The 10 Best True Crime Books

Updated March 23, 2018 by Gregg Parker

Banquet of Consequences
The 57 Bus
My Sweet Angel
We spent 28 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Nothing can make your hair stand on end quite like a chilling tale of suspense and danger, especially if it's relating events that actually happened. For those who enjoy blending history and mystery, these true crime books range from detailed accounts of investigations to literary meditations on murder and justice, with cases both solved and unsolved. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best true crime book on Amazon.

10. Un-Making a Murderer

Fans of the popular Netflix series will be interested in Un-Making a Murderer, which examines the case of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey. Shaun Attwood makes it clear he thinks the two were framed, so don't expect an impartial narrative from this one.
  • timely subject matter
  • has details missing from show
  • contains a lot of conjecture
Publisher Un-Making a Murderer
Model n/a
Weight 13.4 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

9. The 57 Bus

For a twist on traditional narrative style, The 57 Bus relates a crime not just through factual recounting, but also lyrical explorations of the themes involved. Dashka Slater manages to tell the stories of both parties without shying away from the social issues present.
  • wide variety of research sources
  • confronts gender and cultural strife
  • storytelling jumps around a lot
Publisher Slater Dashka
Model n/a
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. The Monster of Florence

Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi's The Monster of Florence takes a wild turn as the authors' investigation of a string of serial murders in Italy brings them into conflict with local authorities, and they find themselves being accused of involvement in the crimes.
  • explores tuscan culture
  • afterword about amanda knox case
  • readers may guess killer quickly
Publisher Douglas Preston
Model n/a
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

7. Shallow Graves

In Shallow Graves, Maureen Boyle traces the history of the New Bedford Highway Serial Killer, a case involving 11 women who disappeared in 1988. Though there were several suspects, the truth was never discovered, but the families of the victims still hope for justice.
  • writer covered story for decades
  • superb knowledge of local area
  • lacks a satisfying conclusion
Publisher ForeEdge
Model n/a
Weight 14.6 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. Banquet of Consequences

Paul Sanders' Banquet of Consequences explores a vicious crime known as the Carnation murders. A seemingly senseless violent act is examined in the hope of understanding exactly what occurred and why a woman would kill members of her own family.
  • follows full scope of the trial
  • features interview with a suspect
  • leaves some questions unanswered
Publisher Banquet of Consequences
Model n/a
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. In Cold Blood

No list of true crime titles would be complete without Truman Capote's classic, In Cold Blood. The literary prose breathes life into the townspeople who lived through this tragedy, though some later said the author invented much of the dialogue.
  • follows the victims and killers
  • luxurious descriptions of kansas
  • writer too close to be impartial
Publisher Truman Capote
Model n/a
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

4. My Sweet Angel

John Glatt's My Sweet Angel tells the story of Lacey Spears, a blogger who appeared to be the concerned mother of a sick five-year-old son. But it turned out she had been deliberately making her child ill, and poisoned him to elicit sympathy.
  • features interviews with the family
  • provides medical details
  • some sections are repetitive
Publisher My Sweet Angel
Model n/a
Weight 9.1 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Without a Doubt

Recounting one of the most famous trials in American history, Without a Doubt gives us Marcia Clark's perspective on the O.J. Simpson case. She and her co-writer Teresa Carpenter explain not just the facts, but how the experience affected her personally.
  • covers the entire legal process
  • includes details of her private life
  • puts case in historical context
Publisher Graymalkin Media
Model n/a
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. The Stranger She Loved

The Stranger She Loved takes readers into the seemingly perfect life of Martin and Michele MacNeill, a Mormon couple with eight children. When their mother is killed, the kids investigate and find out their father isn't the man they thought he was.
  • contains vivid descriptions
  • written by award-winning journalist
  • delves into psychology of a killer
Publisher Hogan Shanna
Model n/a
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. I'll Be Gone in the Dark

In I'll Be Gone in the Dark, Michelle McNamara chronicles her search to uncover the identity of a serial murderer in California dubbed the "Golden State Killer," a quest she was ultimately never able to finish as she passed away before the book was completed.
  • inventive narrative style
  • thorough and well-researched
  • introduction by gillian flynn
Publisher I'll Be Gone in the Dar
Model n/a
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

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Last updated on March 23, 2018 by Gregg Parker

Gregg Parker is an author, screenwriter, and comedian who divides his time between Los Angeles, California, and Osaka, Japan. When he’s not watching sports, he spends most of his free time on his artistic pursuits or collecting miles for his next international journey.


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