55 True Crime Books

Are you looking for the best true crime books? Our list has some amazing reads about serial killers, infamous murderers, and other noteworthy crimes and criminals.

They include stories about Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, and Jeffrey Dahmer. Other highlights of our list include fantastic works by Truman Capote, Ann Rule, and Erik Larson.

55 True Crime Books

1. In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

Written By: Truman Capote

Published: 1965

Pages:  343

In Cold Blood is Truman Capote's true-crime novel about the murders of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. Capote was given unique access to the detectives on the case and the prisoners on death row, and he provides a detailed account of the investigation and subsequent trial.

The book has been praised for its precise prose and harrowing narrative. It was also one of the first books labeled "nonfiction novel."

2. Devil in the White City

Devil in the White City

Written By: Erik Larson

Published: February 11th, 2003

Pages:  447

Erik Larson's Devil in the White City is a riveting account of two extraordinary men who meet by chance at the Chicago World's Fair. One, Daniel H. Burnham, will become known as the architect of the fair; the other, Dr. Henry H. Holmes, will be one of America's first serial killers and architects of its first modern-day "murder castle."

The book chronicles both their ambitions for this great American city during what was called "the one true moment when everything seemed possible."

It’s one of the best true crime books of all time!

>> More books by Erik Larson

3. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

Helter Skelter

Written By: Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry

Published: 1974

Pages:  689  

In the summer of 1969, a string of horrific murders shook the world. The Manson Family, led by Charles Manson, killed actress Sharon Tate and six other people in Los Angeles. In Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders, Vincent Bugliosi tells us how he became involved with this case and his experience investigating it.

This book gives readers an inside look at one of the most notorious crimes in American history.  It discusses everything from motive to methods to arrest and provides insight into those convicted for these brutal crimes that shocked our nation decades ago.

>> More books about serial killers

4. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon

Written By: David Grann

Published: April 18th, 2017

Pages: 338

The true story of the Osage Murders is a frightening account of greed, power, and murder. The Osages were indigenous people who had settled in Oklahoma in the late 1800s. They were forced off their original land by white settlers. When oil was discovered on their reservation in 1894, they became wealthy overnight.

But soon after that, the tribe members began to be systematically murdered for that wealth.

After dozens of Osage Indians were killed, they asked the FBI for help in solving the murders.

This book walks you through their history and the first murder case investigated by the FBI.

5. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Written By: John Berendt

Published: January 13th, 1994

Pages: 388

John Berendt's masterpiece is a story of murder, mystery, and intrigue set in the steamy southern city of Savannah. His book tells the tale of Jim Williams, a flamboyant antique dealer who was suspected but never convicted for the shooting death of Danny Hansford.

The author weaves together stories from his own experiences and those he gathered from others to create an intricate portrait of life in this charming Southern town.

6. American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century

American Predator

Written By: Maureen Callahan

Published: July 2nd, 2019

Pages: 285

In this gripping true-crime narrative, Maureen Callahan provides a chilling portrait of the most prolific serial killer in America: Israel Keyes. Take a deep dive into the mind of Keyes as you learn how he killed and evaded police for years based on official reports and interviews with those closest to the case.

Israel hid tools all over the country to quickly travel in and out of a location where he would murder his victims. He would fly in, rent a car, pick up his "kill kit," and then drive thousands of miles to kill strangers.

He would then return to Alaska, turning back into a doting father and faithful construction worker.

It’s a chilling tale like no other.

7. I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

Written By: Michelle McNamara

Published: February 27th, 2018

Pages: 329

Michelle McNamara's book I'll Be Gone in the Dark is a gripping, comprehensive account of her search for the Golden State Killer. The Golden State Killer (GSK) is believed to have committed 13 homicides, at least 50 rapes, and more than 100 burglaries across ten California counties during 1974-1986.

The book was released posthumously and is based on decades worth of research and interviews with law enforcement agents, family members, and survivors.

8. Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

Say Nothing

Written By: Patrick Radden Keefe

Published: February 26th, 2019

Pages:  519

Northern Ireland is a place with a long and complicated history. In Say Nothing, Patrick Radden Keefe tells the story of murder and memory in Northern Ireland, painting a detailed picture of past and present life. This important book sheds light on the region's dark history while also exploring the complexities of human nature.

