Adventurous devotees of suspense fiction will be thrilled to discover a trove of enticing stories on the nonfiction shelves. Here are stored some true crime works that relate events just as appealing and appalling as any sprouting from the imagination. The popularity of the genre is evidenced by the many podcasts, documentaries, and books that draw you in as a virtual participant in the investigations. Readers get a chance to get an intimate peek into the lives of real-life villains and their victims. It has been said that the demand for true crime tales began with Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, a work which often blurs the line between truth and fiction. Next came the procedurals, with their painstaking research and exhaustive details, such as Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me. For the squeamish, crime media is not just limited to murder cases and investigations—there are great titles that explore almost every expression of criminal behavior.

For this month’s blog, I am recommending some contemporary books taken from the nonfiction shelves. Given the publishing rate, the thirst for such exposés does not seem to be abating any time soon. Good thing there is plenty of material available to entice and satisfy even the pickiest of armchair detectives.

Bone DeepBone Deep by Charles Bismuth and Joel Schwartz

"Describes how Russ Faria was wrongfully prosecuted and convicted for his wife's 2011 murder, despite having an alibi supported by surveillance video, receipts, and friends' testimony."

Bad BloodBad Blood by John Carreyrou

"Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley."

Furious HoursFurious Hours by Casey Cep

"The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird. Cep brings this nearly inconceivable story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South."

We Keep the Dead CloseWe Keep the Dead Close by Backy Cooper

"A memoir of mirrors, misogyny, and murder. It is at once a rumination on the violence and oppression that rules our revered institutions, a ghost story reflecting one young woman's past onto another's present, and a love story for a girl who was lost to history."

When a Killer Calls by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker

"One of the most haunting investigations of Douglas' storied career, this case details how the eerily accurate profile he created--alongside his carefully crafted and stage-managed manipulation of the killer's psychology—combined with dedicated police work and cutting-edge forensic science to end a reign of criminal terror."

Catch and KillCatch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

"This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse. And it's the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement."

The Feather ThiefThe Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson

"The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man's relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man's destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature."

Empire of PainEmpire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe

"Presents a portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, who built their fortune on the sale of Valium and later sponsored the creation and marketing of one of the most commonly prescribed and addictive painkillers of the opioid crisis."

I'll Be Gone in the DarkI'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

"True crime journalist Michelle McNamara was determined to find the violent psychopath she called 'the Golden State Killer.' An atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind."

My Friend AnnaMy Friend Anna by Rachel DeLeache Williams

"From a photo editor at Vanity Fair comes the true account of her friendship with 'Anna Delvey'—a woman posing as a German heiress who conned her out of $62,000—and her quest to obtain justice."

May's Featured Reviews

American SherlockAmerican Sherlock by Kate Winkler Dawson

Unspeakable ActsUnspeakable Acts by Sarah Weinman (ed.)

Hop on the Holds List

1. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

2. Sparring Partners by John Grisham

3. Mustique Island by Sarah McCoy

4. Ancestor Trouble by Maud Newton

5. Memphis by Tara Stringfellow

Recent Readings

I have recently finished reading The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart and have most recently enjoyed the audiobook version of My Man, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Right now, I am reading Unsub by Meg Gardiner and Friends Like These by Kimberley McCreight. I am just starting the audio version of Kumquat by Jeff Strand on Hoopla.

Do you enjoy true crime depictions or do you prefer to escape reality with fictional works? Know of any good podcasts or videos that you have found illuminating? Drop me a line:

Thanks for all your suggestions and feedback, I really enjoy hearing from you!

Until next time: Be safe, be well and be well-read!


So, who am I, anyway? I am a resident of West Groton, with a husband, 4 teenaged children and a Samoyed puppy-all of whom are systematically destroying our house. I am currently working part time at the Groton Public Library and in a former life I was employed as a Director or PR/Marketing at a high-tech consulting firm. My BA is in Psychology, but most of my time was spent in college earning a Concentration on the Novel. That is all to say that I make no claims at being an expert of any kind and my thoughts, opinions and mistakes are solely my own. I am just a person whose passion for books has continued to grow from the moment I was first able to grip and gnaw on them, and I have been devouring them ever since.

May 01, 2022 / Joelle M Egan