18 Best Fiction Books Set In New York

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This article showcases our top picks for ‘Fiction Books Set In New York’. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below). 

We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

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With its brilliant and brutal portrayal of the Corleone family, The Godfather burned its way into our national consciousness. This unforgettable saga of crime and corruption, passion, and loyalty continues to stand the test of time, as the definitive novel of the Mafia underworld. A #1 New York Times bestseller in 1969, Mario Puzo’s epic was turned into the incomparable film of the same name, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It is the original classic that has been often imitated but never matched. A tale of family and society, law and order, obedience, and rebellion, it reveals the dark passions of human nature played out against a backdrop of the American dream.

The Nesting Dolls by Alina Adams

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There’s more to New York City than the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side and Harlem. The Nesting Dolls takes place in the majority Russian speaking neighborhood of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, where first and second generation families attempt to both blend in and keep their traditions, while still struggling with the scars of where they came from.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

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There are so many great books that are set in New York, but if it had to be one. It would have to be Breakfast at Tiffany’s. If you fell in love with Audrey Hepburns portrayal of Holly Golightly in the movie adaptation you are just one of many of us. While the movie is legendary in every sense of the word, dar I say, the book is better. This book will give you strong New York feelings, a strong urge to head down to 5th avenue and head to Tiffany’s, a place where nothing could go wrong. The book is thoughtful,funny at times and perhaps even moving in equal parts. If you haven’t read it yet, do yourself a favor and read it now.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

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The iconic New York Public Library holds fascinating stories and readers can get a glimpse of how life was like for Laura Lyons living in an apartment within the grand building set in 1913. Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan, works at the same library where her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, once lived. Sadie and Laura are two smart, strong, and brilliant women. This historical fiction book is a must read for those who love mystery, love, dual time-lines, and secrets staged in a New York City landmark.

Black Borne by L.L. Farmer

This product was recommended by Angela Betancourt from ACB Collective

Black Borne falls into the sci-fi, paranormal, and urban fantasy category. The locations featured in the book are all real such as the slave burial grounds in lower Manhattan. The author also educates her readers on real African-pre colonial kingdoms and speaks of the Dahomey Amazons from the Dahomey tribe, which is now the Republic of Benin. I love being entertained and learning at the same time. This book has a lot of action and features a very dynamic protagonist. I am grateful my friend Beverley recommended this book to me!

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, here the author takes you on a magical journey below london. This is a book of mystery and intrigue. It’s fantasy at its best. It resembles Harry Potter somehow and if you love that book, you’re definitely going to like this one as well.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

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A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, an amazing, emotional, heartbreaking story. The events are set when four friends move to NY to follow their dreams, while their life shapes for better and for worse the four of them stay by each other’s side, and are fiercely attached to Jude’s traumatized past. It’s all about friendship and humanity.

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

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I read enjoyed the author’s “Red Mars” novel and enjoyed his 22nd-century novel based in New York City. In the novel, you meet a world devastated by rising sea levels due to climate change. Despite these challenges, determined New Yorkers find ways to adapt their partially underwater city. It is one of my favorite urban science fiction novels!

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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This book was published in 1952, but it still feels modern and fresh. I laughed, I cried, I got angry. The story is about a young Black man who moves from the Deep South to New York City in search of a better life. The novel explores bigotry and its effects on culture as a whole, but it’s also really funny. It’s one of those novels that, having read it, you will understand so many cultural references that once flew over your head.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Evelyn Hugo, you hate to love her. This story of Manhattan-based movie icon Evelyn Hugo introduces you to a wild career in Hollywood, a series of seven marriages and their impact of Hugo’s life, and the shocking colliding of two worlds that you never expected. It’s a tear jerker and a worthy one in every way.

Two Mice in London by Donna McIndoe Dalton

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Two Mice in London is the first children’s picture book in this fictional children’s travel series. Readers of all ages can go on an adventure on this trip to London through the pages of the book.

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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A dazzling and irresistible pair who made New York as a playground where they drink and dance eternally found money becoming tight, then their marriage becomes impossible. And with their inheritance still far, the couple must grow up and face reality; they may be beautiful, but they are also damned.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

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City of Girls: The Sunday Times Bestseller by Elizabeth Gilbert. New York, 1940. Young, glamorous, and inseparable, Vivian and Celia are chasing trouble from one end of the city to the other. City of Girls is about daring to break conventions and follow your desires: a celebration of glamour, resilience, growing up, and the joys of female friendship.

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

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Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin tells the story of the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935.

Play It Again by Stephen Humphrey Bogart

This product was recommended by Jay Hartman from Untreed Reads Publishing

Out of print for over a decade, this terrific mystery from the son of acclaimed actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall returns in ebook format for a new generation of readers. R.J. Brooks left Tinseltown behind long ago to become a matrimonial detective in New York City. Before long, he finds himself facing ghosts from his past when his celebrated mother is murdered in Manhattan. To solve this case he’s going to need both his street smarts and his Hollywood connections.

In Transit by Kathleen Gerard

This product was recommended by Jay Hartman from Untreed Reads Publishing

When a psychic in a shopping mall tells Rita Del Vecchio that she is destined for greatness, and she will marry a man in uniform, the restless, wet-behind-the-ears, 22 year-old decides to finally take control of her life. Rita sets out on a quest to become a New York City Police Officer. But can a spry, feisty, single woman thrive in the gritty world of New York’s Finest? Leaving behind the suburbs of New Jersey and a job as an under-tipped waitress, Rita Del Vecchio hangs up her apron and ballet slippers for a bullet-proof vest. But will she wear it? And if she does, will it protect her on the mean streets of Manhattan? Can it also protect her from Cupid’s arrows if they should land amiss? Rita is assigned to the New York City Transit Police Squad and gets more than she bargained for. Riding the Lexington Avenue Subway Line, Rita winds up meeting not one man in uniform, but many. Whom will she love? IN TRANSIT combines romance and suspense. This woman-in-jeopardy story delves into the ordinary lives of NYPD career cops and how their fates are determined by people who hold secrets as dark and as labyrinth-like as the New York City Subway System.

Department of Correction by Tony Burton

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In the Adirondacks, a grandfather is killed while deer hunting. On New York City’s East Side, two boys are kidnapped and a retired doctor is gunned down in the getaway. In midtown Manhattan, a former governor is abducted and viciously butchered, his throat slit. The killing has just begun… The crimes seem unrelated until maverick newspaper reporter Todd Paige, on a hot tip from ambitious NYPD lieutenant Sarah vanAllen, follows the trails of blood to a sleepy hamlet far upstate. For there, buried deep in the Adirondacks, lies the secret of the Wilderness, a hospital for the criminally insane; a place of corruption, abuse, and horrifying evil—evil in the guise of a heinous gang now loose and determined to wreck bloody vengeance for sins long past. And no one can stop them.

The Magician by Sol Stein

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Over 2 million copies sold in print, and now available in digital format for the first time! At their big prom, Ed Japhet scares the wits out of the attendees with his fantastic and dangerous feats of magic. Then when the young man and his girlfriend leave, they see four figures sitting inside his father’s car, one with a chain around his fist. That’s only the beginning of this story of a screwed-up justice system and a high-school student who decides to use his magic tricks to stop a tough gang of extortionists from bothering him and his girl. The New York Times says, I cannot recall a gripping novel of this type with greater pleasure. The Library Journal declares, A shark-like bite that won’t be easily forgotten. Fast moving, incisive, angry, fine, and dramatic! First published in 1971, this literary thriller shows off the masterful storytelling skills of its legendary author, Sol Stein.

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