With an ongoing explosion of TV programs that dig into crime stories taken from the files of the police and other authorities, the best true crime books are going to be a topic that will be with us for a very long time.
This is a genre that has always been popular simply because the content is not fiction. Fortunately, if you are a fan, there are also a vast selection of books on the topic. Here is a quick look at our picks for the top ten best true crime books that will make your skin crawl.
What best true crime book list would be complete without this classic?
The story follows the farm family The Clutters who lived in Kansas. Four members of that family were shot to death in their home in 1959. The story of the murders and the investigation that followed – including interviews with those who knew the family – is one that you won’t be able to put down once you get into it.
If you are a real true crime fan, this book must be in your collection.
The author was working at a suicide hotline in the 1970s with Ted Bundy. It was from the friendship she made with him that she was able to gain insight into the inner psyche and life of the serial killer at the time of his conviction, trial and eventual execution.
She combines an interesting mix of her observations of the killer with in-depth reporting on the crimes he committed which creates a very deep, dark and interesting look at one serial killer.
3. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
Subtitled “One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer,” this book tells a fascinating story.
It was in April of 2018 when the 40 year run of rape and murder conducted by a serial killer nicknamed the Golden State Killer came to an end when police apprehended the suspect.
A break in the case resulted when DNA recovered from one crime scene matched the killer’s great-great-great-grandparents. This book details the entire story about this crime.
Subtitled “A Fabulous But True Tale of Murder in Clubland (Formerly Disco Bloodbath),” this volume is about how the author become a close confidant of Michael Alig.
Alig, was convicted of killing a drug dealer known as simply “Angel” in 1996. The New York City club scene provides the backdrop where the author takes you deep into a world at that time that was filled with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll and a little bit of murder and mayhem.
It is a wild ride worth reading about.
The author’s mother was murdered when he was just ten years old. The event had such an impact on his life that he eventually turned to drugs and alcohol to escape.
While he didn’t know her very well, having lost her at such a young age, the author struggled for the rest of his life trying to find out more about her.
This book covers the details of the unsolved mystery and is filled with personal confessions. It will show you a different side to how a murder affects a family.
Subtitled “A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent Into Darkness,” this book traces part of the life of the author as a reporter.
From his humble beginnings to becoming an international correspondent in Mexico for the Dallas Morning News, the stories he covered spanned the spectrum. One night, the author was tipped off that he was a target of a violent paramilitary group and had just 24 hours to live.
This is a gripping tale of true crime.
University of Montana college town Missoula is the backdrop for this book that chronicles the school. Which is well-known for being as tough on academics as it is on the football field – and hidden rules behind the community.
The author uncovers a system that has made it difficult for rape victims to be heard.
The book covers interviews with many young women about their assault, their fears as the justice system grinds slowly and the cost of speaking out.
The author explores the lives of five different women in this book. Each were prostitutes who were murdered by a serial killer.
But the book goes much deeper than that. It examines how the women used the internet to get away from their seemingly dead-end jobs and start them on an adventure that ended quickly.
The author takes care to also outline how authorities failed to take the case seriously or even attempt to solve the murders. Their killer is still out there.
This is a memoir of a time in the life of the author when he was a young lawyer.
While working at Equal Justice Initiative, he took on the case of a young black man who had been sentenced to death for the murder of a white woman. The suspect, Walter McMillian, insisted he did not kill the woman he was having an affair with.
The path the case took is what shapes this book and forever impacted the author’s view of both mercy and justice. It may change yours as well.
The author recalls his time as Colorado Springs Police Department’s first black detective in this memoir. The focus is particularly when he discovered a classified ad in a local newspaper recruiting for the Ku Klux Klan.
He responded with his real name but posed as a white man.
The undercover investigation that follows fills this volume and has since become the source of a motion picture directed by Spike Lee. Another real solid page turner.
Best True Crimes Books Wrap Up
If you love true crime novels, there are no shortage of books available on the subject. The list above is our top ten best true crime books available today. Hopefully, it gets you inspired to seek these and other great true crime titles.