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Best Crime Books

Recommendations from 41 articles, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, John Legend and 77 others.
81 books on the list
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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 - 2017-04-18
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.
In Cold Blood book cover
In Cold Blood
Truman Capote - 1994-01-01 (first published in 1965)
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.
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.
American Predator book cover
American Predator
The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century
Maureen Callahan - 2019-07-02
Goodreads Rating
This gripping true crime book delves into the story of one of the most terrifying and ambitious serial killers in modern history: Israel Keyes. Unlike other notorious killers, Keyes kept his crimes under the radar of law enforcement for over a decade, burying "kill kits" across the country and abducting and disposing of his victims in mere hours. Author Maureen Callahan's intense research and firsthand accounts from key figures in law enforcement and Keyes's life shed light on how the FBI ultimately caught him and the limitations of traditional law enforcement. A chilling and fascinating read for true crime enthusiasts.
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.
The Poisoner's Handbook book cover
The Poisoner's Handbook
Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
Deborah Blum - 2010-02-18
Goodreads Rating
Delve into the hazardous world of poison and crime in Jazz Age New York City with The Poisoner's Handbook. Follow the groundbreaking work of forensic scientists Charles Norris and Alexander Gettler as they investigate and solve countless cases involving lethal substances. But it's not just murderers that pose a threat, as toxins can be found everywhere in modern life. This captivating true crime tale is equal parts history, science, and suspense.
Recommended by
Raychelle Burks
The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Lost Girls by Robert Kolker
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson
The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber
The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guinn
Unbelievable by T. Christian Miller
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
Zodiac by RM Graysmith
My Dark Places by James Ellroy
American Fire by Monica Hesse
The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman
The Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg
Homicide by David Simon
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi
Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule
Missoula by Jon Krakauer
Ghettoside by Jill Leovy
The Mastermind by Evan Ratliff
Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller
The Grim Sleeper by Christine Pelisek
Yellow Bird by Sierra Crane Murdoch
Furious Hours by Casey Cep
Midnight in Mexico by Alfredo Corchado
People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry
Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson
The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean
The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
She Said by Jodi Kantor
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Black Edge by Sheelah Kolhatkar
The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson
The Long Good-Bye by Raymond Chandler
The Run of His Life by Jeffrey Toobin
The Phantom Prince by Elizabeth Kendall
The Last Child by John Hart
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
Race Against Time by Jerry Mitchell
Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore
Broken Faith by Mitch Weiss
The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson
If You Tell by Gregg Olsen
Down City by Leah Carroll
While the City Slept by Eli Sanders
Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink
Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
The Adventurer's Son by Roman Dial
The Daughter of Time, Book Cover May Vary by Josephine Tey
Indemnity Only by Sara Paretsky
The Michigan Murders by Edward Keyes
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
The Broken Shore by Peter Temple
The Falcon Thief by Joshua Hammer
Black Dahlia, Red Rose by Piu Eatwell
Judas by Astrid Holleeder
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran
American Sherlock by Kate Winkler Dawson
The Lying Room by Nicci French
The Brothers by Masha Gessen
Unspeakable Acts by Sarah Weinman
America's First Female Serial Killer by Mary Kay McBrayer