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Best Crime Books

Dive into suspense and intrigue with the top crime fiction, as celebrated by experts and enthusiasts, each book selected based on its acclaim across respected literary sources.

Recommendations from 69 articles, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Emma Watson and 101 others.
100 books on the list
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In Cold Blood book cover
In Cold Blood
Truman Capote - 1994-02-01 (first published in 1959)
Goodreads Rating
This gripping nonfiction book explores the brutal murder of a Kansas family and the subsequent investigation, trial, and execution of the killers. With meticulous detail and astounding empathy, Truman Capote reconstructs the events and personalities surrounding the crime, including the truly chilling young killers. In Cold Blood is a masterful example of literary journalism that will leave readers breathless.
Helter Skelter book cover
Helter Skelter
The True Story of the Manson Murders
Vincent Bugliosi - 2001-12-17 (first published in 1974)
Goodreads Rating
Explore the shocking and disturbing case of Charles Manson and his followers in a book written by the prosecuting attorney of the trial. Discover what motivated Manson's cold-blooded selection of victims and his terrifying hold over his followers, particularly the young women who carried out his orders. This harrowing true crime story is accompanied by 50 pages of black and white photographs.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark book cover
I'll Be Gone in the Dark
One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Michelle McNamara - 2018-02-27
Goodreads Rating
This true crime book delves into the haunting story of the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California during the 70s and 80s. Written by a gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case, I'll Be Gone in the Dark offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. A modern true crime classic hailed for its originality and compelling narrative.
Recommended by
Mara Wilson
The Devil in the White City book cover
The Devil in the White City
Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
Erik Larson - 2003-02-11
Goodreads Rating
Discover the thrilling story of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair in 'The Devil in the White City.' Author Erik Larson brings to life the extraordinary events surrounding the fair and the two men at its center: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect behind the construction of the "White City," and H.H. Holmes, a notorious serial killer who used the event to lure victims to his gruesome World's Fair Hotel. Larson's skilled storytelling interweaves the tales of these two men, showcasing the incredible successes and sinister secrets of 19th-century Chicago.
Killers of the Flower Moon book cover
Killers of the Flower Moon
Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI
David Grann - 2023-10-10 (first published in 2017)
Goodreads Rating
Discover a real-life murder mystery that unravels perhaps one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history. Learn about the Osage Indian Nation, the richest people per capita in the world during the 1920s, and how their newfound wealth through oil discovery led to the murder of their own people under mysterious circumstances. Follow the case as the newly-created FBI tries to solve the case, despite being notoriously corrupt at the time, and how a former Texas Ranger helps them uncover the truth. This non-fiction thriller showcases the dark side of the Wild West where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror” roamed.
The Stranger Beside Me book cover
The Stranger Beside Me
The Inside Story of Serial Killer Ted Bundy (New Edition)
Ann Rule - 2001-06-01 (first published in 1980)
Goodreads Rating
Explore the twisted mind of one of America's most notorious serial killers through the eyes of someone who knew him well. Written by a true crime writer and former Seattle police officer, this book tells the chilling story of Ted Bundy, a man who appeared to have it all but was hiding a demonic double life. This gripping page-turner takes you on a journey through Bundy's crimes, his magnetic charm, and his disturbing behavior. Recommended by true crime podcasters and perfect for fans of the Netflix documentary Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.
Columbine book cover
Dave Cullen - 2009-04-06
Goodreads Rating
A haunting and urgent investigation into one of America's most notorious crimes, Columbine. The author, Dave Cullen, was one of the first reporters on the scene and spent ten years meticulously researching and debunking the myths surrounding the tragedy. Through interviews with leading forensic psychologists and the killers' own writings, Cullen paints raw and unforgettable portraits of the polar opposite killers and explores the false script that sparked a generation of "spectacle murders." A must-read for anyone seeking to understand the American psyche and the imperative to prevent future atrocities.
Mindhunter book cover
Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit
John E. Douglas - 1996-08-01 (first published in 1995)
Goodreads Rating
Delve into the minds of some of the most notorious serial killers and assassins of our time with this captivating true crime book. Written by a retired Special Agent who interviewed the likes of Charles Manson, Richard Speck, and John Wayne Gacy, this book offers a landmark study on the motives of these individuals. Learn how John Douglas's work in behavioral science and criminal profiling ushered in a new era of law enforcement.
Gone Girl book cover
Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn - 2014-04-22 (first published in 2012)
Goodreads Rating
A thrilling exploration of a marriage gone wrong from one of the most acclaimed suspense writers of our time. When the clever and beautiful wife of a small-town golden boy disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary, the pressure mounts as rumors fly and suspicions rise. With razor-sharp writing and intricate plot twists, this dark psychological thriller will have you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
The Innocent Man book cover
The Innocent Man
Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
John Grisham - 2006-10-10
Goodreads Rating
Explore the shocking case of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz, two men wrongfully accused of rape and murder in small town Ada, Oklahoma. John Grisham's first foray into nonfiction is a gripping legal thriller that exposes junk science and the criminal justice system's flaws, leaving readers questioning America's ideals of justice and innocence.
Lost Girls by Robert Kolker
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
American Predator by Maureen Callahan
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum
Zodiac by RM Graysmith
The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guinn
The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer
The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
Unbelievable by T. Christian Miller
The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson
The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm
My Dark Places by James Ellroy
Furious Hours by Casey Cep
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré
The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
American Fire by Monica Hesse
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Homicide by David Simon
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth
In the Woods by Tana French
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry
The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman
The Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean
The Long Good-Bye by Raymond Chandler
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale
The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
She Said by Jodi Kantor
Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule
The Run of His Life by Jeffrey Toobin
Missoula by Jon Krakauer
Party Monster by James St. James
Ghettoside by Jill Leovy
The Dry by Jane Harper
The Square of Sevens by Laura Shepherd-Robinson
The Mastermind by Evan Ratliff
While the City Slept by Eli Sanders
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller
The Grim Sleeper by Christine Pelisek
Yellow Bird by Sierra Crane Murdoch
Midnight in Mexico by Alfredo Corchado
Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson
Who Killed These Girls? by Beverly Lowry
The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Burned by Edward Humes
Killing Floor by Lee Child
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
The Demon of Unrest by Erik Larson
Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke
In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes
If You Tell by Gregg Olsen
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran
Dare Me by Megan Abbott
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris