True Crime


Can you figure out the answers before the last page is turned?


Writing to Save a Life

John Edgar Wideman

Emmett Till took a train from his home in Chicago to visit family in Money, Mississippi; a few weeks later he returned home dead. Murdered because he was a colored boy and had, allegedly, whistled at a white woman. His mother, Mamie Till, chose to display her son’s brutalized face in a glass-topped casket, “so the world can see what they did to my baby.” Emmett Till’s murder and his mother’s refusal to allow his story to be forgotten have become American legends. But one darkly significant twist in the Till legend is rarely mentioned: Louis Till, Emmett’s father, Mamie’s husband, a soldier during World War II, was executed in Italy for committing rape and murder. In 1955, when he and Emmett were each only fourteen years old, Wideman saw a horrific photograph of dead Emmett’s battered face. Decades later, upon discovering that Louis Till had been court-martialed and hanged, he was impelled to investigate the tragically intertwined fates of father and son. Writing to Save a Life is “part exploration and part meditation, a searching account of [Wideman’s] attempt to learn more about the short life of Louis Till” (The New York Times Book Review) and shine light on the truths that have remained in darkness. Wideman, the author of the award-winning Brothers and Keepers, “is a master of quiet meditation…and his book is remarkable for its insight and power” (SFGate). An amalgam of research, memoir, and imagination, Writing to Save a Life is essential and “impressive” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) reading—an engaging, enlightening conversation between generations, the living and the dead, fathers and sons.

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Terror in the City of Champions

Tom Stanton

Detroit, mid-1930s: In a city abuzz over its unrivaled sports success, gun-loving baseball fan Dayton Dean became ensnared in the nefarious and deadly Black Legion. The secretive, Klan-like group was executing a wicked plan of terror, murdering enemies, flogging associates, and contemplating armed rebellion. The Legion boasted tens of thousands of members across the Midwest, among them politicians and prominent citizens—even, possibly, a beloved athlete. Terror in the City of Champions opens with the arrival of Mickey Cochrane, a fiery baseball star who roused the Great Depression’s hardest-hit city by leading the Tigers to the 1934 pennant. A year later he guided the team to its first championship. Within seven months the Lions and Red Wings follow in football and hockey—all while Joe Louis chased boxing’s heavyweight crown. Amidst such glory, the Legion’s dreadful toll grew unchecked: staged “suicides,” bodies dumped along roadsides, high-profile assassination plots. Talkative Dayton Dean’s involvement would deepen as heroic Mickey’s Cochrane’s reputation would rise. But the ballplayer had his own demons, including a close friendship with Harry Bennett, Henry Ford’s brutal union buster. Award-winning author Tom Stanton weaves a stunning tale of history, crime, and sports. Richly portraying 1930s America, Terror in the City of Champions features a pageant of colorful figures: iconic athletes, sanctimonious criminals, scheming industrial titans, a bigoted radio priest, a love-smitten celebrity couple, J. Edgar Hoover, and two future presidents, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. It is a rollicking true story set at the confluence of hard luck, hope, victory, and violence. .

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Possessed

Kathryn Casey

The officer responding to a 911 call at one of Houston’s hippest high-rises expected the worst. After all, domestic violence situations can be unpredictable. But nothing could’ve prepared him for what he found: a beautiful woman drenched in blood . . . an older man lying dead on the floor . . . and a cobalt blue suede stiletto with tufts of white hair stuck to its five-and-a-half-inch heel. With her stunning looks, magnetic personality, and erratic behavior, Ana Trujillo had a notorious reputation on the downtown Houston scene. She spoke often of occult powers, though few knew how deeply she believed such boasts. Stefan Andersson was a gentle soul, a Swedish transplant with a good career and trusted friends, who was desperate to find someone special. Theirs is a story of obsession, madness, and tragedy. Because once Stefan fell head over heels for Ana, he was under her control—and he didn’t have a chance in hell.

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Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Up of America’s Greatest Unsolved Murder

Piu Eatwell

The gruesome 1947 murder of hopeful starlet Elizabeth Short holds a permanent place in American lore as one of our most inscrutable true-crime mysteries. In a groundbreaking feat of detection hailed as “extensive” and “convincing” (Bustle), skilled legal sleuth Piu Eatwell cracks the case after seventy years, rescuing Short from tabloid fodder to reveal the woman behind the headlines. Drawing on recently unredacted FBI and LAPD files and exclusive interviews, Black Dahlia, Red Rose is a gripping panorama of noir-tinged 1940s Hollywood and a definitive account of one of the biggest unsolved murders of American legal history.

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Axeman of New Orleans

Miriam Davis

From 1910 to 1919, New Orleans suffered at the hands of a serial killer. The story has been the subject of short stories, novels, and the television series American Horror Story. But the full story of gruesome murders, accused innocents, public panic, the New Orleans Mafia, and a mysterious killer has never been written—until now. The Axeman broke into the homes of Italian grocers in the dead of night, leaving his victims in a pool of blood. Iorlando Jordano and his son Frank were wrongly accused of one of those murders; corrupt officials convicted them with coerced testimony. Miriam C. Davis here expertly tells the story of the search for the Axeman and of the exoneration of the Jordanos. She proves that the person suspected of being the Axeman was not the killer—and that the Axeman continued killing after leaving New Orleans in 1919.

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Murder, Interrupted

James Patterson

In these two true crime thrillers, a reluctant hitman and a cheating husband fight for their lives . . . and a single mother exacts her revenge. In Murder, Interrupted, rich, cheating financier Frank Howard wants his wife dead, and he's willing to pay Billie Earl Johnson whatever it takes: $750,000, to be exact. When his bullet misses the mark, Billie Earl and Frank will turn on each other in a fight for their lives . . . Mother of All Murders is the story of local celebrity Dee Dee Blancharde. Television reports praise her as a single mother who tirelessly cares for her wheelchair-bound, chronically ill daughter. But when the teenaged Gypsy Rose realizes she isn't actually sick and Dee Dee has lied all these years, Gypsy Rose exacts her revenge . . .

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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

Michelle McNamara

The haunting true story of the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California during the 70s and 80s, and of the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case—which was solved in April 2018. The haunting true story of the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California during the 70s and 80s, and of the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case—which was solved in April 2018. Introduction by Gillian Flynn • Afterword by Patton Oswalt “A brilliant genre-buster.... Propulsive, can’t-stop-now reading.” —Stephen King For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area. Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic—one which fulfilled Michelle's dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer.

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Home Sweet Murder

James Patterson

Home Sweet Murder (with Andrew Bourelle): Lawyer Leo Fisher and his wife Sue are a sixty-one-year-old couple enjoying a quiet Sunday dinner at home. Until a man in a suit rings their front door claiming to be an SEC agent. By the end of the evening, two people will be shot, stabbed, and tortured. And two others will fare worse . . . Murder on the Run (with Scott Slaven): The middle-aged housekeeper found dead with a knife in her throat was bad. But the little boy was worse. After a bloody double homicide that puts Omaha, Nebraska, on the map, Detective Derek Mois promises the boy's parents he will catch the killer, no matter how long or far he runs . . .

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Black Klansman

Ron Stallworth

When detective Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, comes across a classified ad in the local paper asking for all those interested in joining the Ku Klux Klan to contact a P.O. box, Detective Stallworth does his job and responds with interest, using his real name while posing as a white man. He figures he'll receive a few brochures in the mail, maybe even a magazine, and learn more about a growing terrorist threat in his community. A few weeks later the office phone rings, and the caller asks Ron a question he thought he'd never have to answer, "Would you like to join our cause?" This is 1978, and the KKK is on the rise in the United States. Its Grand Wizard, David Duke, has made a name for himself, appearing on talk shows, and major magazine interviews preaching a "kinder" Klan that wants nothing more than to preserve a heritage, and to restore a nation to its former glory. Ron answers the caller's question that night with a yes, launching what is surely one of the most audacious, and incredible undercover investigations in history. Ron recruits his partner Chuck to play the white Ron Stallworth, while Stallworth himself conducts all subsequent phone conversations. During the months-long investigation, Stallworth sabotages cross burnings, exposes white supremacists in the military, and even befriends David Duke himself. Black Klansman is an amazing true story that reads like a crime thriller, and a searing portrait of a divided America and the extraordinary heroes who dare to fight back.

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All-American Murder

James Patterson, Alex Abramovich

Aaron Hernandez was a college All-American who became the youngest player in the NFL and later reached the Super Bowl. His every move as a tight end with the New England Patriots played out the headlines, yet he led a secret life--one that ended in a maximum-security prison. What drove him to go so wrong, so fast? Between the summers of 2012 and 2013, not long after Hernandez made his first Pro Bowl, he was linked to a series of violent incidents culminating in the death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who dated the sister of Hernandez's fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins. All-American Murder is the first book to investigate Aaron Hernandez's first-degree murder conviction and the mystery of his own shocking and untimely death.

