Obsessed: True Crime Books The ID Office Can't Get Enough Of

Whether devouring them on an e-reader or toting around an analog paperback, we never tire of reading true crime. A poll of the Investigation Discovery office resulted in this list of our top 10 titles. Enjoy!

August 09, 2019
By: Christine Colby

Photo By: The Stranger Beside Me cover art [Pocket Books/Amazon]

Photo By: I'll Be Gone in the Dark cover art [Harper Collins]

Photo By: Devil's Knot cover art [Atria Books/Amazon]

Photo By: In Cold Blood cover art [Random House/Barnes and Noble]

Photo By: The Psychopath Whisperer cover art [Broadway Books/Amazon]

Photo By: Edward Gein cover art [St. Martins Press/Amazon]

Photo By: The Ultimate Evil cover art [Bantam Books/Amazon]

Photo By: The Devil in the White City cover art [Vintage/Amazon]

Photo By: The Real Lolita cover art [Harper Collins]

Photo By: My Son the Killer cover art [Wild Blue Press]

The Stranger Beside Me: The Shocking Inside Story of Serial Killer Ted Bundy by Ann Rule

WHERE TO FIND IT: Amazon.com

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Legendary true crime author Ann Rule writes about Ted Bundy from her perspective of someone who knew him and called him a friend.

WHY WE'RE OBSESSED: This story is so insane! Rule worked side by side with Bundy, volunteering at a suicide and crisis hotline from 1971 to 1973. They became close friends, and she liked and respected him. She reveals her reluctance to believe that her friend could be a merciless serial killer, even as authorities closed in on him and he was arrested and charged, and during his escapes from prison.

For more on Ted Bundy, watch the Investigation Discovery series Serial Thriller on ID GO now!

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

WHERE TO FIND IT: HarperCollins.com

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Late true crime journalist Michelle McNamara details her obsession with the at the time unsolved Golden State Killer case.

WHY WE'RE OBSESSED: It's hard not to be taken in by the tragedy of the situation. McNamara passed away about two-thirds of the way through writing this book. In honor of her life and dedication to the case, her husband, Patton Oswalt; writer Paul Haynes; and investigator Billy Jensen collectively used her notes and finished her book for her. Additionally, almost two years after McNamara passed away, the Golden State Killer suspect, Joseph DeAngelo, was identified and arrested.

For more on this case, watch the "Golden State Killer Caught" episode of Investigation Discovery's People Magazine Investigates on ID GO now!

Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three by Mara Leveritt

WHERE TO FIND IT: Amazon.com

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The 1993 murders of three eight-year-old boys devastated the small community of West Memphis, Arkansas. But when three teenagers — Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley — were convicted of the horrifying crimes, justice seemed to have prevailed. But these convictions, that many believe were incorrect and based on anxieties around Satanic Panic, proved to be controversial.

WHY WE'RE OBSESSED: The infamous West Memphis Three case proved to fascinate the nation. The high-profile coverage by films and celebrity support for the convicted men perhaps contributed to the release by Alford Plea of Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley in 2011 — after serving 18 years on Death Row.

For more on this case, watch the "West Memphis Three" episode of Investigation Discovery's True Crime With Aphrodite Jones on ID GO now!

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

WHERE TO FIND IT: BarnesAndNoble.com

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In 1959, four members of the Clutter family, in Holcomb, Kansas, were brutally and senselessly slaughtered in a home invasion. Recently paroled ex-cons Dick Hickock and Perry Smith were found guilty and executed by hanging.

WHY WE'RE OBSESSED: In Cold Blood is perhaps not the truest true crime story, as author Capote referred to it as a "nonfiction novel," but it might the most influential. It's sometimes described as a pioneering work in the genre of true crime, or even as the first true crime book.

For more on this case, watch the "Once Upon A Crime" episode of Investigation Discovery's A Crime To Remember on ID GO now!

