True Crime: Adult Core Collection

Read the true stories behind some of the most well-known crimes in the world. You’ll find everything from murder and serial killers to environmental and political wrong-doings to historical tellings and first-person investigations.

Barrett, Nina

In 1924, University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were young, rich, and looking for a thrill. The crime that came next--the brutal, cold-blood murder of 14-year-old Bobby Franks--would come to captivate the country and unfold into what many dubbed the crime of the century. As the decades passed, the mythology surrounding the unlikely killers continued to capture the interest of new generations, spawning numerous books, fictionalizations, and dramatizations.

Berendt, John

In charming, beautiful, and wealthy old-South Savannah, Georgia, the local bad boy is shot dead inside of the opulent mansion of a gay antiques dealer, and a gripping trial follows.

Bowden, Mark

A tour de force of investigative journalism, Killing Pablo is the story of the violent rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the head of the Colombian Medellin cocaine cartel. Escobar's criminal empire held a nation of thirty million hostage in a reign of terror that would end only with his death. In an intense, up-close account, award-winning journalist Mark Bowden exposes details never before revealed about the U.S.-led covert sixteen-month manhunt. 

Bugliosi, Vincent

Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the twentieth century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Here is the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime.

Burns, Sarah

Traces the near-fatal 1989 Central Park attack on a woman and the ensuing media frenzy and public hysteria that culminated in the wrongful convictions of five Latino teens, in a report that analyzes regional class and race struggles and the failures of local government and law enforcement.

Capote, Truman

Presents Capote's masterful account of the senseless 1959 murders of four members of a farm family in Holcomb, Kansas, and the search for the killers, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith.

Clark, Anna (Anna Leigh)

Recounts the gripping story of Flint's poisoned water through the people who caused it, suffered from it, and exposed it. It is a chronicle of one town, but could also be about any American city, all made precarious by the neglect of infrastructure.

Cornwell, Patricia Daniels

From New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell comes Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, a comprehensive and intriguing expose of one of the world’s most chilling cases of serial murder—and the police force that failed to solve it.

Cullen, Dave

Ten years in the making and a masterpiece of reportage, Columbine is an award-winning journalist's definitive account of one of the most shocking massacres in American history.

Dawson, Kate Winkler

In winter 1952, London automobiles and thousands of coal-burning hearths belched particulate matter into the air. But the smog that descended on December 5th of 1952 was different; it was a type that held the city hostage for five long days. Mass transit ground to a halt, criminals roamed the streets, and 12,000 people died. That same month, there was another killer at large in London: John Reginald Christie, who murdered at least six women. In a braided narrative that draws on extensive interviews, never-before-published material, and archival research, Dawson captivatingly recounts the intersecting stories of the these two killers and their longstanding impact on modern history.

Douglas, John E.

During his twenty-five year career with the Investigative Support Unit, Special Agent John Douglas became a legendary figure in law enforcement, pursuing some of the most notorious and sadistic serial killers of our time: the man who hunted prostitutes for sport in the woods of Alaska, the Atlanta child murderer, and Seattle's Green River killer, the case that nearly cost Douglas his life.

Ellroy, James

The author provides an account of the 1958 murder of his mother, the failed probe into her killing, its impact on his own life, and the results of an investigation, with ex-homicide detective Bill Stoner, into the crime.

Gilmore, Mikal

Gary Gilmore, the infamous murderer immortalized by Norman Mailer in The Executioner's Song, campaigned for his own death and was executed by firing squad in 1977. Writer Mikal Gilmore is his younger brother. Shot in the Heart is the history of an American family inextricably tied up with violence, and the story of how the children of this family committed murder and murdered themselves in payment for a long lineage of ruin.

Grann, David

Presents a true account of the early 20th-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

Grisham, John

Presents the real-life case of Ron Williamson, a mentally ill former baseball player who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death for the 1982 murder of a 21-year-old woman in his Oklahoma hometown.

Guinn, Jeff

A portrait of the influential cult leader behind the Jonestown Massacre examines his personal life, from his extramarital affairs and drug use to his fraudulent faith healing practices and his decision to move his followers to Guyana, sharing astonishing new details about the events leading to the 1978 tragedy.

Hesse, Monica

The Washington Post reporter documents the trial of a man who was charged with dozens of counts of arson in rural Virginia county, sharing insight into the perpetrator's struggles with addiction, his relationship with his accomplice girlfriend and the impact of the fires on their community.

Hope, Bradley

The dust had yet to settle on the global financial crisis in 2009 when an unlikely Wharton grad was setting in motion a fraud of unprecedented gall and magnitude--one that would come to symbolize the next great threat to the global financial system. Billion Dollar Whale will become a classic, harrowing parable about the financial world in the twenty-first century.

Iversen, Kristen

Full Body Burden is a haunting work of narrative nonfiction about a young woman, Kristen Iversen, growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated "the most contaminated site in America." It's the story of a childhood and adolescence in the shadow of the Cold War, in a landscape at once startlingly beautiful and—unknown to those who lived there—tainted with invisible yet deadly particles of plutonium.

Jentz, Terri

In 1977, Terri Jentz and her Yale roommate, Shayna Weiss, make a cross-country bike trip. They pitch a tent in the desert of central Oregon. As they are sleeping, a man in a pickup truck deliberately runs over the tent, then attacks them with an ax. No one is ever arrested. Both women survive, but Shayna has amnesia, while Terri is left alone with memories of the attack--their friendship is shattered. Fifteen years later, Terri returns to the town and makes an extraordinary discovery: the violence of that night is as present for the community as it is for her. Slowly, her interviews with the townspeople yield a revelation: many say they know who did it, and he is living freely in their midst. Terri then sets out to discover the truth, and ultimately finds herself face-to-face with the alleged psychopath.

