In the mood for a grotesque book that sends chills down your spine? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Today, we bring to you ten best true crime books you should read that have taken place all over the world and which will give you a glimpse into the dark side of humanity.
List of Best True Crime Books You Should Read:
- Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
- In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
- The Red Ripper by Peter Conradi
- The Real Lolita by Sarah Winman
- True Crime Writings in Colonial India by Shampa Roy
- Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
- Strange Japan by Ace Wall
- Fatal Journey by Eroline O’Keefe
- A Serial Killer in Nazi Berlin by Scott Andrew Selby
Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry
Considered the #1 true crime book, this novel is an insider’s account of the atrocious Tate-LaBlianca murder by the mastermind Charles Manson and his followers. It’s written by the prosecuting attorney in the case and brings to light several unknown details of the abhorrent crime. A must read for all hardcore true crime lovers, this book makes for a horrifying yet wonderful read.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
This is one of the most acclaimed and beloved true crime novels of all time. It deals with the brutal murder of the Clutter family in Kansas in 1959. In this novel, Capote undertakes a deep psychological study of Perry Smith and Dick Hickock as if they were specimens under a microscope. Told with compelling passion and painted in vivid detail, this book is a work of art that merges language with crime. It has truly defined the genre of true crime.
In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
When we think of true crime novels, we think of murder, theft and espionage. Yet sexual and domestic abuse is also a criminal offense by law, and its repercussions are just as serious. This stunning novel is the true story of the author who suffered harrowing abuse in a same-sex relationship. With brilliant prose and poignant storytelling, this memoir of true crime will force you to rethink your views on relationships.
The Red Ripper by Peter Conradi
This is a study of Andrei Chikatilo, or Citizen Chi as he was called in the Soviet. He was a member of the Communist Party and guilty of a chain of murders conducted over 12 years. The book also offers insight into the collapse of the Soviet Union and the totalitarian rule of Stalin. All in all, it’s a great book to gouge out the story of the most well-known and beastly murderer Russia has ever known.
The Real Lolita by Sarah Winman
This true crime novel explores two things. Firstly, the kidnapping of the eleven year old Sally Horner by the middle aged pedophile Frank La Salle. Secondly, it explores the basis of Vladimir Nabokov’s classic Lolita in the 1948 crime. This well researched book bridges the gap between literary speculation and true crime non-fiction to create a unique perspective that will endure on in your mind for ages.
True Crime Writings in Colonial India by Shampa Roy
Again a lesser known book in this genre, ‘True Crime Writings in Colonial India’ offers a crime investigative perspective on the cultural phenomenon of colonialism. It combines the writings of Bakaullah, Priyanath Mukhopadhyay and other detective investigators in 1800s in Bengal and analyzes it in colonial light. This book not only gives you the chills, but also offers insight into the sociocultural situation of one of the most influential periods in Indian history.
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
This wonderfully paced book is a fictional imagination of a true crime that occurred in Canada in 1843. Atwood tells the story from the perspective of Grace Marks, convicted for the murder of her employer Thomas Kinnear and his mistress Nancy Montgomery. Grace has no memory of the incident, and the novel begins with the arrival of a psychiatrist who employs his knowledge to extract Grace’s memories of the incident. Atwood recreates the time and setting so vividly that you will inevitably get engrossed in the story. The book is softer than others on the list, but it will keep you on the edge of your seat nonetheless.
Strange Japan by Ace Wall
A relatively unknown book in the genre of true crime, this book is a series of essays on unsolved crimes in Japan. From cryptic cults to mysterious disappearances, reading it will send an eerie chill throughout your body. This book is super interesting and throws light on the dark (literally and figuratively) side of Japan that rarely gets explored in books.
Fatal Journey by Eroline O’Keefe
This book is perhaps the most moving one on this list, because it is told from the lens of the victim’s mother. The herculean efforts Eroline took to get justice for her son, Trevor are evident. In 1988, Trevor strayed into an area in France known as the ‘Triangle of Death’ and disappeared and was murdered. Pierre Chanal was convicted a year later and brought to court by the brave Eroline. However, he committed suicide a day before the trial. This true account is based on irrefutable memory and makes for an experience very different from other true crime books.
A Serial Killer in Nazi Berlin by Scott Andrew Selby
As the title suggests, this is the non-fictional account of Paun Ogorzow, a serial killer in Nazi Germany. Enriched with meticulous historical detail about life and culture during the period, this book takes true crime to the next level. It tackles the theme of appearance versus reality by showing that respectable looking model citizens may have a monstrous criminal side to them. Overall, it’s a captivating book that you won’t be able to stop thinking about even after you’re done reading it.
Also Read: Best Audiobooks For Entrepreneurs