The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience by Kent A. Kiehl, PhD

WHERE TO FIND IT: Amazon.com

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Dr. Kent Kiehl, a neuroscientist, has been studying psychopathy for 20 years in an effort to learn what creates a criminal such as Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy. He's developed a test, a checklist, to determine if someone is a psychopath. During the course of his research, he's scanned the brains of thousands of psychopaths and other offenders.

WHY WE'RE OBSESSED: Keihl's test looks for traits such as grandiosity, lying, lack of empathy, and lack of remorse. Don't you want to take the test yourself?

Edward Gein: America's Most Bizarre Murderer by Judge Robert H. Gollmar

WHERE TO FIND IT: Amazon.com

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: It's the shocking story of Wisconsin's grave-robbing murderer and ghoul Ed Gein — "the Butcher of Plainfield." Written from the point of view of the actual Judge of Gein's trial, this book is full of first-person accounts, information from legal documents, and court transcripts. It also contains crime-scene photos you may wish you could unsee after looking at them.

WHY WE'RE OBSESSED: This story would be unbelievable now, let alone when it happened, in the mid 1950s. Gein's crimes have inspired many fictional horror stories, such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Psycho, and Silence of the Lambs.

For more on Ed Gein, watch the "Grieving Process" episode of Investigation Discovery's True Nightmares on ID GO now!

The Ultimate Evil by Maury Terry

WHERE TO FIND IT: Amazon.com

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Journalist Maury Terry delves deep into the world of conspiracy theories linking the Son of Sam killings to Charles Manson, Satanic cults, and the esoteric Process Church of the Final Judgment. One of his most compelling opinions is that David Berkowitz didn't act alone as the .44 Caliber Killer.

WHY WE'RE OBSESSED: By the time you're done with the book, you'll find yourself believing every outlandish word — and obsessively talking to all of your friends about it.

For more on these theories, watch the Investigation Discovery special Son of Sam: The Satanic Cult Theory on ID GO now!

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

WHERE TO FIND IT: Amazon.com

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: This fits more into the category of "nonfiction novel" like In Cold Blood. It's not exactly true crime, but the real story of H. H. Holmes is a huge part of this historical tale of Chicago at the time of the 1893 World's Fair. Holmes is known for his elaborate "Murder Castle" that he designed, and for being either a prolific serial killer, an incredible con man, or both.

WHY WE'RE OBSESSED: Larson's writing is so good that he has us just as interested in the political machinations among World's Fair architects as in the dastardly deeds of Holmes. Also, this is a must-read before the long-awaited Leonardo DiCaprio adaptation of the story.

For more about H. H. Holmes, watch Investigation Discovery's The Murder Castle on ID GO now!

The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman

WHERE TO FIND IT: HarperCollins.com

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The "Lolita" story is famous because of Vladimir Nabokov’s classic novel of the same name. In Nabokov's tale, middle-aged Humbert Humbert is obsessively in love with his 12-year-old stepdaughter. Gross. It turns out this disturbing story is based on a real true crime case, the 1948 abduction of an 11-year-old girl named Sally Horner.

WHY WE'RE OBSESSED: Weinman brings the forgotten Horner to life with legal documents, interviews with family, and a thorough investigation. We couldn't put down this deep dive into the real-life saga!

My Son the Killer: The Untold Story of Luka Magnotta and “1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick” by Brian Whitney with Anna Yourkin

WHERE TO FIND IT: Wild Blue Press

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Convicted killer Luka Magnotta is known for one of the most dreadful and shocking crimes in history. Not only did he murder and cannibalize a victim, Lin Jun, and sexually abuse the corpse afterward, but he uploaded a film of the whole thing online.

WHY WE'RE OBSESSED: Magnotta has been notoriously and uncharacteristically press-shy since his imprisonment, not granting any interviews. For the first time, Magnotta tells his story to author Brian Whitney. Additionally, Magnotta's mother, Anna Yourkin, opens up about what it's like to be the mother of Canada's most infamous murderer.