Last Updated on September 11, 2022 by Ben Oakley
Here, we list the top 10 true crime books as of September 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. Broken: The most shocking childhood story ever told
By Shy Keenan
After three months in the top 10, Broken by Shy Keenan finally takes the number one spot.
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…”
2. Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations
By Ronen Bergman
The highest new entry on the list, straight in at number two is Rise and Kill First.
From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, the instinct to take every measure to defend the Jewish people has been hardwired into Israel’s DNA.
This is the riveting inside account of the targeted assassinations that have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes pre-emptively.
Rise and Kill First counts their successes, failures and the moral and political price exacted on those who carried out the missions which have shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East and the entire world.
3. 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.
4. Top Girl
By Danielle Marin
Danielle has a safe, happy childhood growing up in West London, but her bright future fades as she turns her back on school for gang life and crime.
Betrayed by the police after a brutal gang rape, she finds protection under the wing of organised criminals and falls in love with the local ‘top boy’. However, her allegiances bring terror to her doorstep when gun-toting rivals target her flat – and the authorities answer by taking away her baby.
Heartbroken, Danielle spirals deeper into gang life and becomes a key player in a sprawling county lines operation, running drugs to satellite towns all over the UK from the gang’s London HQ.
The Harrods shopping sprees, designer handbags and hedonistic lifestyle are the envy of her friends, but the good times and cash mask the grim realities of her life.
A turning point comes when Danielle is arrested and – with the help of a probation officer – she begins to question whether she really is ‘top girl’ after all. But after five years deep in the high-earning street hustle, can she really leave it all behind?
Danielle’s gritty, emotional, no-holds-barred memoir lays bare the reality of a county lines insider and reveals the truth about life on the frontline of Britain’s biggest drug threat for a generation.
5. The Filth
By Duncan MacLaughlin
Duncan MacLaughlin was an elite officer at London’s New Scotland Yard. The best of the best.
In this explosive book, he breaks the code of silence among senior detectives and undercover agents to reveal the brutal, stark truth of life on the front-line of the war on crime. Even with training in covert techniques from the SAS he walked a dangerous line, with his life in constant danger.
The legendary cases he was involved with include the investigation of Kenneth Noye, the pursuit of kidnap victim Stephanie Slater and the slaying of PC Keith Blakelock. He also infiltrated countless global drugs cartels, bringing their terrifying bosses to justice.
With humour, insider insight, and non-stop drama, The Filth is a roller-coaster read that takes you straight into the heart of one of the toughest police jobs in the world. Filled with gritty slang and investigative detail that only an ex-copper could reveal, MacLaughlin’s story is a riveting insight into the world of serious crime that is both thrilling and frightening.
6. The Zimmermann Telegram: The Astounding Espionage Operation That Propelled America into the First World War
By Barbara Tuchman
In January 1917, with the First World War locked in terrible stalemate and America still neutral, German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmerman gambled the future of the conflict on a single telegram.
But this message was intercepted and decoded in Whitehall’s legendary Room 40 – and Zimmerman’s audacious scheme for world domination was exposed, bringing America into the war and changing the course of history.
The story of how this happened and the incalculable consequences are thrillingly told in Barbara Tuchman’s brilliant exploration.
7. Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty
By Patrick Radden Keefe
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.
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. If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood
By Gregg Olsen
Fourth 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.
10. Traces: The memoir of a forensic scientist and criminal investigator
By Patricia Wiltshire
In Traces, Professor Patricia Wiltshire will take you on a journey through the fascinating edgeland where nature and crime are intertwined.
She’ll take you searching for bodies of loved ones – through woodlands, along hedgerows, field-edges, and through plantations – solving time since death, and disposal of remains, from ditches to living rooms.
She will give you glimpses of her own history: her loves, her losses, and the narrow little valley in Wales where she first woke up to the wonders of the natural world.
Pat will show you how her work with a microscope reveals tell-tale traces of the world around us, and how these have taken suspects of the darkest criminal activities to court.
From flowers, fungi, tree trunks to car pedals, walking boots, carpets, and corpses’ hair, Traces is a fascinating, unique, and utterly compelling book on life, death, and one’s indelible link with nature.
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