If you're interested in learning more about Northern Ireland or just enjoy good nonfiction writing, then Say Nothing is worth a read.

>> More books by Patrick Radden Keefe

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

The Fact of a Body

Written By: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Published: May 16th, 2017

Pages: 326

This is a story about how one woman, Alexandra Marzano-Lesnevich, found her way out of the darkness. The book starts with her as an 18-year-old law student who takes on the case of convicted murderer Ricky Langley to try and prove his innocence.

This experience led her to discover that she was sexually abused by family members when she was younger. She goes back into therapy for years before finally coming to terms with it all and moving forward in life.

This memoir is not just for those interested in true crime or abuse stories but also for anyone who wants to read about someone's journey through difficult situations and come out better than they were before.

10. Catch the Sparrow: A Search for a Sister and the Truth of Her Murder

Catch the Sparrow: A Search for a Sister and the Truth of Her Murder

Written By: Rachel Rear

Published: 2022

Pages:  256

Rachel Rear always wondered what happened to the step-sister she never met in person. After Stephanie's remains were found, the police seemed to do a cursory investigation, and Rear decided that she would take on the case. She knew something was amiss.

After spending hours and hours digging through police reports, pulling up old newspaper accounts, interviewing people, and finding any other information possible, she discovered the truth.

Instead of this being a simple murder, it went far beyond that. Her research led to a trail of deception, corruption, and an utter abuse of the system leading all the way to the top.

Rear spent more than a decade researching and writing this book. It is her debut novel and one you will never forget.

11. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town


Written By: Jon Krakauer

Published: April 21st, 2015

Pages: 368

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer is an essential read for all people, not just college students. This nonfiction book sheds light on how rape culture is perpetuated through our justice system. Missoula tells the story of several women who were raped in this townhome to Montana's flagship university, the University of Montana (UM).

The book explores how UM handles reports of sexual assault among its student body and why these cases are often mishandled or swept under the rug by law enforcement agencies. In Missoula, we get a glimpse into what it means to be a woman in America today, where you can still be shamed about your sexuality and sexually assaulted at the same.

12. American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land

American Fire

Written By: Monica Hesse

Published: July 11th, 2017

Pages: 255

This book takes you deep into rural Virginia, where Charlie Smith and his girlfriend are on trial for starting dozens of fires. It takes you through their story and the history of arson throughout the United States.

You’ll learn about the places they set on fire, how it destroyed an already poor area, and what happens to each of them during the trial.

13. Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid: America’s Original Gangster Couple

Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid

Written By: Glenn Stout

Published: March 30th, 2021

Pages: 384

When you cross "The Great Gatsby" with "Bonnie and Clyde," what do you get? You might get something resembling Glenn Stout's latest work, Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid: America's Original Gangster Couple. This book tells the story of two of America's least-known criminals but the first actual gangsters, Margaret and Richard Whittemore.

It's a fascinating look at a couple that truly embodied the American Dream - even as they lived their lives on the edge.

If you're a fan of true crime books or simply want to learn more about one of the most infamous couples in American history, then this book is for you.

14. Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult That Bound My Life


Written By: Sarah Edmondson

Published: September 17th, 2019

Pages:  248

Scarred is the true story of Sarah Edmondson's escape from NXIVM, a secretive and dangerous organization that brands its members. In this riveting memoir, Edmonson provides a firsthand account of how she was drawn into NXIVM's dark world and then managed to break free.

She offers an inside look at the group's twisted methods and reveals the shocking extent of its abuse. Raw and powerful, Scarred is a harrowing tale of survival and self-empowerment.

It is a warning about dangerous cults and a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

15. A Tangled Web

A Tangled Web

Written By: Leslie Rule

Published: April 28th, 2020

Pages: 304

Set in Omaha, NE, this disturbing story takes you on a journey through the mind of a psychopath. When Cari Lea Farver goes missing, her family and friends know something isn't right. They continue to receive strange text messages from her, and they see the story they are being told is not true.

Her new, short-term boyfriend, Dave Kroupa, is also getting strange messages from Cari. Unfortunately, his on-again, off-again girlfriend Shanna "Liz" Golyar is also afraid of Cari as she seems to be stocking her as well.

This fascinated story takes you down many paths until the truth is finally revealed to everyone involved. It’s a dark story and one of the best true crime books on our list this year!

