I admit it, I'm hooked on Netflix's Marvel series Jessica Jones . I love the noir feel of it; I love the fact that it's positively dripping with female characters. Jessica is a truly unique heroine. She's hard-drinking, totally super-powered, and fully in charge of herself and her own destiny in spite of some incredibly terrible odds. Facing off against the horrifically abusive Kilgrave (Doctor Who, what became of you!?) Jessica Jones is more than just a detective story starring a woman; it’s a detective story that calls out abuse and isn’t afraid to show a heroine who feels scared, but still stands up for what’s right at the end.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably already despairing over the fact that the first season is only 13 episodes long, and what will you do until the season two comes? Sure, you can read the comic books from which Jessica Jones sprang, but what if you want the cool noir feel that the series brings? You could absolutely read some detective stories as well, but what about that little special something that makes Jessica Jones unique? There isn’t much like it, but the closest we can come to is the genre of urban fantasy, where magical detectives walk the streets of cities we know solving mysteries that we can only dream of.
I’ve compiled a list of 10 urban fantasy books that you’ll enjoy if you’ve loved Jessica Jones . These books are chock full of fearless heroines, sinister magic, and awesome noir undertones. Pour yourself a glass of Jameson and crack the spine on one of these bad boys.
1. Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
Anita Blake may be a tiny woman, but her nickname among vampires is "The Executioner," hunting vampires in a time when they are protected by law (unless they break it, of course). When a bunch of innocent vampires start dying, Anita meets the sexy and incredibly French Jean-Claude, who convinces her to help find the killer. Turns out, Jean-Claude wants more than just her help, and Anita is thrown into the sexy and terrifying world of vampires. This is the first of a series and if you love the idea of a gutsy heroine solving supernatural mysteries, you should stick to the first eight or nine books only, if you like the idea of a gutsy heroine spending more time sleeping with a harem of attractive men, by all means continue reading.
2. Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Harry Dresden is a wizard, but he's also for hire. As the head of Paranormal Investigations, Harry is not only the best at what he does, he's the only one who does what he does. When the Chicago Police department stumble upon a double murder case that looked like it's been committed by dark magic, Harry risks life in limb in order to catch the dark mage who did it. Told with the same noir-ish flair as Jessica Jones, Storm Front is the beginning of a series as well.
3. Night Shift by Lilith Saintcrow
Jill Kismet is a Hunter, meaning that she is one of the rare humans who hunts the monsters that hide among mortals called hellbreeds. Having accepted a mark from a particularly nasty hellbreed, Jill is a little more resilient than the average human, but carries a heck of a lot more angst than the average human too. In the first book of this series, Jill needs to hunt down a hellbreed who has gotten loose and killed a few cops. If you like how Jessica Jones rises above her "damaged" status, or the unique and creepy villain Kilgrave, you'll enjoy the adventures of Jill Kismet.
4. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson is a Volkswagon mechanic living in Washington, but she also has the ability to turn into a coyote, has a werewolf for a next-door neighbor, and is currently fixing a bus for a vampire. When a handful of werewolves are kidnapped to test some experimental medication, Mercy offers to help and along the way encounters an old flame who has moved back to the Washington area in order to win her back. If you like a no-nonsense heroine (who also happens to be mixed race!) who kicks butt while she solves crimes, this is definitely a series worth reading.
5. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
When MacKayla's sister is murdered, the only clue to what happened is a mysterious message on Mac's own cell phone. Determined to solve the mystery of her death, Mac moves to Ireland to find answers, only to discover that she possessed a rare ability to see into the dangerous world of the fae. Now fighting to save her own life, she has to find out who killed her sister, keep herself safe, and protect the Dark Book, an all-powerful artifact who gives whoever possesses it unlimited power over the world. If you like Jessica Jones for her determination, as well as the presence of a mysterious villain, this series is a good place to start.
6. The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo
Don't let the name of this book fool you, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats is ideal for those who love the lack of slut-shaming in Jessica Jones. Felix Gomez went to Iraq a soldier but came back as a vampire. Now a private detective, he's called to investigate a mysterious outbreak of nymphomania in rocky flats, and has to contend with conspiracies, vampire hunters, and a group of women who seem to only want him for his body. Skewering sexual stereotypes, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats is a quirky, funny read.
7. A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Remy Chandler is a man of many talents: He can make himself invisible at will, understands every language, and can read thoughts if he tries hard enough. This is mostly because he isn't an ordinary man, he's an angel who has chosen to forsake his celestial life and live among humans instead. Currently working as a PI in Boston, Remy's life is turned upside down when a case that has ties to his angelic past crosses his desk. Turns out the Angel of Death has gone missing, and tracing his missing friend uncovers a conspiracy that spells out danger for the entire human race. If you enjoy the noir tone of Jessica Jones, you'll like A Kiss Before the Apocalypse.
8. Hard Magic by Larry Correia
Do you enjoy super-powered people facing off against each other? Obviously if you like Jessica Jones, you do, but you'll also enjoy Hard Magic. Jake Sullivan is a PI who also happens to possess a huge amount of raw magical power as well as the ability to change the heaviness of anything just by thinking about it. When he's tapped by the police to catch a culprit who has been killing people in a magically enhanced crime spree, he's shocked to find out that the girl behind it all is an old friend... and also is just as powerful as he is.
9. Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis
Stan Markowski is an occult investigator. While most people have an uneasy peace with the supernatural, he's the guy you call in when a supernatural creature goes awry. Stan loves his job, but when a couple of vampires are found dead by mysterious circumstances, he needs to put his own prejudice aside in order to bring the killers to justice. You can never go wrong with a supernatural noir, and Stan's acerbic attitude will be catnip for lovers of Jessica's attitude.
10. Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
Do you love Jessica's mysterious and checkered past in Jessica Jones? Then the dark and dirty Sandman Slim is well worth a look. James Stark has spent the past 11 years working as a hitman in Hell, he finally escapes back to Los Angeles and attempts to get his life back in order. After his attempts to reclaim his life saddle him with a talking head, he soon begins to realize that Heaven and Hell might have a lot more in store for him than he originally thought. Like most of the books on this list, it's the start of a series.