Books set in New Mexico

Written by:
September 27, 2022
Goodreads

Books set in New Mexico

Every state has its hallmark writers. Mississippi has William Faulkner and his incomparable (fictional) Yoknapatawpha County and Missouri can lay claim to Mark Twain. The state of Maine is gifted with Pulitzer winner Richard Russo and horror icon Stephen King. Rural Pennsylvania is the playground of the much-heralded (and occasionally maligned) John Updike, and when many bibliophiles think of New Jersey, they also think of Richard Ford's series of novels featuring recurring Everyman character Frank Bascombe. Illinois can lay claim to William Maxwell, Sandra Cisneros, and Adam Langer, among numerous others. And what reader can think of Washington State without contending with the sparkle-vampire yarns of Stephanie Meyer?

What makes authors like these inextricably associated with a particular state is not simply the matter of their having been born there or choosing to live there. The connection, from a writerly standpoint, is deeper than that—their work, nearly all of it, is set in "their" state.

Of course, there are certainly exceptions. Whether a writer sets a tale in the town where they went to college or spent part of their childhood—like Donna Tartt's "The Secret History" and its New England arts school setting and the almost-factual small town of Jo Ann Beard's "In Zanesville," respectively—or crafts a story that follows a social or political theme to a location they know little about but lay narrative claim to anyway, the world is rife with books known, loved, and respected that also capture the essence of place—books where setting itself is one of the strongest characters.

Stacker compiled a list of books set in New Mexico from Goodreads. Whether you're looking for a good read set in the state you call home, or you're looking to expand your curiosity with a writer you're already familiar with, we've got you covered.

You may also like: Highest-rated breweries in New Mexico

1 / 49
Goodreads

The Blessing Way (Leaphorn & Chee, #1)

- Rating: 4.03 (23,512 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: January 1, 1970
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Crime, Mystery Thriller
- Read more on Goodreads
2 / 49
Goodreads

Death Comes for the Archbishop

- Rating: 3.94 (33,241 ratings)
- Author: Willa Cather
- Published: January 1, 1927
- Genres: Fiction, Classics, Historical Fiction, Literature
- Read more on Goodreads
3 / 49
Goodreads

Hearts of the Missing

- Rating: 3.76 (687 ratings)
- Author: Carol Potenza
- Published: December 4, 2018
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Thriller
- Read more on Goodreads
4 / 49
Goodreads

Bless Me, Ultima

- Rating: 3.81 (32,325 ratings)
- Author: Rudolfo Anaya
- Published: January 1, 1972
- Genres: Fiction, Classics, Magical Realism, Young Adult
- Read more on Goodreads
5 / 49
Goodreads

The Milagro Beanfield War

- Rating: 4.09 (10,204 ratings)
- Author: John Nichols
- Published: January 1, 1974
- Genres: Fiction, Magical Realism, Historical Fiction, Humor
- Read more on Goodreads

You may also like: Least educated counties in New Mexico

6 / 49
Goodreads

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West

- Rating: 4.22 (83,700 ratings)
- Author: Dee Brown
- Published: April 1, 1970
- Genres: History, Nonfiction, American History, Classics
- Read more on Goodreads
7 / 49
Goodreads

The Monkey Wrench Gang (Monkey Wrench Gang, #1)

- Rating: 4.08 (24,019 ratings)
- Author: Edward Abbey
- Published: January 1, 1975
- Genres: Fiction, Nature, Environment, Classics
- Read more on Goodreads
8 / 49
Goodreads

Brave New World

- Rating: 3.99 (1.7 million ratings)
- Author: Aldous Huxley
- Published: January 1, 1932
- Genres: Classics, Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia
- Read more on Goodreads
9 / 49
Goodreads

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)

- Rating: 4.02 (83,708 ratings)
- Author: Darynda Jones
- Published: February 1, 2011
- Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Romance
- Read more on Goodreads
10 / 49
Goodreads

Skinwalkers (Leaphorn & Chee, #7)

- Rating: 4.07 (12,509 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: December 1, 1986
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Crime
- Read more on Goodreads

You may also like: Highest-rated museums in New Mexico

11 / 49
Goodreads

Georgia O'Keeffe: One Hundred Flowers

- Rating: 4.33 (714 ratings)
- Author: Georgia O'Keeffe
- Published: January 1, 1987
- Genres: Art, Art History, Nonfiction, Biography
- Read more on Goodreads
12 / 49
Goodreads

Hillerman Country: A Journey Through the Southwest with Tony Hillerman

- Rating: 4.21 (315 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: October 1, 1991
- Genres: Travel, Nonfiction, Geography, Mystery
- Read more on Goodreads
13 / 49
Goodreads

The Green Glass Sea (Green Glass, #1)

- Rating: 4.03 (7,132 ratings)
- Author: Ellen Klages
- Published: October 19, 2006
- Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction, Middle Grade
- Read more on Goodreads
14 / 49
Goodreads

Where They Bury You

- Rating: 3.32 (91 ratings)
- Author: Steven W. Kohlhagen
- Published: February 1, 2013
- Genres: Historical Fiction, Westerns, Fiction, Mystery
- Read more on Goodreads
15 / 49
Goodreads

Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West

- Rating: 4.24 (14,630 ratings)
- Author: Hampton Sides
- Published: October 3, 2006
- Genres: History, Nonfiction, American History, Biography
- Read more on Goodreads

You may also like: Zip codes with the most expensive homes in New Mexico

16 / 49
Goodreads

The Wives of Los Alamos

- Rating: 3.26 (6,815 ratings)
- Author: TaraShea Nesbit
- Published: April 24, 2014
- Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, World War II, Historical
- Read more on Goodreads
17 / 49
Goodreads

Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout

- Rating: 3.95 (3,981 ratings)
- Author: Philip Connors
- Published: March 10, 2011
- Genres: Nonfiction, Nature, Memoir, Environment
- Read more on Goodreads
18 / 49
Goodreads

Sacred Clowns (Leaphorn & Chee, #11)

- Rating: 4.04 (8,387 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: October 1, 1993
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Crime
- Read more on Goodreads
19 / 49
Goodreads

The Sinister Pig (Leaphorn & Chee, #16)

- Rating: 3.91 (6,576 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: May 6, 2003
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Crime, Mystery Thriller
- Read more on Goodreads
20 / 49
Goodreads

The Great Taos Bank Robbery and other True Stories of the Southwest

- Rating: 3.83 (922 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: January 1, 1973
- Genres: History, Nonfiction, Mystery, Short Stories
- Read more on Goodreads

You may also like: Best colleges in New Mexico

21 / 49
Goodreads

The Shape Shifter (Leaphorn & Chee, #18)

- Rating: 4.02 (8,540 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: November 21, 2006
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Crime
- Read more on Goodreads
22 / 49
Goodreads

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2)

- Rating: 4.24 (49,896 ratings)
- Author: Darynda Jones
- Published: August 16, 2011
- Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
- Read more on Goodreads
23 / 49
Goodreads

Rosary Without Beads

- Rating: 4.13 (23 ratings)
- Author: Diana Holguin-Balogh
- Published: October 1, 2018
- Genres: Historical Fiction, Westerns
- Read more on Goodreads
24 / 49
Goodreads

Meet Josefina: An American Girl (American Girls: Josefina, #1)

- Rating: 3.94 (5,039 ratings)
- Author: Valerie Tripp
- Published: January 1, 1997
- Genres: Historical Fiction, Childrens, Fiction, Historical
- Read more on Goodreads
25 / 49
Goodreads

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1)

- Rating: 3.96 (22,647 ratings)
- Author: Rebecca Roanhorse
- Published: June 26, 2018
- Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Fiction, Dystopia
- Read more on Goodreads

You may also like: New Mexico is the #7 state with the fewest people living near toxic release facilities

26 / 49
Goodreads

Tularosa (Kevin Kerney, #1)

- Rating: 3.99 (2,703 ratings)
- Author: Michael McGarrity
- Published: April 17, 1996
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Westerns, Crime
- Read more on Goodreads
27 / 49
Goodreads

Alburquerque

- Rating: 3.79 (1,089 ratings)
- Author: Rudolfo Anaya
- Published: August 1, 1992
- Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Magical Realism, Classics
- Read more on Goodreads
28 / 49
Goodreads

Red Sky at Morning

- Rating: 4.09 (2,747 ratings)
- Author: Richard Bradford
- Published: January 1, 1968
- Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Classics, Coming Of Age
- Read more on Goodreads
29 / 49
Goodreads

Tiger Eyes

- Rating: 3.90 (16,384 ratings)
- Author: Judy Blume
- Published: January 1, 1981
- Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Childrens, Realistic Fiction
- Read more on Goodreads
30 / 49
Goodreads

Rock with Wings (Leaphorn & Chee, #20)

- Rating: 3.90 (8,783 ratings)
- Author: Anne Hillerman
- Published: May 5, 2015
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Audiobook, Westerns
- Read more on Goodreads

You may also like: Most popular boy names in the 60s in New Mexico

31 / 49
Goodreads

You Brought Me the Ocean

- Rating: 3.81 (2,378 ratings)
- Author: Alex Sanchez
- Published: June 9, 2020
- Genres: Graphic Novels, LGBT, Young Adult, Comics
- Read more on Goodreads
32 / 49
Goodreads

