True Crime Book Recommendations 2020

Are you a fellow True Crime book addict? I love true crime, and my most read categories are Non-Fiction, Biographies and True Crime. I read novels here and there, but those three categories are the ones I always end up defaulting to. I go through books really fast, and I love having a good book I can’t put down. Below I am sharing the last five True Crime books I’ve read and loved.

I also recently subscribed to the Kindle Unlimited service, and I can seamlessly switch between reading and listening to the same book, a game-changer for me. I can listen to my books while I do laundry, walk the dog or exercise, and then, in the evenings, I can sit down and continue reading where I left on, right on my Kindle. I am enjoying the best of both worlds.

True Crime Book Recommendations 2020

True Crime Book Recommendations 20202

True Crime Book Recommendations 2020

1. American Predator: The hunt for the most meticulous serial killer of the 21st century

Ted Bundy. John Wayne Gacy. Jeffrey Dahmer. The names of notorious serial killers are usually well-known; they echo in the news and in public consciousness. But most people have never heard of Israel Keyes, one of the most ambitious and terrifying serial killers in modern history. The FBI considered his behaviour unprecedented. Described by a prosecutor as “a force of pure evil”, Keyes was a predator who struck all over the United States. He buried “kill kits” – cash, weapons, and body-disposal tools – in remote locations across the country. Over the course of 14 years, Keyes would fly to a city, rent a car, and drive thousands of miles to use his kits. He would break into a stranger’s house, abduct his victims in broad daylight, and kill and dispose of them in mere hours. And then he would return home to Alaska, resuming life as a quiet, reliable construction worker devoted to his only daughter. 

When journalist Maureen Callahan first heard about Israel Keyes in 2012, she was captivated by how a killer of this magnitude could go undetected by law enforcement for over a decade. And so began a project that consumed her for the next several years – uncovering the true story behind how the FBI ultimately caught Israel Keyes, and trying to understand what it means for a killer like Keyes to exist. A killer who left a path of monstrous randomly committed crimes in his wake – many of which remain unsolved to this day. 

American Predator is the ambitious culmination of years of interviews with key figures in law enforcement and in Keyes’s life, and research uncovered from classified FBI files. Callahan takes us on a journey into the chilling, nightmarish mind of a relentless killer, and to the limitations of traditional law enforcement.

Buy it on Amazon.

2. The Billionaire Murders: The mysterious deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman

Billionaires, philanthropists, socialites . . . victims. Barry and Honey Sherman appeared to lead charmed lives. But the world was shocked in late 2017 when their bodies were found in a bizarre tableau in their elegant Toronto home. First described as murder-suicide — belts looped around their necks, they were found seated beside their basement swimming pool — police later ruled it a staged, targeted double murder. Nothing about the case made sense to friends of the founder of one of the world’s largest generic pharmaceutical firms and his wife, a powerhouse in Canada’s charity world. Together, their wealth has been estimated at well over $4.7 billion.

Toronto Star investigative journalist Kevin Donovan chronicles the unsettling story from the beginning, interviewing family members, friends, and colleagues, and sheds new light on the Shermans’ lives and the disturbing double murder. Deeply researched and authoritative, The Billionaire Murders is a compulsively readable tale of a strange and perplexing crime.

Buy it on Amazon.

3. Chase Darkness with Me: How one true crime writer started solving murders

Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked. Put together the pieces. Identify the suspect. 

Journalist Billy Jensen spent 15 years investigating unsolved murders, fighting for the families of victims. Every story he wrote had one thing in common – it didn’t have an ending. The killer was still out there. 

But after the sudden death of a friend, crime writer Michelle McNamara, Billy became fed up. Following a dark night, he came up with a plan. A plan to investigate past the point when the cops have given up. A plan to solve the murders himself. 

In Chase Darkness with Me, you’ll ride shotgun as Billy identifies the Halloween Mask Murderer, finds a missing girl in the California Redwoods, and investigates the only other murder in New York City on 9/11. You’ll hear intimate details of the hunts for two of the most terrifying serial killers in history: his friend Michelle’s pursuit of the Golden State Killer which is chronicled in I’ll Be Gone In The Dark which Billy helped finish after Michelle’s passing, and his own quest to find the murderer of the Allenstown 4 family. 

Buy it on Amazon.

4. True Crime Addict: How I lost myself in the mysterious disappearance of Maura Murray 

When 11-year-old James Renner fell in love with Amy Mihaljevic, the missing girl seen on posters all over his neighbourhood, it was the beginning of a lifelong obsession with true crime. That obsession led James to a successful career as an investigative journalist. It also gave him PTSD.

In 2011 James began researching the strange disappearance of Maura Murray, a UMass student who went missing after wrecking her car in rural New Hampshire in 2004. Over the course of his investigation, he uncovered numerous important and shocking new clues about what may have happened to Maura but also found himself in increasingly dangerous situations with little regard for his own well-being.

As his quest to find Maura deepened, the case started taking a toll on his personal life, which began to spiral out of control. The result is an absorbing dual investigation of the complicated story of the all-American girl who went missing and James’ own equally complicated true crime addiction.

James Renner’s True Crime Addict is the story of his spellbinding investigation of the missing person case of Maura Murray, which has taken on a life of its own for armchair sleuths across the web. In the spirit of David Fincher’s Zodiac, it is a fascinating look at a case that has eluded.

Buy it on Amazon.

5. If You Tell: A true story of murder, family secrets, and the unbreakable bond of sisterhood

After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.

For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to years of unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it, all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother’s dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders.

Harrowing and heartrending, If You Tell is a survivor’s story of absolute evil – and the freedom and justice that Nikki, Sami, and Tori risked their lives to fight for. Sisters forever, victims no more, they found a light in the darkness that made them the resilient women they are today – loving, loved, and moving on.

Buy it on Amazon.

Do you have any personal recommendations of must-read True Crime books? I am always looking for the next book to read! Share it below.

True Crime Book Recommendations 20202

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Angela V

Founder and Writer at One Smiley Monkey blog
Hi, my name is Angela van Tijn and I live in Vancouver, Canada with my wonderful husband, our two boys and our puppy. I am the founder and primary contributor behind One Smiley Monkey. Welcome to my blog!

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3 responses to “True Crime Book Recommendations 2020”

  1. I’m more of a scifi fan myself, but I would totally read The Billionaire Murders.

  2. So great! I love crime podcasts so I’ll check these books out.

  3. I’m hoping to do a lot more reading this year so I’ll have to check these out.

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