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Best Serial Killer Books

Recommendations from 28 articles, Stephen King, Ben Shapiro, Sam Harris and 14 others.
69 books on the list
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Mindhunter book cover
Mindhunter
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 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.
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 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.
Zodiac book cover
Zodiac
RM Graysmith - 1987-04-01 (first published in 1986)
Goodreads Rating
The Zodiac was a notorious serial killer, taunting authorities with mocking notes and claiming more victims than were officially recognized. This book recounts the intensive hunt for the Zodiac and uncovers his possible true identity.
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.
The Monster of Florence book cover
The Monster of Florence
Douglas Preston - 2008-06-10
Goodreads Rating
Explore the dark world of crime and punishment in the hills surrounding Florence, Italy, with a chilling true story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Discover the hunt for the infamous serial killer known as the Monster of Florence, as investigative journalist Mario Spezi and author Douglas Preston try to uncover the truth behind the murders. Be prepared for a harrowing tale of murder, mutilation, and suicide as Preston and Spezi become targets of a shocking police investigation. This nonfiction book is perfect for fans of true crime and thrilling suspense.
The Silence of the Lambs book cover
The Silence of the Lambs
Thomas Harris - 2002-01-01 (first published in 1988)
Goodreads Rating
This thriller delves into the depths of a psychopath's mind as an FBI trainee races against time to catch a serial killer. Brace yourself for the ultimate villain of modern fiction: Hannibal Lecter. This bestselling book has sold over five million copies and will leave you silenced with fear.
Recommended by
Greg Iles
The Night Stalker book cover
The Night Stalker
The Life and Crimes of Richard Ramirez
Philip Carlo - 2006-05-01 (first published in 1996)
Goodreads Rating
This true crime masterpiece meticulously details the life and crimes of Richard Ramirez, America's most feared serial murderer. Based on exclusive interviews with Ramirez himself, the book takes readers on a haunting journey into the heart of human evil, from his earliest brushes with the law to his deadliest stalking expeditions and the unprecedented manhunt that brought him to justice. This eerie and spellbinding account is a must-read for fans of true crime.
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 Alienist by Caleb Carr
Perfume by Patrick Sskind
Deviant by Harold Schechter
The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver
Psycho by Robert Bloch
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen by Tess Gerritsen
Serial Killers by Peter Vronsky
The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers by Michael Newton
The Last Victim by Jason Moss
Nobody's Women by Steve Miller
Serial Killer Trivia by Michelle Kaminsky
Last Breath by Robert Bryndza
Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Criminal by Karin Slaughter
The Poet by Michael Connelly
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
Monkeewrench by P. J. Tracy
Rules of Prey by John Sandford
American Predator by Maureen Callahan
The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag
Gosnell by Ann McElhinney
The Serial Killer Files by Harold Schechter
Messiah by Boris Starling
Serpentine by Thomas Thompson
Fred and Rose by Howard Sounes
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
The Killing League by Dan Ames
The Perfect Husband Hardcover – 1998 by
From Cradle to Grave by Joyce Egginton
The Hillside Stranglers by Darcy O'Brien
TONY HILL AND CAROL JORDAN by Val McDermid
Killer Clown by Terry Sullivan
Angel of Darkness by Dennis McDougal
The Shadow of Death by Philip E. Ginsburg
When She Was Bad by Jonathan Nasaw
Afraid by J. A. Konrath
Home Sweet Murder by James Patterson
The Family by Ed Sanders
St. Albans Poisoner by Anthony Holden
Blind Eye by James B. Stewart
Blackburn by Bradley Denton
The Michigan Murders by Edward Keyes
Dracula Killer by Lt. Ray Biondi
Female Serial Killers by Peter Vronsky
My Dark Places by James Ellroy
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber
Midnight in Mexico by Alfredo Corchado
The Deadly Dozen by Robert Keller
Butcher, Baker by Walter Gilmour
Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton
Chasing the Devil by David Reichert
Judas by Astrid Holleeder
Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson
Ritual by William Heffernan
The Bayou Strangler by Fred Rosen