10 books like In Cold Blood

By Truman Capote,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like In Cold Blood. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Devil in the White City

By Erik Larson,

Book cover of The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

Larson takes us through two storylines. The first was of the 1893 World's Fair, explaining the politics, planning, personalities, and dynamics that made it so. The second story that parallels happened only blocks away is the story of one of the most notorious serial murderers, H.H. Holmes. This book teaches us about the time's atmosphere, mores, and norms. The wonder of the new technological era increased immigration and a mixture of all types of people in this new city. On the one hand, inspired things occurred, and concurrently, some of the most disturbing planning for homicides could only have happened at that place and time.

The Devil in the White City

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Devil in the White City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Chicago World Fair was the greatest fair in American history. This is the story of the men and women whose lives it irrevocably changed and of two men in particular- an architect and a serial killer. The architect is Daniel Burnham, a man of great integrity and depth. It was his vision of the fair that attracted the best minds and talents of the day. The killer is Henry H. Holmes. Intelligent as well as handsome and charming, Holmes opened a boarding house which he advertised as 'The World's Fair Hotel' Here in the neighbourhood where he was once…

Crime and Punishment

By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Book cover of Crime and Punishment

This book may seem a little off-putting at first glance (a Russian novel, long and tedious!), but don’t be timid about taking this novel in hand and plowing headlong into it with the gusto of a James Cain crime thriller. To be clear, Crime and Punishment is mesmerizing and represents the prototype for nearly every crime novel that followed it. Some of my favorite scenes are the interrogations the chief magistrate conducts with the killer. The reader knows Raskolnikov is guilty but the cat-and-mouse dialogues between them are as fresh and intense as anything you’ll lay your eyes on. The quintessential crime novel and a must for fans of this or any other genre.

Crime and Punishment

By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Crime and Punishment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed by Washington Post Book World as “the best [translation] currently available" when it was first published, this second edition has been updated in honor of the 200th anniversary of Dostoevsky’s birth.

With the same suppleness, energy, and range of voices that won their translation of The Brothers Karamazov the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky offer a brilliant translation of Dostoevsky's astounding pyschological thriller, newly revised for his bicentenniel. 

When Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in the St. Petersburg of the tsars, commits an act of murder and theft, he sets into motion a story that is…

The Stranger

By Albert Camus,

Book cover of The Stranger

The 1942 in-depth examination of a man accused of murder or was it self-defense? The book shows how complex and entangled the truth around crime can be and how quickly society turns on those charged with homicide. It raises timeless questions that we struggle with today with the media and talk shows playing such a large role in current high-profile criminal cases.

The Stranger

By Albert Camus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the intrigue of a psychological thriller, The Stranger—Camus's masterpiece—gives us the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach. With an Introduction by Peter Dunwoodie; translated by Matthew Ward.

Behind the subterfuge, Camus explores what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd" and describes the condition of reckless alienation and spiritual exhaustion that characterized so much of twentieth-century life. 

“The Stranger is a strikingly modern text and Matthew Ward’s translation will enable readers to appreciate why Camus’s stoical anti-hero and ­devious narrator remains one of the key expressions of…

The Executioner's Song

By Norman Mailer,

Book cover of The Executioner's Song

Mailer’s opus dramatizes the cursed life of Gary Gilmore. In 1976, he robbed and killed two strangers. After being tried and sentenced to death, Gilmore insisted on being executed, to the disagreement of the justice system, who wanted him to remain alive. Written simply and with great compassion, the novel is disturbing, yet ultimately thought-provoking and redemptive.

The Executioner's Song

By Norman Mailer,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Executioner's Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ANDREW O'HAGAN

In the summer of 1976 Gary Gilmore robbed two men. Then he shot them in cold blood. For those murders Gilmore was sent to languish on Death Row - and could confidently expect his sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment. In America, no one had been executed for ten years.

But Gary Gilmore wanted to die, and his ensuing battle with the authorities for the right to do so made him into a world-wide celebrity - and ensured that his execution turned into the most gruesome media event of the decade.


Fatal Vision

By Joe McGinniss,

Book cover of Fatal Vision: A True Crime Classic

A highly controversial 1983 book about Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald who was accused of murdering his wife and two children in their home in 1970. Initially, MacDonald hired McGuiniss to prove his innocence, but the author eventually changed his mind about the physician’s guilt. He was convicted and the book underscored the perils of writers getting too close to their subjects, especially when they're criminals.

Fatal Vision

By Joe McGinniss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The electrifying true crime story of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, the handsome, Princeton-educated physician convicted of savagely slaying his young pregnant wife and two small children—murders he vehemently denies committing...

