Adult Book Lists: True Crime Across the Nation

[Printable book list]

Pete Earley / 364.1523 EARLEY
Circumstantial Evidence: Death, Life, and Justice in a Southern Town
On a busy Saturday morning in November 1986, in the small southern town of Monroeville, Alabama, a beautiful white teenager named Ronda Morrison was found brutally murdered in the back room of the dry cleaning store where she worked. Several months later, Walter McMillian, a black man with no criminal record, was arrested and then convicted and sentenced to die in the electric chair in a trial that lasted less than three days. His guilt was seen as unquestionable until a young, black, Harvard-educated Yankee lawyer launched his own investigation into the murder. Thanks to Bryan Stevenson's unremitting efforts, six years after Walter McMillian was consigned to a cell on Alabama's death row, he walked out a free man. The state had been forced to acknowledge that investigators had used perjured testimony and withheld evidence from the defense that would have proved him innocent.

Simon Baatz / 364.1523092 BAATZ
For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Chicago
It was a crime that shocked the nation: the brutal murder in Chicago in 1924 of a child by two wealthy college students who killed solely for the thrill of the experience. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were intellectuals--too smart, they believed, for the police to catch them. The families of the confessed murderers hired Clarence Darrow, entrusting the lives of their sons to the most famous lawyer in America in what would be one of the most sensational criminal trials in the history of American justice.
(Also available in ebook)

Gregg Olsen / 364.15230922 OLSEN
If I Can't Have You: Susan Powell, Her Mysterious Disappearance, and the Murder of Her Children
When the pretty, blonde Utah mother went missing in December of 2009 the media was swept up in the story, with lenses and microphones trained on Susan's husband, Josh. He said he had no idea what happened to his young wife, and that he and the boys had been camping in the middle of a snowstorm. Over the next three years, bombshell by bombshell, the story would reveal more shocking secrets. Josh's father, Steve, who was sexually obsessed with Susan, would ultimately be convicted of unspeakable perversion. Josh's brother, Michael, would commit suicide. And in the most stunning event of them all, Josh Powell would murder his two little boys and kill himself with brutality beyond belief.

Richard Carey / 364.15234 CAREY
In the Evil Day: Violence Comes to One Small Town
On the afternoon of August 19, 1997, John Harrigan, owner and publisher of the News and Sentinel newspaper in Colebrook, New Hampshire, arrived at his building to find the woman he loved lying dead in the parking lot. Lawyer Vickie Bunnell had been shot and killed by a local carpenter wielding an assault rifle. By then, three other people were already dead or dying. The roots of the incident stretched back twenty-five years, with tendrils deep in the history of New England's North Country.

Charles Graeber / 364.15232092 GRAEBER
The Good Nurse: America's Most Prolific Serial Killer, the Hospitals That Allowed Him to Thrive, and the Detectives Who Brought Him to Justice
He was a favorite son, husband, beloved father, best friend, and celebrated caregiver. Implicated in the deaths of as many as 300 patients, he was also perhaps the most prolific serial killer in American history. Cullen's murderous career in the world's most trusted profession spanned sixteen years and nine hospitals across New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

John Grisham / 345.766 GRISHAM
The Innocent Man
In the town of Ada, Oklahoma, Ron Williamson was going to be the next Mickey Mantle. But on his way to the Big Leagues, Ron stumbled, his dreams broken by drinking, drugs, and women. Then, on a winter night in 1982, not far from Ron's home, a young cocktail waitress named Debra Sue Carter was savagely murdered. The investigation led nowhere. Until, on the flimsiest evidence, it led to Ron Williamson. The washed-up small-town hero was charged, tried, and sentenced to death--in a trial littered with lying witnesses and tainted evidence that would shatter a man's already broken life, and let a true killer go free.
(Also available in large print, audiobook, and ebook)

John Glatt / 362.88 GLATT
The Lost Girls: the True Story of the Cleveland Abductions and the Incredible Rescue of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus
The Lost Girls tells the truly amazing story of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who were kidnapped, imprisoned, and repeatedly raped and beaten in a Cleveland house for over a decade by Ariel Castro, and their amazing escape in May 2013, which made headlines all over the world.
(Also available in ebook)

Ann Rule / 364.1523 RULE
The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy, the Shocking Inside Story
Rule describes her dawning awareness that Ted Bundy, her sensitive coworker on a crisis hotline, was one of the most prolific serial killers in America. This book describes her role as a crime reporter on the hunt for a savage serial killer, the brilliant and charismatic Bundy she thought she knew, and draws on their correspondence that continued until shortly before Ted Bundy's death.

William Mann / 364.1523 MANN
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood
Hollywood chronicler William J. Mann draws on a rich host of sources, including recently released FBI files, to unpack the story of the enigmatic William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, and the diverse cast that surrounded him before he was murdered in 1922-- including three beautiful, am-bitious actresses, the ruthless founder of Paramount locked in a struggle for control of the film industry, a grasping stage mother, a devoted valet, and a gang of two-bit thugs, any of whom might have fired the fatal bullet.

Eli Sanders / 364.1523092 SANDERS
While the City Slept: a Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man's Descent into Madness
On a summer night in 2009, three lives intersected in one American neighborhood. Two people newly in love, Teresa Butz and Jennifer Hopper, who spent many years trying to find themselves and who eventually found each other, and a young man on a dangerous psychological descent, Isaiah Kalebu, He was twenty-three, the son of a distant, authoritarian father and his mother's family had a history of mental illness. All three paths were forever altered by a violent crime, and all three stories were a wake-up call to the system that failed to see the signs. Sanders, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of this crime, shows what can happen when a disturbed member of society repeatedly falls through the cracks.

Edward Jay Epstein / 364.1523092 EPSTEIN
The Annals of Unsolved Crime
The product of more than 40 years of investi-gative work: an insightful guide to some of the most controversial and mysterious crimes of the last 200 years.

John E. Douglas / 364.1523 DOUGLAS
The Cases That Haunt Us: from Jack the Ripper to JonBenet Ramsey, the FBI's Legendary Minhunter Sheds Light on the Mysteries That Won't Go Away
The authors reexamine and reinterpret the accepted facts, evidence and victimology of the most notorious murder cases in the history of crime. They give detailed profiles and reveal chief suspects in pursuit of what really happened in each case, with fascinating, surprising, and haunting results.

David Simon / 363.259523 SIMON
Homicide: a Year on the Killing Streets
This book tells the story of one year on the violent streets of an American city. Reporter David Simon spent one year, 1988, shadow-ing three detectives in the Baltimore police department. He followed them to crime scenes, interrogations, hospital emergency rooms, and autopsies in order to show what life is like on the streets and how a detective really operates.

364.973 MOST
The Most Notorious Crimes in American History
This is an illustrated history of crime in America, published by LIFE. 50 notorious cases are discussed, and the stories are accompanied by photographs, many of which have rarely been seen.

Harold Schechter / 364.973 TRUE
True Crime: an American Anthology
This book contains accounts of 50 crimes, written by both well-known literary figures, including Nathaniel Hawthorne and Mark Twain, and contemporary writers such as James Ellroy and Ann Rule. It focuses on some of the most noto-rious criminal cases in American history.

Jayne A. Hitchcock / 364.168 HITCHCOC
True Crime Online: Shocking Stories of Scamming, Stalking, Murder, and Mayhem
The author, a cybercrime expert, explores hor-rific real-life crimes with roots in cyberspace. The cases discussed include bullies, stalkers, scam artists, sexual predators, and serial killers.