16. The Monster of Florence

The Monster of Florence

Written By: Douglas Preston

Published: June 12th, 2008

Pages:  322

The Monster of Florence is a true crime novel written by Douglas Preston. In this book, he takes readers on a journey through one of the most chilling unsolved cases in modern history. The case centers around the author's investigation into the murders that occurred in Italy from 1968 to 1985 and his search for an explanation for why they happened.

The Monster of Florence is a gripping read for anyone who loves true crime books or mysteries.

17. If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood

If You Tell

Written By: Gregg Olsen

Published: December 1st, 2019

Pages: 405

This true crime story offers a look inside a childhood so horrendous that three sisters still get anxious when anyone mentions the word “mom.”

All three were abused both mentally and physically by the person supposed to protect them from anything, their mother. The story, told by the sisters, takes you inside their unimaginable world.

You'll also learn about what happens to a few of their mother's friends.

It's alarming and one that will haunt the sisters for the rest of their lives.

>> More books by Gregg Olsen

18. Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators

Catch and Kill

Written By: Ronan Farrow

Published: October 15th, 2019

Pages:  608

Ronan Farrow is a Pulitzer Prize winner who broke the Harvey Weinstein story. He has now written a book called Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators about how women are being silenced when they come forward with allegations of sexual assault within Hollywood.

Catch and Kill describes how predators have been protected by influential people at major media companies for years-from Kevin Spacey to Bill Cosby to Harvey Weinstein.

The author argues that these men have an army behind them made up of lawyers, publicists, crisis counselors-and spies under cover of confidentiality agreements, nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), gag orders, or even law enforcement efforts.

19. Zodiac


Written By: Robert Graysmith

Published: April 1st, 1987

Pages: 355

Robert Graysmith's book Zodiac, tells the story of the Zodiac Killer, who terrified the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s and 1970s.

The book takes readers on a journey through the investigation of the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified serial killer who terrorized California for years. With never-before-seen evidence and insights from the detectives who worked the case, this is a must-read for anyone interested in actual crime books.

20. Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism

Written By: Amanda Montell

Published: June 15th 2021

Pages: 320

This book is a little different from others on this list as it discusses cultish groups and how they use language to “brainwash” those involved.

You'll read a little about well-known criminals, such as Charles Manson, and how he got his followers to commit horrible murders. You'll also read about her take on how people following Jim Jones drank Kool-Aid that led to mass suicide.

Montell shows how everything from criminals to modern technology led to cultish behavior that can harm individuals and society.

21. Know My Name

Know My Name

Written By: Chanel Miller

Published: September 24th, 2019

Pages: 357

After the victim statement by “Emily Doe” was read at Brock Turner’s rape trial, it went viral, and millions read it within the first few days. Even though Chanel Miller’s original plan was to stay anonymous, she decided to tell her story.

Know My Name is what happened to her that night, the trial from her perspective, and how this one event changed her entire life.

22. Monster: The True Story of the Jeffrey Dahmer Murders


Written By: Anne E. Schwartz

Published: October 26th, 2021

Pages: 256

This is how Jeffrey Dahmer became one of the most notorious serial killers. Author Anne Schwartz writes with a journalist's research and an educator's understanding to explore the childhood, family life, and college years that led to his crimes.

The author also discusses what it was like for those unfortunate enough to encounter him during his killing spree from 1978-1991.

In 1991, Dahmer was arrested after a victim escaped from his apartment. The victim was kept as a sex slave. By this time, Dahmer had killed 13 men before being caught by police. He confessed to 17 murders making him one of the most prolific killers.

23. Midnight in Peking: The Murder That Haunted the Last Days of Old China

Midnight in Peking

Written By: Paul French

Published: May 1st, 2012

Pages: 260

In Midnight in Peking: The Murder That Haunted Old China, author Paul French takes readers back to 1937 in the city of Beijing.

What ensues is a gripping true crime story full of twists and turns as detectives race to solve the murder of a young English woman.

This book provides an in-depth look at Chinese culture and society during a time of great turmoil, making for an engaging and informative read.

24. Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing

Bath Massacre

Written By: Arnie Bernstein

Published: March 16th, 2009

Pages:  200

On May 18, 1927, a bomb detonated in the basement at Bath Consolidated School in Bath Township, Michigan. The explosion rocked the small town and destroyed part of the school building.

