If you are anything like me, you love true crime...whether it's books or podcasts, you want to devour all of the true crime you can. These are some of the best true crime books I've read and they all told amazingly scary stories. Trust me, there is never a bad time to read a good book about murder
TW: Graphic violence, child abuse, murder, torture
Nikki, Sami, and Tori are sisters with a bond that can never be severed. Their bond is not only genetic but trauma-based. They were raised to fear the word "mom" as they could do no right in her eyes and were beaten for simple mistakes. The level of depravity involved in the girls day to day life is unimaginable. It is a tough book to read and even harder to think that a parent would actually do this to her own children. Gregg Olsen is known for his true crime books and for bringing to light horrible crimes that the average reader may be unaware of.
In the dark of night, a man sneaks in a window and blinds his victim with his flashlight. He speaks through his teeth that they must stay quiet or he will hurt them. He then proceeds to rape them and ransack their homes. These attacks went on for years throughout California until one night he became a killer. He wandered the night for almost a year until he disappeared.
Decades later, Michelle McNamara discovers news articles surrounding the East Area Rapist (EARS)and begins to see a pattern emerge. She begins to see that EARS and other rapists in California have the same pattern. Working with a retired member of law enforcement, McNamara comes closer than any investigator ever has. After Michelle's untimely death, the investigators kept working and eventually discovered DNA and were able to test it and identify the Golden State Killer through forensic genealogy. He has now been sentenced to life in prison.
A really well-written story about a search for a serial killer. Michelle McNamara truly was obsessed with trying to pin this killer down. The story, which was written with the help of aids after Michelle's sudden death is detail oriented and explains each attack in a professional, concise manner, and explains the methodology used by the various police agencies who were investigating the separate attacks. If you are a true crime aficionado, this is a must read.
Ann Rule is a volunteer at a suicide hotline and becomes friends with her colleague Ted. At the same time, there are women going missing and being murdered. As details of the crimes are released, Rule slowly comes to the conclusion that the man responsible is Ted Bundy – her friend and coworker. After his subsequent arrest and conviction, Ann corresponded with Ted to try and understand his motive and how she could have missed this important fact about him.
Ann Rule had written many true crime novels but none was no more personal than this. It is revealed at one point, before his arrest, during a conversation in her kitchen, Ann is having a conversation with Ted about the fact that she worries her daughter may be a future victim of the serial killer when Ted tells her that he is sure she won't be. It leads Ann to realize that as the killer, he would not have gone after her daughter. There is nothing more personal. Rule and Bundy continued their correspondence until shortly before his execution in 1989.
Shannan Gilbert was a young sex worker who went missing after a job one night. While looking for Shannan, a serial killer's burial ground is unearthed. Over twenty years, it is believed that he had between 16-20 victims. The killer is dubbed The Long Island Serial Killer (LISK) and his burial grounds were in Gilgo Beach on Long Island. This is the story of the search for those victims and the ways in which Gilbert's mother was played with by a possible suspect in the case – a doctor with a very strange history and very off behaviors after the fact. While many victims have been discovered, the police are no closer to solving the crime and finding the serial killer.
Sharon Tate and her friends were brutally murdered by people unknown. Whoever killed them wrote the word "PIG" on the wall in the victims' blood. The LaBianca were found slaughtered in their home with similar psychopathic tendencies. The police are originally unsure of who would commit such brutal murders and what their motivation would be.
It is discovered that members of the Manson family are responsible for the murders in hopes of starting a race war. The story untangles the sordid history behind Charles Manson and the ways in which he brainwashed his family members and how he had them commit the murders so his hands would technically remain clean.
The author is the prosecuting attorney who proved the case of Manson's control over his followers and manages to convince the jury to convict him of murder and he is sentenced to death. The psychology behind the brainwashing is one of the most interesting aspects of this book and it is a must read for true crime lovers.
This is the original true crime novel - the start of a genre. In 1959 in Holcombe, Kansas multiple people in the Cutter family are murdered. There are no apparent leads or motives for these murders. Truman Capote details how he believes the murders occur as well as the trials of the suspects, Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, and their convictions. The story is told by the victims and the murderers to allow for a fuller reading experience. The details of the murders are gruesome and should not be read by delicate readers. This is a book that should be on everyone's TBR.
All over the country, people are going missing or are being found dead. Police can't figure out who is killing these people and how they are not leaving enough clues to identify them. Many of these cases go cold and are left unsolved for years at a time.
Israel Keyes is a handyman living in Alaska. He is trusted by those who hire him and is known as a good workman. Under this façade, lies the heart of a monster. He is a cunning loathsome creature who takes joy in killing other people. Keyes is a methodical organized killer who goes to extreme lengths to ensure that he is never caught.
Keyes' one mistake was searching for his victim in his own backyard. When a barista goes missing from a local coffee shack, the police begin investigating when camera footage shows that she was abducted. Keyes does what he has to do to avoid capture. While visiting the lower 48 states with an APB out on his car, Keyes is pulled over for a traffic violation that leads to many answers.
Israel makes a deal with the authorities to lead them to the bodies with the rule that nothing he says becomes public records until his death to keep his daughter unaware of who he is really is. Keyes describes trips to the states where he flies from Alaska to California then rents a car and drives to the Midwest somewhere and buries his kill kit – which he uses years later to commit his crimes.