Chaco Canyon: Archaeologists Explore the Lives of an Ancient Society

- Rating: 3.60 (77 ratings)
- Author: Brian M. Fagan
- Published: April 15, 2005
- Genres: History, Archaeology, Nonfiction, Anthropology
- Read more on Goodreads
33 / 49
Goodreads

The Santa Fe Trail: Its History, Legends, and Lore

- Rating: 3.85 (75 ratings)
- Author: David Dary
- Published: November 1, 2000
- Genres: History, American History, Westerns, Nonfiction
- Read more on Goodreads
34 / 49
Goodreads

The Joe Leaphorn Mysteries: The Blessing Way / Dance Hall of the Dead / Listening Woman (Leaphorn & Chee, #1-3)

- Rating: 4.26 (687 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: January 1, 1989
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Crime, Westerns
- Read more on Goodreads
35 / 49
Goodreads

Tony Hillerman: The Leaphorn Chee Novels: Skinwalkers, A Thief of Time, Coyote Waits

- Rating: 4.40 (619 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: May 3, 2005
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Westerns, Crime
- Read more on Goodreads

You may also like: Counties with the oldest homes in New Mexico

36 / 49
Goodreads

Los Alamos

- Rating: 3.82 (3,058 ratings)
- Author: Joseph Kanon
- Published: May 5, 1997
- Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
- Read more on Goodreads
37 / 49
Goodreads

The Last Beautiful Days of Autumn

- Rating: 4.03 (33 ratings)
- Author: John Nichols
- Published: May 31, 1982
- Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir, Biography Memoir
- Read more on Goodreads
38 / 49
Goodreads

Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson, #3)

- Rating: 4.35 (43,499 ratings)
- Author: Darynda Jones
- Published: January 31, 2012
- Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
- Read more on Goodreads
39 / 49
Goodreads

The Pueblo Revolt: The Secret Rebellion that Drove the Spaniards Out of the Southwest

- Rating: 3.87 (336 ratings)
- Author: David Roberts
- Published: January 1, 2004
- Genres: History, Nonfiction, Westerns, War
- Read more on Goodreads
40 / 49
Goodreads

The Staircase

- Rating: 3.74 (1,333 ratings)
- Author: Ann Rinaldi
- Published: January 1, 2000
- Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction, Historical
- Read more on Goodreads

You may also like: Counties with the worst commutes in New Mexico

41 / 49
Goodreads

The Fallen Man (Navajo Mysteries, #12)

- Rating: 4.12 (7,656 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: November 19, 1996
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Crime, Westerns
- Read more on Goodreads
42 / 49
Goodreads

Dance Hall of the Dead (Leaphorn & Chee, #2)

- Rating: 4.02 (13,732 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: January 1, 1973
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Crime, Mystery Thriller
- Read more on Goodreads
43 / 49
Goodreads

Hunting Badger (Navajo Mysteries, #14)

- Rating: 4.06 (8,207 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: November 9, 1999
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Westerns, Crime
- Read more on Goodreads
44 / 49
Goodreads

Hermit's Peak (Kevin Kerney, #4)

- Rating: 4.12 (1,288 ratings)
- Author: Michael McGarrity
- Published: June 1, 1999
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Westerns
- Read more on Goodreads
45 / 49
Goodreads

Hannah's War

- Rating: 3.81 (2,522 ratings)
- Author: Jan Eliasberg
- Published: March 3, 2020
- Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, World War II, Historical
- Read more on Goodreads

You may also like: Best counties to raise a family in New Mexico

46 / 49
Goodreads

The Maverick Cookbook: Iconic Recipes & Tales from New Mexico

- Rating: 4.30 (37 ratings)
- Author: Lynn Cline
- Published: September 1, 2015
- Genres: Cookbooks, Cooking
- Read more on Goodreads
47 / 49
Goodreads

109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos

- Rating: 4.06 (1,773 ratings)
- Author: Jennet Conant
- Published: January 1, 2005
- Genres: History, Nonfiction, Science, Biography
- Read more on Goodreads
48 / 49
Goodreads

Listening Woman (Leaphorn & Chee, #3)

- Rating: 4.14 (13,330 ratings)
- Author: Tony Hillerman
- Published: April 1, 1978
- Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Crime, Mystery Thriller
- Read more on Goodreads
49 / 49
Goodreads

The Plumed Serpent

- Rating: 3.30 (1,562 ratings)
- Author: D.H. Lawrence
- Published: January 1, 1926
- Genres: Fiction, Classics, Literature, Novels
- Read more on Goodreads

Trending Now