The most recommended books about revenge

Who picked these books? Meet our 190 experts.

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


The Wake

By Paul Kingsnorth,

Book cover of The Wake

Jonathan Charteris-Black Author Of Metaphors of Brexit: No Cherries on the Cake?

From the list on the truth of the origins, issues, passions of Brexit.

Who am I?

If there was ever one word that seems to have changed the foundations of modern Britain it is the word 'Brexit': something that had seemed so antediluvian shifted from being impossible to becoming reality. I could not believe this was happening and I wanted to explore the influence of language in creating this reality. I decided to apply the approach I had originally authored known as Critical Metaphor Analysis to unravel the metaphors through which the arguments of Leavers and Remainers were articulated. In doing so I tried to tell the story of Brexit through its metaphors because the role of language itself is often overlooked in accounts of persuasion.

Jonathan's book list on the truth of the origins, issues, passions of Brexit

Why did Jonathan love this book?

This is a book written in its own language: one that is derived from Old English. It is written from the viewpoint of a Saxon native, a freeman, whose liberty is threatened by the outside world, invaders who respect no moral laws. Through this method, we enter the minds of the protagonist – Buccmaster of Hollandand a worldview is constructed in which the local is in a shifting balance with external sources of power. The book demonstrates how our thoughts and worldviews are realised by, and dependent upon, the language through which they are articulated. Without explicitly intending to do so, it also provides insight into much of the psychology behind Brexit.

By Paul Kingsnorth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2014 and The Bookseller Industry Book of the Year Award 2015. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Folio Prize and shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize.

A post-apocalyptic novel set a thousand years ago, The Wake tells the story of Buccmaster of Holland, a free farmer of Lincolnshire, owner of three oxgangs, a man clinging to the Old Gods as the world changes drastically around him. After losing his sons at the Battle of Hastings and his wife and home to the invading Normans, Buccmaster begins to gather together…

A Master of Djinn

By P. Djèlí Clark,

Book cover of A Master of Djinn

Caroline Stevermer Author Of The Glass Magician

From the list on historical fantasy for armchair travel.

Who am I?

I write fantasy novels, including A College of Magics, River Rats, and When the King Comes Home. With Patricia C. Wrede, I wrote half of the Kate and Cecy series: Sorcery and Cecelia, The Grand Tour, and The Mislaid Magician.

Caroline's book list on historical fantasy for armchair travel

Why did Caroline love this book?

Agent of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities, Fatma el-Sha'arawi is the spectacularly well-dressed protagonist tasked with saving the world (again) in an alternate 1912 Cairo. This award-winning novel awed me with its detail and invention. What I loved most was the way the world building relegated the British Empire to relative unimportance. Come to think of it, I loved the Ministry library almost as much.

By P. Djèlí Clark,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Master of Djinn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Included in NPR’s Favorite Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books Of The Past Decade (2011-2021)
A Nebula Award Winner
A Ignyte Award Winner
A Compton Crook Award for Best New Novel Winner
A Locus First Novel Award Winner
A RUSA Reading List: Fantasy Winner
A Hugo Award Finalist
A World Fantasy Award Finalist
A NEIBA Book Award Finalist
A Mythopoeic Award Finalist
A Dragon Award Finalist
A Best of 2021 Pick in SFF for Amazon
A Best of 2021 Pick in SFF for Kobo

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark goes full-length for the first time in his dazzling debut…

The Distant Echo

By Val McDermid,

Book cover of The Distant Echo

Lin Anderson Author Of Driftnet

From the list on Tartan Noir and Bloody Scotland.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a keen reader of crime fiction. A huge fan of both Agatha Christie and PD James in the Golden age of English crime fiction. I love American mystery writers too and have attended Bouchercon in New Orleans. Just after Driftnet was published and the Dr. Rhona MacLeod series launched, I was visiting a Crime Writers’ Association conference in Lincoln with my friend and fellow crime writer Alex Gray. That’s where the idea for a weekend promoting Scottish Crime writing began. When we launched it ten years ago, Ian Rankin said, "Scandinavia doesn’t have better crime writers than Scotland, it has better PR." That’s what we set out to change.

Lin's book list on Tartan Noir and Bloody Scotland

Why did Lin love this book?

