True crime is all the rage with dozens of books, podcasts, and shows and movies focused on various cases. The true crime community is always buzzing about the latest “must-watch” shows and movies especially, but they know that the shows and movies don’t cover it all.
The most voracious true crime fans seek out other points of view and other accounts to get ALL the details. For those most dedicated fans, we put together a list of true crime books to supplement your favorite shows and movies.
JANE DOE #9 by Lizzette Martinez and Keelin MacGregor (Surviving R. Kelly, Parts 1 & 2)
In January of 1995, 17-year-old Lizzette Martinez met Grammy-winning musician and record producer R. KELLY at Aventura Mall in Florida where he was performing. At first, it seemed that her hopes of becoming a professional singer were about to come true when he offered to help boost her career. However, this mentorship quickly turned into sexual grooming, leading to years of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. In January 2019, she participated with other survivors in a documentary series with Lifetime called “Surviving R. Kelly.” It should have been a healing experience but instead left them feeling abandoned and fearful for their lives.
GRILLING DAHMER by Robyn Maharaj and Patrick Kennedy (My Friend Dahmer and The Jeffery Dahmer Files)
In the late hours of July 22, 1991, Detective Patrick “Pat” Kennedy of the Milwaukee Police Department was asked to respond to a possible homicide. Little did he know that he would soon be delving into the dark mind of one of America’s most notorious serial killers, the “Milwaukee Cannibal” Jeffrey Dahmer. As the media clamored for details, Kennedy spent the next six weeks, sixteen hours a day, locked in an interrogation room with Dahmer. There the 31-year-old killer described in lurid detail how he lured several young men to his apartment where he strangled, sexually assaulted, dismembered, and in some cases, cannibalized his victims.
‘THE SON OF SAM’ AND ME by Carl Denaro and Brian Whitney (Netflix’s The Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Madness)
In 1976, a killer who called himself “The Son of Sam” shot and killed a half dozen people and wounded as many more in New York City. After months of terrorizing the city while garnering front-page headlines and international attention, a man named David Berkowitz was arrested. He confessed to the shootings, claiming to be obeying a demon that resided in a dog belonging to his neighbor “Sam.” Among the alleged victims was Carl Denaro. Miraculously, Denaro survived the attack. When Berkowitz was arrested, he was charged with trying to kill Denaro. However, there was a twist. Although he confessed to the other shootings, after his conviction Berkowitz denied attacking Denaro. Now, after years of research, Denaro is convinced that Berkowitz was telling the truth, and that someone else tried to kill him . . . In “The Son of Sam” and Me, author Carl Denaro with co-author Brian Whitney (The “Supreme Gentleman” Killer) reveals his search for the truth and his shocking conclusion regarding the real shooter’s identity. Denaro also discusses his friendship and investigative partnership with Maury Terry, the author of The Ultimate Evil, which is considered the definitive case study on the theory that Berkowitz did not act alone.
THE ENIGMA OF TED BUNDY by Kevin Sullivan (Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile; Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes)
If you want a view into the world that lies behind the Ted Bundy murders, this last work in a series of six books on Bundy, is definitely for you. For within these pages you’ll read of the many questions still surrounding this fascinating and intricate case, as well as the answers that are only now being provided here. There’s so much more to learn, and new information is still surfacing about Bundy, his victims and his potential victims. As such, there is new testimony included from those who had a brush with the killer, and others who played their own roles in this multi-state case. A must-read for those true crime readers fascinated by America’s most enigmatic and infamous serial killer.
If you can’t get enough of Bundy, check out Sullivan’s other books on the case here.
WRECKING CREW by John Ferak (Netflix’s Making A Murderer)
While working for USA TODAY’s Investigative Team, John Ferak wrote dozens of articles on the murder case against Steven Avery, who had already beat one wrongful conviction only to be charged with the murder of Teresa Halbach. In WRECKING CREW, Ferak lays out the post-conviction strategy of Kathleen Zellner, the high-profile lawyer, to free Avery.