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The Trial of Lizzie Borden

Cara Robertson

When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple’s younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her murder trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone—rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople—had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence. Was she a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady? Did she or didn’t she? An essential piece of American mythology, the popular fascination with the Borden murders has endured for more than one hundred years. Told and retold in every conceivable genre, the murders have secured a place in the American pantheon of mythic horror. In contrast, “Cara Robertson presents the story with the thoroughness one expects from an attorney…Fans of crime novels will love it” (Kirkus Reviews). Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper accounts, unpublished local accounts, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden is “a fast-paced, page-turning read” (Booklist, starred review) that offers a window into America in the Gilded Age.

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Murder by the Book

Claire Harman

Early on the morning of May 6, 1840, the elderly Lord William Russell was found in his London house with his throat so deeply cut that his head was nearly severed. The crime soon had everyone, including Queen Victoria, feverishly speculating about motives and methods. But when the prime suspect claimed to have been inspired by a sensational crime novel, it sent shock waves through literary London and drew both Dickens and Thackeray into the fray. Could a novel really lead someone to kill? In Murder by the Book, Claire Harman blends a riveting true-crime whodunit with a fascinating account of the rise of the popular novel and the early battle for its soul among the most famous writers of the day.

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The Man Who Played with Fire

Jan Stocklassa

The author of the Millennium novels laid out the clues. Now a journalist is following them. When Stieg Larsson died, the author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had been working on a true mystery that out-twisted his Millennium novels: the assassination on February 28, 1986, of Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister. It was the first time in history that a head of state had been murdered without a clue who'd done it--and on a Stockholm street at point-blank range. Internationally known for his fictional far-right villains, Larsson was well acquainted with their real-life counterparts and documented extremist activities throughout the world. For years he'd been amassing evidence that linked their terrorist acts to what he called "one of the most astounding murder cases" he'd ever covered. Larsson's archive was forgotten until journalist Jan Stocklassa was given exclusive access to the author's secret project. In The Man Who Played with Fire, Stocklassa collects the pieces of Larsson's true-crime puzzle to follow the trail of intrigue, espionage, and conspiracy begun by one of the world's most famous thriller writers. Together they set out to solve a mystery that no one else could.

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Furious Hours

Casey N. Cep

The stunning true story of an Alabama serial killer, and the trial that obsessed the author of To Kill a Mockingbird in the years after the publication of her classic novel--a complicated and difficult time in her life that, until now, has been very little examined. Willie Maxwell was a Baptist reverend in Alabama; he also happened to be a serial killer. Between 1970 and 1977, his two wives and brother all died under suspicious circumstances -- each with hefty life insurance policies taken out by none other than the Reverend himself. With the help of a savvy lawyer, Maxwell escaped justice for years. Then, the teenage daughter of his third wife perished. At the funeral, the victim's uncle shot the Reverend dead in a church full of witnesses--and was subsequently acquitted of the murder, thanks to the same savvy lawyer who had represented the Reverend for all those years. Sitting in the audience during the trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York to her native Alabama with an idea of writing a book about the case. Now, Casey Cep brings this nearly inconceivable, gripping story to life on the page: from the shocking murders to the chicanery of insurance fraud to the courtroom drama. At the same time, it is a vividly told, elegiac account of Harper Lee's quest to write a second book after To Kill a Mockingbird, and a deeply moving portrait of this beloved writer's struggle with fame, success, and the mysteries of artistic creativity.

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Dead in the Water

Penny Farmer

In 1978, two tortured corpses—hooded, bound, and weighted down with engine parts—were found in the sea off Guatemala. Junior doctor Chris Farmer and his girlfriend, Peta Frampton, were still clinging to life when they were thrown from the yacht they’d been crewing. Here is the gripping account of how Chris's family worked alongside police, the FBI, and Interpol to gather evidence against the boat’s Californian skipper, Silas Duane Boston. Almost four decades later, in 2015, Chris’s sister, Penny, used Facebook to track down Boston. Following the detailed, haunting testimony of his own two sons—who also implicated their father in a string of other killings—Boston was finally arrested and charged with two counts of maritime murder. A story of homicide on the high seas, Dead in the Water is also a tale of a family’s fortitude and diligence in tracking down a monster.