This is a great introduction to one of Val McDermid’s series starring young female police officer Karen Pirie. I loved this book when it came out and it is still one of my favourites. Four students at St Andrew’s university become suspects in a murder. It is a psychological thriller, examining the people they were then and those they are now 25 years later. With a wonderful twist in the tail.

Once you read Val McDermid you will always go back for more. The Queen of Scottish Crime as far as I’m concerned.

The Karen Pirie series has now been filmed for TV.

By Val McDermid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first novel in the bestselling Karen Pirie series

The award-winning Number One bestseller and Queen of crime fiction Val McDermid carves out a stunning psychological thriller. The past is behind them, but what's still to come will tear them apart...

From the creators of Line of Duty and Bodyguard, KAREN PIRIE is now on ITV, starring Lauren Lyle (Outlander)

Some things just won't let go.
The past, for instance.
That night in the cemetery.
The girl's body in the snow.

On a freezing Fife morning four drunken students stumble upon the body of a woman in the snow. Rosie…

Hunted by the Sky

By Tanaz Bhathena,

Book cover of Hunted by the Sky

Jodi Meadows Author Of Nightrender

From the list on to transport you into another world.

Who am I?

I love books that take you to another world, stories that show you bits of our reality while exploring another. It’s thrilling to step into a world where anything can happen, where dragons exist, where our laws of nature may not apply. But also, I love seeing the familiar in fantastical places: love, friendship, and hope. Though the characters in books may inhabit worlds made mostly out of paper, ink, and imagination, their stories are universal.

Jodi's book list on to transport you into another world

Why did Jodi love this book?

Filled with magic, prophecy, and ancient goddesses, Hunted By the Sky transports you to a world where a girl with a star-shaped birthmark seeks revenge for the murder of her parents, and a boy who is willing to do anything to save his father will soon meet. In this beautiful novel, you will find thoughtful worldbuilding and fantastical mirrors to our own reality, exploring identity, class, and love. 

By Tanaz Bhathena,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gul has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in her kingdom, marked girls are disappearing. Gul's mark caused her parents murder at the hands of the king's army, and forced her into hiding. When a group of rebel women rescue her to train her in warrior magic, Gul only wants one thing: revenge.

Cavas is ready to sign his life over to the king's army in exchange for money and medicine for his sick father. But when he meets Gul in the capital's bazaar, their chemistry grows, and he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance - and discovers…

The Walking Drum

By Louis L'Amour,

Book cover of The Walking Drum

Richard Paolinelli Author Of Escaping Infinity

From the list on superversive fiction.

Who am I?

I am both a writer and a publisher of Superversive fiction. Even before I encountered the term and the official definition of it, my fiction writing has always tended to be Superversive. Which makes sense as I am drawn to Superversive stories as a reader. I want to read and write about heroes and heroines. I want to be drawn into incredible universes and taken along on amazing adventures. I want stories where evil appears to be winning but good eventually finds a way to triumph in the end.  

Richard's book list on superversive fiction

Why did Richard love this book?

A book about the Medieval times written by a writer more known for his stories of the American Old West seems out of place, but this in my mind is his greatest work. I can only imagine the time he spent researching it and he definitely put in the time as he really transports you to the times and the lands involved in this story. One of these days I hope to write something that is as good as this book is.

By Louis L'Amour,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As part of the Louis L’Amour’s Lost Treasures series, this edition contains exclusive bonus materials!

Louis L’Amour has been best known for his ability to capture the spirit and drama of the authentic American West. Now he guides his readers to an even more distant frontier—the enthralling lands of the twelfth century.
Warrior, lover, and scholar, Kerbouchard is a daring seeker of knowledge and fortune bound on a journey of enormous challenge, danger, and revenge. Across Europe, over the Russian steppes, and through the Byzantine wonders of Constantinople, Kerbouchard is thrust into the treacheries, passions, violence, and dazzling wonders of…

Remember Me

By Christopher Pike,

Book cover of Remember Me

Ellen Won Steil Author Of Fortune

From the list on satisfying your dark, suspense craving.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved dark stories. There is something especially human about being lured by that part of us we bury. How secret desires and thoughts get teased out in ways we don’t really experience in real life. Which is why I write suspense novels. Sometimes you just want to go there! Here are some books that I find hit that fix.

Ellen's book list on satisfying your dark, suspense craving

Why did Ellen love this book?

I’m going even further back with this one. Unusual pick certainly, a YA novel from 1989 that I stole off my sister’s shelf circa 1994.

I was ten and ready for something darker than The Baby-Sitters Club. This was one of those early reads that made me want to write in the first place. The first real suspense book that had me staying up late, wondering how does one create a story like this? I still have that book, tattered and sitting on my shelf as a reminder of that first spark.

Christopher Pike is able to write stories to young readers in a timeless way. The nostalgia and sheer thrill from this story about a young woman who finds herself dead after falling four stories will bring you back to nights with covers over your head. Did she jump or was something more sinister behind her death? Only her…

By Christopher Pike,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this harrowing thriller from bestselling author Christopher Pike, a teen girl must solve the mystery of her own murder before the killer strikes again.

After a night spent out with friends, Shari Cooper wakes up in her bed not sure how she got home. And things only get stranger when her family acts like she’s not even there. Nothing Shari says gets a response and nothing she does can get someone to even glance at her. Then the hospital calls.

Shari’s mom starts to cry. The blood drains from her dad’s face. And still no one will tell her…

I Am Still Alive

By Kate Alice Marshall,

Book cover of I Am Still Alive

Holly Green Author Of In the Same Boat

From the list on contemporary YA survival stories.

Who am I?

When I was eleven, I picked up a book about a girl and a boy who get lost on a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada. It’s the first book I can remember reading over and over and over again. I wanted to be in that tent and in that forest figuring out how to survive. Since then, I’ve been hooked on books about people facing grueling physical challenges, surviving in the wilderness, and finding out what they’re made of. They’re urgent and compelling and the stakes are high, and I’ll never stop loving the thrill of reading about people being pushed to their physical and mental limits.

Holly's book list on contemporary YA survival stories

Why did Holly love this book?

This book is tense! Jess is alone in the Canadian wilderness, still injured from the car accident that killed her mom, and now her dad has been murdered and his cabin burned down. Jess must figure out how to survive in the cold with no shelter and no way out when nobody knows where she is. This is part survival story and part thriller. Jess is driven by her desire to survive as much as her desire for revenge. The survival aspect here is enough to keep you reading, but I also loved trying to piece together the mystery of why her dad was killed. 

By Kate Alice Marshall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Am Still Alive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jess is stranded in the woods. She has few supplies and only her dog for company. Her survival skills are limited, and she has disabilities that make physical labor a challenge. And winter is on its way. How did she get here?

Alternating between the past and the present, this tightly-paced novel tells the story of a girl who survived a car crash that killed her mother, then was pulled from foster care and sent to live with her estranged survivalist father in the remote Canadian wilderness. Jess was just beginning to get to know her dad when a secret…

Three Assassins

By Kotaro Isaka, Sam Malissa (translator),

Book cover of Three Assassins

Douglas Weissman Author Of Life Between Seconds

From the list on feeling magical without actual magic.

Who am I?

I fell in love with magical realism and stories that have a sense of whimsy after hearing my grandparents tell stories of their lives. They always embellished a bit, making a simple detail of a bread line or a penny found on the ground feel massive. Then I read Tom Robbins’s Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates. I didn’t understand at the time that the light touches of magic or moments that felt magical, even if not truly enchantment, were uplifting in stories both light and dark. I quickly fell under the spell and have placed elements of magic or whimsy in my own writing ever since. 

Douglas' book list on feeling magical without actual magic

Why did Douglas love this book?

Three Assassins almost feels like the movie Bullet Train with Brad Pitt.

It’s a series of seemingly unrelated events that connect a network of assassins together and pit them against one another, knowingly or unknowingly. The novel itself is less about the action and pace and unfurls like a twisted puzzle, making every piece lean into a seemingly surreal universe.

We see all the characters, good and bad, their flaws, good and bad, and the ones we can stand up for, good and bad. “All the knowledge and science that human beings have, it only helps humans.” But even when we’re cheering, I didn’t necessarily know what to believe until I reached the end. Even then, I walked away holding doubts and a smile. 

