Book picks similar to
This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman


historical-fiction
fiction
historical
crime

Rust & Stardust


T. Greenwood - 2018
    Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute—unless she does as he says. This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way.

In the Garden of Spite: A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte


Camilla Bruce - 2021
    Men come to her with their hopes, their dreams--their fortunes. But no one sees them leave. No one sees them at all after they come to call on the Widow of La Porte. The good people of Indiana may have their suspicions, but if those fools knew what she'd given up, what was taken from her, how she'd suffered, surely they'd understand. Belle Gunness learned a long time ago that a woman has to make her own way in this world. That's all it is. A bloody means to an end. A glorious enterprise meant to raise her from the bleak, colorless drudgery of her childhood to the life she deserves. After all, vermin always survive.

A Crime in the Neighborhood


Suzanne Berne - 1997
    At the time of the murder, 1973, Marsha was nine years old and as an adult she still remembers that summer as a time when murder and her own family's upheaval were intertwined. Everyone, it seemed to Marsha at the time, was committing crimes. Her father deserted his family to take up with her mother's younger sister. Her teenage brother and sister were smoking and shoplifting, and her mother was "flirting" with Mr. Green, the new next-door neighbor. Even the president of the United States seemed to be a crook. But it is Marsha's own suspicions about who committed this crime that has the town up in arms and reveals what happens when fear runs wild.

The Possible World


Liese O'Halloran Schwarz - 2018
    He’s traumatized and wordless; everything he knows has been taken from him in an afternoon. It’s not clear what he saw, or what he remembers.Lucy, who’s grappling with a personal upheaval of her own, feels a profound, unexpected connection to the little boy. She wants to help him…but will recovering his memory heal him, or damage him further? Across town, Clare will soon be turning one hundred years old. She has long believed that the lifetime of secrets she’s been keeping don’t matter to anyone anymore, but a surprising encounter makes her realize that the time has come to tell her story. As Ben, Lucy, and Clare struggle to confront the events that shattered their lives, something stronger than fate is working to bring them together. An expertly stitched story that spans nearly a century—from the Great Depression through the Vietnam War era and into the present—The Possible World is a captivating novel about the complicated ways our pasts shape our identities, the power of maternal love, the loneliness born out of loss, and how timeless bonds can help us triumph over grief.

Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York


Elon Green - 2021
    The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.Nor will he be his last.The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.

The Strangler


William Landay - 2007
    A city on edge. On street corners, newsboys hawk the shocking headline: KENNEDY IS DEAD. In the city’s underworld, a mob war rages. But what terrifies Bostonians most is the mysterious killer who has already claimed a dozen victims, a murderer whose name is indelibly linked to their city: the Boston Strangler. This is the electrifying backdrop of William Landay’s magnificent new novel, a story of one Irish-American family, a city under siege, and the long shadow cast by the most infamous killer of his day . . . For the three Daley brothers, sons of a Boston cop, crime is the family business. They are simply on different sides of it. Joe is the eldest, a tough-talking cop whose gambling habits—fast women, slow horses—drag him down into the city’s gangland. Michael is the middle son; a Harvard-educated lawyer working for an ambitious attorney general, he finds himself assigned to the embattled Strangler task force. And Ricky, the devil-may-care youngest son, floats above the fray as an expert burglar—until the Strangler strikes too close to home.As Joe’s mob debts close in around him . . . and Michael becomes snarled in a murder investigation gone very wrong . . . and Ricky is hunted by both sides of the law, the three brothers—and the women who love them—are forced to take sides. Now each must look deeper into a killer’s murderous rage, into their family’s own lethal secrets, and into the one death that has changed them forever. As William Landay’s complex, compassionate, and terrifying novel builds to a climax, two mysteries will collide—and a shattering truth will be revealed.From the Hardcover edition.

The Secrets of Lizzie Borden


Brandy Purdy - 2016
    Lizzie Borden should be one of the most fortunate young women in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her wealthy father could easily afford to provide his daughters with fashionable clothes, travel, and a rich, cultured life. Instead, haunted by the ghost of childhood poverty, he forces Lizzie and her sister, Emma, to live frugally, denying them the simplest modern conveniences. Suitors and socializing are discouraged, as her father views all gentleman callers as fortune hunters. Lonely and deeply unhappy, Lizzie stifles her frustration, dreaming of the freedom that will come with her eventual inheritance. But soon, even that chance of future independence seems about to be ripped away. And on a stifling August day in 1892, Lizzie’s long-simmering anger finally explodes… Vividly written and thought-provoking, The Secrets of Lizzie Borden explores the fascinating events behind a crime that continues to grip the public imagination—a story of how thwarted desires and desperate rage could turn a dutiful daughter into a notorious killer.

