10 books like The Only Living Witness

By Steven G. Michaud, Hugh Aynesworth,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Only Living Witness. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Murder Times Six

By Alan R. Warren,

Book cover of Murder Times Six: The True Story of the Wells Gray Murders

Simply put, I recently read Murder Times Six and was drawn to the parallels in my own book.  In Alan R. Warren’s book, he details the slaughter of six family members, the intense investigation, and the subsequent prosecution of the killer. Warren goes a step further by exploring the motivation behind the killer, and the possibility of his eventual release from prison.  

At the end of Murder Times Six, the reader is left with the ultimate question. Should a killer be released from prison? It’s a heartbreaking story, but it’s also a must-read. “He is the monster under the bed that we all fear, and in any good ending, that monster must be kept locked up."

Murder Times Six

By Alan R. Warren,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Murder Times Six as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was a crime unlike anything seen in British Columbia. The horror of the "Wells Gray Murders" almost forty years ago transcends decades.

On August 2, 1982, three generations of a family set out on a camping trip - Bob and Jackie Johnson, their two daughters, Janet, 13 and Karen, 11, and Jackie's parents, George and Edith Bentley. A month later, the Johnson family car was found off a mountainside logging road near Wells Gray Park completely burned out. In the back seat were the incinerated remains of four adults, and in the trunk were the two girls.

But this…


And the Dead Shall Rise

By Steve Oney,

Book cover of And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank

This book is absolutely fascinating to me. When I write, I strive to include painstakingly detailed accounts of the crimes that were never known to the general public, and this book goes into every minute detail regarding the 1913 murder of thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan in Atlanta, Georgia. Mary’s body was discovered in the basement of Atlanta’s National Pencil Factory, and it culminated in the conviction and death sentence of Leo Frank. Frank’s death sentence was commuted, but he was ultimately kidnapped and lynched two months after the commutation.  I considered this a powerful example of investigative journalism with largely unknown details.  It’s a gripping account of a time period in this nation’s history that could best be forgotten.

And the Dead Shall Rise

By Steve Oney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked And the Dead Shall Rise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On April 27, 1913, the bludgeoned body of thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan was discovered in the basement of Atlanta’s National Pencil Factory. The girl’s murder would be the catalyst for an epic saga that to this day holds a singular place in America’s collective imagination—a saga that would climax in 1915 with the lynching of Leo Frank, the Cornell-educated Jew who was convicted of the murder. The case has been the subject of novels, plays, movies and even musicals, but only now, with the publication of And the Dead Shall Rise, do we have an account that does full justice to…


The Onion Field

By Joseph Wambaugh,

Book cover of The Onion Field

As a high school senior planning a career in law enforcement, I was mesmerized by Joseph Wambaugh’s account of the kidnapping of two Los Angeles police officers in 1963, and the murder of one of them.  Wambaugh unsympathetically details the stories of the two men convicted in the case, while at the same time humanizing the officer who survived and suffered from humiliation and guilt again and again throughout seven years of court proceedings against the men who kidnapped him and murdered his partner. The courtroom dialogue is verbatim, and to me, that leads to a feeling that the reader is actually there watching the proceedings. Wambaugh is a superb writer, and I consider this book is another must-read.

The Onion Field

By Joseph Wambaugh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A fascinating account of a double tragedy: one physical, the other psychological.”—Truman Capote

This is the frighteningly true story of two young cops and two young robbers whose separate destinies fatally cross one March night in a bizarre execution in a deserted Los Angeles field.

