falls flat).

I recommend it only if you want to understand his thought process – just as Hitler’s Mein…

By Ian Brady,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley's spree of torture, sexual abuse, and murder of children in the 1960s was one of the most appalling series of crimes ever committed in England, and remains almost daily fixated upon by the tabloid press. In The Gates of Janus, Ian Brady himself allows us a glimpse into the mind of a murderer as he analyzes a dozen other serial crimes and killers.

Criminal profiling by a criminal was not invented by the dramatists of Dexter.

Novelist and true-crime writer Colin Wilson, author of the famous and influential book The Outsider, remarks in his introduction…

Dead Girls Dancing

By Graham Masterton,

Book cover of Dead Girls Dancing

Weldon Burge Author Of Harvester of Sorrow

From the list on police procedural series.

Who am I?

I’ve been a writer of nonfiction and fiction and full-time editor since my college years, and a publisher (Smart Rhino Publications). I’ve read horror and suspense fiction all my life, but it’s only been in the past decade or so that my reading has turned more and more toward police procedurals, noir, and crime fiction. It was only natural that I’d turn to writing a police procedural series, starting with Harvester of Sorrow. I hope you’ll read all the wonderful books I’ve recommended!

Weldon's book list on police procedural series

Why did Weldon love this book?

Graham Masterton grew to fame with his horror novels, including the best-selling novel The Manitou. It was only decades later that he began his Katie Maguire series of police procedurals, which have been equally successful. Having read Masterton over the years, I was fascinated by his shift from horror to crime fiction, often incorporating horror elements into his work. I started primarily as a horror writer, but have now shifted toward crime fiction. Masterton’s novels have been great “guides” in this respect.

By Graham Masterton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the middle of winter, a fire blazes through a dance studio.

Seventeen young dancers die. Their promising careers cut short by a tragic accident. But where others see tragedy, DCI Katie Maguire sees murder.

This is not the first fire to sweep through Cork. And in one recent case, the victims were dead before the fire was lit. Katie Maguire is determined to see justice done, unaware she's about to face her most chilling killer yet...

The Italian Boy

By Sarah Wise,

Book cover of The Italian Boy: Murder and Grave-Robbery in 1830s London

Janet Philp Author Of Burke - Now and Then

From the list on the supply of cadavers and what they can teach us.

Who am I?

I am an anatomy educator and doctoral researcher looking at the use of human material in anatomy education. My historical research into the antics of body suppliers has caused me to explore many publications on what we do with the remains of our relatives. This is a subject that can be fascinating but also requires compassionate handling and sometimes asks us questions that we often do not want to ponder.

Janet's book list on the supply of cadavers and what they can teach us

Why did Janet love this book?

An exploration of the suspected murder of an Italian child in London that along with the murders of Burke and Hare, changed how bodies are supplied for medical teaching. Set in London in the 1830s it is a factual look at the way cadavers were supplied for medical teaching at that point in history.

By Sarah Wise,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Towards the end of 1831, the authorities unearthed a series of crimes at Number 3, Nova Scotia Gardens in East London that appeared to echo the notorious Burke and Hare killings in Edinburgh three years earlier. After a long investigation, it became known that a group of body snatchers - two men in particular, John Bishop and Thomas Williams, called the 'London Burkers' - were supplying the anatomy schools with fresh 'examples' for dissection. The case became known as 'The Italian Boy' and caused a furore which led directly to the passing of controversial legislation which marked the beginning of…

Razorblade Tears

By S.A. Cosby,

Book cover of Razorblade Tears

Amer Anwar Author Of Brothers in Blood

From the list on ex-con characters you can’t help but root for.

Who am I?

I am a British crime writer and am the winner of the CWA Debut Dagger and have been longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger. I have been reading crime thrillers for most of my life and while I love reading about cops and detectives, I seem to have a special liking for amateur detectives, criminals with good hearts, and ex-cons. In my own novels, two crime thrillers set in west London, my main character, Zaq Khan, is an ex-con who gets caught up in dangerous situations and, along with his best friend, tries to get out of them alive. The books I’ve recommended have all inspired and influenced what I write.

Amer's book list on ex-con characters you can’t help but root for

Why did Amer love this book?

Two ex-con fathers reluctantly team up to find out who murdered their gay sons.

It’s a great premise for a book and it lives up to and surpasses all expectations. S.A.Cosby burst onto the crime writing scene with Blacktop Wasteland but in my opinion, this book is even better.

Gritty, muscular writing with heart, humour, and lines that are almost poetic in their beauty.

