Why do so many readers enjoy true crime? Billy Jensen, journalist and author of Chase Darkness with Me, says, “People read and watch and listen to true crime because it restores order from chaos.” He goes on to say, “It’s the comfort of watching everything be put in its place after an episode of outright, sickening bedlam.”
Maybe all you really know about true crime is that Ann Rule wrote The Stranger Beside Me because she knew Ted Bundy. Rule is one of the most popular true crime writers in the library. She wrote many more books on the subject. If Bundy fascinates you, there are also other books about Ted Bundy, including The Only Living Witness by Stephen G. Michaud. Michaud’s eAudiobook, Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer, is available through Hoopla, while the eBook is available on Overdrive.
Author Michelle McNamara was a writer, a wife, and a mother who became obsessed with a rapist and serial killer in California. McNamara became interested in unsolved crimes when she was only fourteen. A woman was killed in her Chicago neighborhood, and the murderer was never found. In 2006, she started a website, True Crime Diary. McNamara is the one who nicknamed a California killer as the Golden State Killer. Until then, the man who killed across multiple areas of California was called the East Area Rapist, or the Original Night Stalker. At night, when her family went to bed, McNamara would open her laptop and search crime reports, autopsy reports, old yearbooks, anything that might give her a clue to the identity of the Golden State Killer. She was writing about her search in what would become the book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. However, McNamara died in her sleep when she was only 46. The book went on to be a 2018 bestseller, with an introduction by Gillian Flynn, and an afterword by McNamara’s husband, comedian Patton Oswalt. That afterword discusses the arrest of the Golden State Killer, after McNamara’s death.
Patton Oswalt hired two people to piece together I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. One was researcher Paul Haynes, who worked with McNamara. The author was investigative journalist Billy Jensen. Jensen was already obsessed with cold cases, covering them for newspapers, and starting podcasts and television shows that would use the reality format to try to solve murders. McNamara’s death propelled him to invest his money and time in investigating unsolved crimes. In his book, Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders, Jensen discusses his own obsession, while asking others to help solve cold cases.
While journalist Billy Jensen encourages citizens to solve cold cases, John E. Douglas was a professional in the field. He was one of the first criminal profilers for the FBI, and the author of numerous books including Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, and The Killer Across the Table. In fact, Douglas is the model for the main character in the Netflix serial-killer crime drama, Mindhunter.
Are you fascinated by true crime books? You’re not alone. The Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library has an extensive collection of books, eBooks, and eAudiobooks that might interest you.
With 8 locations throughout Vanderburgh County, EVPL is ready to discover, explore, and connect WITH you! We encourage you to uncover new things, revisit old favorites, and to engage with us along the way.