“A complex story of tragic proportions . . . more ambitious than In Cold Blood and equally compelling!”—The New York Times

“Once the action begins it is difficult to put the book down. . . . Wambaugh’s compelling account of this true story is destined for the bestseller lists.”—Library Journal


Leopold & Loeb Killed Bobby Franks

By Elizabeth Mackey, Ken Rossignol, Bruce M. Caplan

Book cover of Leopold & Loeb Killed Bobby Franks

In 1924, fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks was kidnapped and murdered by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two highly intelligent college students who felt they were above the law. Attention to detail is what kept my interest in Leopold and Loeb. It starts with the two men planning the kidnapping, the murder, and their eventual arrest. The techniques used to garner confessions are highlighted, and reading about the legendary Clarence Darrow, who defended the killers, was fascinating. This is another great true-crime read that delves into Leopold’s complete lack of emotion regarding the killing.  Caplan has done an outstanding job detailing this tragic case.

Leopold & Loeb Killed Bobby Franks

By Elizabeth Mackey, Ken Rossignol, Bruce M. Caplan

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leopold & Loeb Killed Bobby Franks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most sensational crimes of the twentieth century took place when two wealthy young men decided to commit the perfect crime. Travel back in time to learn of how they planned their dastardly deed. From the carefully laid out plans for ransom and the brutal murder of a young boy, these two young men chose path which weaved through the Cook County courtroom with America's most famous attorney who slipped them off the hangman's gallows into prison for life. With all the details of today's modern documentaries the very words of the killers themselves will spellbind the reader…


The Stranger Beside Me

By Ann Rule,

Book cover of The Stranger Beside Me: The Shocking Inside Story of Serial Killer Ted Bundy

In the early 1970s true crime writer Ann Rule discovered that the close friend she had been working with for several years was in fact the serial killer Ted Bundy. As a caring person she must have been completely shocked and horrified, but she would know at some level deep inside her that as a true crime writer she had been given a unique gift: the opportunity to write about a terrible crime from a very personal perspective. I was given the same “gift” when in 2014 I found an account of a murder that my grandma told me about many years ago, and I uncovered a miscarriage of justice. This led to me writing my first book and the rest as they say “is history”—I started a whole new career as a true crime writer. 

The Stranger Beside Me

By Ann Rule,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1971, while working the late-shift at a Seattle crisis clinic, true-crime writer Ann Rule struck up a friendship with a sensitive, charismatic young coworker: Ted Bundy. Three years later, eight young women disappeared in seven months, and Rule began tracking a brutal mass murderer. But she had no idea that the "Ted" the police were seeking was the same Ted who had become her close friend and confidant. As she put the evidence together, a terrifying picture emerged of the man she thought she knew-his magnetic power, his bleak compulsion, his double life, and, most of all, his string…


Whoever Fights Monsters

By Robert K. Ressler, Tom Shachtman,

Book cover of Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI

Written by one of the founding fathers of the FBI’s vaunted Behavioral Sciences Unit, this book covers an amazing array of cases that he worked, including those of Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Edmund Kemper, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Richard Trenton Chase (and even the lesser-known John Crutchley). Full of great details from the perspective of a veteran serial killer expert, this book belongs on any serious true crime aficionado’s bookshelf. 

Whoever Fights Monsters

By Robert K. Ressler, Tom Shachtman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Whoever Fights Monsters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author of this book played a major part in the FBI's development of psychological profiles for serial killers, he even invented the term "serial killer". Whilst Thomas Harris made Ressler's work famous in fiction, Ressler did it for real. His work in the Behavioural Science Unit led him to meet some of the most notorious criminals of the 20th century - Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy and many more. In this book, Ressler describes the process of catching these men.


Killing For Company

By Brian Masters,

Book cover of Killing For Company

Denis Nilsen was arrested in 1983 because of the body parts found in his flat and then, in the car on the way to the police station, he confessed to more than a dozen murders. He had worked as a police officer himself and set about telling his story as clearly as he could manage it, dismissing his lawyer when Nilsen thought he was interfering. Nilsen, like the more popular Ted Bundy, liked talking, and one of the people he liked talking to was Brian Masters, whom he picked to write his biography. Masters negotiates Nilsen’s troubled life with his own reactions to the murders and to Nilsen himself. This is the book that inspired the miniseries Des, with David Tennant giving a very unsettling performance as Nilsen.

