What are the best novels set in California?

asked by Anonymous
111 contributors
22 solutions
  1. 16

    #1The Black Dahlia

    The Black Dahlia

    California, January 15th, 1947. The body of a young woman is found in a vacant lot in Los Angeles. This is the beginning of the biggest manhunt in the history of California.  An investigation conducted by Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard. 


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    Eva Zaragoza
    Written on April 15, 2018
    "This was a great book to read. I really like the twists and turns in the plot. It was fun to read and very interesting."
  2. 14

    #2Of Mice and Men

    Of Mice and Men
    Of Mice and Men is a book by John Steinbeck that follows the story of George, small but smart, and Lennie, big and strong but mentally challenged, as they set off in a journey to look for a livelihood during the Great Depression.

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    Pamela Mason
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "A true classic! Everyone should read this to understand how we are all dependent upon each other in one way or another."
  3. 13

    #3Post Office

    Post Office

    This is a classic novel by Charles Bukowski originally published in 1971 talks about the story of Henry Chinaski, Bukowski's alter ego. Trapped after 12 years in a post office, Chinaski prays to survive in the day-to-day trials of sadistic bosses and sad coworkers. 


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    Albert Kelley
    Written on March 4, 2018
    "This book is absolutely to die for. I grew up in Los Angeles and I find myself in a similar situation as the protagonist is it. Therefore, I personally could relate to Henry’s motives and inner-working. I finished all 208 pages in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. The language in the book flows easily and it’s a great book to use for a book club!"
  1. 10

    #4The Grapes of Wrath

    The Grapes of Wrath

    The Grapes of Wrath is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by John Steinbeck. It tells the story of the Joad family as they travel west to California in search of greener pastures during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.


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    Nathan Sanchez
    Written on May 10, 2018
    "great book i remember reading it my freshman year in high school i recommend every high school student to read this book, it shows you the struggle of Americans living out in the plains "
  2. 9

    #5The Octopus: A Story of California

    The Octopus: A Story of California

    Like an octopus, the tracks of the railroad expanded out across California at the end of the 19th Century. 'The Octopus' is a classic novel by Frank Norris about the days of the frontier West of the United States and the expansions of the rail-ways. 


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    Jordan Oliver
    Written on March 14, 2018
    "The Octopus: A Story of California is a novel following the frontier West. It's based on an actual recount of the disputes between farmers and railroads. It's quite thrilling to read and takes place in California, so it's definitely a good story to pickup."
  3. 8

    #6Tales of the City

    Tales of the City

    For more than forty years, this newspaper serial novel by Armistead Maupin has made his own space into the popular American culture. Tales of the City became a television event by Netflix presenting this classical book to the whole world. 


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    Linda Hopkins
    Written on March 4, 2018
    "This audible book is a good Kindle read. This well known Amazon Prime novel is a Harper Collins e-book. This read is screen reader supported with a number of good features for easy reading."
  4. 7

    #7House of Sand and Fog

    House of Sand and Fog

    A former colonel in the Iranian Air Force is determined to restore her family's dignity after recovering from an alcohol addiction. And her lover is driven to extremes to win her love. 


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    Kimberly Morales
    Written on March 12, 2018
    "1. Interesting read of life experiences. Its totally believable, as Good people do bad things some time, out of fear, and pride. This is sometimes how they end up. 2. An interresting story of a woman who gets caught n love without valuing her womanhood. She has low self esteem to get entangled in a relationship that messess her life 3. Seeks attention like media with emotionally draining story. Portrays manhood an his control 4. For people not liking vices like virtues, greed and crime this is a page turner"
  5. 5

    #8China Blues

    China Blues

    Chinatown, San Francisco during the Prohibition. As the young legend of blues, Louis Armstrong blows his horn in the Blue Canary, Elisabeth Stafford plunges into an affair with Li Kwan Won.


