The 10 Best True Crime Books

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This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in March of 2018. 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 gripping true crime books range from detailed accounts of notorious investigations to literary meditations on murder and justice, with cases both solved and unsolved. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. I'll Be Gone in the Dark

2. Killers of the Flower Moon

3. Catch and Kill

Editor's Notes

April 29, 2020:

The true crime genre has captured the imagination of the masses for centuries, with sensationalist stories about murder, notorious criminals, assaults, and more being published as early as the 1500s. With Netflix docuseries' and podcasts on the rise, true crime books have only risen in popularity. For our list, we wanted to strike a balance between recent cases and some that have long since passed, and focused on books that were researched well, have a good narrative flow, try to avoid partiality, are meticulously detailed, and of course, entertaining.

Because of its heavy bias and loads of conjecture, we decided to remove Un-Making a Murderer during today's update. We also said goodbye to The Monster of Florence, which is overly concerned with the ineptitudes of the Italian justice system rather than the perpetrator it's supposed to be about, and Banquet of Consequences, a fascinating read that suffers from filler and tedious, unnecessary details. We filled the void by adding a volume that addresses the birth of a recent cultural movement and the crimes that spawned it with Ronan Farrow's Catch and Kill. It draws information from hundreds of interviews and pages of contracts, as well as emails, texts, and dozens of hours of audio. It's written in a suspenseful and gripping style akin to a spy novel, which irks some readers but delights others.

We also added Killers of the Flower Moon, a well-written and captivating account of a horrific string of crimes that occurred during the 1920s. It addresses some of the many injustices Native Americans have faced at the hands of incoming settlers and other residents, so be aware that it tends to get the blood boiling. Finally, as a kind of compendium of the genre, we added Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit. While a bit self-congratulatory in tone at times, it is nevertheless an endlessly engaging account of over 25 years of bone-chilling cases and takes a deep dive into the psyche of both criminals and victims.

Special Honors

Spotify While you've likely heard of Spotify as a music streaming service, some people aren't aware that the platform also provides access to a seemingly endless amount of podcasts, with dozens upon dozens of true crime series to listen to. Anyone can download Spotify for free and start listening right away, while premium members can enjoy an ad-free experience along with other benefits.

4. Without a Doubt

5. The Stranger She Loved

6. Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit

7. In Cold Blood

8. My Sweet Angel

9. Shallow Graves

10. The 57 Bus

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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