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10 Grisly Looks at True Crime

Further to our post remember the killings of the Clutter family in Holcomb, KS 40 years ago, and the beginnings of Truman Capote’s book In Cold Blood, we’ve put together a list of ten true crime books, all of which have at least a basis in reality (some are more theoretical looks at true crimes, such as Patricia Cornwell’s take on Jack the Ripper).

devil-white-city-larson1.The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Tells the story of Henry Howard Holmes, a serial killer who worked out of a hotel he owned outside the 1893 worlds fair.

2. Midnight in the Garden and Good and Evil by John Berendt

Berendt’s sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction.

3. The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

The story of the Ted Bundy Murders. Rule began researching her book while Bundy’s murders were unsolved. She had been friends and colleagues with Bundy.

portrait-killer-patricia-cornwell4. Portrait of a Killer by Patricia Cornwell

A proposed solution to the Jack the Ripper case from Cornwell’s perspective, using modern forensic suppositions and technology.

5. The Innocent Man by John Grisham

Chronicles the story of Ron Williamson, how he was arrested and charged with a crime he did not commit, how his case was (mis)handled and how an innocent man was sent to death row.

6. Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden

Describes the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, a notorious Colombian drug lord who became one of the narcotic trade’s first billionaires.

7. The Night Stalker by Phillip Carlo

Portrays the crimes of Richard Ramirez, the AC/DC-worshiping serial killer who terrorized Los Angeles in the 1980s.

8. deviant-harold-schecterDeviant by Harold Schechter

The story of Ed Gein, the killer whose fiendish fantasies inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

9. Studies in Murder by Edmund Pearson

An overview of five famous murders of the 19th and 20th centuries including those of Miss Lizzie Borden.

10. Homicide by David Simon

Enter the workday of real policemen. Follow fifteen detectives, three sergeants, and a lieutenant, whose job it is to investigate Baltimore’s 234 murders.

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