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    Candy Shao
    Written on March 7, 2018
    "I like reading novels set in my home state, California. China Blues, set in San Francisco's Chinatown, is one of the novels. It has all the great locations and the feeling of California. A great book for California lovers."
  6. 4

    #9The Maltese Falcon

    The Maltese Falcon

    The detective Sam Spade gets the visit of Miss Wonderly to ask him to track down her sister. But Miss Wonderley is no who she says to be, and when Miles Archer, Spade's partner, is shot on duty, finds himself hunted. 


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    Zachary Moreno
    Written on April 14, 2018
    "This is a good mystery book. However, I don't know whether this book has anything to do with California."
  7. 2

    #10The Joy Luck Club

    The Joy Luck Club
    The Joy Luck Club is a best-selling novel by Amy Tan that tells the story of a group of four Chinese women who meet together for mahjong and companionship. Later, their daughters continue the tradition.

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    Shaurya Jhadav
    Written on March 6, 2018
    "California is my favorite state in the country and I frequently fantasize about being there. I've been looking for a book about being in that state so I could enhance my imagination. I recently came across "The Joy Luck Club" and it really piqued my interests. It was very well written and relateable. It made me feel as though I was there and connected with every character in it. I loved it overall!"
  8. 1

    #11Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a science-fiction novel written by Philip K. Dick. It was originally published in 1968, and it is the first book in the Blade Runner series.


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    Judith Fowler
    Written on April 10, 2018
    "You never know which you would like better, the movie or the book. In this case, I like the book better. The book tells more than the movie did and has more suspense. Not sure about it being the best novels set in California as it can be hard to understand, but I am sure it is not the least liked novel set in California. "
  9. 0

    #12Beverly Hills Dead (Rick Barron)

    Beverly Hills Dead (Rick Barron)

    Beverly Hills Dead is a mystery novel written by Stuart Woods, first published in 2008 by Putnam Adult. It is the second book in the Rick Barron series, following The Prince of Beverly Hills.


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    Laura Webb
    Written on May 13, 2018
    "Beverly Hills Dead (Rick Barron) is a good novel set in California "
  10. 0

    #13The Tumbleweed Murders

    The Tumbleweed Murders

    The Tumbleweed Murders: A Claire Sharples Botanical Mystery is a thrilling mystery novel for young adults written by Rebecca Rothenberg and Taffy Cannon. It was published in October 2001.


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    Sue Kong
    Written on May 14, 2018
    "Fourth in a series involving botany and crime. I was distressed to find that the author had died during the writing of this book. Not only have we lost her, we have lost her writing. The tale was completed by Taffy Cannon, who says that she hopes the conclusion was as Rebecca wanted. I could guess where Rebecca left off, as the cast list stopped growing. Southern California - its climate, mountains, forests and wildflowers - is the real star of this series. A botanist called Claire Sharples is based in a research station and advises on pest control, diseases and spraying. Her travels around the county put her at the scene of turbulence and in this case, a long-buried body is discovered and a search begins to identify the man. Claire finds that tumbleweed grows in certain spots and not others because it is killed by the interaction of its roots with a fungal organism found in rich soil. This raises her suspicions about the burial site and she follows the police investigation, not always wise when someone is out there who would rather long-hidden secrets remain hidden."
  11. 0

    #14Calico Palace

    Calico Palace

    Calico Palace is a historical romance fiction novel written by Gwen Bristow. This classic 19th-century book is about the crackbrains and it is first published in 1970. 


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    Thomas Morrison
    Written on May 12, 2018
    "Calico Palace is an okay read, nothing special. It lacks in character development , but still worth the read."
  12. 0

    #15By the Great Horn Spoon!

    By the Great Horn Spoon!
    By the Great Horn Spoon! is a historical fiction book written by Sid Fleischmann. This children's adventure fiction novel is first published in 1963. 

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    Jane Hou
    Written on May 10, 2018
    "What fun! If you want an ongoing example of similies and metaphors, assign this book! Sid Fleischman is clever and engaging in his writing. We used it for history concerning the California Gold Rush. My kids (age 10 and 11) loved it. Even I enjoyed it."
  13. 0

    #16Jubilee Trail

    Jubilee Trail

    Jubilee Trail is a historical romance fiction novel written by Gwen Bristow. This Western adventure fiction book is first published in 1950. 


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    Kathy Hawkins
    Written on May 6, 2018
    "This seems like a great read. A historical novel set in California, just what the question wanted. Well reviewed with over 4 stars. "
  14. 0

    #17Bret Harte's Gold Rush

    Bret Harte's Gold Rush

    Bret Harte's Gold Rush is a classic book that contains fifteen stories written by Bret Harte. This collection is first published in 1996. 


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    Melissa Ford
    Written on May 12, 2018
    "There are a lot novels with this setting, from the historical, through the fantastic, to the modern and futuristic. If I had to choose just one, I would definitely be drawn to one like this. The gold rush was an amazing and unique time in history for both California and the US, and short stories are often more accessible and fun to read than novels. With the caveat that some writing from this time period is dry and less than readable, I have hopes for this being a good choice."
  15. 0

    #18Heart of Glass (A-List)

    Heart of Glass (A-List)
    Heart of Glass (A-List) is a young adult fiction and the eighth book in A-List series written by Zoey Dean. This chick lit novel is first published in 2007 by Little Brown and Company. 

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    Margaret Larson
    Written on April 27, 2018
    "In my mind, nothing screams "Fun!" quite like living vicariously and safely through the exciting and wild lives of the over privileged young Californians! I love it. "
  16. 0

    #19The Proud Breed

    The Proud Breed

    The Proud Breed is a historical romance fiction novel written by Celeste De Blasis. This book is about Gavin Ramsay and Tessa MacLeod's story and it is first published in 1978. 


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    Tiffany Perez
    Written on May 7, 2018
    "I got this book from a free book exchange and I liked it so much that I would have been happy to pay for it. The way the author describes the scenery as they traveled through California was exceptional and the romance between the characters was lovely."
  17. 0



    Sierra is a historical fiction novel written by Richard S. Wheeler. This Western fiction book is about the California Gold Rush during 1849 and it is first published in 1996. 


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    Sandra Mendez
    Written on May 8, 2018
    "Gold mining and romance mix in this story. Really puts you in the middle of the gold rush. Historically accurate while also being captivating. Nice mix."
  18. 0

    #21Snow Mountain Passage

    Snow Mountain Passage
    Snow Mountain Passage is a historical adventure fiction novel written by James D. Houston. This 19th-century book is first published in 2001 by Mariner Books. 

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    Martha Stevens
    Written on May 1, 2018
    "Snow Mountain Passage does a great job bringing an environment to life. The prose takes its time to really set a scene so you practically feel like you are there. The adventure was exactly what I was looking for: heart-pounding, exciting, and had me at the edge of my seat."
  19. 0

    #22Ruthless Game (GhostWalkers)

    Ruthless Game (GhostWalkers)

    Ruthless Game is a paranormal romance fiction and the ninth book in GhostWalkers series written by Christine Feehan. This book is about Kane Cannon's mission and it i first published in 2010 by Jove. 


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    Nathan Rodriguez
    Written on May 13, 2018
    "Ruthless Game is a fun romp. When going into a paranormal romance fiction novel, I don't tend to expect very much, but Ruthless Game surprised me with some very solid character development, as well as decent prose that kept the whole affair moving at a brisk pace. However, I would not characterize it as one of the best novels set in the state of California, as there are many more serious offerings one could delve into that made better use of the setting."


Best What are the best novels set in California
1The Black DahliaBooks 16 Paid
2Of Mice and MenBooks 14 Paid
3Post OfficeBooks 13 Paid
4The Grapes of WrathBooks 10 Paid
5The Octopus: A Story of CaliforniaBooks 9 Paid
6Tales of the CityBooks 8 Paid
7House of Sand and FogBooks 7 Paid
8China BluesBooks 5 Paid
9The Maltese FalconBooks 4 Paid
10The Joy Luck ClubBooks 2 Paid

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