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Cults: Inside the World’s Most Notorious Groups and Understanding the People Who Joined Them

A fascinating overview of famous cult leaders which serves as an introduction to the topic.

Manhattan Cult Story: Abuse, Crime, Sex, and My Life inside a Secret Organization

A highly personal account of a cult survivor.

Trailed: One Woman’s Quest To Solve the Shenandoah Murders

Miles strikes a good balance between laying out the details of the crime and investigation, and fully developing the stories of the victims’ lives. Fans of unsolved cases will appreciate this well-researched, compelling story.

Menstruation Matters: Challenging the Law’s Silence on Periods

Recommended purchase for academic libraries supporting gender studies programs.

The Vanishing Triangle: The Unsolved Murders in One Bestselling Author’s Backyard

Thought-provoking, compelling true crime.

Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod

The book is hard to follow and full of references to drugs and 1960s counterculture that will confuse many readers. Moreover, the lengthy treatment of the Vonnegut-Mailer dispute doesn’t fit with the rest of the book. Not recommended for true crime readers.

When Freedom Speaks: The Boundaries and the Boundlessness of Our First Amendment Right

Complete with a glossary of legal terms, Greenky’s easy-to-read primer offers general readers and students a telling history and framework for understanding the basic assumptions, ways of thinking, and methodologies courts commonly use to negotiate clashing and competing constitutional values and individual rights to free speech.

The True Crime File: Serial Killings, Famous Kidnappings, Great Cons, Survivors and Their Stories, Forensics, and More

The scope of Daly’s coverage is commendable even if the format prevents her from tackling any topic in depth. A great entry point for those exploring true crime.

Wastelands: The True Story of Farm Country on Trial

A highly readable tale of underdogs who took on a mega-corporation and won.

The Gotti Wars: Taking Down America’s Most Notorious Mobster

Do we need yet another book on Gotti? Gleeson answers the question with a resounding yes.

The Most Human Right: Why Free Speech Is Everything

Best suited for a niche audience of human rights, philosophy, and legal experts who are engaged in high-level work on the topic.

When Hope and History Rhyme: Natural Law and Human Rights from Ancient Greece to Modern America

Though Burgess does mention non-Western perspectives in passing, the book could have benefitted from a broader global viewpoint. However, as a text on Western natural law, it is accessible enough for those new to the topic yet will still satisfy those with expertise in the subject.

The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies

Fischer combines firsthand accounts with dynamic writing to bring the Victorian era to life. A remarkable cast of characters (including Le Prince’s equally fascinating wife, Lizzie) makes for compelling reading.

The United States of Anonymous: How the First Amendment Shaped Online Speech

Amid surging social media and online speech wars, readers concerned about the future of free speech, privacy, and the law will appreciate Kosseff’s ability to deftly place the many-sided anonymity debate in the context of constitutional values and social norms.

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks

A strong collection of essays of most interest to true crime readers, but also on display is a model of journalistic credibility.

Lost in the Valley of Death: A Story of Obsession and Danger in the Himalayas

This meticulously researched, sympathetically narrated audiobook will appeal to listeners who enjoyed Michael Finkel’s The Stranger in the Woods, Jon Billman’s The Cold Vanish, or Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild.

Murder at Teal’s Pond: Hazel Drew and the Mystery That Inspired Twin Peaks

A compelling historical whodunit that should keep true crime fans listening with rapt attention.

The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice

A haunting, insightful story of justice and humanity. Will especially resonate with readers of Christine Montross’s Waiting for an Echo: The Madness of American Incarceration.

Pleading Out: How Plea Bargaining Creates a Permanent Criminal Class

Written clearly and persuasively, with compassion and expertise, Canon’s work is an essential read, especially for those who interact with or are interested in policing, incarceration, and the justice system.

Seek and Hide: The Tangled History of the Right to Privacy

A fascinating and thought-provoking analysis of the history of privacy issues that will be accessible to a general audience.

The Chevron Doctrine: Its Rise and Fall, and the Future of the Administrative State

Students of administrative law, the Constitution, Congress, or the federal courts will find much to mull about the operation and legitimacy of the U.S. administrative state.

