69 books like Mindhunter

By Mark Olshaker, John E. Douglas,

Here are 69 books that Mindhunter fans have personally recommended if you like Mindhunter. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Jason Kersten Author Of The Last Counterfeiter: The Story of Fake Money, Real Art, and Forging the Impossible $100 Bill

From my list on crime books that explode into larger worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a window-seat person. If I’m on a trip, I want to see much more than the device propelling me forward. In crime books, the vehicle is always the crime, but I want that felonious little engine to also propel me through realms where I become more explorer than passenger, where I’ve entered marvelous and unexpected worlds that become characters in themselves. It almost doesn’t matter what that world is, whether it’s 19th-century Chicago architecture, bitcoin cartels or octopus linguistics. As long as it’s well-researched and rendered with depth, precision, and passion, your ticket to a crime gets you at least two books, or even genres, for one!

Jason's book list on crime books that explode into larger worlds

Jason Kersten Why did Jason love this book?

Erik Larson is known for his masterful ability to combine meticulous research with rich prose to breathe life into history. This book, with intersecting narratives of a serial killer and a brilliant architect set at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, painted such a living picture for me that I still felt stuck to the canvas even when I wasn’t reading.

I learned about astonishing true events and characters I barely knew existed. The contrast between the great inventors on the grand stage of the fair and the killer haunting its shadow was superbly done.

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

20 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…


Book cover of In Cold Blood

Peggy Webb Author Of Black Crow Cabin

From my list on books about crime that transcend the genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a small farm in Mississippi and discovered the wide world through a movable feast of books provided by the Bookmobile. The hayloft was my favorite reading spot. I could look across the lake to imagine myself in WWII Paris, the frozen tundras of Alaska, or anywhere beyond the pastures where Daddy’s cattle grazed. I fell in love with words when I was eight years old, a dreamer spinning stories inspired by the ones I read between the covers of my beloved books. I still love words and hear their music as they flow onto the pages of the thrillers I currently write.

Peggy's book list on books about crime that transcend the genre

Peggy Webb Why did Peggy love this book?

I was first drawn to Capote’s book because it’s an amazing hybrid—a page-turning, true crime story about the Clutter family murders in Kansas that reads like fiction. Capote and I are both products of the Deep South, so I knew to expect lyrical writing and rich details, two elements I treasure in a novel.

When I drive from my home to visit my son in Florida, I go through Monroeville, Alabama, where Capote grew up next door to Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird), and I think of how she helped him interview friends of the victims and watched him almost lose his soul as he interviewed the killers.

Those interviews are the beating heart that sucked me into the story and ensured this novel would become a classic.  

By Truman Capote,

Why should I read it?

17 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…


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

Dianne DeMille Author Of Path of the Devil: Camino del Diablo

From my list on true crime and corruption.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

Dianne's book list on true crime and corruption

Dianne DeMille Why did Dianne love 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.

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…


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

Alan R. Warren Author Of Murder Times Six: The True Story of the Wells Gray Murders

From my list on covering the criminal justice system in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

When writing about true crime it is important for me to write about the victim’s lives before, during, and even after the crime happened. Unlike the rest of us, after the trial ends, their life continues dealing with the after-effects including parole hearings for the murderer. I've written 12 true crime books and I am the host and producer of the popular true crime history radio show House of Mystery on NBC news talk radio network throughout the U.S. & Canada. I am autistic and I have a master’s degree in Music from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a bachelor of Arts in Criminology from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. 

Alan's book list on covering the criminal justice system in America

Alan R. Warren Why did Alan love this book?

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.

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…


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

Jim Elledge Author Of An Angel in Sodom: Henry Gerber and the Birth of the Gay Rights Movement

From my list on gay history before Stonewall.

Why am I passionate about this?

In post-Roe America, gay people face the very real possibility of our rights being stripped from us, underscoring the importance of this adage: “Those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it.” That's why years ago, when I realize that many gay men were ignorant about gay history before Stonewall, I began editing anthologies of gay writings from the past. That led me to writing biographies and histories in which I explore gay men’s experiences, hoping my work shines a light on our forgotten past.