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Unspeakable Acts

Sarah Weinman

A brilliant anthology of modern true-crime writing that illustrates the appeal of this powerful and popular genre, edited and curated by Sarah Weinman, the award-winning author of The Real Lolita The appeal of true-crime stories has never been higher. With podcasts like My Favorite Murder and In the Dark, bestsellers like I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and Furious Hours, and TV hits like American Crime Story and Wild Wild Country, the cultural appetite for stories of real people doing terrible things is insatiable.

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Gone at Midnight

Jake Anderson

A Los Angeles hotel with a haunting history. A missing young woman. A disturbing video followed by a shocking discovery. A cold-case mystery that has become an internet phenomenon—and for one determined journalist, a life-changing quest toward uncomfortable truths. Twenty-one-year-old Vancouver student Elisa Lam was last heard from on January 31, 2013, after she checked into downtown L.A.’s Cecil Hotel—a 600-room building with a nine-decade history of scandal and tragedy. The next day, Elisa vanished. A search of the hotel yielded nothing. More than a week later, complaints by guests of foul-smelling tap water led to a grim discovery: Elisa’s nude body floating in a rooftop water tank, in an area extremely difficult to access without setting off alarms. The only apparent clue was a disturbing surveillance video of Elisa, uploaded to YouTube in hopes of public assistance. As the eerie elevator video went viral, so did the questions of its tens of millions of viewers. Was Elisa’s death caused by murder, suicide, or paranormal activity? Was it connected to the Cecil’s sinister reputation? And in that video, what accounted for Elisa’s strange behavior? With the help of web sleuths and investigators from around the world, journalist Jake Anderson set out to uncover the facts behind a death that had become a macabre internet meme, as well as a magnet for conspiracy theorists. In poring through Elisa’s revealing online journals and social-media posts, Anderson realized he shared more in common with the young woman than he imagined. His search for justice and truth became a personal journey, a dangerous descent into one of America's quiet epidemics. Along the way, he exposed a botched investigation and previously unreported disclosures from inside sources who suggest there may have been a corporate conspiracy and a police cover-up. In Gone at Midnight, Anderson chronicles eye-opening discoveries about who Elisa Lam really was and what—or whom—she was running from, and presents shocking new evidence that may re-open one of the most chilling and obsessively followed true crime cases of the century.

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The Case of the Vanishing Blonde

Mark Bowden

Acclaimed investigative reporter Mark Bowden has ferreted out unbelievable-yet-true stories of wrongdoing, murder and mayhem for decades. His illustrious body of work has won him a lifetime achievement award from the International Thriller Writers organization, and a reputation as “a Woodward that outdoes even Woodward” (Malcom Gladwell, New Yorker). The Case of the Vanishing Blonde collects six of Bowden’s most riveting stories—accounts spanning four decades of fascinating characters and unsettling tales to illustrate all manner of crimes and the ways technology has progressively altered criminal investigation. From a 1983 story of a University of Pennsylvania campus rape that sparked a national debate over the nature of consent, to three cold cases featuring the inimitable Long Island private detective Ken Brennan and a startling investigation into a murderer deep within the LAPD’s ranks—shielded for twenty six years by officers keen to protect one of their own—these stories are the work of a masterful narrative journalist.

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Murder Beyond the Grave

James Patterson

MURDER BEYOND THE GRAVE: Stephen Small has it all – a Ferrari, fancy house, loving wife and three sons. But the only thing he needs right now is enough air to breathe. Kidnapped, buried in a box, and held for ransom, Stephen has forty-eight hours of oxygen. The clock is ticking . . . MURDER IN PARADISE: High in the Sierra Nevada mountains, developers Jim and Bonnie Hood excitedly tour Camp Nelson Lodge. They intend to buy and modernise this beautiful rustic property, but the locals don't like rich outsiders changing their way of life. After a grisly shooting, everybody will discover just how you can make a killing in real estate . . .

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Unsolved Murders

Amber Hunt, Emily G. Thompson

Discover the stories behind some of the most infamous unsolved murders of the last century, including the Black Dahlia, the Zodiac Killer and the JonBenét Ramsey case. Detailing essential evidence. Profiling key suspects. Tracking police investigations. Sorting facts from speculation.

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