Snake Eyes: Murder in a Southern Town

Cathie Ward’s death clearly affected a generation of children from Hot Springs, but Martin’s work offers no unique angle to the true crime genre. Not recommended.

Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases

A captivating memoir of a life dedicated to cold cases. Hand to readers who appreciated Sue Black’s All That Remains: A Renowned Forensic Scientist on Death, Mortality, and Solving Crimes.

Ripple: A Long Strange Search for A Killer

Cosgrove’s heartfelt search will intrigue true crime fans, but those seeking definite answers will want to look elsewhere.

Bone Deep: Untangling the Betsy Faria Murder Case

Fans of Dateline will be interested in this work, which will likely only grow in popularity when the miniseries The Thing About Pam, starring Renée Zellweger, premieres in March 2022.

Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation

Readers will devour this searingly intimate tale of institutional misogyny. An important addition for all libraries.

37 Words: Title IX and Fifty Years of Fighting Sex Discrimination

Readers will finish this book with a clearer understanding of Title IX’s impact, its shortcomings, and the continued threats faced by female students as they seek access to educational opportunities.

Blessed Are the Bank Robbers: The True Adventures of an Evangelical Outlaw

A fascinating exploration that will appeal to those who appreciate the intersection of true crime and memoir.

The Doomsday Mother: Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell, and the End of an American Family

True crime fans will likely be interested in Glatt’s fascinating account, which comes out before Vallow’s and Daybell’s upcoming trials, but the book might become outdated as new information surfaces about this ongoing case.

Art & Crime: The Fight Against Looters, Forgers, and Fraudsters in the High-Stakes Art World

Readers interested in the art trade will benefit most from Koldehoff and Timm’s work. Those seeking a true crime experience can find more engaging works elsewhere.

ShadowMan: An Elusive Psycho Killer and the Birth of FBI Profiling

A thrilling book about the lengths to which investigators went to catch an elusive killer and a pivotal moment in the history of criminal investigation.

Hell’s Half-Acre: The Untold Story of the Benders, America’s First Serial Killer Family

A fascinating look at a case that still captures the imagination. Fans of historical true crime will be pleased.

Dawn at Mineral King Valley: The Sierra Club, the Disney Company, and the Rise of Environmental Law

A superb addition to environmental law collections.

Greed in the Gilded Age: The Brilliant Con of Cassie Chadwick

Readers curious about the Gilded Age or who enjoy stories of con artists will appreciate Hazelgrove’s lively tale of a most ambitious grifter.

Still Doing Life: 22 Lifers, 25 Years Later

An unflinching look at some of the most marginalized members of society. Those who appreciated Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption or Zehr’s and Toew’s other books on restorative justice will be eager to read this heartfelt work.

The Con and the FBI Agent: An Unlikely Alliance

An insider perspective on law enforcement that may appeal to readers who are particularly interested in the life and career of an FBI agent.



Lawyer X

An excellent account of one of the largest police scandals in Australian history, from the seasoned journalists who exposed it.

Mafia Hit Man Carmine DiBiase: The Wiseguy Who Really Killed Joey Gallo

Although the book adds little new information to the Gallo murder case, fans of true crime and mafia stories will appreciate the insider’s look at the figures and neighborhoods that comprised New York mob life in the 20th century.

The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle To Determine Who Owns Your DNA

Timely, relevant, and significant. Hand to readers of Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Little Sister: My Investigation into the Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood

This is well-trod ground. An optional purchase for fans of true crime and Hollywood stories.

The “Mr. Big” Sting: The Cases, the Killers, the Controversial Confessions

Though the fascinating case studies here may interest true crime fans, Stobbe’s argument that police should rely on the Mr. Big strategy ultimately falls flat.

The Hard Sell: Crime and Punishment at an Opioid Startup

Anyone who picks up this title will be left reflecting on how the U.S. medical system and drug companies have recklessly destroyed countless lives. A book readers will not soon forget.

