5 New True Crime Books To Read While You Wait For New Episodes Of 'Serial'
It's official: NPR's wildly popular This American Life spinoff Serial is coming back for a third season, and soon. If you need something to help you pass the time until you can hear Sarah Koenig's voice in your ear buds again, or something to distract you between episodes, read these true crime books while you wait.
When Serial debuted in 2014, the investigative journalism podcast became an instant hit. Since then, episodes of the first two seasons — which told the story of the 1999 murder of Baltimore teen Hae Min Lee and the capture of soldier Bowe Bergdahl, respectively — have been downloaded over 340 million times.
For Serial's third season, Koenig teamed up with reporter Emmanuel Dzotsi to tell stories about the American justice system through the lens of one court house in Cleveland. According to the official synopsis, "Serial is heading back to court. This time, in Cleveland. A year inside a typical American courthouse. This season we tell you the extraordinary stories of ordinary cases. One courthouse, told week by week."
Whether you have been a fan from the very beginning or, like Kim Kardashian, only recently found the popular podcast, chances are you cannot wait to hear this new set of stories. Season 3 of Serial returns on Sept. 20, but in the meantime and in between episodes, which drop every Thursday, you can get your true crime fix with these five new and fascinating books.
'To the Bridge: A True Story of Motherhood and Murder' by Nancy Rommelmann
On May 23, 2009, Amanda Stott-Smith dropped her two children off Portland's Sellwood Bridge and into the Willamette River. Her four-year-old-son, Eldon, died, but his seven-year-old sister, Trinity, survived. In To the Bridge, journalist Nancy Rommelmann explores this horrifying crime and asks the question: What could drive a mother to commit such and unspeakable act? Powerful and provocative, To the Bridge is the kind of true crime story, like those in Serial, that stays with you long after you've finished.
'The Kill Jar: Obsession, Descent, and a Hunt for Detroit's Most Notorious Serial Killer' by J. Reuben Appelman
Author J. Reuben Appelman has been obsessed with the Oakland County Child Killings ever since he evaded an abduction attempt when he was six years old, during the same period of time the murders began. In The Kill Jar, he takes readers along on his 10-year investigation of the unsolved case. Suspenseful and emotionally riveting, this is a true crime memoir mashup Serial fans will love.
'Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency' by Dan Abrams and David Fisher
If the idea of exploring the ins-and-outs of the justice system through the lens of a courthouse excites you, then you'll love Dan Abrams' historical true crime book, Lincoln's Last Trial. Set at the end of the summer in 1859, the book tells the story of Peachy Quinn Harrison, a 22 year old on trial for murder, and the lawyer hired to defend him, Abraham Lincoln. A gripping page-turner about one of the country's most beloved presidents and a chapter of his life that is often overlooked, this fascinating book will make readers feel like they're right in the courtroom watching the drama unfold.
'Into the Darkness: The Mysterious Death of Phoebe Handsjuk' by Robin Bowles
When they say the truth is stranger than fiction, they're talking about cases like that of Phoebe Handsjuk, a 24-year-old woman who was found dead at the bottom of a rubbish chute in the Melbourne apartment complex where she lived with her boyfriend. In Into the Darkness, Robin Bowles investigates the circumstances of Phoebe's peculiar and devastating death — which coroners ruled was not caused by foul play or suicide — and the secrets of her life.
'Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago' by Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz
In this exciting true crime history, authors Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz draw upon decades of primary source research to recreate Chicago 1929 and the lives of two of the day's most notorious figures, gangster Al Capone and lawman Eliot Ness. A thrilling true story that reads like a novel, Scarface and the Untouchable will hook readers at the very beginning and keep them turning pages until the very end.