November 23, 2012

This isn't Fiction - Let's talk ... True Crime

If there is one non fiction genre which borders most to fiction than this must be True Crime. Here the author presents not a fictitious but an actual crime in all its gory detail. The crimes written about most commonly include murder, but often other legal cases may be touched too. While some True Crime will strictly stick to well-established facts, some books can also be highly speculative. What they usually all have in common is that they crimes examined are either political assassinations, well-known unsolved murders, or the deaths of celebrities. Prominent True Crime accounts include Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (about Charles Manson) or The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule (about Ted Bundy). Depending on the author's approach to the crime he/she writes about the result may lean towards the shocking and sensationalist or present a down to earth, social realistic account.

I must admit, I've never knowingly read a True Crime book. It's not as though I'd be averse to crime novels - I do get the latest Tess Gerritsen each year, and I have quite a soft spot for cozy mysteries, but other than that the topic of murder itself isn't something I personally like to explore on the realistic level which True Crime offers.

Popular or not? 
27% of those who filled out my survey like True Crime

Reading Suggestions?
As I am obviously not the best person to ask about recommendations in a genre I know next to nothing about, I'd like to share a great site I found. The page is on the ... wait for it ... Forensic Colleges website which admittedly made me chuckle. I mean, how fitting is that? Anyway, here's the link to the 25 Best True Crime Books in which I found some familiar yet unexpected authors.

Getting into the right True Crime mood!
For those who like to add interesting blogs to their reader I suggest heading over to True Crime Reader which is a site dedicated to the genre, featuring both reviews and news about the world of True Crime. If you'd rather stick to the non-book True Crime variety you might want to check out the True Crime Library. And if you are more of a hands-on person (not in a murderous way, I would hope) then the True Crime Diary is well worth a visit to follow investigations of unsolved crimes.


Have you ever read a True Crime book? Is True Crime possibly even one of your favorite non fiction genres? Or maybe you do prefer the fiction genre of Crime better? Comment away.


  1. I LOVE True Crime books, although it's been a long time since I read one. Like you say, I think it's because it's close to fiction, but it's like reading a car crash - the reality of it makes it more gruesome than any fiction book could possibly be.

    I used to be obsessed with a True Crime website that were like short stories - I literally spent hours of my life on there - kinda macabre really!

  2. I am not really into the crime genre, especially true crime... I do want to read after I finish a book :)

  3. I can't remember reading a true crime story, unless you count Jack the Ripper books. But In cold blodd is on my TBR pile. So, one day....

  4. I probably shy away from anything labelled true crime but I probably have read books that would come under that sub-genre. I quite like the psychological aspect but don't like anything sensationalist. I do keep meaning to read In Cold Blood and Zodiac but those have been triggered by watching films and wanting to know more. I'm much more likely to read non-fiction that way rather than thinking I want to read about crime.