True crime is a fascinating genre where the author doesn’t need to make up the conflict – it’s all too real. Serial killers tend to dominate, but not always, as you’ll see in my list of 13 brilliant true crime reads:
1. IN COLD BLOOD BY TRUMAN CAPOTE
Truman Capote’s 1966 classic kicked off the modern ‘novelized’ form of true crime. This accomplished wordsmith, at the height of his powers, takes readers right into the center of a small town reeling from the cold-blooded murder of a family. He also peers into the hearts of the murderers.
2. THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF CHARLES SOBHRAJ BY RICHARD NEVILLE AND JULIE CLARKE
I read this book when I was about to join friends on the so-called hippie trail – the overland trip to Europe that many young Australians took in the late 70s and early 80s. I bailed on my friends. Sobhraj was charming, charismatic and deadly; he committed at least 12 murders, most victims were young backpackers.
3. COLUMBINE BY DAVE CULLEN
After the horror at Columbine, people wanted quick answers. Dave Cullen went behind the headlines and spent 10 years investigating what drove Klebold and Harris to plan and carry out their deadly rampage.
4. SHOT IN THE HEART BY MIKAL GILMORE
The title of this book refers to the way murderer Gary Gilmore chose to die—by firing squad. The author is his brother, Mikal Gilmore, a music journalist. To say the Gilmore family was dysfunctional would be an understatement; here we have an eye witness account.