You feel the pain and loss of the main characters and their guilt too, for not accepting their sons for who they were – and boy, do you want them find those responsible for their deaths and serve them up some vengeance.

By S.A. Cosby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER* One of Barack Obama's Recommended Reads for Summer • New York Times Notable Book • NPR’s Best Books of 2021 • Washington Post’s Best Thriller and Mystery Books of the Year • TIME Magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2021 • New York Public Library’s Best Books of the Year • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee • Book of the Month’s Book of the Year Finalist
“Provocative, violent — beautiful and moving, too.” —Washington Post
“Superb...Cuts right to the heart of the most important questions of our times.” —Michael Connelly
“A tour de force – poignant, action-packed,…

Murder Notes

By Lisa Renee Jones,

Book cover of Murder Notes

Nancy Brown Author Of Mr. Black: A Black Stone Series - Book 1

From the list on romantic thrillers to escape your busy life.

Who am I?

I am a voracious reader who loves to escape my hectic busy life with a good book when I don’t have the opportunity to do so in person. I’m a sucker for a good love story with a little angst and mystery. I read all genres but sexy romantic thrillers are my absolute favorite. I love them so much I started writing my own sexy stories in this genre. It has become my passion. I currently have three published books, Mr. Black, Mr. Stone, and Mr. Bennett, books one, two, and three of A Black Stone Series. My fourth book, Luke, the first book in my new Cross Security series is scheduled for release later this year.

Nancy's book list on romantic thrillers to escape your busy life

Why did Nancy love this book?

Definitely a page-turner. A dark mystery/thriller/romance that is fed to you through FBI profiler Lilah Love's eyes. FBI agent Lilah Love leads a complicated life. She's engaged to Kane Mendez, a man most call dangerous, but hey birds of a feather, do flock together. She's dangerous, too, and in ways only Kane understands. As for their happily ever after, well that might have to wait. Right now, an old enemy who should be dead is still living, Junior, her mystery letter writer, is stirring up trouble, and her family is trying to prove they're crazier than her. On top of that, she has a new case: a dead woman in a bloody wedding dress. And since Lilah knows all too well there is no such thing as coincidence, clearly, someone is sending her yet another message. If you love romantic suspense novels, secrets, and scandals with a bit of profiling…

By Lisa Renee Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As an FBI profiler, it’s Lilah Love’s job to think like a killer. And she is very good at her job. When a series of murders surface—the victims all stripped naked and shot in the head—Lilah’s instincts tell her it’s the work of an assassin, not a serial killer. But when the case takes her back to her hometown in the Hamptons and a mysterious but unmistakable connection to her own life, all her assumptions are shaken to the core.Thrust into a troubled past she’s tried to shut the door on, Lilah’s back in the town where her father is…

The Twist of a Knife

By Anthony Horowitz,

Book cover of The Twist of a Knife

Rosemary Poole-Carter Author Of Only Charlotte

From Rosemary's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Novelist Reader Bluestocking Nature lover Arts enthusiast

Rosemary's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Rosemary love this book?

A long-time fan of brilliant television scripts by Anthony Horowitz—Foyle’s War, Midsomer Murders, Poirot, etc.—I became besotted with his mystery novels on first reading Magpie Murders. Thus, the moment my favorite mystery bookshop notified me that Horowitz’s latest whodunit was available for pre-order, I reserved my copy! 

The Twist of a Knife is the fourth in a series featuring Daniel Hawthorne as the astute private detective and Anthony Horowitz, himself, narrating as the hapless sidekick and chronicler of their crime-solving escapades. Last fall, while awaiting the new book’s arrival, I re-read the earlier books full of witty narration and intricate plot twists.

Then, with my first Michigan snowfall, I cozied up with Hawthorne and Horowitz for their latest compelling case. An irresistible read!

By Anthony Horowitz,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Twist of a Knife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By global bestselling Anthony Horowitz, a brilliantly entertaining new locked-room mystery with a key that only Hawthorne can find.


'Funny, addictive and clever, and the crime fighting duo of Hawthorne and Horowitz are as entertaining as ever. Brilliant. I can't wait for more.' ADAM HANDY

''There's a lovely Hitchcockian feel to TWIST. The clock is ticking. It's a lot of fun.' IAN RANKIN

'The Twist of a Knife is a beautifully turned locked-room whodunit' THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

'A total joy. Anthony is a master entertainer, the genius twists and turns of…

The Ranger

By Ace Atkins,

Book cover of The Ranger

Mike Attebery Author Of Firepower

From the list on crime novels if you appreciate style and humor.

