Monday, May 24, 2010

25 Best True Crime Books

Todd Jensen blogs at He provides career information and advice for people considering becoming a forensic scientist. There are listings of schools and interesting articles about the field of forensic science. I'm a sucker for lists, so I was happy to find Todd's site.

For the mystery reader, his annotated list of 25 Best True Crime Books is a must.  Here's the list, but be sure and read the entire blog for annotations and film clips.

Any books you think are missing? Leave a comment.

1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966)
2. Helter Skelter, Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry (1974)
3. Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, David Simon (1991)
4. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, Erik Larson (2003)
5. Crime and Science: The New Frontier in Criminology, Jurgen Thorwald (1967)
6. Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire, Mark Bowden (2000)
7. Wiseguy, Nicholas Pileggi (1986)
8. Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia, Joseph D. Pistone (1987)
9. Bestial: The Savage Trail of a True American Monster, Harold Schechter (1998)
10. Blind Eye: The Terrifying Story of a Doctor Who Got Away With Murder, James B. Stewart (2000)
11. Finders Keepers: The True Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million, Mark Bowden (2002)
12. A Rip in Heaven: A Memoir of Murder and Its Aftermath, Jeanine Cummins (2004)
13. The Stranger Beside Me, Ann Rule (1980)
14. Lethal Intent, Sue Russell (2002)
15. Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders, Terry Sullivan and Peter T. Maiken (2000)
16. The Lives and Times of Bonnie & Clyde, E.R. Milner (1996)
17. Dead Man Walking, Helen Prejean (1993)
18. Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34, Bryan Burrough (2004)
19. Angel Face: The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox, Barbie Latza Nadeau (2010)
20. The Killing Season: A Summer Inside an LAPD Homicide Division, Miles Corwin (1997)
21. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, Kate Summerscale (2008)
22. And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank, Steve Oney (2003)
23. Confessions of Son of Sam, David Abrahamsen (1985)
24. Cries Unheard: Why Children Kill — The Story of Mary Bell, Gitta Sereny (1999)
25. Blood and Money, Thomas Thompson (2001)

Check out the whole article! Add more titles under comments.


Mason Canyon said...

Great list. There is one and I can't remember the name of it but it's about Jeffrey MacDonald.

Thoughts in Progress

Unknown said...

I've read some of these book. The first two on the list for sure. I think it's smart and yet chilling to read true crime novels. It's sad what people do to each other.


jedidiah ayres said...

Howsabout The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrere.

Janet Rudolph said...

haven't read the Carrere. Will have a look. Thanks for stopping by..

craig said...

Gary Lavergne's Sniper in the Tower is TC at its best.

zooks said...

'Murder in Italy' is a MUCH better book than 'Angel Face' about the Amanda Knox case.

Anonymous said...

Shake The Devil Off by Ethan Brown

One of the best true crime have evr read!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget "The Executioner's Song" by Norman Mailer.

Anonymous said...

With Cold Hearts by David Hurst is the best crime book I've ever read. Based on a killer who targeted authors and their readers… Hurst is a mystery writer with a journalistic background.