Deliberate Evil: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Daniel Webster, and the 1830 Murder of a Salem Slave Trader

Readers of Nathaniel Hawthorne, lovers of history, and anyone who enjoys a good mystery will be absorbed by this bizarre true crime tale.

Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts To Set Him Free

An immediately absorbing story of crime, manipulation, and influence.

Command and Persuade: Crime, Law, and the State Across History

Historians, criminologists, and those with a strong academic interest in policing and criminal justice will learn a great deal from this book. Readers looking for a more casual or introductory exploration of what it means to punish crime will likely find other resources more suitable.

Murder, Madness and Mayhem: Twenty-Five Tales of True Crime and Dark History

An honest, refreshingly compassionate book about gruesome or bizarre true crimes.


The Donnellys: Massacre, Trial, and Aftermath: 1880–1916

True crime fanatics will relish Little’s vivid and inspired storytelling.


Hollywood Horrors: Murders, Scandals, and Cover-Ups from Tinseltown

A compelling trip through the dark side of early Hollywood that will appeal to true crime fans, film history buffs, and those who enjoyed Shawn Levy’s The Castle on Sunset.

A Dark Room in Glitter Ball City: Murder, Secrets, and Scandal in Old Louisville

True crime fanatics will be drawn in by the rich history and setting and gripped by Dominé’s intriguing account of a scandalous murder in the heart of Louisville.

Queen of the Con: From a Spiritualist to the Carnegie Imposter

Though Crowl’s book lacks the fast-paced excitement of other true crime narratives, readers curious about Chadwick will be satisfied by his thorough analysis of her life, her legacy, and the circumstances that made it possible for her to pull off such legendary cons.

True Crime Philadelphia: From America’s First Bank Robbery to the Real-Life Killers Who Inspired Boardwalk Empire

Readers in the Philadelphia area will likely be most interested, though general audiences will appreciate how Canavan uses historic images to create a vivid sense of setting.

Catch the Sparrow: A Search for a Sister and the Truth of Her Murder

An insightful, moving tribute that will resonate with readers who appreciate a blend of true crime and memoir, such as Ellen McGarrahan’s Two Truths and a Lie.

How Rights Went Wrong: Why Our Obsession with Rights Is Tearing America Apart

Provocative reading for those interested in legal reform and a civil society.

Code of Silence: Sexual Misconduct by Federal Judges, the Secret System That Protects Them, and the Women Who Blew the Whistle

This captivating, eloquent book will resonate with anyone seeking justice and accountability; give to readers of Deborah Tuerkheimer’s Credible: Why We Doubt Accusers and Protect Abusers.

The Three Death Sentences of Clarence Henderson: A Battle for Racial Justice During the Dawn of the Civil Rights Era

A compelling account of “justice” in the Jim Crow South. Recommended for readers interested in true crime and race.

Boys Enter the House: The Victims of John Wayne Gacy and the Lives They Left Behind

Heartrending and poignant, this is an excellent sociological examination of life in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood in the 1970s.

From Parchment to Dust: The Case for Constitutional Skepticism

General readers interested in the U.S. Constitution, its shortcomings, its history, and the concept of constitutional skepticism will be interested in this book.

White Hot Hate: A True Story of Domestic Terrorism in America’s Heartland

A strong addition to true crime sections, this disturbing work will also appeal to readers interested in the development of modern hate groups.

A Killer by Design: Murderers, Mindhunters, and My Quest To Decipher the Criminal Mind

An empathetic, insightful behind-the-scenes look at criminal profiling that will be appreciated by true crime fans and readers curious about forensic or criminal psychology.

Murder Maps USA: Crime Scenes Revisited; Bloodstains to Ballistics, 1865–1939

Due to the graphic nature of some of the photographs, this book is not recommended for everybody, but readers interested in true crime and forensics will appreciate Selzer’s singular volume.

RedHanded: An Exploration of Criminals, Cannibals, Cults, and What Makes a Killer Tick

The ideas discussed here are a bit shopworn, but fans of the authors’ podcast and readers new to true crime may find it a helpful primer.

Women Who Love Men Who Kill: 35 True Stories of Prison Passion

Isenberg’s is a compelling, research-driven book, and libraries should purchase this updated edition.