Who am I?

I have loved mysteries and crime thrillers since I worked at the legendary R.J. Julia Booksellers in high school. A lifelong love of books and movies led me to pursue a career in screenwriting and later in indie publishing. My most popular books, including Seattle On Ice, Chokecherry Canyon, and The Grimwood Trilogy all mix fast-paced action with film references and plenty of humor.

Mike's book list on crime novels if you appreciate style and humor

Why did Mike love this book?

Ace Atkins is a master of the crime genre. It’s no wonder Robert B. Parker’s estate tapped him to carry on the Spenser series. He’s great at capturing places and the internal monologues of weary men. He’s also able to tell stories just seedy enough to keep readers curious, without making them cringe. The first book in Atkins’ Quinn Colson series is on par with Elmore Leonard’s Raylan Givens books. Quinn seems entirely real, the small town he returns to after a years-long absence feels lived in and believable. And the pacing is masterful. Whereas Perry drags readers along for the action, Atkins makes you feel as though you’re sitting in the backseat, riding down the winding roads of Tibbehah County in northeast Mississippi as Quinn uneasily approaches another backcountry crime scene.    

By Ace Atkins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Northeast Mississippi is hill country, rugged and notorious for outlaws since the Civil War, where killings are as commonplace as they were in the Old West. To Quinn Colson, just back from a tour of Afghanistan, it's home. But home has changed.

Quinn returns to a place overrun by corruption. His uncle, the county sheriff, is dead - officially it was suicide, but others whisper murder. In the days that follow, it will be up to Colson, now an Army Ranger, to discover the truth - not only about his uncle, but also about his family, friends, hometown and himself.…

The Hatter's Ghosts

By Georges Simenon, Howard Curtis (translator),

Book cover of The Hatter's Ghosts

Fiona Rule Author Of The Oldest House in London

From Fiona's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Historian Londoner Urban explorer Music fanatic

Fiona's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Fiona love this book?

I’ve always been a fan of good writing, and I think Georges Simenon is head and shoulders above many other crime authors.

As I read this brooding and unsettling story of a murderer unraveling, I could vividly imagine the characters and the little town where they lived.

Howard Curtis, who translated the book into English, deserves an honorary mention because he manages to retain the atmosphere of the original text.

By Georges Simenon, Howard Curtis (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A masterful tale of murder and intrigue in a small French town, from the celebrated author of the Maigret series

Not only had the rain in the dark streets, with a halo around each light and reflections on the ground, always given him a certain thrill, it also made it easier for him to move around.

It has been raining for twenty days in La Rochelle - ever since the first murder. Since then, five more bodies have been found. In the cafes, over card games, a quiet terror of the killer in their midst spreads through the little town.…

Book cover of In a Dark, Dark Wood

Regina Buttner Author Of Down a Bad Road

From Regina's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Plotter Explorer Kayaker Dog mom Northern girl

Regina's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Regina love this book?

I try to avoid books about cozy girls’ weekends because they always seem to descend into goopy sentimentalism and cutesy dialogue, but this novel (thank goodness!) turned that tired old trope on its head.

Psychological thrillers with twisty plotlines and complicated characters are my absolute favorite reads, and this one piles on the suspense as the questions and misunderstandings—and the danger––grow more sinister with each passing day.

My takeaway: attending a getaway in the forest with a bunch of people you haven’t seen in a decade is NOT A GOOD IDEA. Politely decline the invitation, then stay the hell away!

By Ruth Ware,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked In a Dark, Dark Wood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


An NPR Best Book of the Year * An Entertainment Weekly Summer Books Pick * A Buzzfeed “31 Books to Get Excited About this Summer” Pick * A Publishers Weekly “Top Ten Mysteries and Thrillers” Pick * A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year * A BookReporter Summer Reading Pick * A New York Post “Best Novels to Read this Summer” Pick * A Shelf Awareness “Book Expo America 2015…

What the Dead Leave Behind

By Rosemary Simpson,

Book cover of What the Dead Leave Behind

Dianne Freeman Author Of A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder

From the list on female sleuths of the Gilded Age.

Who am I?

I’m the author of the Countess of Harleigh Mystery series. I’ve been fascinated by the Gilded Age/Victorian Era/Belle Epoque since reading my first Edith Wharton novel, The Buccaneers, which followed the lives of four American heiresses of the late 19th century, who crossed the Atlantic to marry British lords. Love and marriage almost never went together in Wharton’s world, but with all the loveless marriages, the social climbing, and the haves and have-nots, I find it makes an excellent setting for a mystery.

