The best books on true crime and corruption

Who am I?

As an educator and author of many books, I was asked to write a book about the spiritual journey of a DEA agent with two PIs. They were determined to end a notorious Cartel organization operating along the U.S. Southwestern border. For over five years the two Private Investigators (PI) and DEA Agent Larry Hardin prepared the case for prosecution. The case hit one roadblock after another when presented to five different U.S. Attorneys for prosecution. The books listed below will appeal to similar customers and show connections of the criminal underworld and how the judicial system function’s; finding a way to bring them to justice. News junkies, historians, and true crime enthusiasts will enjoy reading these stories told by those who investigated the activities. 


I wrote...

Path of the Devil: Camino del Diablo

By Dianne DeMille, Larry Hardin, Jeffrey Pearce, Randy Torgerson

Book cover of Path of the Devil: Camino del Diablo

What is my book about?

Path of the Devil: Camino del Diablo is a story of true events that occurred 1991-1996. DEA Agent Larry Hardin and two private investigators, Jeff Pearce and Randy Torgerson, were determined to bring down the Meraz organization along the southwestern border. For five years the three men spearheaded two separate, and simultaneous investigations in different locations that eventually merged.

Jeff and Randy provided information to Larry to build his case when they found the Meraz’s were working with corrupt employees of their California client. The Meraz’s attempted to murder two DEA agents (1970s) and were connected to the murders of Kiki Camerena, George Montoya, Paul Seema, Jose Montoya, Dan Elkins, and Michael Crowe. Larry was determined to indict the Meraz’s.

The books I picked & why

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In Cold Blood

By Truman Capote,

Book cover of In Cold Blood

Why this book?

A great read from a former special agent with the Department of Justice. The author thoroughly describes the principle roles of how the justice system works and the functions of law enforcement in America. The author emphasizes the importance of the judicial system of due process in maintaining clear and impartial legal standards for both the victim and criminal. The author's ability to focus on how each part of the judicial provides clear legal standards for both the law enforcement and the public.

In Cold Blood

By Truman Capote,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked In Cold Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The chilling true crime 'non-fiction novel' that made Truman Capote's name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative published in Penguin Modern Classics.

Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote's comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly…


In the Name of the Children: An FBI Agent's Relentless Pursuit of the Nation's Worst Predators

By Jeffrey L. Rinek, Marilee Strong,

Book cover of In the Name of the Children: An FBI Agent's Relentless Pursuit of the Nation's Worst Predators

Why this book?

This is an excellent reading about a former FBI agent not giving up on their search to find predators. I truly honor this agent for how he never gave up on the search. From my former experience as a Special Agent with The Drug Enforcement Administration, the writers did a thorough job to focus on how the FBI Agents unselfishly dedicated long investigative hours to target the predators of children. The writers described how the FBI agent’s moral beliefs and his dedication to helping the sexually abused children; perseverance, and creative innovative investigative techniques that enable him to find the predators.

In the Name of the Children: An FBI Agent's Relentless Pursuit of the Nation's Worst Predators

By Jeffrey L. Rinek, Marilee Strong,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In the Name of the Children as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The voice that narrates In the Name of the Children: An F.B.I. Agent's Relentless Pursuit of the Nation's Worst Predators, which Rinek wrote with the journalist Marilee Strong, sounds warm and humane, qualities missing from much crime writing. Their book is a professional job, filled with illuminating details about the day-to-day operations of the bureau."

—New York Times Book Review 

 

FBI Special Agent Jeff Rinek had a gift for getting child predators to confess. All he had to do was share a piece of his soul . . .

In the Name of the Children gives an unflinching look at…


If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood

By Gregg Olsen,

Book cover of If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood

Why this book?

If You Tell by Gregg Olsen is a true evil event where he explains the story of a kind and loving mother as described by her community; but they failed to see the evil that Shelly Knotek was torturing and murdering her friends and relatives for the fun of it, while her three daughters watched in horror. Abused by their parents, the sisters watched the victims begging for their lives as their mother tortured them for the fun of it in cold blood, murdering them. The sisters were frightened that they might be next to die at any moment in the hands of their mother, found the strength to tell others the horrible acts committed by her. Based on the direct evidence from the sisters, their mother was sentenced to prison. Later, the sisters provided a detailed description to the author of how they witnessed the deaths of their friends and relatives.

If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood

By Gregg Olsen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A #1 Wall Street Journal, Amazon Charts, USA Today, and Washington Post bestseller.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen's shocking and empowering true-crime story of three sisters determined to survive their mother's house of horrors.

After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle's talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.

For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all,…


The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder

By John Glatt,

Book cover of The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder

Why this book?

This book is about the horrific murder of Chris Watts' wife and children. Many details of the case give the reader a birds-eye view of the situation, without dramatizing the events. Living in Southern California, I remember hearing the news about these murders and cannot understand how someone could do it. Such a sad story.

The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder

By John Glatt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Perfect Father, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt reveals the tragedy of the Watts family, whose seemingly perfect lives played out on social media―but the truth would lead to a vicious and heartbreaking murder.

In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By the next day, Shanann and her two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, had been reported missing, and her husband, Chris Watts, was appearing on the local news,…


I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

By Michelle McNamara,

Book cover of I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

Why this book?

Living in Southern California during the time of the Golden State Killer's escapades made this book an interesting read. As I heard about the murders over the years, I was scared, as most of my friends were, to go anywhere without a buddy and always looked around to be sure there was no stranger following us. The author explored the cases with detail and presents them to the reader to vividly view the rath created by this serial killer. This book is well-written. The killer, Joseph DeAngelo, was out there committing rape and murder for many years since the 1970s and 1980s. DNA evidence led to his arrest in 2018. DeAngelo pled guilty in June 2020.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

By Michelle McNamara,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked I'll Be Gone in the Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BASIS FOR THE MAJOR 6-PART HBO® DOCUMENTARY SERIES

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR:

Washington Post | Maureen Corrigan, NPR | Paste | Seattle Times | Entertainment Weekly | Esquire | Slate | Buzzfeed | Jezebel | Philadelphia Inquirer | Publishers Weekly | Kirkus Reviews | Library Journal | Bustle 

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards for Nonfiction | Anthony Award Winner | SCIBA Book Award Winner | Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime | Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence

The haunting true story of the elusive serial rapist…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in murder, Washington state, and Colorado?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about murder, Washington state, and Colorado.

Murder Explore 493 books about murder
Washington State Explore 51 books about Washington state
Colorado Explore 49 books about Colorado

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Devil in the White City, Crime and Punishment, and Fatal Vision if you like this list.