Credible: Why We Doubt Accusers and Protect Abusers

With recently overturned sexual misconduct convictions like Bill Cosby’s in the news, this is a relevant and significant study that will leave readers reeling but also hopeful that this knowledge can be used to prevent assault and abuse.

The Violence Project: How To Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic

A gripping book that will captivate anyone seeking to understand why mass shootings occur and what might be done to recognize and intervene with potential shooters before they act.

The End of Asylum

This accessible primer on the history and law of U.S. asylum policy and practice provides novices and experts alike analysis and advocacy for understanding how and where the United States has fallen and how it may rise again as a beacon of liberty for refugees.

Purchasing Submission: Conditions, Power, and Freedom

Hamburger’s work is best suited to an audience with a legal or political background, as readers with only a casual interest will likely find the text too dense and technical. Nevertheless, it’s a must-read for scholars concerned with government overreach and constitutional scholarship.

A Century of Swindles: Ponzi Schemes, Con Men, and Fraudsters

Readers interested in the topic would be better served by a narrative about a single con man, such as Dean Jobb’s Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation.

The People’s Constitution: 200 Years, 27 Amendments, and the Promise of a More Perfect Union

Readers at all levels interested in the Constitution’s history and future should find this work thoughtful and instructive, especially alongside Beau Breslin’s A Constitution for the Living.

American Time Bomb: Attica, Sam Melville, and a Son’s Search for Answers

An engaging and intimate memoir that offers a personal history of the radical underground and adds context to the story of the Attica uprising.

Dirty Works: Obscenity on Trial in America’s First Sexual Revolution

Although this book does not aim to be a biography, it would have been useful to provide more background information on Ernst and his colleagues. Still, readers interested in 20th-century U.S. history, civil liberties litigation, Ernst and his legal colleagues, birth control, or the cultural basis of obscenity laws will find this book worthwhile.

The Crisis in America’s Criminal Courts: Improving Criminal Justice Outcomes by Transforming Decision-Making

Replete with statistics and references, this engaging, compelling book will appeal to both lay and professional readers.

Pack the Court! Defense of Supreme Court Expansion

While unabashedly partisan, Feldman’s work is a must-read in the present debate. It offers keen analysis of more than a half-century of the court’s anti-democratic ideological bent.

Pure Narco: One Man’s True Story of 25 Years Inside the Cartels

Readers who enjoyed Jordan Belfort’s The Wolf of Wall Street may be interested in the debauchery of this book, but its greater appeal will be limited.

Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights

Chemerinsky provides an insightful primer for understanding the judicial decisions that support the United States’ prevailing authoritarian, paramilitary, racist approach to policing. He points out problems but also lays out steps to overcoming the Supreme Court’s consistent failure. A thoughtful, provocative, and instructive must-read for anyone concerned with justice and domestic tranquility.

My Brother the Killer: A Family Story

Sharkey offers an intimate, thought-provoking meditation on how his brother’s childhood and adolescence affected his later actions. For readers interested in books that blend memoir and crime, such as Liza Rodman’s The Babysitter.

Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story

While the book would benefit from more specific notes about interviews with the people involved, Brown tells a gripping, horrifying tale, and few are spared her critique. A must for public library collections, and especially noteworthy for readers of Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy To Protect Predators.

A Constitution for the Living: Imagining How Five Generations of Americans Would Rewrite the Nation’s Fundamental Law

Entertaining, instructive, and learned, Breslin’s creative narratives brim with analytical and historical detail that explain the workings of the U.S. Constitution and Constitutional framing. His work will educate and excite readers at every level who are interested in the Constitution’s force, function, and future.

On the Trail of the Serpent: The Epic Hunt for the Bikini Killer

Fans of Netflix’s The Serpent will devour this compulsively readable work of true crime.

The Key Man: The True Story of How the Global Elite Was Duped by a Capitalist Fairy Tale

A meticulously researched, compelling reminder of the importance of financial oversight. It should be required reading in business schools.

