Book Recommendations

🌈 Be Gay, Do Crime: Queer Heist Books Recommendations for Pride Month 🌈

There is such a thrill in reading heist books against which no drug compares. Is it the life-and-death stakes? The desperate we-have-nothing-to-lose-and-everything-to-gain bravado? The sheer vindictive joy of eating the rich? The queer found family dynamics between morally fraudulent characters who live in a world that disdains them and grow as close as entangled trees through committing crime and wreaking fierce and terrible havoc wherever they go?

Whatever it is, it’s working. And working damn well, too. At this point, heist books should be their own genre. The categorization is not only cool as hell, but it would also make it easier for readers like me (who have an untoward degree of affection for books about being gay and doing crime) to find them. I’ve been scouring the internet for heist books with queer representation for some time now, and managed to pin down 17 in total. I was actually delightfully surprised to find that almost every heist book I came across had some kind of lgbtq+ representation, and the very few that didn’t—well… frankly, I figured cishets can make their own lists, y’know?

Anyways! Without further ado, here are some queer heist books:


Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

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LGBTQ+ representation: lesbian MCs

Other representation: Black MCs

The first in a planned trilogy, Foundryside begins—as only the best stories do—with a heist. Sancia Grado is hired to pull off an easy enough heist in exchange for an incomprehensibly large sum of money, gets accidentally embroiled in “a war that has raged in a time beyond memory,” and finds herself entangled with a dubious crew of anti-capitalist misfits. If Sancia develops a crush on the cute and terrifyingly smart assistant of a wanted researcher—well, she just has to survive long enough to do something about it.


Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

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LGBTQ+ representation: non-binary MC, lesbian and bisexual side characters, side polyamory

Other representation: East-Asian inspired setting

“Dragons. Art. Revolution.” Now that’s one helluva one-liner. Non-binary artist Gyen Jebi is very adamant about staying out of politics; they just want to be left alone to paint. But then life happens, and the next thing you know you’re orchestrating a perilous plan that involves stealing a mighty dragon automaton right from beneath the occupying government’s nose. As the old saying goes: it be like that sometimes.


American Hippo by Sarah Gailey

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LGBTQ+ representation: bisexual MC, non-binary MC, asexual MC

American Hippo, which combines the two novellas in the author’s River of Teeth series, is set in an alternate American “in which hippos rule the colossal swamp that was once the Mississippi River“. One of the MCs is a genderqueer assassin and thief!


The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho

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LGBTQ+ representation: trans MC, queer side characters

Other representation: Malaysian-coded characters and setting

The author describes this novella as “a fanfic of an imaginary wuxia series where everyone is queer.” That’s pretty damn accurate.


Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

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LGBTQ+ representation: bisexual MC, asexual MC

Other representation: Brown MCs

This is a fun and unputdownable heist book with a multi ethnic group of rebels consisting of plus-size ace girls and bi boys teaming up, despite nigh-impossible odds, to unhinge a hideously corrupt council from their position of power.


Spellhacker by M.K. England

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LGBTQ+ representation: f/non-binary relationship

To borrow some of the author’s words, “if you like heists, interesting magic systems, found family, queer happy endings, or groups of misfits behaving badly” this book is for you!


Nottingham: The True Story of Robyn Hood by Anna Burke

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LGBTQ+ representation: lesbian MCs, sapphic side characters, trans side character

Nothing I say could possibly beat this kickass blurb: “Nottingham is a delightful romp rife with bois bearing bows, transmen wielding quarterstaffs, noble ladies loving ladies bawdy bisexual musicians, naughty nonbinary outlaws, and saucy sapphic nuns—in other words, Robyn Hood like you’ve never seen her before.”


The Disasters by M.K. England

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LGBTQ+ representation: bisexual MC, Achillean MC, trans MC

Other representation: Pakistani-American MC with anxiety, Black British mc, Bengali MCs

This is a queer YA Guardians of the Galaxy where a group of oddballs are framed for murder and have to pull off a series of heists in order to clear their names and save the world.