The bomb killed 38 students and six adults, making it America's deadliest school bombing. This tragic event changed the way schools nationwide approached security and has been inscribed in history as one of the nation's most horrific acts of violence.

25. Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties

Set the Night on Fire

Written By: Mike Davis, Jon Wiener

Published: April 14th, 2020

Pages: 800

In Set the Night on Fire, Mike Davis chronicles the explosive growth and transformation of Los Angeles during a decade of immense cultural change. Drawing on extensive research and personal interviews, Davis paints a vivid portrait of a city on edge – a place where art, politics, and crime all intersected.

From the Watts riots to the rise of the counterculture, L.A. was never dull in the 1960s – and Davis brings it to life with clarity and insight. If you're fascinated by this turbulent period in American history, or if you just love L.A., then this book is for you!

26. Deadly Times: The 1910 Bombing of the Los Angeles Times and America's Forgotten Decade of Terror

Deadly Times

Written By: Lew Irwin

Published: May 7th, 2013

Pages:  368

On October 1, 1910, a bomb detonated in the Los Angeles Times building, killing 21 people and injuring dozens more. The bombing was one of the deadliest attacks on American media in history.

In Deadly Times: The 1910 Bombing of the Los Angeles Times, Lew Irwin tells the story of the attack and its aftermath.

Through meticulous research and vivid prose, Irwin brings readers right to the scene of the bombing and highlights the bravery of those who responded. You'll also learn about key players in the investigation, including William J. Burns, who becomes the first director of the FBI, and Clarence Darrow, the lawyer hired by the bombers to defend them at trial.

27. Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires

Five Families

Written By: Selwyn Raab

Published: September 1st, 2005

Pages:  784

In his book, Five Families: America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires, Selwyn Raab tells the intriguing story of five mafia families who have held power for decades. Drawing on interviews with current and former mobsters and law enforcement officials, Raab provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of the Mafia.

From the Gambinos to the Genoveses, these families have weathered prosecutions, deaths, and defections to remain on top. If you're fascinated by gangsters and want to learn more about America's most powerful mafia empires, then this is one of the true-crime books you need to read.

>> More books about the Mafia

28. Wiseguy


Written By: Nicholas Pileggi

Published: 1985

Pages: 304

Wiseguy is a nonfiction book published by Nicholas Pileggi in 1990. The book is based on the life of Henry Hill; a Mafia associate turned informant.

Wiseguy provides an inside look at the Mafia lifestyle and criminal activity. Hill's experiences are narrated by Pileggi, who interviewed Hill extensively for the book.

It has been hailed as one of the best books written about the Mafia. It was adapted into a popular movie starring Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta.

29. Capone: The Man and the Era


Written By: Laurence Bergreen

Published: August 4th, 1994

Pages: 704

In 1920s Chicago, the city was a cauldron of gangster violence. The Prohibition law had created a black market for booze, and Al Capone saw his opportunity to make vast sums of money by providing it. His ruthlessness made him one of the most feared men in America, but he also became a symbol for an era that would change forever with the coming of prohibition's repeal in 1933.

Capone: The Man and the Era is Laurence Bergreen's story about this man who has been misunderstood all these years.

>> More books about Al Capone and other Chicago gangsters

30. The Night Stalker: The Life and Crimes of Richard Ramirez

The Night Stalker

Written by: Philip Carlo

Published: May 1st, 1996

Pages: 421

Richard Ramirez was a serial killer who terrorized Los Angeles in the 1980s. Philip Carlo's book, The Night Stalker: The Life and Crimes of Richard Ramirez, is an insightful study into how this man became one of the most notorious criminals and killers.

This story will explore the life of Richard Ramirez from beginning to end. He starts by examining what made him such a monster, including his upbringing and experiences with drugs and violence. It will detail his crimes and their impact on society at large during that period.

He further examines what allowed him to escape capture for so long, despite being considered one of America's most wanted criminals at that point in history.

31. The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story

The Stranger Beside Me

Written By: Ann Rule

Published: 1980

Pages: 548

The Stranger Beside Me is the fascinating story of Ted Bundy. Ann Rule knew him personally as they both volunteered on a crisis hotline.

