Last Updated on July 28, 2022 by Ben Oakley
Here, we list the top 10 true crime books as of June 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. In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile
By Dan Davies
Dan Davies has spent more than a decade on a quest to find the real Jimmy Savile, and interviewed him extensively over a period of seven years before his death. In the course of his quest, he spent days and nights at a time quizzing Savile at his homes in Leeds and Scarborough, lunched with him at venues ranging from humble transport cafes to the Athenaeum club in London and, most memorably, joined him for a short cruise aboard the QE2.
He thought his quest had come to an end in October 2011 when Savile’s golden coffin was lowered into a grave dug at a 45-degree angle in a Scarborough cemetery. He was wrong. In the last two and a half years, Dan has been interviewing scores of people, many of them unobtainable while Jimmy was alive. What he has discovered was that his instincts were right all along and behind the mask lay a hideous truth.
Jimmy Savile was not only complex, damaged and controlling, but cynical, calculating and predatory. He revelled in his status as a Pied Piper of youth and used his power to abuse the vulnerable and underage, all the while covering his tracks by moving into the innermost circles of the establishment.
2. The Fourth Man: The Hunt for the KGB’s CIA Mole and Why the US Overlooked Putin
By Robert Baer
For the first time ever, New York Times bestselling author and former CIA operative Robert Baer tells the explosive story of how insiders believe a KGB mole rose to the highest ranks of the CIA.
In the aftermath of the Cold War, US intelligence caught three high-profile Russian spies. However, these arrests left major questions unanswered, and rumours have long swirled of another mole, often referred to as the Fourth Man. Three pioneering female veterans of counterintelligence were tasked with unearthing him. With steadfast determination and expertise, they came to a shocking conclusion, one which had, and continues to harbour, dramatic consequences for American security.
In this gripping insider account, Baer tells a thrilling story of Russian espionage and American intelligence. With profound implications for the rise of Vladimir Putin and international relations with Russia, The Fourth Man is a real-life spy thriller with echoes of John Le Carré.
3. If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood
By Gregg Olsen
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.
4. The Bigamist: The True Story of a Husband’s Ultimate Betrayal
By Mary Turner Thomson
In April 2006, Mary Turner Thomson received a call that blew her life apart. The woman on the other end of the line told her that Will Jordan, Mary’s husband and the father of her two younger children, had been married to her for fourteen years and they had five children together.
The Bigamist is the shocking true crime story of how one man manipulated an intelligent, independent woman, conning her out of £200,000 and leaving her to bring up the children he claimed he could never have.
It’s a story we all think could never happen to us, but this shameless con man has been doing the same thing to various other women for at least 27 years, spinning a tangled web of lies and deceit to cover his tracks.
How far would you go to help the man you love? How far would he go to deceive you? And what would you do when you found out it was all a lie?
5. Broken: The most shocking childhood story ever told. An inspirational author who survived it.
By Shy Keenan
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. The Psychopath: A True Story
By Mary Turner Thomson
In 2006, Mary Turner Thomson’s world shattered when she discovered her husband Will was a bigamist, con man and convicted sex offender. Unbeknownst to her, this would be the start of a bold new chapter in her life, fighting to protect other women from his heartless gaslighting campaigns—and putting a stop to his endless deception.
Mary thought her story would end with the revelation that Will in fact had several families—and numerous children. But when she discovered that he had continued to prey on new victims, she vowed to turn his betrayal into a force for good. On her mission to protect these women and others, Mary also learned more about the psychopathy behind Will’s duplicitous behaviour.
Teaming up with his newest fiancée in the US, Mary attempts to put an end to Will’s devastating activities. But will she and her fellow victims succeed in their ultimate goal: to bring down Will Jordan forever?
Mary Turner Thomson began telling her story in her first book, The Bigamist. Now, in The Psychopath, she delves deeper into Will’s betrayal, telling an entirely new true crime story of how she moved on, and helped others do the same.
7. Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty
By Patrick Radden Keefe
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.
8. Red Notice: A True Story of Corruption, Murder and One Man’s Fight for Justice
By Bill Browder
In November 2009, the young lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was beaten to death by eight police officers in a freezing cell in a Moscow prison. His crime? Testifying against Russian officials who were involved in a conspiracy to steal $230 million of taxes.
Red Notice is a searing exposé of the whitewash of this imprisonment and murder. The killing hasn’t been investigated. It hasn’t been punished. Bill Browder is still campaigning for justice for his late lawyer and friend. This is his explosive journey from the heady world of finance in New York and London in the 1990s, through battles with ruthless oligarchs in turbulent post-Soviet Union Moscow, to the shadowy heart of the Kremlin.
With fraud, bribery, corruption and torture exposed at every turn, Red Notice is a shocking political roller-coaster.
9. Unnatural Causes
By Dr Richard Shepherd
Meet the forensic pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd. He solves the mysteries of unexplained or sudden death. He has performed over 23,000 autopsies, including some of the most high-profile cases of recent times: the Hungerford Massacre, the Princess Diana inquiry, and 9/11.
He has faced serial killers, natural disaster, ‘perfect murders’ and freak accidents. His evidence has put killers behind bars, freed the innocent, and turned open-and-shut cases on their heads. Yet all this has come at a huge personal cost.
Unnatural Causes tells the true crime story of not only the cases and bodies that have haunted him the most, but also how to live a life steeped in death. Thoughtful, revealing, chilling and always unputdownable, if you liked All That Remains, War Doctor and This is Going to Hurt you’ll love this.
10. The Vanishing Triangle: The Murdered Women Ireland Forgot
By Claire McGowan
Ireland in the 1990s seemed a safe place for women. With the news dominated by the Troubles, it was easy to ignore non-political murders and sexual violence, to trust that you weren’t going to be dragged into the shadows and killed. But beneath the surface, a far darker reality had taken hold.
Through questioning the society and circumstances that allowed eight young women to vanish without a trace―no conclusion or conviction, no resolution for their loved ones―bestselling crime novelist Claire McGowan delivers a candid investigation into the culture of secrecy, victim-blaming and shame that left these women’s bodies unfound, their fates unknown, their assailants unpunished.
McGowan reveals an Ireland not of leprechauns and craic but of outdated social and sexual mores, where women and their bodies were of secondary importance to perceived propriety and misguided politics–a place of well-buttoned lips and stony silence, inadequate police and paramilitary threat.
Was an unknown serial killer at large or was there something even more insidious at work? In this insightful, sensitively drawn account, McGowan exposes a system that failed these eight women–and continues to fail women to this day.
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