Our Top 10 Best True Crime Books to Read this Winter

With shows like Making a Murderer and Dateline, true crime stories are becoming even more popular. However, although engaging, many true crime shows don’t provide enough information and may leave viewers wanting. If you find yourself curious about the stories you’ve watched or just want to explore the true crime genre outside of television, pick up some literature. Here’s our picks for the best true crime books to read this winter.

Best True Crime Books to Cozy Up To

1. In Cold Blood

Truman Capote

The book that has been said to revolutionize the true crime genre, In Cold Blood details the brutal murder of a Kansas family in 1959.

2. The Stranger Beside Me

Ann Rule

Ann Rule’s harrowing debut tells the story of her personal relationship with her coworker, Ted Bundy. She didn’t realize he was the now-infamous serial killer until he was arrested. She gives readers an inside look at the charming yet terrifying murderer—through trial and execution.

3. Zodiac Unmasked

Robert Graysmith

Zodiac Unmasked covers America’s most elusive serial killer—the Zodiac Killer. 37 murders, media manipulation, disappearances, and discovery line the pages of this book.

4. Missoula: Rape and Justice in a College Town

Jon Krakauer

Bringing light to the problem of campus rape, acclaimed investigative journalist Jon Krakauer interviews sexual assault victims and tells their stories. This captivating and insightful read delves into the injustices that took place at the University of Montana.

5. Party Monster: A Fabulous but True Tale of Murder in Clubland

James St. James

Party Monster is a true account of a murder that took place within the club kids community of New York City (a popular scene in the late eighties and early nineties). James St. James recounts the lows of the club scene—particularly the murder of a drug dealer named Angel.

6. Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery

Robert Kolker

In Kolker’s debut non-fiction book, he explores the lives of five women—all of whom were prostitutes murdered by a serial killer. This is a true crime book that doubles as a social critique on how police and society let these women down.

7. The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy

Masha Gessen

Covering the story and background of the Tsarnaev brothers, Masha Green leads us from their childhood to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. She brings up how their childhood and immigration led to their anger that elevated to unforgiveable, murderous levels.

8. Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments

Dominick Dunne

A collection of essays, Dominick Dunne covers subjects ranging from O.J Simpson’s trial to the man who murdered Dunne’s own daughter. Factual and emotional, Justice gets into details about murder, trials, executions, and emotions.

9. The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Written by a criminal defense lawyer turned writer, this book is a haunting etching of crime and murder. Marzano-Lesnevich details how crime is constructed and how we cope with and handle our own personal histories when dealing with crime in general.

10. Columbine

Dave Cullen

Dave Cullen reports on the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. With the overabundance of school shootings taking place nearly every day, this book is more important now than ever. Cullen is careful to dignify all those involved and affected by the shooting.

As much as reading these books can take your mind to past events, there really are crimes and criminal defense lawyers that deal with these situations every single day. Pay attention to your surroundings, stay safe out there, and leave the criminal-catching to the professionals.

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Written by Logan Voss

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