Dianne's book list on female sleuths of the Gilded Age

Why did Dianne love this book?

Frances lives in the Victorian Era in London, but in her hometown of New York, it’s the Gilded Age. This is her background in all its glittering and horrifying glory. 

Crime novels fit quite naturally in this era. I love a loathsome villain and Rosemary Simpson serves up some of the worst in her Gilded Age series. She uses actual events, like the great blizzard of 1888, as catalysts for some heinous crimes. If you needed to dispose of a body, what better place than a snowdrift? 

Prudence MacKenzie, the dead man’s fiancé and our sleuth, doesn’t seem to realize the danger she’s in. I spent the entire read on the edge of my seat wondering if she’d make it to the end of the book alive. This is historical noir in elegant Gilded Age style.

By Rosemary Simpson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What the Dead Leave Behind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set amidst the opulent mansions and cobblestone streets of Old New York, this enthralling historical mystery by Rosemary Simpson brings the Gilded Age to life—in a tantalizing tale of old money, new love, and grave suspicion . . .  

As the Great Blizzard of 1888 cripples New York City, heiress Prudence MacKenzie sits anxiously within her palatial Fifth Avenue home waiting for her fiancé’s safe return. But the fearsome storm rages through the night. With daylight, more than two hundred people are found to have perished in the icy winds and treacherous snowdrifts. Among them is Prudence’s fiancé—his body frozen,…

The Murder of Helen Jewett

By Patricia Cline Cohen,

Book cover of The Murder of Helen Jewett: The Life and Death of a Prostitute in Ninetenth-Century New York

Rebecca Frost Author Of Words of a Monster: Analyzing the Writings of H.H. Holmes, America's First Serial Killer

From the list on crimes you've never heard of.

Who am I?

I picked up my first book about Jack the Ripper the summer after college and never looked back. Since then my collection of true crime has grown to overflow my office bookshelves and I’ve written a PhD dissertation and multiple books about true crime, focusing on serial killers. The genre is so much more than Bundy, Gacy, and Dahmer and I love talking with people about the less mainstream cases that interest them, and the newer victim-centered approaches that—fingers crossed—mark a change in how we talk about criminals and victims.

Rebecca's book list on crimes you've never heard of

Why did Rebecca love this book?

Helen Jewett was a sex worker living in New York in the 1830s. She worked in a brothel under a matron, which should have been a safe enough situation—she wasn’t out on the street, at least, and others knew when she had clients. Early one morning, however, others in the house wake up to realize there’s a fire in Helen’s room, and that she’s dead. Was it a murder committed by her last client, a man quickly identified as Richard Robinson, or was it a suicide? If she hadn’t died so brutally, we wouldn’t know Helen Jewett’s name, so she’s become another victim only known for her murder. Cohen reminds us that she’s more than just her death.

By Patricia Cline Cohen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1836, the murder of a young prostitute made headlines in New York City and around the country, inaugurating a sex-and-death sensationalism in news reporting that haunts us today. Patricia Cline Cohen goes behind these first lurid accounts to reconstruct the story of the mysterious victim, Helen Jewett.

From her beginnings as a servant girl in Maine, Helen Jewett refashioned herself, using four successive aliases, into a highly paid courtesan. She invented life stories for herself that helped her build a sympathetic clientele among New York City's elite, and she further captivated her customers through her seductive letters, which mixed…

The Shortest Way to Hades

By Sarah Caudwell,

Book cover of The Shortest Way to Hades

Kate Darroch Author Of Death in Paris

From the list on humorous murder mysteries.

Who am I?

Living on Devon's gorgeous coast, I'm melding my lifelong love of reading Cozy Sleuths with my love of writing and years of living in foreign climes to write Travel Cozies. I also have a Vella Heist serial Found Money starting on Vella soon, and a Cozy Spy series They Call Him Gimlet coming out in the Autumn.

Kate's book list on humorous murder mysteries

Why did Kate love this book?

Narrator Professor Hilary Tamar’s habits and character traits invite non-stop laughter; and yet amazingly the three young barrister characters are every bit as funny in an entirely different way. One of the barristers always carries the action; but Hilary is no Dr. Watson gasping at their brilliance; in every book, her perspicacity and specialist knowledge enable the murder motive to be unravelled and the murderer brought to justice.

