11 True Crime Books That Will Give You Goosebumps

If you got caught up in the hype of podcasts like Serial or documentaries like Making a Murderer and are looking for more fascinating true crime stories, you've come to the right place. The eleven books listed here dive deep into the minds of criminals and examine everything from kidnapping to murder. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

11 True Crime Books That Will Give You Goosebumps

Title Author(s)
1. Daddy's Little Secret Denise Wallace
2. The Forgotten Killer John Edward Douglas & Douglas Preston
3. Why We Love Serial Killers Scott A. Bonn
4. The Map Thief Michael Blanding
5. The Lost Girls John Glatt
6. Pilgrim's Wilderness Tom Kizzia
7. While the City Slept Eli Sanders
8. Finding Sharon Matt Birkbeck
9. Kitty Genovese Catherine Pelonero
10. Empire of Deception Dean Jobb
11. Rampage Harold Schechter

10 Great Crime Films

  1. The Godfather (1972)
  2. Scarface (1983)
  3. Goodfellas (1990)
  4. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  5. Pulp Fiction (1994)
  6. The Usual Suspects (1995)
  7. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
  8. Kill Bill (2003)
  9. Sin City (2005)
  10. Baby Driver (2017)

The Sociology of Crime

In Depth

If you love the delicious thrill of a juicy murder mystery, chances are you're every bit as obsessed with tales of true crime. Stories about desperate characters, heartbreaking victims, and terrible tragedies give readers a unique insight into the human condition. Here, in no particular order, are a few of the most scintillating true crime reads to curl up with on a cold, dark night.

First up, we have "Daddy's Little Secret" by Denise Wallace. Wesley Wallace was a beloved husband, father, and member of his community in Palm Beach, Florida. His gruesome murder was as baffling as it was unexpected, most of all to Wallace's young daughter Denise. As she tries to make sense of what happened, her father's tortured, destructive nature shines through. Wallace's stunning work begs the question: how much do we really know about the people who raised us?

In the #2 slot is "The Forgotten Killer" by Douglas Preston and John Douglas. In the wake of the Amanda Knox trial that rocked the world back in 2007, the story of Meredith Kercher, the college student who was brutally slain, was largely ignored. So was the story of Rudy Guede, the man actually responsible for Kercher's death. In this gripping work, readers get a real account of what occured that night and all that's happened since.

In this gripping work, readers get a real account of what occured that night and all that's happened since.

At #3 is Scott Bonn's "Why We Love Serial Killers." From John Wayne Gacy to Ted Bundy, there's something about serial killers that is darkly fascinating. Part scientific exploration, part psychological study, "Killers" leads criminology expert Bonn to take a deep dive into the minds of murderers and the audiences who love learning about them.

For #4 we find Michael Blanding's "The Map Thief." E. Forbes Smiley had a lucrative, years-long career dealing in antique maps. That is, until his buyers got wise to the fact that he was stealing his wares from libraries and selling them at a high profit. Now, Smiley's still hiding hundreds of stolen artifacts, and it's up to seasoned reporter Blanding to unearth the art thief's secrets while tapping into his bizarre criminal mind.

Coming in at #5 is "The Lost Girls" by John Glatt. In May of 2013, three women were found trapped in the basement of Cleveland criminal Ariel Castro. After a decade of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of their tormentor, Michelle, Amanda, and Gina were free, but their captor's story was far from over. In this deeply researched book, the author dives into Castro's sick world to reveal a fascinating portrait of a real-life monster.

In this deeply researched book, the author dives into Castro's sick world to reveal a fascinating portrait of a real-life monster.

For #6 we have Tom Kizzia's "Pilgrim's Wilderness." Papa Pilgrim wanted to create a piece of Heaven on earth. He took his wife and fifteen children and headed into the farthest reaches of Alaskan frontier to start his new homestead. But when this eccentric father took things too far, the whole family found itself captive to the whims of this punishing, often sadistic man who was led to extremes by wild delusions of grandeur.

At #7 is "While the City Slept" by Eli Sanders. In Seattle in 2009, two women were rejoicing in their new relationship on a warm summer's evening. Little did they know that their love story was about to be cut tragically short by Isaiah Kalebu, a violent 23-year-old with a history of mental illness and an ax to grind. Sanders paints a thorough portrait of Kalebu and his victims in this nuanced account.

At #8 is Matt Birkbeck's "Finding Sharon." Sharon Marshall was a promising young woman on the fast track to success. She was also suffering at the hands of the pedophilic captor who kidnapped her, raised her to be his wife, and sold her children one after the other to the highest bidder. An in-depth follow up to "A Beautiful Child," this painful, gripping volume is a horrifying story of lost innocence and misplaced trust.

She was also suffering at the hands of the pedophilic captor who kidnapped her, raised her to be his wife, and sold her children one after the other to the highest bidder.

For #9, we get "Kitty Genovese" by Catherine Pelonero. When Kitty Genovese was murdered publicly in 1964, none of her neighbors stepped up to help. Since that time, countless sociologists have tried to get to the bottom of what happened that night. Pelonero's vivid recounting exposes us to the whole story in a solid exploration of apathy, hatred, and the dangerous societal norms that leave us helpless in the face of violence.

In the #10 slot is Dean Jobb's "Empire of Deception." In Chicago during the 1920s, crime was at an all-time high, with illegal liquor flowing and mob bosses like Al Capone glamorizing a life of crime. It was also the perfect time for an unknown lawyer named Leo Koretz to make a killing by convincing people to invest in Panamanian oil wells. The only problem? Koretz was selling oil that didn't exist. Fans of "Devil in the White City" are sure to gobble up Jobb's well-written tale.

Finally, at #11, is Harold Schechter's "Rampage." In 1949, Howard Unruh was taking his routine morning walk through the neighborhood. It was a day like any other, except for the fact that today, Unruh was carrying a pistol with intent to kill. He went on to slay thirteen of his neighbors before heading back to bed. What made him do it, and how did his actions usher in a new American era of shooting sprees? In this unsettling work, Schechter gives readers a glimpse into the mind of a true sociopath.