He was a charismatic person, but she realized he was a cold-blooded murderer the more she learned about him.

The book talks about their time working together, his brutal murders, and their correspondence after being convicted. It's a chilling tale about how someone like Bundy could live among us and go undetected for years.

>> More books by author Ann Rule

>> More books about Ted Bundy

32. The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

The Road to Jonestown

Written By: Jeff Guinn

Published: April 11th, 2017

Pages: 531

The book The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple tells the story of a man who had a vision for an ideal world but ended up creating one that was the complete opposite. It's a fascinating tale of religious fanaticism and how it can lead to disaster.

One thing is sure; this is not your typical cult leader biography. Guinn tells you everything you need to know about "Father" Jones. She chronicles his early life preaching in Indiana churches through his great success. He built up Peoples Temple with its many social programs, including drug counseling and schools for disadvantaged children.

He also exposes some lesser-known aspects of Jones' legacy, as his sexual scandals and that he may have murdered more than 900 people in cold blood in Jonestown.

33. Deviant: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein, the Original "Psycho"


Written By: Harold Schechter

Published: 1989

Pages: 242

Ed Gein is an American serial killer and necrophile who butchered at least two women in the 1950s. He also exhumed corpses from local graveyards to make trophies and clothing out of human skin.

Once the police found out he was the last known person to be around his second murder victim, he was quickly arrested. The police then went to his farm, where they found body parts all around his house.

Schachter's Deviant: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein tells the story behind these atrocious murders through interviews with those involved, including family members, friends, neighbors, and others.

>> More books by Harold Schechter

34. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Bad Blood

Written By: John Carreyrou

Published: May 21st, 2018

Pages: 339

In his book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, John Carreyrou tells the story of the rise and fall of Theranos, a company that was once valued at $9 billion but is now worth nothing.

The book is full of juicy details about the company's founder, Elizabeth Holmes, and her attempt to build a blood-testing empire. It's a must-read for anyone who wants to know what went wrong with Theranos and why it failed.

35. The Good Girls: An Ordinary Killing

The Good Girls: An Ordinary Killing

Written By: Sonia Faleiro

Published: February 9th, 2021

Pages: 314

This book takes place in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, in India. It's the chilling story of two young girls that went missing and were found hanging from trees the following day.

What started as a general book about rape in India turned into a fascinating story about these two young women in this small town and why they were killed.

This page-turner is one of the best true crime books.

36. Becky: The Heartbreaking Story of Becky Watts by Her Father Darren Galsworthy


Written By: Darren Galsworthy

Published: March 10th, 2016

Pages: 304

Becky: The Heartbreaking Story of Becky Watts by Darren Galsworthy is an emotional and heartfelt account of the life of a sixteen-year-old girl who was tragically killed by a family member on February 19, 2015.  

It's an intimate look into the life of Becky, told through interviews with friends and family members who knew her best. Readers will be able to get inside the mind of this young woman as she deals with school pressures, friendships, sexuality, self-image issues, and so much more.

37. Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical Religious Cult

Sex Cult Nun

Written By: Faith Jones

Published: November 30th, 2021

Pages: 384

Author Faith Jones was born into the Children of God, a religious cult with several disturbing practices and beliefs. Not only was Jones born into the cult, but her grandfather was its founder.

In this riveting book, she explains what it was like to be in this cult as a young woman, how she planned her escape, and what life is like now.

It’s an eye-opening look at what it’s like to be a part of an extremist cult that uses religion to mask its practices.

38. White Hot Hate: A True Story of Domestic Terrorism in America’s Heartland

White Hot Hate

Written By: Dick Lehr

Published: November 30th, 2021

Pages: 416

This story takes you to the heartland and a small town in Kansas. As a community of Somali refugees builds, a militia group decides they no longer want them around. They created a plan to bomb their mosque, which could kill hundreds.

During the planning stage, an FBI informant infiltrates the militia group and gathers evidence of their impending plans against the Somali community.

The story takes you through how this happened, what the FBI informant found out to stop it, and the trials of those that planned this terrorist event.