These books are rich in comic dialogue, often given as indirect speech. Caudwell’s unique spin on technical legal language will have you laughing out loud. 

The storyline is enchanting. Without Hilary’s specialist knowledge of ancient Greek texts, there might well have been many more murders! And yet so cleverly is this charming novel plotted, that we almost feel her esoteric expertise is only what might be expected of any amateur sleuth worthy of the name.  

By Sarah Caudwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Everyone in the family had decided that changing the trust arrangement seemed the perfect way to avoid three million in taxes. However, when dreary cousin Deirdre has a mysterious accident after demanding a fee for her signature, the young London barristers handling the trust seek advice from mentor Hilary Tamar.

Julia believes it's murder; whilst Hilary wonders why the raven-haired heir did not die. But with more deadly accidents occurring, it is Hilary who is given the perilous quest of unmasking the killer.

Black Hearts

By Jim Frederick,

Book cover of Black Hearts: One Platoon's Descent Into Madness in Iraq's Triangle of Death

Jessica Scott Author Of A Soldier's Promise: A Coming Home Anthology

From the list on the Iraq War that go beyond bullets.

Who am I?

I’m a soldier, an author, and an army wife – the last fifteen years of my life have revolved around dealing with the fallout of the Iraq war, not only for my family but also as a soldier and a veteran. I write books because I wanted to read about people who stayed in the military after the war started. The best writing advice I ever got came from Robyn Carr who said, write the book that only you can tell. Wrestling with the legacy of a war that we as soldiers did not choose as we return home was something I deeply wanted to understand, both as an army officer and a novelist.

Jessica's book list on the Iraq War that go beyond bullets

Why did Jessica love this book?

This is a book about failure – leadership failure from every echelon.

I hesitated to ever read this book about horrific war crimes committed by American soldiers because I absolutely did not want to see “them” as “us”. What I found instead was a systematic failure of the Army from every echelon that enabled these men to slip free of the bonds of civilization and become the embodiment of humanity’s worst impulses.

The soldier who reported them was nearly murdered as a traitor. This book speaks to the burden that those who come forward carry – and how men become monsters.

I don’t know if the men who committed that horrible atrocity were ever good men who the war made evil nor do I care – but what Frederick has shown in this book is the systematic unraveling of a platoon’s ties back to what made them human and the…

By Jim Frederick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the story of a small group of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division’s fabled 502nd Infantry Regiment—a unit known as “the Black Heart Brigade.” Deployed in late 2005 to Iraq’s so-called Triangle of Death, a veritable meat grinder just south of Baghdad, the Black Hearts found themselves in arguably the country’s most dangerous location at its most dangerous time.

Hit by near-daily mortars, gunfire, and roadside bomb attacks, suffering from a particularly heavy death toll, and enduring a chronic breakdown in leadership, members of one Black Heart platoon—1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion—descended, over their year-long tour of…

Woman with a Secret

By Sophie Hannah,

Book cover of Woman with a Secret

Deborah Clark Vance Author Of Sylvie Denied

From Deborah's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Family woman Retired professor Truth seeker Gardener & environmentalist

Deborah's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Deborah's 10-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Deborah love this book?

Nicki's obsessive internal monologue seems to trap her somewhere between fantasy and reality.

But isn't this a truth about life in general? How much do we rationalize our desires as we navigate the world outside our heads?

Her desires keep her from seeing key aspects of her own personality. As she argues with herself in meticulous detail, so do the police who suspect her of murder. The reader must figure out to what extent Nicki is a reliable narrator, as well as whether the police's logic is sound.

What I relate to in this book is that I've sometimes learned that friends and acquaintances have really been more locked into their internal worlds than being upfront about what's true for them. There's an almost obsessive amount of detail, especially in Nicki's inner monologue as we learn increasingly more about her, but it serves the story's purpose as well as constructs…

By Sophie Hannah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Published in the UK as The Telling Error

Lisa Gardner calls it "mesmerizing." Liane Moriarty says it's "unpredictable, unputdownable, and unlike anything you've read before." See for yourself what these #1 New York Times-bestselling authors are talking about.

She's a wife.

She's a mother.

She isn't who you think she is.

Nicki Clements has secrets, just like anybody else—secrets she keeps from her children, from her husband, from everyone who knows her. Secrets she shares with only one person: A stranger she's never seen. A person whose voice she's never heard.

And then Nicki is arrested for murder. The murder…

Broken Places

By Tracy Clark,

Book cover of Broken Places

K.D. Richards Author Of Pursuit of the Truth

From the list on big city private eyes.

