Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer
Riot Recommendation

Your Favorite Fictional Stories Inspired By Real Events

Vanessa Diaz

Managing Editor

Book Riot Managing Editor Vanessa Diaz is a writer and former bookseller from San Diego, CA whose Spanish is even faster than her English. When not reading or writing, she enjoys dreaming up travel itineraries and drinking entirely too much tea. She is a regular co-host on the All the Books podcast who especially loves mysteries, gothic lit, mythology/folklore, and all things witchy. Vanessa can be found on Instagram at @BuenosDiazSD or taking pictures of pretty trees in Portland, OR, where she now resides.

This Riot Recommendation of true events that inspired fictional stories is sponsored by The Man Who Played With Fire by Jan Stocklassa.

In a riveting true crime investigation, journalist Jan Stocklassa follows the trail of intrigue, espionage, and conspiracy begun by Stieg Larsson, one of the world’s most famous thriller writers. For years before he died, Larsson had been amassing evidence on the 1986 unsolved assassination of Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister. Larsson’s archive was forgotten until Stocklassa was given exclusive access to the author’s secret project. Was Sweden’s most notorious unsolved crime cracked by the author of the Millennium novels? Read The Man Who Played With Fire, the true story of a prolific writer’s last mystery.


We’ve all heard that truth is stranger than fiction, and sometimes it inspires fiction. That’s why we asked you to share your favorite fictional stories inspired by real events! Warning: nothing ups the creep factor like knowing the creepiness is based on real life. Don’t worry—we won’t judge you for reading with the lights on.

Room by Emma Donoghue

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

The Long Drop by Denise Mina

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

The Good People by Hannah Kent

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

The Girls by Emma Cline

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

*Editor’s Note: We originally asked for nonfiction inspired by fictional stories. You knew what we meant!