A SPECIAL KIND OF EVIL by Blaine Pardoe and Victoria Hester (Oxygen’s “Lovers’ Lane Murders”)
For four years a killer, or killers, stalked Virginia’s Tidewater region, carefully selecting victims and terrorizing the local community. Again and again, young people in the prime of their lives were targeted. But the pattern that stitched these killings together was more like a spider web of theory, intrigue, and mathematics. Then, mysteriously, the killing spree stopped. The unknown predator, or predators, who stalked the Colonial Parkway seemingly disappeared. Now, father-daughter true crime authors Blaine Pardoe and Victoria Hester blow the dust off of these cases. Interviewing the victims’ family and friends, as well as members of law enforcement, they provide the most complete and in-depth look at these horrifying murders and disappearances.
BETRAYAL IN BLUE by Burl Barer, Ken Eurell, and Frank C Girardot Jr. (The Seven Five)
They had no fear of the cops because they were the cops. NYPD officers Mike Dowd and Kenny Eurell knew there were two ways to get rich quick in Brooklyn’s Lower East Side. You either became drug dealers, or you robbed drug dealers. These “Cocaine Cops” did both and ended up running the most powerful gang in New York’s 75th Precinct in the 1980s.
THE CASE OF THE ZODIAC KILLER by Michael Morford and Michael Ferguson (Zodiac)
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, a serial killer terrorized the San Francisco Bay area of California. Through bold letters and cryptic ciphers mailed to local newspapers as well as taunting calls to police, the Zodiac left his mark. Then without warning he was gone, but not before achieving infamy in true crime history. Criminology podcast takes the deepest dives into the most mysterious true crime cases using actual case files, documents, and police reports to help tell the full and accurate story of the crimes they cover.
THE CASE OF THE GOLDEN STATE KILLER by Michael Morford And Michael Ferguson (HBO’s I’ll Be Gone In The Dark)
In 1976, a serial rapist terrorized Sacramento County in California. The masked predator made his way into the homes of his victims, leaving a trail of devastation behind him. He moved on to other areas in California where he sank to an all new level of depravity, and his evil urges drove him to murder; again, and again. Joined by the investigators who hunted him, the witnesses who saw him, and the survivors who lived to tell their stories, Criminology Season Two: The Case of the Golden State Killer examines the story of the most prolific serial rapist and murderer in American history.
ROOM 1203 by Andy Caldwell (American Crime Story: OJ Simpson)
(Okay, so this book isn’t about OJ’s famous 1994 trial like the American Crime Story series. But we figured fans of the show may want to know how OJ actually ended up in prison.)
ROOM 1203 is the true story of the convoluted and bizarre events surrounding a violent armed robbery of a sports memorabilia collector in a Vegas hotel. On that night, Simpson put an exclamation mark on his spectacular fall from the height of Hollywood’s glamour and glitz to a shadowy world of scams and schemers in Sin City. Written by the lead detective assigned to the case, the book provides details, insights and facts not previously reported, as well as the investigation that pieced the crime together and landed an arrogant man who believed he was above the law in a Nevada prison.
Millions in stolen property, revolting sex crimes and murder-for-hire were all in the mix for a Las Vegas police detective as he toiled to take Sin City’s most prolific criminal off the streets. In REPEAT OFFENDER Las Vegas Police Detective Bradley Nickell provides the inside scoop on the most prolific repeat offender Las Vegas has ever known.
MY SON, THE KILLER by Brian Whitney with Anna Yourkin (Netflix’s Don’t F**k With Cats)
In 2012, Luka Magnotta had earned his notoriety by videotaping himself stabbing Chinese student Lin Jun to death with an ice pick and dismembering the body, before posting the video online. After mailing Jun’s hands and feet to elementary schools, he was arrested at an Internet café in Berlin where he was reading news stories about himself.