Jim's book list on gay history before Stonewall

Jim Elledge Why did Jim love this book?

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. 

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…


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

Kathryn Canavan Author Of Lincoln's Final Hours: Conspiracy, Terror, and the Assassination of America's Greatest President

From my list on true crime stories written by insiders and experts.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of my first newspaper jobs was as a crime writer, covering and discovering crime stories in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There's a lot of chaff among the wheat in the true crime genre. Some books are padded with the author's personal lives. Some have paper-thin plots. The books I've recommended are well-told, well-researched stories that are hard to put down.

Kathryn's book list on true crime stories written by insiders and experts

Kathryn Canavan Why did Kathryn love this book?

Michelle McNamara waded into a new area of criminal investigation—hive investigation.

McNamara, a crime writer, got crime buffs together online, each using specific talents to search for the burglar-kidnapper-murderer who terrorized Californians for 12 years. With their help and DNA from an ancestry website, police were able to arrest ex-cop Joseph DeAngelo.

He pled guilty to 13 counts of murder and kidnapping in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table. Prosecutors called DeAngelo a poster boy for the death penalty.

Mc Namara's dogged detective work helped nab him and she is credited with the appellation Golden State Killer.

By Michelle McNamara,

Why should I read it?

5 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…


Book cover of Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

Rob St. Clair Author Of Saving Stacy: The Untold Story of the Moody Massacre

From my list on true crime tragedies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Working as a prosecutor, trial lawyer for defendants, and as a magistrate, I’m always bothered by the misconception most people have of our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, cops are crooked, judges are corrupt, and witnesses lie on the stand. Not everyone, not every day, but more often than you would ever imagine. I write true crime books about cases where the underlying focus is on officials who are incompetent, derelict in their duties, or simply downright corrupt. The cases are always suspenseful, but justice is rarely served, and both the defendant and the public are the ones who lose.

Rob's book list on true crime tragedies

Rob St. Clair Why did Rob love this book?

After you read the book, you need to see Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood.

In the summer of 1969, in Los Angeles, a series of brutal, seemingly random murders captured headlines across America. A thin trail of circumstances eventually tied the Tate-LeBianca murders to Charles Manson, a would-be pop singer of small talent living in the desert with his "family" of devoted young women and men. What was the motivation behind such savagery?

The murders marked the end of the sixties and became an immediate symbol of the dark underside of that era. Vincent Bugliosi was the prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, and this book is his riveting account of how he built his case from what a defense attorney dismissed as only “two fingerprints and Vince Bugliosi.”

The meticulous detective work with which the story begins, the prosecutor’s view of a complex murder trial, the reconstruction of…

By Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Helter Skelter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1969, in Los Angeles, a series of brutal, seemingly random murders captured headlines across America. A famous actress (and her unborn child), an heiress to a coffee fortune, a supermarket owner and his wife were among the seven victims. A thin trail of circumstances eventually tied the Tate-LeBianca murders to Charles Manson, a would-be pop singer of small talent living in the desert with his "family" of devoted young women and men. What was his hold over them? And what was the motivation behind such savagery? In the public imagination, over time, the case assumed the…


Book cover of The Coroner's Lunch

P.L. Doss Author Of Enough Rope

From my list on forensic that are gruesome, but fascinating.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like Patrick in "Rubbernecker," I excelled at dissecting animals in high school and college biology labs. I was also preoccupied by death, specifically violent deaths, and the reasons why people did such horrible things. Perhaps it was because of the Perry Mason mysteries my father gave me when I had a bad case of insomnia at age thirteen. So when I saw my first autopsy while interning at the Fulton County ME's office in Atlanta during graduate school, I was riveted. And while I didn't become a pathologist, my career in the criminal justice field gave me a front-row seat to observe the sad, traumatic, and often violent ways in which disturbed individuals impact society.

P.L.'s book list on forensic that are gruesome, but fascinating

P.L. Doss Why did P.L. love this book?

And now for something completely different, set in the People's Republic of Laos in 1976.