His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae


Graeme Macrae Burnet - 2015
    A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country's finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows. Graeme Macrae Burnet tells an irresistible and original story about the provisional nature of truth, even when the facts seem clear. His Bloody Project is a mesmerising literary thriller set in an unforgiving landscape where the exercise of power is arbitrary.--back cover

31 Bond Street


Ellen Horan - 2010
    Harvey Burdell in his lower Manhattan home made front-page news across the United States in 1857. "Who killed Dr. Burdell?" was a question that gripped the nation. 31 Bond Street, a debut novel by Ellen Horan, interweaves fiction with actual events in a clever historical narrative that blends romance, politics, greed and sexual intrigue in a suspenseful drama. The story opens when an errand boy discovers Burdell's body in the bedroom of his posh Bond Street home. The novel's central characters are Dr. Harvey Burdell, a dentist and unscrupulous businessman; his lover, the ambitious, Brooklyn-born Emma Cunningham; the District Attorney, Abraham Oakey Hall (later to become mayor of New York); and Henry Clinton, a prominent defense lawyer. The enigmatic relationship between Emma and Dr. Burdell makes her the prime suspect, and her trial is nothing less than sensational. During the trial, the two lawyers fight for truth, justice and their careers. This novel is set against the background of bustling, corrupt New York City, just four years before the Civil War. The author intertwines two main narratives: the trial through the perspective of the defense attorney Henry Clinton, and the story of the lovely young widow Emma Cunningham whose search for a husband brings her into the arms and home of Dr. Burdell.

Only Time Will Tell


Jeffrey Archer - 2011
    But then an unexpected gift wins him a scholarship to an exclusive boys’ school, and his life will never be the same again.As he enters into adulthood, Harry finally learns how his father really died, but the awful truth only leads him to question, was he even his father? Is he the son of Arthur Clifton, a stevedore who spent his whole life on the docks, or the firstborn son of a scion of West Country society, whose family owns a shipping line?This introductory novel in Archer’s ambitious series The Clifton Chronicles includes a cast of colorful characters and takes us from the ravages of the Great War to the outbreak of the Second World War, when Harry must decide whether to take up a place at Oxford or join the navy and go to war with Hitler’s Germany. From the docks of working-class England to the bustling streets of 1940 New York City, Only Time Will Tell takes readers on a journey through to future volumes, which will bring to life one hundred years of recent history to reveal a family story that neither the reader nor Harry Clifton himself could ever have imagined.

The Long Drop


Denise Mina - 2017
    Peter Manuel has been found guilty of a string of murders and is waiting to die by hanging. But every good crime story has a beginning. Manuel's starts with the murder of William Watt's family. Looking no further that Watt himself, the police are convinced he's guilty. Desperate to clear his name, Watt turns to Manuel, a career criminal who claims to have information that will finger the real killer. As Watt seeks justice with the cagey Manuel's help, everyone the pair meets has blood on their hands as they sell their version of the truth. The Long Drop is an explosive novel about guilt, innocence and the power of a good story to hide the difference.

Tea Cups & Tiger Claws


Timothy Patrick - 2013
    The miracle is the birth of identical triplets, and the madness is all about money, of course. The year is 1916 and the newborn baby girls have become pint-size celebrities. Unfortunately, this small portion of fame soon leads to a much larger portion of greed, and the triplets are split up—parceled out to the highest bidders. Two of the girls go to live in a hilltop mansion. The third girl isn't so lucky. She ends up with a shady family that lives in an abandoned work camp. That’s how their lives begin: two on top, one on the bottom, and all three in the same small town. And when their worlds collide, as they must, the consequences are extreme."Tea Cups & Tiger Claws" spans fifty years and takes the reader from a shantytown to a gilded mansion, from dark desires to sacrificial love.

Star of the North


D.B. John - 2018
    Twelve years later, her brilliant twin sister, Jenna, is still searching for her, and ends up on the radar of the CIA. When evidence that her sister may still be alive in North Korea comes to light, Jenna will do anything possible to rescue her--including undertaking a daring mission into the heart of the regime. Her story is masterfully braided together with two other narrative threads. In one, a North Korean peasant woman finds a forbidden international aid balloon and uses the valuables inside to launch a dangerously lucrative black-market business. In the other, a high-ranking North Korean official discovers, to his horror, that he may be descended from a traitor, a fact that could mean his death if it is revealed. As the novel progresses, these narrative strands converge and connect in surprising ways, ultimately building to an explosive and unforgettable climax.

Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China


Paul French - 2012
    The Japanese are encircling the city, and the discovery of Pamela Werner's body sends a shiver through already nervous Peking. Is it the work of a madman? One of the ruthless Japanese soldiers now surrounding the city? Or perhaps the dreaded fox spirits? With the suspect list growing and clues sparse, two detectives—one British and one Chinese—race against the clock to solve the crime before the Japanese invade and Peking as they know it is gone forever. Can they find the killer in time, before the Japanese invade?Historian and China expert Paul French at last uncovers the truth behind this notorious murder, and offers a rare glimpse of the last days of colonial Peking.Winner of the both the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and the CWA Non-Fiction Dagger

Mortal Memory


Thomas H. Cook - 1993
    It was almost two hours later that Mrs. Hamilton, a neighbor from across the street, saw my father drive away. During those long two hours in which he remained in the house, my father washed my mother's body and arranged her neatly on the bed. After that, he made a ham sandwich and ate it at the table in the kitchen. He drank a cup of coffee, leaving both the plate and the cup in the sink. He didn't pack anything, because he left with nothing. He didn't reenter either Laura's of Jamie's room. He made no attempt to clean up the frightful mess that had been made of them. And yet, for no apparent reason, he remained in the house for a full two hours. What had he been waiting for?