These Are The Best True Crime Books Of 2019
Twelve true crime books to add to your reading list!
Check Out These 2019 True Crime Books
You'd have to have your head buried in the sand to miss the boom in true crime everything. Documentaries, books, podcasts, TV shows, and more. While I love documentaries, true crime books are my favorite. I've always been an avid reader and love to get lost in the details of what I read.
As someone who has been on the wrong end of violence, I love to read the stories of the bad guy getting caught. The victims getting justice the way I never did.
In 2019, I read quite a few true crime books and was ecstatic to find just how many great ones were published in 2019. I raced through the 10 books I included in this article, eager to discover just how the story ended. Not all the true crime books on the list end happily, something that comes with the genre. However, there is something to be gained from each story: the hope for a better future.
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1. The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold
Jack the Ripper may be one of the world's most well-known killers. However, too often, his five victims are just an afterthought in the gruesome story, something Hallie Rubenhold sets out to change in The Five. Since their deaths in 1888, the five victims of the Ripper were written off as "less than" because they were sex workers, as if that makes their deaths less tragic or important. Rubenhold posits a new theory on what happened to the Ripper's victims and what that means for us today.
2. The Killer Across the Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI's Original Mindhunter by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker
You've probably heard of Mindhunter, the Netflix adaptation of FBI criminal profiler John Douglas' book of the same name. Well, The Killer Across the Table is his latest offering, this time telling the stories of four criminals he interviewed during his time in the FBI. Douglas recounts what each of these criminals taught him about profiling and even reveals his profiling methods for the first time.
3. They Stole Him Out of Jail: Willie Earle, South Carolina’s Last Lynching Victim by William B. Gravely
In 1947, Willie Earle, a black man, was arrested for the death of a white taxi driver. Later, he was pulled from his jail cell and lynched by a mob. Thirty-one suspects resulted in 26 confessions, but each defendant was ultimately acquitted of murder by a white jury. William Gravely recounts the death of Willie Earle and the aftermath that ensued, connecting it to the racism that continues in the criminal justice system to this day.
4. The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity by Axton Betz-Hamilton
Axton Betz-Hamilton's childhood became rocky after her parents' identities were stolen, ruining their credit. Despite moving and changing all their personal info, it happened again. Axton's parents finally cut the family off from the outside world, culminating in anxiety and an eating disorder. Betz-Hamilton's memoir delves into a tangled story of family and coming to terms with how someone can simultaneously love you and hurt you.
5. Savage Appetites: Four True Stories of Women, Crime, and Obsession by Rachel Monroe
Rachel Monroe tackles the fascination women have with crime from four different points of view — the detective, the victim, the defender, and the killer. For each archetype, she shares the story of a real woman, using them to dig through the United State's obsession with true crime and "the persistent appeal of violence" in a sociological examination that reveals that there are never easy answers.
6. Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall by James Polchin
The Stonewall Riots are often seen as spark that ignited the gay rights movement. But LGBTQ people have an entire history before 1969, including a dark past of violence against gay men. James Polchin sets out to tell these stories that were born from ignorance and bigotry, often resulting in lenient punishments for the criminals. Polchin shows how this history of violence against gay men because just one of many logs in the fire for the upcoming gay rights movement.
7. The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson
We've all heard of Lizzie Borden, the woman who went to trial for killing her father and step-mother and was then acquitted of their murders. Cara Robertson's The Trial of Lizzie Borden is 20 years in the making and includes new evidence from the case. Drawing upon accounts from the trial, newspapers, and letters from Lizzie Borden herself, Robertson opens a door to the Gilded Age for a new look at one of the United State's most infamous murders.
8. Stamford '76: A True Story of Murder, Corruption, Race, and Feminism in the 1970s by JoeAnn Hart
After Margo Olson, a white woman, was found dead in 1976, her boyfriend, Howie Carter, a black man, was killed by the police. There was no evidence Carter killed Olson, but the police didn't care. This took place in Stamford, Connecticut, a town simultaneously in the midst of second-wave feminism and gentrification that pushed black people from their homes. JoeAnn Hart tells the story of how local corruption impacted the lives of young folks in the area and ultimately played a hand in Olson and Carter's deaths.
9. Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders by Billy Jensen
For the last 15 years, investigative journalist Billy Jensen has worked on cold cases in the hope of closing just a few of the unsolved murders around the country. After the death of his friend Michelle McNamara, Jensen dives head-first into the hunt for criminals, chronicling just how he goes about it as a citizen detective and how you can do your part to help catch killers too.
10. My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams
My Friend Anna is the tale of Rachel DeLoache Williams' friendship with German heiress Anna Delvey. After the two became friends, Anna generously paid for expensive dinners, workouts with celebrity trainers, and more. However, while on a supposedly all-expenses paid trip to Marrakech, Anna's funds magically dried up and Rachel became stuck with $62,000 in credit card debt. Before long, Anna's lies caught up with her and Rachel became entangled in the take-down of a fake heiress.
Let's Keep the Conversation Going
What is your favorite true crime book of 2019?