By Kotaro Isaka, Sam Malissa (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Seeking justice, he leaves his old life behind to infiltrate the criminal gang responsible. What he doesn't realise is that he's about to get drawn into a web of the most unusual professional assassins, each with their own agenda:

THE WHALE convinces his victims to take their own lives using just his words.

THE CICADA is a talkative and deadly knife expert.

THE PUSHER dispatches his targets in deadly traffic 'accidents'.

Suzuki must take on the three assassins to avenge his wife - but can he keep his innocence…


By Audrey Coulthurst,

Book cover of Inkmistress

Kathy MacMillan Author Of Dagger and Coin

From the list on females who don't care if you like them or not.

Who am I?

I am an author, American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, and signing storyteller. I write picture books, children’s nonfiction, middle grade, and young adult fantasy, and resource books for educators, librarians, and parents. In my books, I highlight strong female characters, both fictional and from real-life. Here I am sharing 5 of my favorite fantasy and sci-fi books with female characters who – by the end of their journeys - absolutely do not care what you think of them.

Kathy's book list on females who don't care if you like them or not

Why did Kathy love this book?

Asra is a demigod with the gift of dictating the future by writing with her own blood. When her blood magic leads to the mortal girl she loves turning into a vengeful dragon, Asra must embark on a journey across the kingdom to stop her. A big-hearted protagonist grappling with her own power, complex cultural politics, two compelling love interests – who could ask for more? That so many of the primary romantic relationships in the story are same-sex is almost beside the point – except, of course, that queer characters rarely appear so matter-of-factly in epic fantasy. Inkmistress trades in deep, nuanced characters, moral complexity, and a story that often surprises in the best way, keeping the reader hooked until the incredibly satisfying conclusion.

By Audrey Coulthurst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A sweeping, action-packed, and romantic fantasy full of dangerous magic and dark choices, perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce and Kristin Cashore—set in the same world as Of Fire and Stars.

Asra is a demigod with a dangerous gift: the ability to dictate the future by writing with her blood. To keep her power secret, she leads a quiet life as a healer on a remote mountain, content to help the people in her care and spend time with Ina, the mortal girl she loves.

But Asra’s peaceful life is upended when bandits threaten Ina’s village and the king does…

The Collective

By Alison Gaylin,

Book cover of The Collective

John Turiano Author Of Past Paradox

From John's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Hiker and camper Reader Curious skeptic Dog lover World War II enthusiast

John's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did John love this book?

We all know grief to some degree, but how many of us have been thrown into the darkest pit? The main character of The Collective has experienced the untimely death of her daughter at the hands of a drunken college student.

When the young man is found not guilty, and her daughter vilified, her feelings of rage and revenge are all that sustain her. She has lost all hope, until one day she discovers a group of women who have experienced the same horror. What starts as a support group slowly becomes a dark, twisted organization seeking revenge.

The book explores the questions of how far we would go to seek justice and whether the result justifies the means. I found myself rooting for the mother while recognizing how hate and anger can ultimately destroy you—a fascinating read.

By Alison Gaylin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Chilling...this terrific novel is...propelled by an iron-tight plot that becomes increasingly tense." --New York Times Book Review

"It’s a nerve-shredding, emotionally harrowing ride. Don’t miss it.” —Megan Abbott, New York Times bestselling author

The USA Today bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of Never Look Back and If I Die Tonightasks how far a grieving mother will go to right a tragic wrong in this propulsive novel of psychological suspense.

Camille Gardener is a grieving—and angry—mother who, five years after her daughter’s death, is still obsessed with the privileged young man she believes to be responsible.

When her rash actions draw…


By Sharon Cameron,

Book cover of Bluebird

Addison Armstrong Author Of The Light of Luna Park

From the list on New York City past to present.

Who am I?

I grew up thinking I liked reading about NYC more than I’d like living there. It was too hectic and loud for a bookworm like me, I thought, too dirty and dangerous. Then my husband was accepted to Cornell’s MD/PhD program, and we moved to Manhattan. Immediately, I found that while the city is as dirty as I’d feared (and it smells), its advantages far outweigh the rest. I can’t get enough of the parks, museums, food, diversity, or the history, much of which drives The Light of Luna Park. So, without further ado, here are my five favorite books that take place in New York from the 1800s to today.