The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

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LGBTQ+ representation: Achillean MCs

Other representation: Filipino-Spanish MC, Haitian-French MC, South Indian MC, French-Algerian MC, autistic MC

Six huge nerds. One impossible heist slash treasure hunt. The outcome could either be a dream or a death sentence. Paris drags out its secrets, and Séverin—a French-Algerian wealthy hotelier and part-time treasure hunter who is set on revenge—soon learns the things that could be taken away in a heartbeat, all in the pursuit of power.


Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite Boys #1) by K.J. Charles

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LGBTQ+ representation: Achillean MCs

What happens when you start developing deep unfortunate feelings for the very bad man you’ve hired to rob your bastard father? That’s the dilemma facing one jewel thief and one aristocrat who must “find their way through a maze of privilege and deceit, and confront the truth of what’s between them… all without getting caught.”


Pyre at the Eyreholme Trust by Lin Darrow

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LGBTQ+ representation: bigender MC, pansexual LI

According to the author, you can expect: “queer magic noir, gangs with magic affinities to materials (fire/ink/lightning/paper), ‘reverse-counterfeit’ casino heist, pansexual gangster bigender torch singer/jewel salesman romance.”


Midnight Heist by Katherine McIntyre

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LGBTQ+ representation: Achillean MCs

The book version of “eat the rich… but Not Like That, Dammit.” A robin-hood style thief and his mismatched crew of criminals steal from big corporations and give back to the people fucked over by capitalism. But when a spectacularly unsuccessful heist ends with them indebted to the mafia, Grif Blackmore‘s escape from their clutches hinges on the success of another heist, this time targeting Torres Industries… and the very dreamy CEO, Danilo Torres. Welp.


Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman

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LGBTQ+ representation: trans MC, queer MC

Other representation: Latinx MC

A graphic novel in which “a Latinx outlaw and a trans runaway, as they team up to thwart a Confederate plot in the New Mexico Territory.” Hell yeah!


Pros & Cons of Vengeance (Pros & Cons #1) by A.E. Wasp & May Archer

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LGBTQ+ representation: Achillean MCs

I need you guys to read this blurb: “There’s nothing like being blackmailed by a dead man to really bring a group of cons together. And what a group we are: a hacker, a thief, a con artist, a thug, and a Federal agent with an axe to grind. The deal is simple, we do the jobs and Charlie’s lawyer wipes the slate clean for each of us, one at a time.” This sounds… delightfully bonkers. I’m in.


Rulebreaker by Cathy Pegau

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LGBTQ+ representation: sapphic MCs

“Fellas is it gay to fall for the woman you’re supposed to rob?” the book.


The Wayward Prince (Mind + Machine #2) by Hanna Dare

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LGBTQ+ representation: Achillean MCs

A sci-fi romp that includes spaceships, heists, interstellar intrigue, and second-chance romance.


A Heist Story by Ellen Simpson

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LGBTQ+ representation: lesbian MCs

So the plot goes something like this: what if I were the mentee of a ill-reputed dead art thief, and you the Interpol agent determined to find the peculiar book he’s left behind before I do, and we were both girls and also gay? I don’t know about you but this sounds very much up my alley.


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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LGBTQ+ representation: bisexual MCs, gay MC

Other representation: physically disabled MC, Black MC, Brown MC, dyslexic MC, fat MC

This is the book that started it all for me. A staple of the genre, and the tender genesis of my obsession. Six of Crows was like, 90% of my personality in high school. It was even the topic of my senior project, and I had the whole classroom utterly rapt while I was passionately analyzing Kaz Brekker’s childhood trauma. Being seventeen is an intensely excruciating experience and overall damaging to your psyche, but those were good times.


And voilà! I hope you enjoyed this post, and that you may find a new favorite read here. If you have any additional recommendations in this very niche genre, let me know!


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8 thoughts on “🌈 Be Gay, Do Crime: Queer Heist Books Recommendations for Pride Month 🌈

  1. These all look like great recommendations! Will definitely pick the ones I haven’t read yet. My only note is that I believe the mc of “The Order of the Pure Moon…” is ftm trans, not non-binary.

    Like

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