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The ReadDown

The Ultimate True Crime Book List

Whether you’re watching The Case Against Adnan Syed or binging Dirty John, real crime is the new black. Give your ears a rest and fill the void between episodes with this true crime reading list.

  1. 1
    Small Sacrifices Book Cover Picture
    Small Sacrifices Book Cover Picture

    Small Sacrifices

    by Ann Rule

    From the bestselling author of The Stranger Beside Me comes a shocking true crime account of the destructive forces that drove a beautiful young mother to shoot her three young children in cold blood.
    Small Sacrifices Book Cover Picture
    Small Sacrifices Book Cover Picture

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  2. 2
    Say Nothing Book Cover Picture
    Say Nothing Book Cover Picture

    Say Nothing

    by Patrick Radden Keefe

    From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe comes a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions.
    Say Nothing Book Cover Picture
    Say Nothing Book Cover Picture

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  3. 3
    The Wicked Boy Book Cover Picture
    The Wicked Boy Book Cover Picture

    The Wicked Boy

    by Kate Summerscale

    In this deeply researched murder mystery of late Victorian-era London, two brothers were arrested for matricide. The judge sentenced one to detention in Broadmoor, the most infamous criminal lunatic asylum in the land.
    The Wicked Boy Book Cover Picture
    The Wicked Boy Book Cover Picture

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  4. 4
    A False Report Book Cover Picture
    A False Report Book Cover Picture

    A False Report

    by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong

    Two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists tell the true story of Marie, a teenager who was charged with lying about having been raped, and the detectives who followed a winding path to arrive at the truth.
    A False Report Book Cover Picture
    A False Report Book Cover Picture

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  5. 5
    The Brothers Book Cover Picture
    The Brothers Book Cover Picture

    The Brothers

    by Masha Gessen

    Acclaimed journalist, Masha Gessen, investigates the lives of the Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
    The Brothers Book Cover Picture
    The Brothers Book Cover Picture

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  6. 6
    The Devil in the White City Book Cover Picture
    The Devil in the White City Book Cover Picture

    The Devil in the White City

    by Erik Larson

    The true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death.
    The Devil in the White City Book Cover Picture
    The Devil in the White City Book Cover Picture

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  7. 7
    American Predator Book Cover Picture
    American Predator Book Cover Picture

    American Predator

    by Maureen Callahan

    The investigation behind one of the most frightening and enigmatic serial killers in modern American history, and into the ranks of a singular American police force: the Anchorage PD.
    American Predator Book Cover Picture
    American Predator Book Cover Picture

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  8. 8
    Zodiac Unmasked Book Cover Picture
    Zodiac Unmasked Book Cover Picture

    Zodiac Unmasked

    by Robert Graysmith

    Robert Graysmith exposes the infamous Zodiac killer’s true identity after more than 30 years of research.
    Zodiac Unmasked Book Cover Picture
    Zodiac Unmasked Book Cover Picture

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  9. 9
    Midnight in Peking Book Cover Picture
    Midnight in Peking Book Cover Picture

    Midnight in Peking

    by Paul French

    Midnight in Peking chronicles the unsolved murder of the brutal killing of a British schoolgirl in January 1937.
    Midnight in Peking Book Cover Picture
    Midnight in Peking Book Cover Picture

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  10. 10
    The Mastermind Book Cover Picture
    The Mastermind Book Cover Picture

    The Mastermind

    by Evan Ratliff

    Discover the incredible true story of the decade-long quest to bring down Paul Le Roux—the creator of a frighteningly powerful Internet-enabled cartel who merged the ruthlessness of a drug lord with the technological savvy of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
    The Mastermind Book Cover Picture
    The Mastermind Book Cover Picture

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  11. 11
    American Heiress Book Cover Picture
    American Heiress Book Cover Picture

    American Heiress

    by Jeffrey Toobin

    On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst was kidnapped by a ragtag group of revolutionaries. American Heiress portrays the weird turns that followed and the electrifying lunacy of the time.
    American Heiress Book Cover Picture
    American Heiress Book Cover Picture

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  12. 12
    The Innocent Man Book Cover Picture
    The Innocent Man Book Cover Picture

    The Innocent Man

    by John Grisham

    In 1982, a young cocktail waitress named Debra Sue Carter was savagely murdered, and the case is linked to a small-town hero.
    The Innocent Man Book Cover Picture
    The Innocent Man Book Cover Picture

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  13. 13
    Killers of the Flower Moon Book Cover Picture
    Killers of the Flower Moon Book Cover Picture

    Killers of the Flower Moon

    by David Grann

    This haunting true-life murder mystery uncovers why the death toll rose so rapidly in the 1920s for the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, revealing one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.
    Killers of the Flower Moon Book Cover Picture
    Killers of the Flower Moon Book Cover Picture

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  14. 14
    The Orchid Thief Book Cover Picture
    The Orchid Thief Book Cover Picture

    The Orchid Thief

    by Susan Orlean

    The tale of an eccentric and oddly attractive man named John Laroche whose obsession with cloning an endangered flower is both strange and captivating.
    The Orchid Thief Book Cover Picture
    The Orchid Thief Book Cover Picture

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  15. 15
    In Cold Blood Book Cover Picture
    In Cold Blood Book Cover Picture

    In Cold Blood

    by Truman Capote

    Truman Capote’s intensively researched narrative follows the lives of the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, and of the two men who brutally killed them on the night of November 15, 1959.
    In Cold Blood Book Cover Picture
    In Cold Blood Book Cover Picture

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  16. 16
    Catch Me If You Can Book Cover Picture
    Catch Me If You Can Book Cover Picture

    Catch Me If You Can

    by Frank W. Abagnale and Stan Redding

    Frank W. Abagnale is one of the most notorious impostors and escape artists in history, and this is his stranger-than-fiction story.
    Catch Me If You Can Book Cover Picture
    Catch Me If You Can Book Cover Picture

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  17. 17
    Bridge of Spies Book Cover Picture
    Bridge of Spies Book Cover Picture

    Bridge of Spies

    by Giles Whittell

    Giles Whittell reveals the dramatic lives of men drawn into the nadir of the Cold War, and the tragicomedy of errors that eventually induced Khrushchev to send missiles to Castro.
    Bridge of Spies Book Cover Picture
    Bridge of Spies Book Cover Picture

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  18. 18
    Gang Leader for a Day Book Cover Picture
    Gang Leader for a Day Book Cover Picture

    Gang Leader for a Day

    by Sudhir Venkatesh

    First-year graduate student Sudhir Venkatesh befriends a Chicago gang leader named JT.
    Gang Leader for a Day Book Cover Picture
    Gang Leader for a Day Book Cover Picture

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  19. 19
    Life After Death Book Cover Picture
    Life After Death Book Cover Picture

    Life After Death

    by Damien Echols

    Damien Echols shares his story of being falsely convicted of three murders and spent nearly eighteen years on Death Row.
    Life After Death Book Cover Picture
    Life After Death Book Cover Picture

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  20. 20
    Missoula Book Cover Picture
    Missoula Book Cover Picture

    Missoula

    by Jon Krakauer

    Journalist Jon Krakauer investigates a spate of campus rapes that occurred in Missoula over a four-year period.
    Missoula Book Cover Picture
    Missoula Book Cover Picture

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  21. 21
    Final Verdict Book Cover Picture
    Final Verdict Book Cover Picture

    Final Verdict

    by Walter Schneir

    Over more than a decade, Walter Schneir searched for the truth, and the result is an entirely new narrative of the Rosenberg case.
    Final Verdict Book Cover Picture
    Final Verdict Book Cover Picture

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