Addison's book list on New York City past to present

Why did Addison love this book?

Bluebird by Sharon Cameron took my breath away. It’s a thriller, a mystery, a romance, and the best type of historical fiction all rolled up together, and though it’s officially young adult, it’s too good for adults to pass up. The novel follows a German girl named Eva who flees Germany for New York City in 1946 seeking justice as much as safety. The daughter of a Nazi mastermind, Eva is hunting down her father for reasons both personal and political, and her journey is filled with both physical and psychological danger. Bluebird is fast-paced and fascinating, as well as thought-provoking and full of well-researched history on everything from Nazi propaganda to Quaker humanitarian relief in New York City. 

By Sharon Cameron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Author of Reese's Book Club YA Pick The Light in Hidden Places, Sharon Cameron, delivers an emotionally gripping and utterly immersive thriller, perfect for fans of Ruta Sepetys's Salt to the Sea.

In 1946, Eva leaves behind the rubble of Berlin for the streets of New York City, stepping from the fiery aftermath of one war into another, far colder one, where power is more important than principles, and lies are more plentiful than the truth. Eva holds the key to a deadly secret: Project Bluebird -- a horrific experiment of the concentration camps, capable of tipping the balance of…

Book cover of How to Find Your Way in the Dark

E.A. Neeves Author Of After You Vanished

From the list on slowburn mysteries for young adults.

Who am I?

Most people know the slowburn romance. A spark flickers at deliberate pace until finally passion ignites. But what about the slowburn mystery? As a reader and a writer, I’m drawn to mysteries that twine as a well-drawn character, usually an amateur sleuth, gets pulled into investigating some eerie event. These mysteries begin with a straightforward query, and as the sleuth digs, the mystery grows. The pace leaves room for well-developed subplots—often, in my favorites, a slowburn romance, too. I love a book where I can settle into the world while the story gathers steam. And in the end, when that slow flame finally blazes… Oh, it’s so worth the wait. 

E.A.'s book list on slowburn mysteries for young adults

Why did E.A. love this book?

Nine years is quite the slowburn. That’s how long it takes Sheldon Horowitz to achieve revenge for his father’s murder in Derek B. Miller’s dark comedy thriller How to Find Your Way in the Dark.

Of course, a lot of other things happen throughout the course of what is arguably more of a coming-of-age novel set against the backdrop of World War II than “YA,” but what hooked me in this story was Sheldon’s tenacity as he grows up, doggedly determined to find out who killed his father and why. The misadventures he gets into as a result, along with his cousins and best friend, are simultaneously bumbling and thrilling.

By Derek B Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Find Your Way in the Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



"[Miller’s] character portraits are indelible, often heartbreaking. At times this novel moved me to tears, the highest possible compliment.”

—New York Times Book Review

With the wit and scope of Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Derek B. Miller tackles his most ambitious epic yet. At its heart is the return of Sheldon Horowitz, the protagonist from Miller’s award-winning first novel, Norwegian by Night, who was lauded by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Richard Russo as “one of the most…


By Joe Hill,

Book cover of Horns

James Pack Author Of The Hook

From the list on where real-life horror meets the supernatural.

Who am I?

I have always had a greater interest in supernatural horror compared to the other subgenres of horror. Another way to describe it is fantasy horror. However, sometimes the fantasy can take away from the overall story. I find the best stories with supernatural elements also have a lot of real-life horror to balance with the fantasy. Magic realism is also a trope of Post-Modern Culture and I find myself drawn to stories with post-modern elements versus those that don’t. These are my top five pics for the best “Real-Life Horror Meets Supernatural Horror” novels.

James' book list on where real-life horror meets the supernatural

Why did James love this book?

I haven’t read a lot of Hill’s work, but this novel was entertaining. The movie adaptation left a lot to be desired, but we won’t talk about that. Ignatius Perrish wakes one morning and has horns growing on his head. His girlfriend was raped and murdered, and everyone thinks he did it. He tries to find the killer and his horns give him power over people’s behaviors. Townsfolk partake in all kinds of debauchery around him, but they still think he raped and murdered his girlfriend. This novel has a lot of symbolism and metaphor. I loved the absurdity and dark humor. I would not recommend this to your church-going grandmother.

