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Best Serial Killer Books

Explore the chilling depths of the human psyche with the best books on serial killers. These titles have gripped readers and critics alike, consistently appearing in crime literature discussions.

Recommendations from 49 articles, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, John Legend and 51 others.
100 books on the list
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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.
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.
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.
Zodiac book cover
RM Graysmith - 1987-01-01 (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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver
My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen by Tess Gerritsen
Perfume by Patrick Sskind
The Poet by Michael Connelly
Psycho by Robert Bloch
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
Killer Clown by Terry Sullivan
Deviant by Harold Schechter
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
Last Breath by Robert Bryndza
Serial Killers by Peter Vronsky
Gosnell by Ann McElhinney
The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers by Michael Newton
St. Albans Poisoner by Anthony Holden
Nobody's Women by Steve Miller
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Columbine by Dave Cullen
Monkeewrench by P. J. Tracy
American Predator by Maureen Callahan
The Last Victim by Jason Moss
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
The WASP FACTORY by Iain Banks
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber
Serial Killer Trivia by Michelle Kaminsky
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba
Criminal by Karin Slaughter
The Phantom Prince by Elizabeth Kendall
Devil's Knot by Mara Leveritt
The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
The Serial Killer Files by Harold Schechter
Serpentine by Thomas Thompson
Fred and Rose by Howard Sounes
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
If You Tell by Gregg Olsen
The Killing League by Dan Ames
From Cradle to Grave by Joyce Egginton
The Hillside Stranglers by Darcy O'Brien
When She Was Bad by Jonathan Nasaw
Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
Home Sweet Murder by James Patterson
The Family by Ed Sanders
Blind Eye by James B. Stewart
Blackburn by Bradley Denton
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
The Michigan Murders by Edward Keyes
Female Serial Killers by Peter Vronsky
My Dark Places by James Ellroy
Final Girls by Riley Sager
Butcher, Baker by Walter Gilmour
I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells
Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton
Chasing the Devil by David Reichert
Judas by Astrid Holleeder
Killer on the Road by James Ellroy
There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth
The Big Book of Serial Killers by Jack Rosewood
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
Papillon by Henri Charriere
The Deadly Dozen by Robert Keller
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guinn
Unmasked by Paul Holes
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
Rules of Prey by John Sandford
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
The Perfect Husband Hardcover – 1998 by Lisa Gardner
You by Caroline Kepnes
Angel of Darkness by Dennis McDougal
Afraid by J. A. Konrath
Midnight in Mexico by Alfredo Corchado
A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White
Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite
The Demon of Unrest by Erik Larson
A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham
The Butcher and the Wren by Alaina Urquhart