Bestselling author Joe McGinniss chronicles every aspect of this horrifying and intricate crime and probes the life and psyche of the magnetic, all-American Jeffrey MacDonald—a golden boy who seemed destined to have it all. The result is a penetration to the heart of darkness that enshrouded one of the most complex criminal cases ever to capture the attention of the American public. It is a haunting, stunningly suspenseful work that no…

The Blooding

By Joseph Wambaugh,

Book cover of The Blooding: The Dramatic True Story of the First Murder Case Solved by Genetic "Fingerprinting"

The Blooding recounts a gripping true tale of murders in the picturesque English countryside-but aside from its haunting atmosphere, it is a detailed account of the beginning of DNA as a crime-solving technique. We have come a long way since the mid-1980s, and we can get much more information from newer DNA methods, but the detailed explanation of exactly how this worked as a revolutionary method is invaluable. Reading this book puts the reader at the very beginning of a revolution.

The Blooding

By Joseph Wambaugh,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Blooding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fifteen-year-old Lynda Mann's savagely raped and strangled body is found along a shady footpath near the English village of Narborough.  Though a massive 150-man dragnet is launched, the case remains unsolved.  Three years later the killer strikes again, raping and strangling teenager Dawn Ashforth only a stone's throw from where Lynda was so brutally murdered.  But it will take four years, a scientific breakthrough, the largest manhunt in British crime annals, and the blooding of more than four thousand men before the real killer is found.

Mindhunter

By Mark Olshaker, John E. Douglas,

Book cover of Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit

John Douglas and I were FBI Agents during the same time period. He is the Bureau’s criminal profiling pioneer specializing in serial killers and was a member of its Investigative Support Unit while I was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Squad. Currently, I am an Adjunct Professor in the Criminal Justice Program at a Community College in Oregon. In curriculum courses that include aggression and violence my resources emphasize books written by both Douglas and Olshaker for their thoroughness and true crime exposure of those sick minds of the criminal subjects. I was personally involved in the investigation of one of the most wanted serial killers, Ted Kaczynski, aka, Unabomber, and can vouch for the difficulty in solving these cases.

Mindhunter

By Mark Olshaker, John E. Douglas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a Netflix original series

Discover the classic, behind-the-scenes chronicle of John E. Douglas’ twenty-five-year career in the FBI Investigative Support Unit, where he used psychological profiling to delve into the minds of the country’s most notorious serial killers and criminals.

In chilling detail, the legendary Mindhunter takes us behind the scenes of some of his most gruesome, fascinating, and challenging cases—and into the darkest recesses of our worst nightmares.

During his twenty-five year career with the Investigative Support Unit, Special Agent John Douglas became a legendary figure in law enforcement, pursuing some of the most notorious and sadistic serial…

In the Name of the Children

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

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

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…

Killing Women

By Rod Sadler,

Book cover of Killing Women: The True Story of Serial Killer Don Miller's Reign of Terror

This is a relatively new book, but not only does it take you through the case of serial killer Don Miller it explains how difficult it can be for the survivors to move on with their lives. In general, most people think that once the trial is over  that everyone can move on with their lives, but that’s not always the case. Killers like don Miller come up for parole, and that’s when the second part of the journey continues for these survivors. It becomes really hard to move forward with their lives when they have to relive the murders at every parole hearing until either the killer is released or dies.

Killing Women

By Rod Sadler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Killing Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Rod Sadler takes us through the twisted world of a serial killer, in a labor of love that pays respect to those lives the monster destroyed and reminding us why they should never be forgotten and he should never be free." - Dave Schrader, host of Darkness Radio and True Crime Tuesday, and host of The Travel Channel's 'The Holzer Files'

Will A Serial Killer Soon Walk The Streets Again?

Don Miller was quiet and reserved. As a former youth pastor, he seemed a devout Christian. No one would have ever suspected that the recent graduate of the Michigan State…


Indecent Advances

By James Polchin,

Book cover of Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall

As with physique photographs, I never associated murder with gay history, but newspapers were full of reports of it, often in coded and lewd language, as early as the 1920s. The cases were virtually identical. An older man meets a younger, attractive one and invites him home. In a fit of “homosexual panic” after the older man’s “indecent advance” toward him, the younger kills the older but, tried, is found innocent, given a light sentence, or paroled. Juries, judges, newspaper reporters, and the police engaged in and promoted such extreme homophobia. Indecent Advances helped me understand a principal excuse our society used in an attempt to cover up its hatred of gay men. 

Indecent Advances

By James Polchin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A grisly, sobering, comprehensively researched new history.' - The New Yorker

Indecent Advances is a skilful hybrid of true crime and social history that examines the often-coded portrayal of crimes against gay men in the decades before Stonewall.

New York University professor and critic James Polchin illustrates how homosexuals were criminalized, and their murders justified, in the popular imagination from 1930s 'sex panics' to Cold War fear of Communists and homosexuals in government. He shows the vital that role crime stories played in ideas of normalcy and deviancy, and how those stories became tools to discriminate against and harm gay…


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