Culture

The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written  

Ranker Books
904 votes 256 voters 7.6k views 20 items

True crime novels have all the best elements: grisly crimes, complex characters, beautiful language, well-crafted storytelling, and the sad and sickening fact that every detail really happened. This list contains information on true crime novels, ranked from best to worst by user votes. The best true crime novels come in many forms. Some good true crime novels are about one specific crime, while other popular true crime novels are about serial killers. A few of the greatest true crime novels even give readers inside information about the mafia.

What books will you find on this true crime reading list? Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi has to be near the top. Used as the basis for Martin Scorsese's 1990 masterpiece, Goodfellas, this true crime book follows the story of Mafia informant, Henry Hill. Helter Skelter is another one of the best true crime novels ever written.

Truman Capote detailed the 1959 killings of the Herbert Clutter family in his non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood. Other good books featured on this top true crime novels list include The Devil in the White City, The Executioner's Song, and Devil's Knot.

Which true crime novel is your favorite? Vote the best books up to the top of this list and get in on the conversation in the comments section.

1
In Cold Blood is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
Truman Capote
2
The Stranger Beside Me is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
3
Helter Skelter is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry
4
Zodiac is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
Robert Graysmith
5
The Devil in the White City is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
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Midnight in the Garden of Good... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
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The night stalker is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
Philip Carlo
8
The Executioner's Song is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
Norman Mailer
9
The Onion Field is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
Joseph Wambaugh
10
Columbine is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
Dave Cullen
11
Under the Banner of Heaven is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
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Wiseguy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
Nicholas Pileggi
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And Never Let Her Go is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
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Portrait of a Killer: Jack the... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
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Devil's Knot is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
Mara Leveritt
16
The Innocent Man: Murder and I... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
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House of Evil is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
dreapress added

The Sylvia Likens story.

18
Blood and Money is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
Thomas Thompson
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People Who Eat Darkness is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written
Richard Lloyd Parry
20
A Wilderness of Error: The Tri... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best True Crime Novels Ever Written