7 True Crime Stories You May Have Missed (But Definitely Need To Read)

by Melissa Ragsdale

There are some true crime stories that are woven into our public knowledge. Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, the first season of Serial, the firestorm around the O.J. Simpson trial. But after you've poured over all of those cases, you know you'll be thirsty for more. As everyone knows, when you can't find answers, the next best thing is more questions.

True crime is both an invigorating and frustrating genre. We've all been kept up at night, plagued by the question of "what really happened?" and trying to make the puzzle pieces fit. In the real world, there isn't always an explanation, and there isn't always justice. And sometimes, the circumstances are just outright bizarre.

If you're like me, this just makes the addiction even greater. I am fascinated by real world stories, in which every detail throws a wrench in what you thought was the truth. The more unsettling, the better — even if it means I'm not getting any sleep that week.

So here are some true crime books that go beyond the classics, from new releases to stories that might have just missed your radar. Some of these take a step outside of the box, while others burn the box in the dead of night, leaving no trace.

'Lady Killers' by Tori Telfer

We need more female representation everywhere, even when it comes to serial killers. Coming out October 10, this book started as a column on Jezebel called The Big Book of Female Killers, and it profiles the female murderers you probably haven't read about — or heard of — before.

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'American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land' by Monica Hesse

A series of arsons plunges the citizens of Accomack County into an atmosphere of fear, suspicion, and vigilance. But when the perpetrator, Charlie Smith, is arrested, his confession only makes the story more frightening.

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'I Will Find You: A Reporter Investigates the Life of the Man Who Raped Her' by Joanna Connors

This painful, heartwrenching memoir is unlike anything else you have ever read. Twenty-one years after journalist Joanna Connors was raped at knife-point, she sets out on a mission to uncover everything she can about the man who attacked her.

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'How to Get Away With Murder in America' by Evan Wright

No, this isn't a spin-off of the Shonda Rhimes show. It's actually a fascinating, in-depth examination of a CIA agent who may or may not have begun his career as a hit man for a criminal empire.

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'The Spider and the Fly' by Claudia Rowe

In 1998, the bodies of eight women were discovered in the attic of 27-year-old Kendall Francois' house — a home he shared with his parents and sister, who were somehow unaware of his crimes. Journalist Claudia Rowe began a four year conversation with the murderer after he was arrested, which led to the writing of this book.

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'Mrs. Sherlock Holmes' by Brad Ricca

Living by the motto "Justice for those of limited means," New York detective and lawyer Grace Humiston solved an extraordinary number of crimes during an era when it was beyond unconventional for a woman to be doing so.

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'Murder in Matera' by Helene Stapinski

Helene Stapinski spent a lifetime hearing about her great-great-grandmother, Vita, a "loose woman" who murdered someone in Southern Italy before immigrating to the United States. In this daring book, Strapinski goes back and uncovers the story of her ancestor's crime.

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