By Joe Hill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major Hollywood film starring Daniel Radcliffe: read it first, if you dare ...

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache ... and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician, and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more - he had the…

The Stranger Inside

By Lisa Unger,

Book cover of The Stranger Inside

Andrew Welsh-Huggins Author Of The End of the Road

From Andrew's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Runner Skeptical Curious

Andrew's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Andrew love this book?

Unger excels at slow-burn psychological thrillers bursting with secrets, and this is no exception.

The concept is chilling—the recent (and unsolved) slaying of a murderer who escaped justice brings back painful memories and hard questions for a woman, Rain Winter, whose childhood abductor—and killer of her friend—was also murdered after the fact. A radio journalist now at home with her baby, Rain decides to investigate whether a vigilante killer is at work.

Twist after twist kept me guessing all the way to the shocking revelations at the end. Unger is right up there with Karin Slaughter as one of my favorite thriller writers.

By Lisa Unger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Named a BEST BOOK by People Magazine, Boston Globe, BookBub, PopSugar, CrimeReads and more.

“Brilliant…. A well-crafted psychological thriller.” —The New York Times Book Review

When former journalist Rain Winter was twelve years old, she narrowly escaped an abduction while walking to a friend’s house. The abductor was eventually found and sent to prison, but years later was released. Then someone delivered real justice--and killed him in cold blood.

Now Rain is living the perfect suburban life, spending her days as a stay-at-home mom. But when another criminal who escaped justice is found dead, Rain is unexpectedly drawn into the…

Drama City

By George Pelecanos,

Book cover of Drama City

R.J. McCarthy Author Of Quarry Steps to: A Tony Quarry Carolina Mystery

From the list on to experience The Quiet Man Effect.

Who am I?

I'm not interested in make-believe superheroes. Just as I write stories I have to believe could happen, my favorite novels must have a credible protagonist. Regardless of flaws and failings, he also must have a moral compass, an inclination to do right or, at least, to do something right. The protagonist represents the never-ending battle within to redeem ourselves. In that, he does what he can with what he has. I would term this particular genre The Quiet Man Effect relative to a 1952 movie about an American boxer who returns to his Irish roots to heal after killing a man in the ring.

R.J.'s book list on to experience The Quiet Man Effect

Why did R.J. love this book?

Washington, D.C. is the author’s turf and he knows the district with GPS certainty. Lorenzo Brown, an African-American ex-con with a moral code, is redeemed by his love for animals. His post-release job is with an animal rescue organization. The novel’s conflict is basic as Brown is faced with environmental forces that attempt to lure him back to the criminal life, even as he struggles to resist them. Adding superbly to the flow of the story is Pelecanos’s mastery of street argot, his love of music and cars serving as a backdrop.

By George Pelecanos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lorenzo Brown loves his work. In his job as an officer for the Humane Society, he cruises the city streets, looking for dogs that are being mistreated - underfed, unclean, trained to kill. He takes pride in making their lives better. And that pride helps Lorenzo resist the pull of easier money doing the kind of work that got him a recent prison bid.

Rachel Lopez loves her work, too. By day she is a parole officer, helping people - Lorenzo Brown among them - along a path to responsibility and advancement. At night she heads for the city's hotel…

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,…

White Noise

By Mercedes Mercier,

Book cover of White Noise

Gill D. Anderson Author Of Primed for Vengeance

From the list on psychological thrillers delving into human psyche.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated by people and the life stories that shape who they are. From a young age, I’ve observed people’s idiosyncrasies closely and as I grew older, I wondered about nature versus nature debate (how much of your personality is innate versus how much life events and familial patterns shape who you become). My background in child protection social work and studies of sociology, psychology and human development have also strengthened my understanding of the theories behind each human emotion. I have almost 20 years of experience working in child protection, and as such, I have a well-rounded understanding of trauma, and the ongoing effects of this throughout the life span.

Gill's book list on psychological thrillers delving into human psyche

Why did Gill love this book?

