Tacoma Books

I’ve always thought Tacoma was the perfect place to write about or to set a story and I’m not the first to think that. Below are a handful of book about Tacoma or set in Tacoma.

Puget’s Sound

By Murray Morgan

When it comes to the early history of Tacoma, Murray Morgan’s Puget’s Sound is required reading. Starting with the first time white people saw Commencement Bay and ending up in the early 1900s, Morgan’s book takes you through the people and events that made Tacoma what it is. Murray Morgan was Tacoma’s ultimate historian. There’s a reason the 11th Street Bridge is named after him.



Head Shot

By Burl Barer

A creepy true crime book about some former neighbors of mine. I remember seeing their gold Charger driving around the neighborhood. I knew they were bad news, but I had no idea just how bad until I read this. If you’re looking for a glimpse into the dark side of Tacoma in the 1980s, this book is exactly that.




Tacoma Confidential

By Paul LaRosa

A true crime book about the murder of Crystal Brame by her husband, Tacoma Police Chief David Brame and his suicide directly after that. Written by a Dateline producer, I actually haven’t read this one yet so I can’t tell you if it’s any good or not. Expect this to be rectified soon.






Betrayal, Murder, and Greed

By Mike Beakley & Pam Phree

Written by a former Tacoma Police Officer turned Bounty Hunter and one of the first female Bail Bond Agents, much of this book takes place in and around Tacoma from the 1970s to the early 2000s. A gritty and real look at the criminal element and the people who deal with them on a daily basis. The writers are currently working on a sequel. I’ll buy it the day it comes out.




King of Methlehem

By Mark Lindquist

A crime novel that takes place in and around Tacoma written by a Pierce County Prosecutor. While technically fiction, Lindquist’s novel is full of real places, real people, and events that could easily be true. His description of Pierce County’s meth amphetamine problem is entirely accurate and as close as you’re likely to get to that lifestyle without developing a habit.




If there are books not listed here that you’ve read that have to do with Tacoma, don’t hesitate to let me know at jackcameronis@gmail.com

4 responses to “Tacoma Books

  1. Looking for a book with the title “murder of a City” or something close.
    It is an account of City and County corruption in the 60s.
    Written bt a US Senator (not from Washington) -can you helpl???

    • Somehow I only just saw this message. I can help. The book was written by a guy named John Gold, a radio shock jock in the 1970s who was actually a long time con man named Fred Crisman. The book is out of print, but it’s full of drama. Some of it may actually be true.

  2. William M. Hanson

    Streets of Tacoma and The Tacoma Trilogy are the most important novels written about Tacoma; why aren’t they listed?

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