Share 11 Fascinating Books That Will Turn You Into a True Crime Junkie

11 Fascinating Books That Will Turn You Into a True Crime Junkie

Kerry Fiallo is a New York native and copywriter at Simon & Schuster. A lifelong voracious reader, she has a particular fondness for ghost stories, history, and anything to do with Mary Shelley, Ada Lovelace, and the Brontë sisters. The only thing she may love more than books is black tea, but they do often go well together. You can find her as she navigates through literature and history on Twitter @ReadingInNYC and on Tumblr.

From “Serial” to “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” the true crime genre has seen a recent renaissance in pop culture. Tales of murder, mayhem, robbery, and corruption have always been compulsively readable for true crime fans. Here are expertly written true crime books where you can discover some of the darkest and oddest moments in history. Even if you’re not a true crime junkie, you’ll enjoy these compelling narratives and fascinating tales.


Careless People
by Sarah Churchwell
In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his glamorous wife, Zelda, arrived in New York and drank, fought, and partied constantly. As he began writing THE GREAT GATSBY, a highly publicized double murder was committed in nearby New Jersey. In CARELESS PEOPLE, Sarah Churchwell weaves a stunning double narrative: a murder mystery and the effects of its media circus on 1920s culture and Fitzgerald’s writing.
Careless People
Sarah Churchwell

11 Fascinating Books That Will Turn You Into a True Crime Junkie

From “Serial” to “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” the true crime genre has seen a recent renaissance in pop culture. Here are expertly written true crime books where you can discover some of the darkest and oddest moments in history. Even if you’re not a true crime junkie, you’ll enjoy these compelling narratives and fascinating tales.

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
by John Berendt
This haunting first-person account of one of the most scandalous crimes in Savannah history follows the shooting death of a local prostitute by a well-respected antiques dealer. Was it murder or self-defense? Everyone in town has their opinions, and you’ll find yourself changing your mind multiple times while reading.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
John Berendt

Shots rang out in Savannah’s grandest mansion in the early morning hours of May 2, 1981. For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this beautiful and isolated remnant of the Old South. John Berendt’s sharply observed and suspenseful account of this landmark murder case is a sublime and seductive reading experience.

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Duel with the Devil
by Paul Collins

With the overwhelming success of the musical “Hamilton,” interest in this Founding Father has reached a fever pitch lately. Yet many aren’t aware that he teamed up with his bitter rival, Aaron Burr—creating the United States’s first legal dream team—to defend a man accused of murdering his young lover.

Duel with the Devil
Paul Collins

With the overwhelming success of the musical “Hamilton,” interest in this Founding Father has reached a fever pitch lately. Yet many aren’t aware that he teamed up with his bitter rival, Aaron Burr—creating the United States’s first legal dream team—to defend a man accused of murdering his young lover.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Fascinating Books That Will Turn You Into a True Crime Junkie

By Kerry Fiallo | July 14, 2016

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The Orchid Thief
by Susan Orlean

Dangerous obsession and greed meet in this wickedly funny modern classic, which follows an eccentric plant dealer as he attempts to poach the endangered ghost orchid from a Florida preserve and clone it for profit. This true crime book is actually a charming, passionate underdog story.

The Orchid Thief
Susan Orlean

Dangerous obsession and greed meet in this wickedly funny modern classic, which follows an eccentric plant dealer as he attempts to poach the endangered ghost orchid from a Florida preserve and clone it for profit. This true crime book is actually a charming, passionate underdog story.

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The Girls of Murder City
by Douglas Perry

Musical theater fans know “Chicago” as one of Broadway’s most popular musicals. In this glitzy and fast-paced narrative, we meet the real women who inspired the murderous Velma and Roxie and learn how one female journalist turned these dangerous “jazz babies” into pop culture icons.

The Girls of Murder City
Douglas Perry

Musical theater fans know “Chicago” as one of Broadway’s most popular musicals. In this glitzy and fast-paced narrative, we meet the real women who inspired the murderous Velma and Roxie and learn how one female journalist turned these dangerous “jazz babies” into pop culture icons.

