Can’t stop listening to “Serial“? Neither can we.
So if you’re craving more mystery now that the series has wrapped, we’ve got you covered.
Here are 11 true crime books with stories so gripping, it will be hard to believe they’re true.
“Helter Skelter” by Vincent Bugliosi: A singer-turned-cult-leader, Charles Manson had an inexplicable hold over a devoted “family” of followers, and convinced them to murder seven people for him.
Written by Manson’s prosecutor, this book takes an in-depth look at Manson’s life both before and during his trial.
“The Onion Field” by Joseph Wambaugh: This book tells the story of two young LAPD cops who were kidnapped by Gregory Ulas Powell and Jimmy Lee Smith after pulling them over on a deserted street. Straight off a series of robberies, paranoid Powell and Smith drove the officers to an empty onion field where one was shot, but the other managed to escape.
“Fatal Vision” by Joe McGinniss: When his pregnant wife and two daughters are found dead, Jeffrey MacDonald claims it was the work of a random break-in. However, without any evidence to support his story, MacDonald himself ends up on trial, opening up a chilling case that questions if and how a father could murder his family.
“Iphigenia in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Murder Trial” by Janet Malcolm: This book details the joint trial of Mozoltuv Barukhova and the hitman she hired to kill her estranged husband, Daniel Malakov. The trial becomes even more complicated due to the fact that Malakov had received sole custody of the couple’s four-year-old daughter just weeks before the shooting.
“The Stranger Beside Me” by Ann Rule: When Ann Rule set out to investigate the then-unsolved murders of multiple women, she had no idea what she would find. However, as Rule dug deeper into the mystery, she not only discovered who the murder was, but realised it was someone she considered a friend.
“Lethal Intent” by Sue Russell: This book follows the life of Aileen Wuornos, a rare female serial killer who worked as a prostitute and murdered her male clients. Russell examines Wuornos’s tragic life leading up to the killings, from her dark childhood to a drug and alcohol riddled adulthood.
“Footsteps in the Snow” by Charles Lachman: When seven-year-old Maria Ridulph went out to play in the snow one afternoon, she encountered a friendly stranger — and disappeared moments later. Though Maria’s body was found when the snow melted in the spring, it wasn’t until 55 years later, when a former neighbour made a shocking confession on her deathbed, that the pieces of the murder began to come together.
“A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan” by Laura Thompson: This book explores the cold case of one of the most infamous murders in history, in which Sandra Rivett was killed by Richard John Bingham, the 7th Earl of Lucan, in 1974. Similar to “Serial,” Thompson lays out the known facts of the case, then dives in herself, investigating flaws in the original police narrative.
“In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote: Capote’s classic narrative chronicles the brutal murder of the Clutter family after two men broke into their house, tied them up, and shot each one in the face. Written with the same flourish as a novel, it’s easy to become engrossed.
“Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson: Using the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair as a distraction and cover, scam artist Dr. H.H. Holmes lured several victims back to his “Murder Castle,” designed by architect Daniel H. Burnham. This narrative ties together scandal and history, making it an interesting, yet informative read.
“The Last Victim” by Jason Moss: Originally for his college thesis, Moss set out to understand the mind of serial killers by interviewing some of the most famous, including John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Charles Manson. Moss gained each’s attention by posing as an ideal victim. He eventually developed a relationship with Gacy throughout his research, but when he finally visits the man in prison, Gacy tries to murder him as well.
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