The best bloody books about fictional serial killers

Who am I?

Having always been fascinated with the dark and macabre, I grew up hanging out in the library, forging a love of reading through Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and James Herbert. To write The Echo Man, I read more serial killer books than should be deemed healthy – anything from biographies to first-person accounts to psychology and profiling. So who better to recommend serial killer fiction, then a self-confessed serial killer nerd?!


I wrote...

The Echo Man: A Novel

By Sam Holland,

Book cover of The Echo Man: A Novel

What is my book about?

The murders have begunAcross England, a string of murders is taking place. Each different in method, but each horrifying and brutal. But the killer is just getting started… Jess Ambrose is plunged into the investigation when her house is set ablaze. With her husband dead and the police pointing at her, she runs. Her only hope is disgraced detective Nate Griffin, who is convinced Jess is innocent.

And he’s going to shock the worldSoon, Jess and Griffin discover the unthinkable; this murderer is copying the world’s most notorious serial killers. And now, imitation isn’t enough. The killer dubbed The Echo Man is ready to create his own masterpiece, and it will be more terrifying than anything that has come before…

The books I picked & why

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Birdman

By Mo Hayder,

Book cover of Birdman

Why this book?

The late, great Mo Hayder wrote some of the most disturbing fiction I have had the joy of reading. Birdman is the first book featuring DI Jack Caffrey and combines rigorously authentic policing with terrifyingly graphic descriptions of the crimes and their perpetrators. Start at the beginning of the series, and I dare you to make it to the end.

Birdman

By Mo Hayder,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Birdman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This dark and disturbingly compelling thriller from bestselling and prize-winning author Mo Hayder is not for the faint-hearted. Perfect for fans of Stephen King, Stuart MacBride and Karin Slaughter, it is one read you won't be able to forget easily...

'A first-class shocker . . . a frightening mix of forensics, thrills, analytical police work and poetic images.' -- Guardian
'Wickedly constructed . . . The detail, if you can stomach it, is fascinating.' -- Daily Telegraph
'Hayder's vibrant narrative and crunchy characterisation propel the book along to its denouement with fearsome velocity' -- The Times
'WOW! This is one…


American Psycho

By Bret Easton Ellis,

Book cover of American Psycho

Why this book?

I read this at university and didn’t go out for a week. Abjectly horrific, violent, and bone-chilling, Patrick Bateman is the epitome of selfishness and evil as he goes about his narcissistic life. With an ending that subverts all expectations, I guarantee you’ll never look at a nail gun in the same way again…

American Psycho

By Bret Easton Ellis,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked American Psycho as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Patrick Bateman is 26 and works on Wall Street. Handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent, he is also a psychopath.

The Jigsaw Man: A Novel

By Nadine Matheson,

Book cover of The Jigsaw Man: A Novel

Why this book?

The Jigsaw Man introduces us to DI Anjelica Henley and the Serial Crimes Unit as they investigate body parts found along the River Thames. Matheson pulls no punches with her portrait of her gritty East London, combined with pacey action and characters that quickly feel like old friends.

The Jigsaw Man: A Novel

By Nadine Matheson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jigsaw Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A heart-pounding roller coaster ride."—Tami Hoag, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boy

*A Crime Reads Most Anticipated Book of 2021*

A serial killer and his copycat are locked in a violent game of cat and mouse. Can DI Anjelica Henley stop them before it’s too late?

On the day she returns to active duty with the Serial Crimes Unit, Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley is called to a crime scene. Dismembered body parts from two victims have been found by the river.

The modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer, who has…

The Silence of the Lambs

By Thomas Harris,

Book cover of The Silence of the Lambs

Why this book?

No list of fictional serial killers would be complete without Hannibal Lecter. Original and unsurpassed, his intelligent observations and creepy predilections create an irresistible cocktail for the reader. Combine him with the innocent, naive FBI trainee Clarice Starling, enough twists and turns to give you whiplash, and you have a serial killer thriller for all generations. 

The Silence of the Lambs

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Silence of the Lambs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As part of the search for a serial murderer nicknames "Buffalo Bill," FBI trainee Clarice Starling is given an assignment. She must visit a man confined to a high-security facility for the criminally insane and interview him.

That man, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs--an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.


The Crucifix Killer

By Chris Carter,

Book cover of The Crucifix Killer

Why this book?

Detective Robert Hunter is a damaged, handsome, muscular detective. Loved by women but haunted by the death of his partner and a case that went wrong, he spends his nights drinking single malt and pacing the floor of his apartment. We love these characters for a reason – Hunter is a hero you root for, in a book you just can’t put down.

The Crucifix Killer

By Chris Carter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Crucifix Killer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Don't miss WRITTEN IN BLOOD, the next instalment in the compulsive Robert Hunter series from Sunday Times number one bestselling author Chris Carter - available to pre-order now!*

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER THE CALLER.

When the body of a young woman is discovered in a derelict cottage in Los Angeles, Robert Hunter is thrown into a nightmare case. The victim suffered a terrible death, and on the nape of her neck has been carved a strange double-cross: the signature of a psychopath known as the Crucifix Killer.

But that's impossible. Because two years ago,…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in serial killers, police, and detectives?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about serial killers, police, and detectives.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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