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The Devil in the White City
by Erik Larson
Erik Larson solidified his reputation as one of the best modern history writers with this impeccably researched and gorgeously wrought story of two men: the architect behind the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the charlatan behind the World’s Fair Hotel, a building which featured a gas chamber and crematorium, perfect for disposing of his victims.
The Devil in the White City
Erik Larson

On Elizabeth’s wish list

As days grew shorter and nights colder I (naturally) began listening to more podcasts and watching documentaries about a cheery subject: serial killers. I’m excited to curl up with THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY because of Erik Larson’s fantastic eye for character, storytelling, and impeccable research in his true-crime investigation into the serial killer who haunted the 1893 World’s Fair. Cocoa and killers go well together, right?

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Blood Work
by Holly Tucker

When a local madman dies after a physician transfused calf’s blood into him in 1600s France, the physician—and science—go on trial for murder. A fascinating look at how far we’ve come and how far we have to go in medicine, BLOOD WORK clearly illustrates the fears of scientific advances, the battle over superstition, and their relationships to crime.

Blood Work
Holly Tucker

When a local madman dies after a physician transfused calf’s blood into him in 1600s France, the physician—and science—go on trial for murder. A fascinating look at how far we’ve come and how far we have to go in medicine, BLOOD WORK clearly illustrates the fears of scientific advances, the battle over superstition, and their relationships to crime.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Fascinating Books That Will Turn You Into a True Crime Junkie

By Kerry Fiallo | July 14, 2016

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Little Demon in the City of Light
by Steven Levingston

At the height of the Gilded Age, a brutal conman and his infatuated mistress murdered a court official. Together, the lethal couple escaped to Paris and soon became the subject of sensationalized French tabloids. The unexpected plot twists and passionate writing in this book will transport you to the gaslights and boulevards of Paris at its golden zenith.

Little Demon in the City of Light
Steven Levingston

At the height of the Gilded Age, a brutal conman and his infatuated mistress murdered a court official. Together, the lethal couple escaped to Paris and soon became the subject of sensationalized French tabloids. The unexpected plot twists and passionate writing in this book will transport you to the gaslights and boulevards of Paris at its golden zenith.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Fascinating Books That Will Turn You Into a True Crime Junkie

By Kerry Fiallo | July 14, 2016

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The Invention of Murder
by Judith Flanders

From Sherlock Holmes to Jack the Ripper, Victorian England has long been romanticized as the foggy scene of countless brutal crimes. This book explores why the Victorians were fascinated with—and even entertained by—murder and how it helped invent the modern detective.

The Invention of Murder
Judith Flanders

From Sherlock Holmes to Jack the Ripper, Victorian England has long been romanticized as the foggy scene of countless brutal crimes. This book explores why the Victorians were fascinated with—and even entertained by—murder and how it helped invent the modern detective.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Fascinating Books That Will Turn You Into a True Crime Junkie

By Kerry Fiallo | July 14, 2016

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Unwise Passions
by Alan Pell Crawford

Few events of the early United States were as shocking as the trial of eighteen-year-old Nancy Randolph. Did she kill her illegitimate infant? And how were several of the Founding Fathers, including Patrick Henry, involved? Nancy’s indomitable spirit shines through this intriguing and intimate narrative.

Unwise Passions
Alan Pell Crawford

Few events of the early United States were as shocking as the trial of eighteen-year-old Nancy Randolph. Did she kill her illegitimate infant? And how were several of the Founding Fathers, including Patrick Henry, involved? Nancy’s indomitable spirit shines through this intriguing and intimate narrative.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Fascinating Books That Will Turn You Into a True Crime Junkie

By Kerry Fiallo | July 14, 2016

Close

Green River, Running Red
by Ann Rule

GREEN RIVER, RUNNING RED is Ann Rule’s most intimate and tragic book about crime. She focuses on the victims and grants them the respect and dignity they were often denied before and after the police investigations. This is a compulsively readable snapshot of a community terrified and also willing to turn a blind eye.

Green River, Running Red
Ann Rule

GREEN RIVER, RUNNING RED is Ann Rule’s most intimate and tragic book about crime. She focuses on the victims and grants them the respect and dignity they were often denied before and after the police investigations. This is a compulsively readable snapshot of a community terrified and also willing to turn a blind eye.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Fascinating Books That Will Turn You Into a True Crime Junkie

By Kerry Fiallo | July 14, 2016

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