Killing For Company

By Brian Masters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The definitive story of the Dennis Nilsen case featured in BBC's The Nilsen Tapes, and the book behind ITV's Des, starring David Tennant

***WINNER OF THE GOLD DAGGER AWARD FOR CRIME NON-FICTION and THE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER***
__________________
Dennis Nilsen, who died in May 2018, admitted to killing at least 15 people before his arrest in 1983. This ground-breaking criminal study of his killings was written with Nilsen's full cooperation, resulting in a fascinating - and horrifying - portrait of the man who worshipped death.

In February 1983, residents of Muswell Hill had been plagued by blocked drains.…


The Whole Truth

By Nancy Pickard,

Book cover of The Whole Truth

Nancy Pickard is one of my favorite authors, starting with her Jenny Cain series. The Whole Truth, featuring true-crime writer Marie Lightfoot, was a shift for her. The novel simultaneously follows Marie as she researches the case of a dangerous serial killer and as she writes about it, which gives an interesting insight into the difficulties of living in a world where crime is real.

The Whole Truth

By Nancy Pickard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Nancy Pickard pushes at the presumed limits of [crime fiction]" said the Los Angeles Times Book Review, praising the award-winning creator of the Jenny Cain mysteries. Now, Pickard blurs the line between fiction and reality in a novel of gripping intensity, and premieres a superb new heroine: true-crime author Marie Lightfoot. For her next surefire bestseller, Marie is covering the trial of a Florida killer -- a case that penetrates her own life, layer by disturbing layer.

Whether real like Ted Bundy, or imagined like Hannibal Lecter, few killers of our time are in the same league as Raymond Raintree.…


The Wisdom of Psychopaths

By Kevin Dutton,

Book cover of The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us about Success

I believe that mental health lies on a spectrum – a range of symptoms. Dr. Dutton explores the psychopathic spectrum – from serial killers to “functional” ones who live, work, and play among us. He maintains that we all have psychopathic tendencies in different amounts. He bases his ideas on the Psychopathic Checklist and the Psychopathic Personality Inventory as well as the latest research. This comes at a time when society, politics, and culture increasingly reward psychopathic behaviors by giving them what they crave – power, fame, and money. It helps readers fully understand the range and muscle of psychopaths.

The Wisdom of Psychopaths

By Kevin Dutton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A surprising, absorbing and perceptive book. I found it altogether fascinating' PHILIP PULLMAN
______________________________________________________

Psychopath. No sooner is the word out than images of murderers, rapists, suicide bombers and gangsters flash across our minds.

But unlike their film and television counterparts, not all psychopaths are violent, or even criminal. Far from it. In fact, they have a lot of good things going for them. Psychopaths are fearless, confident, charismatic, ruthless and focused - qualities tailor-made for success in twenty-first-century society.

In this groundbreaking adventure into the world of psychopaths, renowned psychologist Kevin Dutton reveals a shocking truth: beneath the hype…


Without Conscience

By Robert D. Hare,

Book cover of Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

Robert Hare is a world authority on psychopaths and sociopaths. He explains how they avidly pursue their own self-interests and totally disregard the impacts on others. Psychopaths can be extremely personable, but they are very manipulative and totally lack empathy for others. They occur in all societies and gravitate to positions of control, power, and wealth in both business and politics. They relentlessly push for changes in society that benefit them the most. What I found most eye-opening and exciting about this book is that it helps explain many of the cultural developments in prehistory, including traditional secret societies, the leaders of which seem to fit Hare's descriptions to a remarkable degree. I use his insights extensively in the analyses in my own book.

Without Conscience

By Robert D. Hare,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Without Conscience as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath. Individuals with this personality disorder are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong, yet they are terrifyingly self-centered, remorseless, and unable to care about the feelings of others. Perhaps most frightening, they often seem completely normal to unsuspecting targets--and they do…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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