Reading fiction lets us visit realities that an author made up. Part of the thrill of crime novels is the absurdity of it all. But sometimes, real life can be even crazier than fiction. That is why we decided to list the best true crime books of all time. See which books made our list!
When watching the news, some cases are hard to ignore. Some cases are solved while others are unsolved for decades. And even if the news moves on to the next big story, a writer is tracking this story and trying to put it all together. Stuff you would never find out as well as an interview with the murderer in some cases.
True crime books sell themselves because they are surreal and captivate our curiosity. Maybe you saw it on the news or heard about it from a coworker. Either way, you are hooked and have to know the whole story and whether or not it was ever solved.
The Best True Crime Books of All Time
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
- Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
- I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
- The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
- The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
- Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
- Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas
- Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
- Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
- Columbine by Dave Cullen
- American Predator by Maureen Callahan
- The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer
- The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alex Marzano-Lesnevich
- The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale
- The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold
- The Innocent Man by John Grisham
- People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo–and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry
- If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood by Gregg Olsen
- My Dark Places by James Ellroy
- Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green
- The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum
- Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three by Mara Leveritt
- The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn
- The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman
- Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep
- Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry
- Zodiac by Robert Graysmith
- The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy Tyson
- Fatal Vision controversy by Joe McGinniss
- American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse
- Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime by Ron Stallworth
- The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm
- Disco Bloodbath by James St. James
- Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore
- The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin
In Cold Blood and Other Famous Books
Truman Capote is credited as popularizing the true crime genre with his book In Cold Blood in 1965. The book became an instant bestseller and made Capote a star overnight. Many books followed the format that Capote used and led to many true crime books being released since then. However, Capote has been accused of adding fictional events, quotes, and changing facts to the book.
Other great books on the list include famous cases that many people have heard of. The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule is about Ted Bundy, and Columbine is about a famous school shooting to name a few. If you wanted to learn more about some of the most famous serial killers or Netflix’s next documentary, then look no further.
That is all for our best true crime books of all-time list. What books should have been included on this list? How many of these books have you read or plan to read? Let us know in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading!