The 13 Best True Crime Books to Devour

The definition of page-turners.

true crime books
(Image credit: Morgan McMullen/Courtesy)

If you're the type to cope with daily anxieties and stress by burying your head in a pile of riveting true crime stories—the devil you know, as they say—then do we have just the reading list for you. 

Women have been shown to be more drawn to true crime stories than men, according to researchers Amanda M. Vicary and R. Chris Fraley. In their 2010 study, they looked at online book reviews and learned that men were more likely to choose books about gang violence or war, while women were drawn to gruesome stories of crime—even when those books involved women being kidnapped, rated, tortured, and/or killed.

One reason for this: By reading about these crimes and investigating the psychology of a criminal, we may hope that on some level we'll get clues on how to protect ourselves. The study by Vicary and Fraley concluded: "Women, more so than men, were drawn to the book that contained tips on how to defend oneself from an attacker. It appears that the potential to learn defense tactics from these stories is one factor that draws women, more so than men, to true crime books." So if an immersion in true crime lit makes us feel a little bit braver or a little bit more prepared, then have at it. I'll be here reading this list of the best true crime books of the past decade. 

Maria Ricapito

Maria Ricapito is a writer who lives in the Hudson Valley.