Johnson, Lacy M.

Lacy Johnson was held prisoner in a soundproofed room in a basement apartment that her ex-boyfriend rented and outfitted for the sole purpose of raping and killing her. She escaped, but not unscathed. The Other Side is the haunting account of a first passionate and then abusive relationship, the events leading to Johnson's kidnapping and imprisonment, her dramatic escape, and her hard-fought struggle to recover. 

King, Gilbert

In December 1957, Blanche Bosanquet Knowles, the wealthy young wife of a citrus baron, is raped in her home while her husband is away. Journalist Mabel Norris Reese and an inexperienced young lawyer pursue the case, winning unlikely allies and chasing down leads until at long last they begin to unravel the unspeakable truths behind a racial conspiracy that shocked a community into silence.

Kirn, Walter

The true story of a young novelist who meets and befriends an eccentric, privileged New Yorker when he delivers a crippled hunting dog to him from an animal shelter, and later discovers that his friend was a serial imposter and brutal double-murderer.

Kolker, Robert

Working closely with the victim's families, this tragic account details the lives and deaths of the five women - prostitutes who advertised on Craigslist - who were victims of the Long Island serial killer, the most skillful and accomplished psychopath in New York since the Son of Sam.

Krakauer, Jon

In Missoula, Krakauer chronicles the searing experiences of several women in Missoula--the nights when they were raped; their fear and self-doubt in the aftermath; the way they were treated by the police, prosecutors, defense attorneys; the public vilification and private anguish; their bravery in pushing forward and what it cost them.

Krakauer, Jon

Traces the 1984 murder of a woman and her child by fundamentalist Mormons, exploring the belief systems and traditions that mark the faith's most extreme factions and what their practices reflect about the nature of religion in America.

Larson, Erik

An account of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 relates the stories of two men who shaped the history of the event--architect Daniel H. Burnham, who coordinated its construction, and serial killer Herman Mudgett.

Leveritt, Mara

The award-winning investigative journalist takes readers deep inside the 1993 slayings of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, revealing the overzealous prosecution that may have improperly convicted three teenagers.

Lloyd Parry, Richard

Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, chronicles the 2000 disappearance, massive search, long investigation, and the even longer murder trial behind the gruesome murder case of Lucie Blackman in Japan.

MacLean, Harry N.

Recounts the true story of the murder of Ken Rex McElroy, a man who had terrorized and bullied the citizens of Skidmore, Missouri, and whose killer is still protected by a code of silence.

Marzano-Lesnevich, Alexandria

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley's face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes -- the moment she hears him speak of his crimes -- she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar. Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky's childhood, and by examining his case, is forced to face her own story, unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky's crime.

McNamara, Michelle

An account of the unsolved Golden State Killer case, written by the late author of the TrueCrimeDiary.com website traces the rapes and murders of dozens of victims and the author's determined efforts to help identify the killer and bring him to justice.

Pelisek, Christine

In 2008, Christine Pelisek broke the story of a terrifying serial killer who went unchecked in Los Angeles for decades, killing the most vulnerable women in one South Central neighborhood. In her cover article for LA Weekly, Christine dubbed him 'The Grim Sleeper' for his long break between murders. The killer preyed on a community devastated by crime and drugs and left behind a trail of bodies--all women of color, all murdered in a similar fashion, and all discarded in the alleys of Los Angeles.

Perry, Douglas

Documents the true stories of Belva Gaertner and Beulah Annan, the women whose sensational murder trials inspired the musical "Chicago," and traces the contributions of fledgling reporter Maurine Watkins against a backdrop of Chicago's Jazz Age culture.

Perry, Sarah

Told in searing prose, After the Eclipse is a luminous memoir of uncomfortable truth and terrible beauty, an exquisite memorial for a mother stolen from her daughter, and a blazingly successful attempt to cast light on her life once more.

Rule, Ann

When Diane Downs and her three children were shot on a quiet, country road, residents of Springfield, Oregon, were frightened. A bushy haired stranger had flagged down their car, Diane told police, as she described how the man had coldly opened fire on her sleeping children. Despite the fact she was shot, too, the young mother managed to drive to the hospital in time to save all but one child. But something about her story was fishy, and detectives began to suspect Diane was lying. Was it possible that she was the shooter?

Rule, Ann

Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me defies our expectation that we would surely know if a monster lived among us, worked alongside of us, appeared as one of us. With a slow chill that intensifies with each heart-pounding page, Rule describes her dawning awareness that Ted Bundy, her sensitive coworker on a crisis hotline, was one of the most prolific serial killers in America.

Stallworth, Ron

The true story of Detective Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who in 1978 went undercover to investigate the KKK.

Summerscale, Kate

Traces the 1860 murder of a young child whose death launched a national obsession with detection throughout England, nearly destroyed the career of a top Scotland Yard investigator, and inspired the birth of modern detective fiction.

Toobin, Jeffrey

Examines the life of Patty Hearst who suffered an unimaginable trauma and then made the stunning decision to join her captors' crusade.

Tyson, Timothy B.

The event that launched the civil rights movement--the 1955 lynching of young Emmett Till--now reexamined by an award-winning author with access to never-before-heard accounts from those involved as well as recently recovered court transcripts from the trial.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.