I enjoyed the pacing and tension in this gripping thriller about prison psychologist Dr. Laura Fleming. Laura finds herself in a dangerous predicament when she questions whether inmate Justin Jones has really been rehabilitated, or whether his charm is nothing but a facade.

Laura's instincts are screaming out at her to find out the truth about Jones before he is released back into society prematurely. Laura then experiences a catalogue of sinister events in her personal life that are too coincidental not to be taken as threats to her safety.

The author cleverly uses a few red herrings to ensure the reader doesn’t work out who exactly is behind the threats or why. This results in a gripping and explosive conclusion. A dark, twisty read that will keep you invested.

By Mercedes Mercier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A true edge-of-your-seat thriller ... A total page-turner' KELLI HAWKINS

Someone knows your secrets. Someone knows your shame. And they won't stay buried for long.

A searing, dark and dangerous thriller from an exciting new voice

When prison psychologist Dr Laura Fleming is assigned charismatic inmate Justin Jones to assess for parole, alarm bells ring. Working with some of the state's most damaged criminals, she knows Jones is too dangerous to release, but he's got everyone fooled . . . She needs proof.

Laura knows all about damage. Her own painful mistakes have destroyed her marriage and she's been refused…


By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (illustrator),

Book cover of Matilda

Lena Derhally Author Of The Facebook Narcissist: How to Identify and Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Social Media Narcissism

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

Who am I?

Author Psychotherapist Mom DJ Improv performer Soccer coach

Lena's 3 favorite reads in 2023

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

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

My kids love the dark and witty humor of Dahl's books.

There is something a bit morbid about his work, but not morbid enough to scare them or give them nightmares. They also love the absurdity and the vivid imagination behind all his plots. Their favorite is Matilda.

By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Puffin Audiobooks presents Roald Dahl's Matilda, read by Kate Winslet. This audiobook features original music and sound design by Pinewood film studios.

Matilda Wormwood is an extraordinary genius with really stupid parents.

Miss Trunchbull is her terrifying headmistress who thinks all her pupils are rotten little stinkers.

But Matilda will show these horrible grown-ups that even though she's only small, she's got some very powerful tricks up her sleeve . . .

Kate Winslet's award-winning and varied career has included standout roles in Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Finding Neverland, Revolutionary Road and The Reader, for which she…

Jane Doe

By Victoria Helen Stone,

Book cover of Jane Doe

Sarah A. Denzil Author Of The Housemaid

From the list on for fans of Gone Girl.

Who am I?

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

Sarah's book list on for fans of Gone Girl

Why did Sarah love this book?

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

By Victoria Helen Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

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

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

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

Method 15/33

By Shannon Kirk,

Book cover of Method 15/33

Thomas A. Burns Jr. Author Of Sister!

From the list on dark mysteries you should read with the lights on.

Who am I?

I’m not sure why the dark side of humanity has always fascinated me, as it does so many others. I’ve read mystery and horror stories ever since I was a young boy, gravitating to ever darker books as I aged. I’m a pantser—that means that I don’t totally know where a story is going when I start, so I discover it right along with the characters. I think evoking emotion is key to writing a riveting tale, so I try to imagine what my character is feeling as I chronicle their experience. Part of being able to do this well is reading other writers who can, such as the authors on this list.

Thomas' book list on dark mysteries you should read with the lights on

Why did Thomas love this book?

Method 15/13 is a book about a pregnant teen who is kidnapped by a gang who wants her child so they can sell it on the black market.

However, what they don’t know is that she’s an autistic prodigy with sociopathic tendencies who’s planning her escape and revenge from day 1.

This is Home Alone on steroids, and the young woman’s precise planning is so positively chilling that I almost felt sorry for the bad guys. Almost.

By Shannon Kirk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Method 15/33 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

USA Today Best-Selling Author Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal Winner National Indie Excellence Award Winner Kidnapped, pregnant teen plots a calculating escape and merciless revenge Imagine a helpless, pregnant 16-year-old who's just been yanked from the serenity of her home and shoved into a dirty van. Kidnapped . . . Alone . . . Terrified. Now forget her . . . Picture instead a pregnant, 16-year-old, manipulative prodigy. She is shoved into a dirty van and, from the first moment of her kidnapping, feels a calm desire for two things: to save her unborn child and to exact merciless revenge. She…