It seems like everyone is obsessing over all things true crime lately — from binging Making a Murderer on Netflix, to tuning in to the latest S-Town podcast. But true crime has long found a home in novels, where at times reality can seem stranger than fiction.
Whether it’s the true story of a black man infiltrating the KKK (recently adapted into Spike Lee’s latest film, BlacKkKlansman,) or a memoir about working alongside a serial killer at large, here are the top true crime novels of all time:
James St. James’s memoir relives his days as a club kid in the 1990s, and how that led him to become the close confidant of Michael Alig, a man convicted of killing a drug dealer known as Angel in 1996. St. James brings you into the heyday of the New York City club scene marked by drugs, sex, music and mayhem that fueled an environment where nothing was too outrageous — not even murder.
In 1956, four members of the Clutter family, who owned a farm in Kansas, were shot to death in their home. In Cold Blood weaves together the stories of the murderers and the investigators hunting them with interviews with those who knew the victims and the killers. The novel is a true crime classic — it was researched by award-winning novelists Truman Capote and Harper Lee, and its ability to bring every detail of the crime to life revolutionized the true crime novel genre when it was released. Despite the criticism the book has received for adding “color” to some of the factual details to make the book a smoother read, In Cold Blood remains a staple on the book shelves of many true crime enthusiasts.
When James Ellroy was 10 years old, his mother was murdered. Although at the time he wouldn’t even admit to liking his mother, the murder weighed heavily on his mind — eventually leading him to drug and alcohol abuse that served as an escape from the pressing need to know who his mother really was. My Dark Places mixes the hard-hitting chronicles of an unsolved mystery with deeply personal confessions, as Ellroy grapples with the impact his mother’s murder had on him.
In the 1970s, aspiring crime novelist Ann Rule worked at a suicide hotline with Ted Bundy — a man she would soon consider a friend. It was this friendship that allowed Rule to gain insight on the serial killer’s inner psyche and life during the period of his conviction, trial and execution for the murders of 30 women (though Bundy confessed to the 30 murders, investigators say the number of victims could be much higher). In The Stranger Beside Me, Rule combines her own personal observations …read more
Source:: Time – Entertainment