The best Ted Bundy books

4 authors have picked their favorite books about Ted Bundy and why they recommend each book.

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The Only Living Witness

By Hugh Aynesworth, Steven G. Michaud,

Book cover of The Only Living Witness: The true story of serial sex killer Ted Bundy

The Only Living Witness is a disturbing account of Ted Bundy’s murderous rampage across the United States in the ‘70s, his capture, and his prosecution. More than that, the authors provide an insight into Bundy’s intellect, motives, and much more by providing the reader with an inside look at how Bundy was interviewed prior to his execution and how they were able to glean details of the murders simply by the way they phrased certain questions to the killer. This is a must-read book for anyone fascinated by serial killers.

The Only Living Witness

By Hugh Aynesworth, Steven G. Michaud,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'This is the most complete self-portrait ever painted by a serial killer... as unique a document as Bundy was a killer. There are lessons in this book for everyone' ROY HAZELWOOD, FORMER FBI PROFILER

Charismatic. Articulate. Evil. Killer.

Two journalists with unprecedented direct access speak to Ted Bundy and those closest to him - friends and family.

What follows is a candid and chilling full account of the life and crimes of the most notorious serial killer in history.

What Bundy had to say in over 150 hours of face-to-face interviews is as relevant today as it was at the…


Who am I?

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?


I wrote...

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

What is my book about?

Killing Women is the true story of East Lansing serial killer Don Miller.  The criminal justice major from Michigan State University terrorized the mid-Michigan area in the late ‘70s and was only caught after raping a fourteen-year-old girl and trying to kill her and her thirteen-year-old brother.

Miller was given a plea deal in exchange for the locations of his victims’ bodies, and to this day, he only remains in prison for possessing a garrote in his prison dorm. In 2031, Miller will have served his time and be released into an unsuspecting population. In the words of Dr. Frank Ochberg, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at MSU, “Read it to brace for the day when Don Miller will return.”

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…


Who am I?

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. 


I wrote...

The Rotherham Trunk Murder: Uncovering an 80 Year Old Miscarriage of Justice

By Jeannette Hensby,

Book cover of The Rotherham Trunk Murder: Uncovering an 80 Year Old Miscarriage of Justice

What is my book about?

When I was about 9 years old my grandma told me about a murder committed by someone that she knew. In 2014 I found an account of the crime and was horrified to read that the man that they hanged, Andrew Bagley, was not the person that grandma had named as the murderer.

After devoting a double centre-page spread to the book, the Nottingham Post wrote: “In her fascinating first book, the author argues that Bagley was innocent. She examines the evidence in forensic detail, asks questions that should have been asked at the trial, exposes a scandalous cover-up at the London appeal court, and in the final chapters, points an accusing finger at the person she believes was the real murderer.”

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.…


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

Triangle True Crime Stories

By Cathy Pickens,

Book cover of Triangle True Crime Stories

What is my book about?

North Carolina's Triangle region is known for its universities, research facilities, and politics, but even in such a prosperous, diverse, modern environment, crime helps define the edges. These cases cover several decades of murder, fraud and betrayal. Read about the nation's largest prison escape and a couple of North Carolina's poisoners. From a civil rights-era clash of Old South and New and a suspected Cold War spy to new-tech sleuths and tales of diligent as well as discredited investigators, these stories will keep you entertained and aghast at the dark side of daily life. Writer Cathy Pickens brings a mystery writer’s eye to the region’s true crime. 

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…


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

Broken by Evil

By Jeri Fink, Donna Paltrowitz,

Book cover of Broken by Evil

What is my book about?

Haunted family trees, chilling photo insights, and twisted psychopaths fill the pages of my bone-chilling thriller. Spanning generations, the story follows the people (and psychopaths) surrounding young Joshua. Everyone is terrified of Joshua. No one understands his mind as he drowns cats, dissects squirrels, and burn dogs instead of playing with Legos. His mother struggles to cover it up. The Senator watches with amusement.

Where does this innocent-looking child come from and how does he control so many people? Where is he headed? Partially based on a true story, young Joshua is the ultimate evil.

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.


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

Devil in the Darkness: The True Story of Serial Killer Israel Keyes

By J.T. Hunter,

Book cover of Devil in the Darkness: The True Story of Serial Killer Israel Keyes

What is my book about?

JT Hunter began researching serial killer Israel Keyes in 2014. He spent the next two years interviewing witnesses, reviewing police files, studying videotaped interrogations of Keyes, and visiting the sites where Keyes committed his crimes. He also obtained the transcript of an interrogation of Keyes that federal authorities tried to keep secret.

Although not as well known to the public as past killers such as Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer, the serial killer chronicled in these pages was just as calculating, cruel, and cunning. This is the first detailed account of Israel Keyes and his terrible crimes, a monster who was arguably the most methodical killer in the modern age.

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.…


Who am I?

I picked up my first book about Jack the Ripper the summer after college and never looked back. Since then my collection of true crime has grown to overflow my office bookshelves and I’ve written a PhD dissertation and multiple books about true crime, focusing on serial killers. The genre is so much more than Bundy, Gacy, and Dahmer and I love talking with people about the less mainstream cases that interest them, and the newer victim-centered approaches that—fingers crossed—mark a change in how we talk about criminals and victims.


I wrote...

Words of a Monster: Analyzing the Writings of H.H. Holmes, America's First Serial Killer

By Rebecca Frost,

Book cover of Words of a Monster: Analyzing the Writings of H.H. Holmes, America's First Serial Killer

What is my book about?

Decades before the term “serial killer” was coined, H.H. Holmes murdered dozens of people in his now-infamous Chicago “Murder Castle.” In his autobiography, Holmes struggled to define himself in the language of the late nineteenth century. As the “first”—or, as he labeled himself, “The Greatest Criminal of the Age”—he had no one to compare himself to, and no ready-made biographical structure to follow. Holmes was thus nearly able to invent himself from scratch. This book minutely inspects how Holmes represented himself in his writings and confessions. Although the legitimacy of Holmes’ accounts have been called into question, his biography mirrors the narrative structure of the true crime genre that emerged decades after his death.

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…


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

The Power of Ritual in Prehistory: Secret Societies and Origins of Social Complexity

By Brian D. Hayden,

Book cover of The Power of Ritual in Prehistory: Secret Societies and Origins of Social Complexity

What is my book about?

The Power of Ritual in Prehistory is the first book in nearly a century to deal with secret societies in traditional societies from a comparative perspective and the first to deal with secret societies from an archaeological perspective. It documents how secret societies worked, what motivated their organizers. what tactics they used to get what they wanted, and the kinds of material remains that they left in the archaeological record. The painted caves of the Ice Age were probably made and used by secret societies as well as monuments like Stonehenge. Hayden argues that these early secret societies were one of the key means of establishing political control that led to chiefdoms, states, and world religions. The conclusions will be eye-opening for many.

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