Dr. Siri Paiboun, a former surgeon and socialist activist now old and disillusioned with the Communist Party, has become the country's only coroner. It's a job he hates, made worse by corrupt officials and a judge who tries to turn even blatant homicides into deaths from natural causes. And by the dead, who haunt his dreams. 

Aided only by his Thai nurse, Dtui, and his mentally-challenged morgue attendant, Geung, Siri must deal with the bodies of three men who weren't supposed to be found and the suspicious death of a senior official's wife. Both are political tightropes. As he teeters on them, Siri travels to an unfamiliar area where the people know him—but as the reincarnation of Yeh Ming, an ancient shaman.

Soon, he's having hallucinations that may, in fact, be very real. To save…

By Colin Cotterill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Laos in the year 1976, the monarchy has been deposed, and the Communist Pathet Lao have taken over. Most of the educated class has fled, but Dr Siri Paiboun, a Paris-trained doctor remains. And so this 72-year-old physician is appointed state coroner, despite having no training, equipment, experience or even inclination for the job. But the job's not that bad and Siri quickly settles into a routine of studying outdated medical texts, scrounging scarce supplies, and circumnavigating bureaucratic red tape to arrive at justice. The fact that the recently departed are prone to pay Siri the odd, unwanted nocturnal…


Book cover of The Silence of the Lambs

Peggy Webb Author Of Black Crow Cabin

From my list on books about crime that transcend the genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a small farm in Mississippi and discovered the wide world through a movable feast of books provided by the Bookmobile. The hayloft was my favorite reading spot. I could look across the lake to imagine myself in WWII Paris, the frozen tundras of Alaska, or anywhere beyond the pastures where Daddy’s cattle grazed. I fell in love with words when I was eight years old, a dreamer spinning stories inspired by the ones I read between the covers of my beloved books. I still love words and hear their music as they flow onto the pages of the thrillers I currently write.

Peggy's book list on books about crime that transcend the genre

Peggy Webb Why did Peggy love this book?

 When I find a book with wonderful, relatable characters, I’m hooked. Add a villain unlike any I’ve ever read, and I can’t put it down. Put me in the villain’s point of view, and I’ll lose sleep to find out why he’s so evil.

I raced through it the first time, then read it twice more to savor every detail. I even kept a record of how many points of view Harris used to make his story so spectacular!

He’s a splendid writer, and I always admire that. Silence of the Lambs is timeless, digs into the heart and soul of its characters, and is so well-written that it rises out of the thriller genre and ranks among the best books I’ve ever read.

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

19 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.


Book cover of I Am Pilgrim

Ephraim Author Of Requiem for Betrayal

From my list on international spy thrillers with cultural differences.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the early 70s I was a pop singer/recording artist in Paris with a dinner show at a restaurant/discotheque/bar called Jacky’s Far West Saloon. Located in the trendy Montparnasse area, it was popular with the US embassy personnel. As such, it was also a magnet for spooks looking to score contacts with the Americans. I witnessed a lot of intrigue there, some of it major, most of it minor, and developed a passion for international espionage. I also developed a passion for international finance and went on to author or co-author ten books and over a hundred journal articles on the subject.  

Ephraim's book list on international spy thrillers with cultural differences

Ephraim Why did Ephraim love this book?

This book is long and complicated. With an expansive plot that doesn’t overwhelm or convoluted.

One of its great strengths is the accurate depiction of investigative techniques. I especially enjoyed seeing how espionage has changed since the cold war. It also draws attention to the problem of dealing with adversaries willing to die for their cause.

I also appreciated the objective treatment of the Muslim community and some insights into the causes of Muslim extremism.

By Terry Hayes,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked I Am Pilgrim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The astonishing story of one man's breakneck race against time to save America from oblivion.
_______________
A FATHER PUBLICLY BEHEADED. Killed in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.
A YOUNG WOMAN DISCOVERED. All of her identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.

A SYRIAN BIOTECH EXPERT FOUND EYELESS. Dumped in a Damascus junkyard.

SMOULDERING HUMAN REMAINS. Abandoned on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.

PILGRIM. The codename for a man who doesn't exist. A man who must return from obscurity. The only man who can uncover a flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.
_____________

'The plot twists…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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