39. The Sinner and the Saint: Dostoevsky and the Gentleman Murderer Who Inspired a Masterpiece

The Sinner and the Saint

Written By: Kevin Birmingham

Published: November 16th, 2021

Pages:  432

This book is a little different from the other true crime books on our list. This one goes into detail on Fyodor Dostoevsky, the author of the famous book Crime and Punishment.

We've added it to this list as Crime and Punishment was based on a famous murderer in Paris in the 1830s.

You’ll learn not only about the true-life murder that inspired Crime and Punishment but also how its author, Dostoevsky, became so consumed with the main character that he lost his way.

40. Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders

Killer Clown

Written By: Terry Sullivan, Peter T. Maiken

Published: 1983

Pages: 416

What do you know about John Wayne Gacy, the infamous "Killer Clown?" This book takes you inside his life as a model citizen, a hospital volunteer, and a murder.

Gacy killed 33 boys between 1972 and 1978. He gained access to the young boys and men he killed because he performed as a lovely, funny clown.

You’ll learn all about the crimes he committed, where he hid the bodies, and what led up to his arrest.

41. A Killing in Amish Country: Sex, Betrayal, and a Cold-blooded Murder

A Killing in Amish Country

Written By: Gregg Olsen

Published: July 5th, 2016

Pages: 288

This dark true crime book takes place in the heart of Amish Country. It's the story of a couple with what looked like the perfect life. Even though Barbara Weaver, the wife, wanted to follow the conservative beliefs of their faith, her husband, Eli, wanted modern conveniences.

He took on a girlfriend that gave him everything he wanted, from cell phones to sex. He then decides he wants to get rid of his wife, and she is happy to help. When he leaves early one morning to go on a fishing trip with friends, the girlfriend enters their home and shoots his wife in the chest.

42. The Gilded Edge: Two Audacious Women and the Cyanide Love Triangle That Shook America

The Gilded Edge

Written By: Catherine Prendergast

Published: October 12th, 2021

Pages: 352

The story in The Gilded Edge takes us back to San Francisco and the Monterey area shortly after the devastating earthquake. Two women arrive in Carmel-by-the-Sea at around the same time.

One is a young single woman, Nora, in her twenties with little to her name. The other is a real estate developer's wife, Carrie.

Carrie and her husband, George, ask Nora to stay with them. Nora and George quickly start an illicit affair which turns into an unhealthy love triangle.

Unfortunately, it ends with the death of all three, and a story spread throughout America.

43. Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34

Public Enemies

Written By: Bryan Burrough

Published: July 15th, 2004

Pages: 640

This is a fascinating book that covers two critical years within the FBI. It's a time when they faced a battle with some of the nation's most prominent criminals, including John Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, and others.

It offers new information about the connections in the underworld that were keeping these criminals in power. It ends by showing how the FBI beat them all and transformed into a powerful crime-fighting force.

44. John Dillinger: The Life and Death of America's First Celebrity Criminal

John Dillinger

Written By: Dary Matera

Published: April 18th, 2004

Pages: 416

John Dillinger was a bank robber that was the first FBI “Public Enemy.” In this book, you’ll learn details about his rise to lead a bank-robbing criminal gang.

You'll also read about some of his most famous crimes, including some first reported in this book. You will also hear the story about how the FBI took him down.

45. Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde

Go Down Together

Written By: Jeff Guinn

Published: March 10th, 2009

Pages: 468

Do you know all about Bonnie and Clyde? This book will take you back in time to cover the real story about these infamous criminals.

You'll learn how they met and fell in love in a dirty Dallas district. You'll hear all about their first heist. You will also know how they were not the masterminds the media made them out to be.

It’s one of the best true crime books that includes romance, robberies, and death.

46. Pablo Escobar: Beyond Narcos

Pablo Escobar: Beyond Narcos

Written By: Shaun Attwood

Published: August 25th, 2016

Pages: 290

Pablo Escobar is another infamous criminal of our times. In this fantastic true story book, you’ll go behind the scenes to learn even more about this criminal that also gave to the poor.

You'll also learn the truth behind his downfall, which is that the police weren't trying to stop him; they were trying to take over control of his profitable drug business.

47. Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Mob Boss


Written By: Gerard O'Neill, Dick Lehr

Published: February 19th, 2013

Pages: 448

James J. “Whitey” Bulger is a crime boss that ran a profitable criminal enterprise for years in Boston. It included the typical mob crimes such as robbery and murder.

