10 Books Like ‘Grand Theft Auto’ | TheReviewGeek Recommends


Grand Theft Auto has always been a mainstay when it comes to excellent open-world sandboxes, but its various storylines across the franchise have been just as memorable. From epic explorations of Miami’s crime scene in the 80’s, to the dangerous world of criminal gang hierarchies, GTA has been on the pulse to showcase this in an impressive manner.

If you’re in the mood for more of the same, fret not! We’ve gathered together 10 books to check out when you’ve finished playing Grand Theft Auto. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favourites, do comment below and let us know!

The Getaway by Jim Thompson

Doc McCoy is a career criminal and orchestrates a bank heist with his wife Carol. After the robbery though, they find themselves on the run from both the law and double-crossing partners. Their escape depicts a descent into crime, betrayal, and desperation.

Much like the storylines in GTA, Thompson’s novel delves deep into the criminal underworld, showcasing heists, betrayal, and the lengths to which people will go when backed into a corner.

Illusion by Joseph Phelps

When an overly powerful guild threatens to take over an entire server in the worlds premier crime game, it falls to a new player and his small but powerful crew of friends to stop them.

Much like Grand Theft Auto, Illusion depicts a relative no-name working his way up from the bottom to the top of a criminal empire. The book is fast paced and fun, and it should certainly whet the appetite for GTA fans!

Dead City by Shane Stevens

Dead City follows a serial killer named Johnny, detailing his murderous spree across the United States. It’s a grim exploration of a killer’s mind, drawing readers into his twisted psyche.

While GTA is not focused solely on the mindset of killers, it does dive deep into the seedy underbelly of crime, where characters with twisted motivations and violent tendencies operate, much like Johnny.

Layer Cake by JJ Connolly

The unnamed protagonist in Layer Cake a successful cocaine dealer in London who wishes to retire. However, his plans go awry when he’s given two tough assignments by his boss: to find the missing daughter of an old ally and selling a massive shipment of stolen ecstasy.

Layer Cake’s seedy world of drug dealing, mobsters, and double-crosses is reminiscent of the criminal enterprises and missions in GTA. Both feature characters attempting to navigate the treacherous waters of organized crime, and finding themselves in over their head.

Ghost Man by Roger Hobbs

Jack, also known as the “Ghostman”, specializes in cleaning up after botched heists and ensuring criminals disappear without a trace. The story here picks up when he’s called to Atlantic City to fix a casino robbery gone wrong. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also dealing with a past job that’s come back to haunt him.

The novel’s premise of heists, organized crime, and a protagonist skilled in evading the law echoes the challenges and missions players undertake in the GTA universe.

Corporate Assassin by Gus Mavencamp

This thriller introduces readers to Alex Schulz, a high-ranking executive who doubles as an assassin for his corporation, taking out threats to the company. As he begins to question the morality of his tasks and the motives behind them, he finds himself in increasing danger.

Both GTA and this novel blur the lines between legitimate businesses and the criminal underworld, showcasing protagonists involved in morally grey activities, navigating treacherous allies, and confronting corporate crime.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram is a semi-autobiographical novel following an Australian fugitive named Lin as he escapes to Mumbai, India. Over time, he integrates into the criminal underworld, establishes a clinic in a slum, and fights in the Afghan war. While all this is going on, he also reflects on love, life, and morality.

 The integration into the criminal world, forming bonds with various characters from different walks of life, as well as navigating the complexities of crime in a sprawling urban environment align with the themes explored in GTA.

Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard

Chili Palmer, a Miami loan shark, travels to Los Angeles to collect a debt and ends up entangled in the movie business. He soon finds that Hollywood isn’t much different from the mob, as his encounters with producers, actors, and gangsters shape his opinion of Tinsel Town.

Just like GTA’s satirical take on real-world industries and the blurred lines between legitimate enterprise and crime, Get Shorty explores that aforemntioned overlap between the film industry and the criminal underworld.

Leonid McGill series by Walter Mosley

Leonid McGill is a former boxer and a private investigator in New York City. Throughout the series, he tries to atone for his sins while solving cases, often dealing with the city’s criminal element, drama, and moral dilemmas.

The series’ gritty urban setting, interconnected criminal networks, and a protagonist with a complicated moral code closely mirror the storylines and characters of GTA.

A Death In China by Carl Hiaasen

Written with Bill Montalbano, this novel revolves around an American professor’s mysterious death in China. Two of his friends journey to China to uncover the truth, finding themselves amidst political intrigue, cultural clashes, and danger.

The narrative’s exploration of criminality, deception, and navigating a foreign, often dangerous, environment resonates with GTA IV’s themes in particular.

These are just a few books that will give you the vibe and feel of the Grand Theft Auto games. What did you think of the list? Have you read any of these books before? Or are we missing a must-read novel? Comment below and let us know!

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