Last Updated on August 15, 2022 by Ben Oakley
Here, we list the top 10 true crime books as of July 2022 that are real true crime books and not fictional ones. The top 10 true crime book list is compiled from various booksellers including Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, and independent stores. The list applies mainly to eBooks but generally the print copy list is the same
1. Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell
By John Preston
Despite being released 18 months ago, Fall by John Preston jumps straight into the number one spot.
Robert Maxwell was a very British success. Born an Orthodox Jew, he escaped the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, fought in the Second World War, and was decorated for his heroism with the Military Cross. He went on to become a Labour MP and an astonishingly successful businessman, owning a number of newspapers and publishing companies. But after his dead body was discovered floating in waters around his superyacht, his empire fell apart as long-hidden debts and unscrupulous dealings came to light. Within a few days, Maxwell was being reviled as the embodiment of greed and corruption.
What went so wrong? How did a man who had once laid such store on the importance of ethics and good behaviour become reduced to a bloated, amoral wreck? In this gripping book, John Preston delivers the definitive account of Maxwell’s extraordinary rise and scandalous fall.
2. Under The Banner of Heaven
By Jon Krakauer
Bolstered by the success of the new Netflix series based on the book, this release of the original 2013 book jumps straight back into the top 10. Just missing out on the number one spot for the top 10 true crime books of August 2022.
Brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty insist they were commanded to kill by God. In Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer‘s investigation is a meticulously researched, bone-chilling narrative of polygamy, savage violence and unyielding faith. An incisive look inside isolated Mormon Fundamentalist communities in America, this gripping work of non-fiction illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behaviour.
3. The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
by Hallie Rubenhold
Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.
What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.
Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women.
Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, historian Hallie Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, and gives these women back their stories.
4. All the Lies They Did Not Tell
By Pablo Trincia
The top holdover from the top 10 true crime books for July 2022 is Pablo Trincia’s All the Lies They Did Not Tell.
In 1997 a six-year-old boy questioned by authorities relayed disturbing stories of abuse. The more he talked, the more people were implicated in his shocking revelations. And he was only the first child to come forward.
Within a year, fifteen more children with similar tales were transferred out of the Bassa region of Italy to protected locations. Their parents were accused of belonging to a satanic sect that performed sex rituals under the aegis of beloved local priest Don Giorgio Govoni. With each child’s confession, the network of monsters grew. Families were torn apart. Lives were forever destroyed—and some ended—as allegations of kidnapping, torture, sacrifice, and murder escalated beyond comprehension.
But what was really happening in the Bassa Modenese?
In this gripping account of the Satanic Panic of the 1990s, investigative journalist Pablo Trincia returns to the scene of the crimes to find the answer. And the truth he uncovers is as terrifying as the lies.
5. Broken: The most shocking childhood story ever told
By Shy Keenan
Broken remains in the top 10 for three months in a row!
The Sunday Times Bestseller “I was born and broken in Birkenhead, abused from infancy by a network of every kind of pervert from ‘thinks it’s love’ to ‘show it hurts’. I was unwanted, beaten, sold, swapped, photographed, filmed, left for dead, corrupted, blamed, betrayed, ignored and orphaned.
But I was also born with a fire inside me. I call it my Phoenix Fire. I am no victim – that word only describes what happened to me. Nor am I a survivor because that implies I am over it. I am a Phoenix – a work in progress. This is my story…”
6. Murder in the Neighborhood
By Ellen J. Green
On September 6, 1949, 28-year-old Howard Barton Unruh shot 13 people, in less than 12 minutes, on his block in East Camden, New Jersey. The shocking, true story of the first recorded mass-shooting in America has never been told, until now.
The sky was cloudless that morning, when 12-year-old Raymond Havens left his home on River Road. His grandmother had sent him to get a haircut at the barbershop across the street – where he was about to witness his neighbor, and friend, Howard, open fire on the customers inside.
Told through the eyes of the young boy who visited Howard regularly to listen to his war stories, and the mother trying to piece together the disturbing inner-workings of her son’s mind, Ellen Green uncovers the chilling true story of Howard Unruh – the quiet oddball who meticulously plotted his revenge on the neighbors who shunned him, and became one of America’s first mass killers.
With access to Howard’s diaries, newly released police reports, and psychiatric records, alongside interviews with surviving family members, and residents of East Camden, Murder in the Neighborhood will have listeners of In Cold Blood, If You Tell, and American Predator absolutely gripped.
7. Written In Bone
By Sue Black
Drawing upon her years of research and a wealth of remarkable experience, the world-renowned forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black takes us on a journey of revelation. From skull to feet, via the face, spine, chest, arms, hands, pelvis and legs, she shows that each part of us has a tale to tell. What we eat, where we go, everything we do leaves a trace, a message that waits patiently for months, years, sometimes centuries, until a forensic anthropologist is called upon to decipher it.
Some of this information is easily understood, some holds its secrets tight and needs scientific cajoling to be released. But by carefully piecing together the evidence, the facts of a life can be rebuilt.
Limb by limb, case by case – some criminal, some historical, some unaccountably bizarre – Sue Black reconstructs with intimate sensitivity and compassion the hidden stories in what we leave behind.
8. Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty
By Patrick Radden Keefe
Third month in the top 10 for Empire of Pain, a fantastic run for a fascinating book!
Proving that the secrets and lives of the richest people on Earth continue to fascinate, Empire of Pain carries on it bestselling run.
The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions – Harvard; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Oxford; the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations in the arts and the sciences.
The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing Oxycontin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis-an international epidemic of drug addiction which has killed nearly half a million people.
In this masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing, Patrick Radden Keefe exhaustively documents the jaw-dropping and ferociously compelling reality. Empire of Pain is the story of a dynasty: a parable of 21st century greed.
9. The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe
By David Leigh & Tony Hutchinson
Second month in the top 10 true crime books but dropping seven places to number 9.
How did the most ordinary of couples pull off one of the most outrageous frauds of modern times? And why did they carry on with the lie for so long?
Drowning in debt and facing almost certain bankruptcy, John Darwin did the unthinkable – he paddled out to sea in his red canoe and disappeared. After a massive search and rescue operation failed to find his body, he was assumed dead, lost in the bleak North Sea.
Nearly six years later, after John miraculously returned from the dead with a strange tale of ‘amnesia’ and sporting a suspicious golden tan, the police and the Press were desperate to discover the truth behind his remarkable resurrection.
The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe is the definitive behind-the-scenes account of this true story of audacious deception and coercion, offering an unprecedented insight into a mind-boggling story that gripped the nation – and into the inscrutable minds of ‘Canoe Man’ John and Anne Darwin, his long-suffering partner in crime.
10. If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood
By Gregg Olsen
Third month in the top 10 true crime books for the riveting If You Tell!
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 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 true crime 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.
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