Ed Kemper: Conversations with a Killer; The Shocking True Story of the Co-Ed Butcher

Recent Netflix programming has sparked renewed interest in the Co-Ed Killings, and Matera provides a modern update on Kemper, who’s now in declining health and likely unaware of his internet presence. However, the book’s tone often feels more indulgent than instructive.

Defending a Serial Killer: The Right to Counsel

A deep dive into the research, ethics, and personal impact of defending the seemingly indefensible. This title will appeal to law students and others interested in the nuances of justice.

The Best New True Crime Stories: Well-Mannered Crooks, Rogues & Criminals

A thought-provoking volume, with accounts that span continents and circumstances, that will appeal even to true crime fans who have seen it all.

El Chapo: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Drug Lord

Hurowitz presents a comprehensive picture of the drug trade, but the more gripping aspects of the narrative often get bogged down with the minute details and names of numerous cartel members. Still, readers looking for a deep dive into the drug trade will appreciate this detailed work.

Serial Killers: The Minds, Methods, and Mayhem of History’s Most Notorious Murderers

Estep’s concise, well-written case studies will leave readers wanting to learn more.

“Prisons Make Us Safer”: And 20 Other Myths about Mass Incarceration

While this book may be useful for academic libraries, public libraries are better served by other titles, such as Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow.

Rogues’ Gallery: The Birth of Modern Policing and Organized Crime in Gilded Age New York

Perfect for New York City history buffs or true crime readers, this is a well-rounded work that can fill a few spots.

Golden Boy: A Murder Among the Manhattan Elite

A tragic character study at the intersection of wealth, privilege, and mental illness, told with empathy for Gilbert’s victims.

She Kills Me: The True Stories of History’s Deadliest Women

This book of bite-size essays will appeal to fans of crime podcasts such as My Favorite Murder. Recommended for libraries seeking to diversify their true crime collections.

The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer

Jobb’s compelling account of Cream’s reign of terror will appeal to readers interested in Jack the Ripper or Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper.

Spies, Lies, and Exile: The Extraordinary Story of Russian Double Agent George Blake

This well-written and solidly researched biography of a complicated man will resonate with readers who enjoyed Ben Macintyre’s A Spy Among Friends or the novels of John le Carré.

The Devil You Know: Stories of Human Cruelty and Compassion

A compassionate yet unflinching look into the psychology of people who perpetrate violent crimes, and the care afforded them in the UK, this book would be of interest to true crime fans and especially valuable to those studying psychology, medicine, or law.

Kiss of Death: True Cases of Fatal Attraction

With cases spanning the globe, this compelling volume reinforces the sobering reality that the person most likely to end your life might just be lying next you. A great beach read for true crime fans.

The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science

A lively, compelling addition to the true crime and popular science genres. Morbidly curious readers may also enjoy Gory Details, by Erika Engelhaupt.

A Taste for Poison: Eleven Deadly Molecules and the Killers Who Used Them

This absorbing volume about murderers’ use of poison will appeal to true crime lovers and fans of popular science in the vein of Mary Roach.

(Low)life: A Memoir of Jazz, Fight-Fixing, and the Mob

A meandering deep dive into entertainment underworlds.


Giovanni’s Ring: My Life Inside the Real Sopranos

Fans of the Netflix docuseries Fear City, the films Donnie Brasco and The Irishman, or Selwyn Raab’s Five Families will enjoy this insider’s update on of one of the original Italian American crime families.

What Happened to Paula: On the Death of an American Girl

Reopening a cold case, Dykstra reaches no definitive answers, but along the way she offers insight on the impact of societal attitudes on criminal investigations. Hand to readers interested in the intersection of true crime and women’s studies.

Written in Bone: Hidden Stories in What We Leave Behind

Fans of CSI crime shows will enjoy this real-life forensics overview.

Death on Ocean Boulevard: Inside the Coronado Mansion Case

An absorbing chronicle of a bizarre story, this is the perfect addition for true crime sections.

The Truth About the O. J. Simpson Trial: By the Architect of the Defense

Headstrong and unwavering, Bailey centers himself as the brains of the Dream Team and reiterates main points of the Simpson case in a cogent, if biased fashion.

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