15 True Crime Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2019
You have a first edition Helter Skelter and your response to someone suggesting you read The Devil in the White City is, “Honey, been there, done that.” It’s time to re-up your true crime fix. Here, 15 page-turners to add to your shopping cart now, before they even come out.
Burned: A Story of Murder and The Crime That Wasn’t by Edward Humes (Out Now)
After her three children die in a 1989 house fire from which she escaped, Jo Ann Parks is sentenced to life in prison for their murders. Decades later, the California Innocence Project seeks her exoneration after new discoveries in fire science could prove her innocence.
Unsolved Murders by Amber Hunt and Emily G. Thompson (Feb. 5)
This book takes an in-depth look at the facts and figures surrounding the most notorious unsolved murder cases in history, leaving you to judge for yourself who (could’ve) dunnit.
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe (Feb. 26)
This devastating account examines The Troubles, a barbarous time in Northern Ireland’s history, through the lens of an abduction that left a mother of ten dead, her body missing for 30 years.
An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago by Alex Kotlowitz (Mar. 5)
Best-selling author Alex Kotlowitz spent a summer in Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods talking to people who’ve committed, witnessed and been affected by murder. The result is a compassionate, gripping and intimate portrait of a city and its residents.
The Mastermind: Drugs. Empire. Murder. Betrayal. by Evan Ratliff (Mar. 5)
If the title doesn’t get you, consider this: DEA agents spent a decade trying to take down a massive internet-driven drug cartel that spanned the globe and the evasive man running it from a laptop in the Philippines.
The Stole Him Out of Jail: Willie Earle, South Carolina’s Last Lynching Victim by William B. Gravely (Mar. 10)
Meticulously researched, this book covers the inaccuracies recorded and mistakes made during the trial that acquitted 31 white men of murdering a black man in 1947. Though the story is more than half a century old, its relevance to today’s problematic prison system is clear as day.
The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson (Mar. 12)
After 20 years of researching legal transcripts, newspaper articles and letters from the suspected murderer herself, Cara Robertson presents a new, detailed account of the Borden killings that continue to scandalize America after more than a century.
Murder by the Book: The Crime That Shocked Dickens’s London by Claire Harman (Mar. 26)
In this unusual true crime account, Claire Harman examines the 1840 murder of a London socialite and the novel with which his murderer defended himself. A perfect match for lovers of both true crime and literature.
Dead in the Water: My Forty-Year Search for My Brother’s Killer by Penny Farmer (Apr. 2)
After Chris Farmer and his girlfriend were found dead off the coast of Guatemala in 1978, his family used the FBI, Interpol, police and, finally, Facebook, to track down the suspected murderer, a man who turned out to be a terrifying serial killer.
The Last Stone by Mark Bowden (Apr. 2)
As told by the reporter who first covered the case in 1975, this book recounts the abduction of two girls in Washington, D.C., the cold case detective who discovered a missing link decades later and the chilling mind of a pathological liar.
The Lazarus Files: A Cold Case Investigation by Matthew McGough (Apr. 30)
Two LAPD detectives use DNA evidence to solve a 1986 murder originally thought to have been a burglary gone wrong. Instead, they wind up interrogating one of their own. (There’s an excellent Vanity Fair article on this case if you want to know more.)
The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont by Shawn Levy (May 7)
This piece of non-fiction is a seductive and outrageous account of the notorious Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood, covering infamous affairs, untold scandals and everything in between.
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep (May 7)
After writing To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee traveled south to cover the trial of a vigilante killer accused of murdering a preacher who had himself been acquitted of killing five of his own family members. Casey Cep finishes what Lee started, and then some.
Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom by Katherine Eban (May 14)
It’s not your typical true crime read, but this truly criminal account of false data, bold-faced lies and accounts from whistleblowers puts the world of generic drug manufacturing under the microscope, revealing a dangerous system where anything goes if it yields a profit.
No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us by Rachel Louise Snyder (May 14)
Violence without context is difficult to understand. Journalist Rachel Louise Snyder digs deep into what the World Health Organization declared a “global epidemic,” detailing what domestic violence does—and doesn’t—look like and why society needs to confront it head-on.