For some reason, learning about unsolved murders and mysterious crimes is so strangely fascinating to so many of us. As a kid, I never understood why my mom enjoyed true crime investigation shows so much, but as an adult who loves Serial, Making A Murderer, The Night Of and books about unsolved crimes, I totally get it. I can't get enough of unsolved crimes, on-screen and in-between the pages of books.
There are quite a few murder mysteries that I'm borderline obsessed with. When it comes to unsolved true crimes, just about anything can capture my attention. If you're the same way, you're probably constantly searching for the next best true crime book. While unsolved crime cases can often seem dull on the outside (I mean, there's no conclusion or exciting arrests made, so what's so interesting about it?), the clues and false leads are what many find so interesting. You can keep asking questions, thinking up new solutions, and pretending to be a private detective. It's like a never ending game of Clue — only a lot more tragic.
From unsolved murder mysteries to missing people in the jungle to scary realities and lurking, serial killers who remain on the loose, here are eight must-read books about haunting unsolved crimes:
1. The Lost City of Z by David Grann
British explorer Percy Fawcett set out into the Amazon in 1925 to find the the lost city of El Dorado, which he dubbed "Z." Knowing that people had gone missing before on their searches for the lost city, Fawcett still made it his mission to explore the region. But then he disappeared. New York writer David Grann set out to solve this mystery — the unsolved disappearances of past explorers — and discovered there's more to this story than meets the eye.
2. Missing 411 by David Paulides
In the same vein of unsolved disappearances and crimes,
Missing 411 tells the story of 48 people who have mysteriously gone missing in the woods of North America. While it's generally accepted people disappear in the wilderness sometimes, this book documents the unusual, bizarre, and spine-shivering cases that just don't make sense. This massive book is one to keep around for whenever you want to read up on an unnerving story or two.
3. Columbine by Dave Cullen
The Columbine shooting still poses many unanswered questions. Dave Cullen, one of the first reporters on the scene on April 20, 1999, spent the subsequent 10 years speaking with multiple psychologists and survivors to delve deeper into what happened that tragic day.
4. Cold Case Vancouver by Eve Lazarus
In this book, Eve Lazarus documents over fifty years of unsolved murders in the city of Vancouver — the murders, the disappearances, the just plain inexplicable.
5. True Crime Addict by James Jenner
When James Renner was a kid, he fell in love with the girl on the missing posters sign. He's since followed his obsession with true crime as an investigative journalist. But as his career slowly seeped into his personal life, his obsession became his downfall. As the title suggests, this is one addictive read.
6. Lost Girls by Robert Kolker
Investigative reporter Robert Kolker describes the investigation of five missing girls on Long Island. He uncovers a haunting tale of a serial killer on the loose and describes the dangerous world of online escorts.
7. Cold Cases by Helena Katz
This book dives into 40 unsolved murder cases from the past 160 years, and you'll get sucked into each and every one. As times change, methods of solving crime cases do, too, and that's part of what makes this book so fascinating.
8. Murders Unsolved by Mike Riley
You'll probably recognize a few cases in this collection of unsolved murders and crimes. Perhaps you remember the story of Amber Hagerman, the girl whose disappearance spurred the creation of the Amber Alert system. These stories have stumped investigators for decades — and you'll be left equally confounded.