Must-Read True Crime Books To Pick Up Now

By Olivia Emily

1 year ago

Maybe not ideal for bedtime reading...

If you’ve run out of true crime documentaries to watch and podcasts to tune into, it might be time to turn to the enduring written word. (In fact, your favourite crime dramas are often inspired by gripping page-turners and chart topping books). If you’re on the hunt for your next gripping read, here are the best true crime books to pick up now, from murder plots to drug scandals.

Must-Read True Crime Books To Pick Up Now

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

By John Carreyrou

If you enjoyed watching The Dropout on Disney+ – or the ABC podcast that inspired it – you should pick up John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, which chronicles the rise and collapse of the multibillion-dollar tech start-up Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes, written by the journalist who first broke the story. 

BUY IT: From £5.80. 


By John Douglas & Mark Olshaker

Penned by retired FBI agent John Douglas, Mindhunter is the book that inspired the popular Netflix series of the same name starring Jonathan Groff. Recounting the early understanding and development of ‘criminal personality profiling’ of serial killers and mass murderers, Mindhunter features profiles of a range of notorious American murderers, from the Atlanta Child Killer to Edmund Kemper. Like the show, not one for the faint hearted. 

BUY IT: From £4.79. 

The Gold

By Neil Forsyth & Thomas Turner 

Fans of recent BBC series The Gold should read the book that inspired the show. Reading like a fictional thriller, The Gold recounts the true story of Britain’s largest money heist, including first-hand testimony from one of the robbers involved.

BUY IT: £14.99. 

In Cold Blood

By Truman Capote

Considered the first ‘non-fiction novel’, Truman Capote’s seminal work is the ideal read for fiction lovers hesitant to delve into true crime books. Written as if fiction, In Cold Blood reconstructs the 1959 murder of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both of their children, with Capote exploring the subsequent investigation, its circumstances, and the impact on those involved. 

BUY IT: From £4.80. 

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

By Patrick Radden Keefe 

Wondering why the name ‘Sackler’ is being removed from all of your favourite art galleries? Pick up Patrick Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain – the inspiration behind Disney+ series, Dopesick – which delves into the history of the Sackler dynasty, its iron fist on American pharmaceuticals, and its role in the opioid epidemic.

BUY IT: £9.78.  

The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken

By The Secret Barrister

Take a peek behind the curtain and see it from the lawyer’s side with anonymous podcaster and criminal lawyer The Secret Barrister’s first book, Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken. Covering a variety of topics and true crimes The Secret Barrister has come across in their career, the synopsis reads: ‘I want to share some stories from my daily life to show you how the system is broken, who broke it and why we should start caring before it’s too late.’

BUY IT: From £4.40. 

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

By Vincent Bugliosi & Curt Gentry

Written by Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor in the 1970 trial of Charles Manson, Helter Skelter recounts, explores and assesses the investigation, arrest and prosecution of American’s most notorious criminal and his legion of followers. 

BUY IT: From £4.80. 

Killing Pablo: The Hunt For The World’s Greatest Outlaw

By Mark Bowden

Our pick for fans of Netflix series Narcos, Killing Pablo tells the story of the world’s most infamous drug lord – as well as the richest and most powerful criminal in history. Head of the world’s biggest cocaine cartel, Pablo Escobar was assassinated by US Special Forces in 1993; Killing Pablo is the most dramatic and detailed account of the journey there.

BUY IT: From £5.20. 

We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence

By Becky Cooper

Becky Cooper first heard about the unsolved 1969 murder of Harvard student Jane Britton when she herself was a Harvard student 40 years later. A complex and fascinating investigation spanning over a decade, We Keep the Dead Close explores the long-buried murder, from its victim to its unknown perpetrator, mixed with an analysis of the stories we tell ourselves and how we understand one another.

BUY IT: £9.99.