75 books like The Only Living Witness

By Steven G. Michaud, Hugh Aynesworth,

Here are 75 books that The Only Living Witness fans have personally recommended if you like The Only Living Witness. 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 Murder Times Six: The True Story of the Wells Gray Murders

Rod Sadler Author Of Killing Women: The True Story of Serial Killer Don Miller's Reign of Terror

From my list on killers.

Why am I passionate about this?

The one thing you’ll find in common about the books I recommend and the books I write is the attention to detail. As a retired police officer, I know that it was often the smallest of details that helped solve a crime. In my books, you’ll find an inordinate amount of information that was never known to the public, and I think that’s what truly holds a reader’s interest. Killing Women is the true story of serial killer Don Miller, and you’ll be abhorred at what he did to his victims. Are you ready for his release in 2031?

Rod's book list on killers

Rod Sadler Why did Rod love this book?

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."

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…


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

Rod Sadler Author Of Killing Women: The True Story of Serial Killer Don Miller's Reign of Terror

From my list on killers.

Why am I passionate about this?

The one thing you’ll find in common about the books I recommend and the books I write is the attention to detail. As a retired police officer, I know that it was often the smallest of details that helped solve a crime. In my books, you’ll find an inordinate amount of information that was never known to the public, and I think that’s what truly holds a reader’s interest. Killing Women is the true story of serial killer Don Miller, and you’ll be abhorred at what he did to his victims. Are you ready for his release in 2031?

Rod's book list on killers

Rod Sadler Why did Rod love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of The Onion Field

Rod Sadler Author Of Killing Women: The True Story of Serial Killer Don Miller's Reign of Terror

From my list on killers.

Why am I passionate about this?

The one thing you’ll find in common about the books I recommend and the books I write is the attention to detail. As a retired police officer, I know that it was often the smallest of details that helped solve a crime. In my books, you’ll find an inordinate amount of information that was never known to the public, and I think that’s what truly holds a reader’s interest. Killing Women is the true story of serial killer Don Miller, and you’ll be abhorred at what he did to his victims. Are you ready for his release in 2031?

Rod's book list on killers

Rod Sadler Why did Rod love this book?

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.

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


Book cover of Leopold & Loeb Killed Bobby Franks

Rod Sadler Author Of Killing Women: The True Story of Serial Killer Don Miller's Reign of Terror

From my list on killers.

Why am I passionate about this?

The one thing you’ll find in common about the books I recommend and the books I write is the attention to detail. As a retired police officer, I know that it was often the smallest of details that helped solve a crime. In my books, you’ll find an inordinate amount of information that was never known to the public, and I think that’s what truly holds a reader’s interest. Killing Women is the true story of serial killer Don Miller, and you’ll be abhorred at what he did to his victims. Are you ready for his release in 2031?

Rod's book list on killers

Rod Sadler Why did Rod love this book?

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.

By Ken Rossignol, Bruce M. Caplan, Elizabeth Mackey

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…


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

Jeannette Hensby Author Of The Rotherham Trunk Murder: Uncovering an 80 Year Old Miscarriage of Justice

From my list on true murder junkies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by true murder cases ever since I started reading about them when I was sixteen years old. They draw on all your senses and emotions: your curiosity about the psychology behind the killer’s actions and your horror and sympathy for the victims, their families, and the families of the killers because they suffer too. As a writer I am particularly drawn to apparent miscarriages of justice and I think there must be a secret detective hidden deep in my soul because I love to delve and investigate these. I wrote my first book after retiring from my long career in Social Services and Mental Health Services. 

Jeannette's book list on true murder junkies

Jeannette Hensby Why did Jeannette love this book?

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. 

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…


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

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?

I learned so much from reading this book by the bureau's pioneering profiler.

Books by profilers and local police who solve major murders often focus on the author's career. No one cares. Douglas's books focus on the crimes and the perpetrators.

He has interviewed Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz, Lynette Fromme, John Wayne Gacy, Edmund Kemper, Sirhan Sirhan, Richard Speck, Sara Jane Moore, and Charles Manson. He explains what makes them tick.

By Mark Olshaker, John E. Douglas,

Why should I read it?

4 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…


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

J.T. Hunter Author Of Devil in the Darkness: The True Story of Serial Killer Israel Keyes

From my list on true crime and the dark side of human nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by the dark side of human nature and the socio-psychological aspects of criminal behavior, especially those of serial killers, and my legal training and experience afforded me apt tools for exploring and writing about true crime. I have been interviewed and appeared on a wide range of podcasts, radio, and TV shows about true crime for nearly a decade.

J.T.'s book list on true crime and the dark side of human nature

J.T. Hunter Why did J.T. love this book?

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. 

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.


Book cover of The Whole Truth

Cathy Pickens Author Of Triangle True Crime Stories

From my list on for people who think they don’t like true crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I started writing mysteries, beginning with St. Martin’s Malice Award-winning Southern Fried, I wanted to get the medical, investigative, and courtroom details right. What better resource than good first-hand accounts from professionals who do those things every day? I love traditional, play-fair mysteries and the puzzles they present. But I also love writers who get the technical details right while also writing engaging novels I can get lost in. Nothing better than curling up with a good mystery.

Cathy's book list on for people who think they don’t like true crime

Cathy Pickens Why did Cathy love this book?

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.

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.…


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

Jeri Fink Author Of Broken by Evil

From my list on psychopaths.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a family therapist and author with a lot of experience in psychopathic behavior. Psychopathy falls on a spectrum – from a few traits to the extreme (serial killer) and everything in-between. Studies have shown that strong psychopathic behavior is common in our leaders – political, religious, business, and cultural. There’s also the psychopath “next door” – people we work, play, and live with. As an author, therapist, and researcher, I’m passionate about the subject – constantly examining psychopathic behaviors. I hope you enjoy my Broken Books Series which features different types of psychopaths in both the present and past, and my booklist that explores this fascinating subject.

Jeri's book list on psychopaths

Jeri Fink Why did Jeri love this book?

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.

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…


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

Brian D. Hayden Author Of The Power of Ritual in Prehistory: Secret Societies and Origins of Social Complexity

From my list on secret societies in traditional cultures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first became intrigued by secret societies when a student who I worked with suggested that the French Upper Paleolithic painted caves might have been decorated and used by secret societies. I subsequently enlisted another student to study the spatial use of the paintings from this perspective. Combined with the observations of Robert Hare on the motivations of psychopaths and sociopaths to control others, I realized that secret societies plausibly constituted powerful forces promoting certain cultural changes that appeared later and continued into our own modern societies. I found the prospects for understanding our own cultures fascinating and wanted to document how this all came about in my own book.

Brian's book list on secret societies in traditional cultures

Brian D. Hayden Why did Brian love this book?

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.

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…


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