Who am I?

I write the West Investigations series, a romantic thriller series, centered around the men and women running a private investigations firm. When I began the series I knew I wanted it to be set in an urban city, not just because I’m a city girl at heart, but because of the eclectic nature, diversity, and color that can be found in the big city. Each of the books I’ve recommended below features a big city PI that jumps off the page, grabs you, and doesn’t let go for 200+ pages. 

K.D.'s book list on big city private eyes

Why did K.D. love this book?

This book takes place in the windy city of Chicago and Clark is adept at making you feel like you are right there in the midst of the fast-paced, gritty city as you read.

The plotting helps by kicking off with a bang – a priest and a gang member found dead in church. Questions abound. But what really kept me turning the pages of this book (or technically swiping since I read it on my Kindle) was Cass Raines, retired cop turned PI.

Her last case on the police force left her reeling and she struggling to deal with the aftermath.

It’s Cass that makes this book stand out amongst other PI novels, you care about what she’s going through, about this new trauma that has been introduced into her life, and that through it all she’s still working to get justice for people that are often overlooked and…

By Tracy Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Former cop Cass Raines has found the world of private investigation a less stressful way to eke out a living in the Windy City. But when she stumbles across the dead body of a respected member of the community, it’s up to her to prove a murderer is on the loose . . .
Cops can make mistakes, even when they’re not rookies. If anyone knows that it’s Cass Raines, who took a bullet two years ago after an incompetent colleague screwed up a tense confrontation with an armed suspect. Deeply traumatized by the incident, Cass resigned from the Chicago…


By Dave Cullen,

Book cover of Columbine

Pamela Haag Author Of The Gunning of America: Business and the Making of American Gun Culture

From the list on new or surprising on American guns and gun culture.

Who am I?

I got interested in American guns and gun culture through the backdoor. I’d never owned a gun, participated in gun control politics, or thought too much about guns at all. Guns might not have interested me—but ghosts did. I was beguiled by the haunting legend of the Winchester rifle heiress Sarah Winchester, who believed in the late 1800s that she was being tormented by the ghosts of all those killed by Winchester rifles. As I scoured the archives for rare glimpses of Sarah, however, it dawned on me that I was surrounded by boxes and boxes of largely unexplored sources about a much larger story, and secretive mystery: that of the gun industry itself.

Pamela's book list on new or surprising on American guns and gun culture

Why did Pamela love this book?

Columbine is a masterful piece of reportage from a journalist who covered from the start what is now perceived almost as a tragic prototype of mass school shootings in the US. Through meticulous, painstaking research—and with a compassionate and keenly observant voice that I especially admired—Cullen unspools the consequential misperceptions about the Columbine shooters that have distorted popular understandings of the “school shooter” ever since through repetition and media simplification.

What’s new and surprising here, and that remains relevant years after the book’s first publication, is that Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylon Klebold weren’t victims of bullying, socially alienated by marauding gangs of “cool” kids and jocks, or radicalized by Goth culture. They had friends, jobs, and, perhaps most frightening of all, seemed largely to be average high school students, not appreciably different from our own children, who in fact did more bullying than they were bullied. “So we’re…

By Dave Cullen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


'Excellent . . . amazing how much still comes as a surprise' New York Times Book Review

'Like Capote's In Cold Blood, this tour de force gets below the who and the what of a horrifying incident to lay bare the devastating why' People

'A staggering work of journalism' Washington Post

'The tragedies keep coming. As we reel from the latest horror...' So begins the epilogue, illustrating how Columbine has become the template for nearly two decades of "spectacle murders." It makes the imperative to understand the crime that sparked this flame more urgent than…

Book cover of The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

Mae Clair Author Of The Price of Atonement

From Mae's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Author Cryptozoology fan Victorian-at-heart Bibliophile Curiosity geek

Mae's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Mae love this book?

I love mysteries that twine two time periods, and I’m especially fond of the early twentieth century.

The mystery set in 1907 is wonderfully creepy. I enjoyed how the author brought the setting so vividly to life. Her inclusion of twin revivalists—who could be poster-children for the word “odd”—was brilliant.

I couldn’t make up my mind about them. And obituaries appearing in a newspaper prior to the death of the subjects is just plain freaky. Both female leads are strong, and the story corkscrews enough for misdirection in more than one place. Deftly plotted with detailed genealogies. History, mystery, and secrets add up to a bubbling cauldron of suspense!

By Jaime Jo Wright,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant fa ade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she's wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she'll uncover.

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists.…