As the FBI started to close in on him, he ran…and ran….and ran. He ran for more than a decade before the police could catch up with him.

How did he do this? What was he up to during this time?

You'll learn all about his life, including how he embarrassed the FBI by eluding capture for years.

48. Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door

Bind, Torture, Kill

Written By: Roy Wenzl, Tim Potter, Hurst Laviana, L. Kelly

Published: May 27th, 2008

Pages: 400

BTK is an infamous serial killer that brought the down of Wichita, Kansas, to their knees. He killed ten people between 1974 to 1991 and taunted the local police department with letters about his crimes.

He took a break from writing letters to the police and started his taunts again in 2004. He was then captured in 2005 when the truth came out.

How did this loving neighbor and family man evade the police for so long? How did his neighbors not know it was him?

49. The Search for the Green River Killer

The Search for the Green River Killer

Written By: Carlton Smith, Tomás Guillén

Published: June 1st, 2004 

Pages: 544

The Green River Killer is not as well known as many other serial killers. However, he was convicted of more than 49 murders and confessed to 71.

He mostly killed teenage girls and women in Washington State. Most of this was in the 1980s and 1990s. He wasn't caught until late 2001 when his DNA matched some collected on four of the murdered women.

In this book, you’ll learn all about the search that led to his eventual capture and conviction.

50. Cries Unheard: Why Children Kill: The Story of Mary Bell

Cries Unheard

Written By: Gitta Sereny

Published: April 13th, 1999

Pages: 416

In 1968, two small boys were murdered in Newcastle, England. Mary Bell, age 11, was tried and convicted of both of their murders.

Almost three decades after her trial, she agreed to tell her story to author Gitta Sereny.

In Cries Unheard, you’ll learn all about Bell’s horrible childhood and about these two crimes she committed when she was only a child. It’s a riveting account and a book I know you won’t be able to put down.

51. Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and It's Legacy

Blood in the Water

Written By: Heather Ann Thompson

Published: August 23rd, 2016

Pages: 752

Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York mistreated their prisoners for years. On September 9, 1971, the prisoners decided to fight back.

They captured guards and employees as hostages for four days. During this time, they negotiated with the state to improve their conditions.

However, the state ended the talks and decided to use force instead. They sent in armed guards and corrections offers. More than three dozen prisoners and hostages were killed. Once the state had control over the facility, they retaliated against the prisoners.

It’s a story that tells you more about both sides and how the aftermath has impacted lives for decades.

52. Gotti


Written By: Jerry Capeci, Gene Mustain

Published: June 1st, 1996

Pages:  464

John Gotti was the Godfather of the New York Mafia after the death of Paul Castellano in 1985. In this book, you’ll learn all about his rise to leadership, what his life was like in the Gambino crime family, and how he was finally taken down when his underboss flipped.

It’s one of the best true crime books of all time!

53. The Ultimate Evil: The Truth about the Cult Murders: Son of Sam and Beyond

The Ultimate Evil

Written By: Maury Terry

Published: May 10th, 2004

Pages: 538

The Son of Sam murders occurred in New York in 1976 and 1977. In August 1977, they arrested David Berkowitz for the murders.

This book takes you back in time to tell you all about what happened during that time and facts uncovered that showed that Berkowitz did not act alone.

54. A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation

A Deadly Game

Written By: Catherine Crier

Published: March 11th, 2005

Pages:  496

In 2003, Scott Peterson was arrested under suspicion for the death of his wife Laci Peterson and their unborn son Conner. In 2004, he was convicted for both crimes.

This book takes you back to the beginning to learn more about what happened and details Scott's strange behavior when his wife went missing, and he was arrested.

It's a chilling tale of love gone wrong with a charming but deeply disturbed individual.

55. Depraved: The Definitive True Story of H.H. Holmes, Whose Grotesque Crimes Shattered Turn-Of-The-Century Chicago


Written By: Harold Schechter

Published: September 1st 1994

Pages: 373

The final book on our list of 55 best true crime books is about H.H. Holmes, who was also featured in the book Devil in the White City.

This book takes you back to Chicago's World Fair and a charming doctor that rocked the city of Chicago. He admitted to 27 murders. All occurred in a dwelling he created with trap doors and several torture devices.

More True Crime Books & Authors