5 Fascinating True-Crime Books Set in NYC

You powered through every episode of Dirty John and never met a Law & Order marathon you didn’t like. But you could use some fresh blood (sorry) to fuel your fascination with the illicit. We asked the intrigue-loving folks at The Mysterious Bookshop to select a few of their favorite real-life stories that take place in NYC. Read on for your next page-turner. 

8 New York Memoirs We Couldn’t Put Down

incendiary list
Cover: Minotaur Books/Background: Songquan Deng/Getty Images

incendiary By Michael Cannell

In the 1940s and ’50s, a string of explosions rocked Grand Central Terminal, Radio City Music Hall and other public spaces. It was the work of an anonymous terrorist who became known as the Mad Bomber. Cannell details not only the terrible crimes themselves, but also the way they changed police investigations forever, with a then little-known technique called criminal profiling.

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mrs sherlock holmes list
Cover: St. Martin's Press/Background: Songquan Deng/Getty Images

mrs. Sherlock Holmes By Brad Ricca

Meet your new historical idol: Grace Humiston, a turn-of-the-century detective and lawyer who championed low-income immigrant clients, became the first female U.S. District Attorney and solved the case of a missing girl that had left the NYPD stumped. (She also had a penchant for wearing all black, further proof that we would’ve been best friends.) 

the westies list
Cover: St. Martin's Griffin/Background: Songquan Deng/Getty Images

the Westies By T.j. English

Hell’s Kitchen today might be home to pre-theater restaurants and brand-new high-rises, but in the 1970s it was the domain of the Irish mob. Prolific crime reporter English delves into the brutally violent reign of two men, Jimmy Coonan and Mickey Featherstone, and the politics and betrayal that eventually brought them down. 

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lost girls list
Cover: Harper Perennial/Background: Songquan Deng/Getty Images

lost Girls By Robert Kolker

A haunting account of a still-unsolved case, Lost Girls unravels the stories behind the mysterious deaths of five women on Long Island between 2009 and 2010 and the ensuing hunt for a serial killer. What makes Kolker’s narrative so compelling is his focus on the victims as three-dimensional people—and the ways society might have failed them.

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gaspipe list
Cover: HarperCollins/Background: Songquan Deng/Getty Images

gaspipe By Philip Carlo

Looking for something to fill the Sopranos-shaped hole in your heart? This gripping chronicle of notorious Mafia boss Anthony “Gaspipe” Lucchese—from bank robberies to his feud with John Gotti—should do the trick.


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From 2016-2019 Carolyn Kuang-chen Stanley held the role of Editor covering food, travel and all things nyc.