9 True Crime Books For Readers Who Love Mysteries But Don't Want To Read About Murder
It's undeniable that true crime books, podcasts, and shows are in high-demand right now. Considering the success of books like Michelle McNamara's I'll Be Gone in the Dark, podcasts like Serial, and documentaries like Making a Murderer, you could say it's a seriously good time to be a fan of the true crime genre. But, as fascinating as the genre often is, it can also be filled with gruesome crimes and horrifying details that might not appeal to every reader.
So if you want to read a true crime book but you want to be spared the graphic details, it might be time to consider one of the books I've listened below. True crime isn't entirely about murders or gore. Sometimes, true crime is simply about the mystery, psychology, history, and sociology of truly fascinating crimes — like the time someone stole a collection of rare bird skins from the British Museum of Natural History or the time someone stole over $500 millions in rare art and was never found.
So, here are some excellent true crime books that make great reads for anybody who doesn't want to read about murder. These will hook you in just as quickly as your favorite podcasts and TV shows, but with a whole lot less blood:
'The Feather Thief' by Kirk Wallace Johnson
In 2009, 20-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist performed a concert, boarded a train, and then stole hundreds of bird feathers from the British Museum of Natural History. In this fascinating read, Kirk Wallace Johnson tries to figure out why.
'The Woman Who Fooled The World: Belle Gibson’s Cancer Con, and the Darkness at the Heart of the Wellness Industry' by Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano
Belle Gibson convinced the world that "clean eating" cured her cancer. But the truth is that Gibson never had cancer. So how did she get away with this elaborate scheme — and why? This book unspools this public con, and examines its lasting impacts on the wellness industry.
'Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street' by Sheelah Kolhatkar
After launching the hedge fund SAC Capital, Steven Cohen became one of the most successful people on Wall Street — until he was brought down by a seven-year investigation into the fund.
4' Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake' by Frank W. Abagnale and Stan Redding
In this memoir, Frank Abagnale describes how he stole millions of dollars through check fraud and led the FBI on a worldwide manhunt, all before he was 21 years old.
'The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession' by Allison Hoover Bartlett
When Journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett befriended master book thief John Charles Gilkey and Ken Sanders, the book dealer determined to catch him, she uncovered a riveting story about the truth of book thievery.
'Three Minutes to Doomsday' by Joe Navarro
In 1988, FBI Agent and body language specialist Joe Navarro was on a routine assignment interviewing former American soldier Rod Ramsay as a person of interest, when he noticed his interviewee's hand tremble slightly at the mention of another soldier suspected of espionage. This slight tremor led Navarro on two-year-long journey to uncover the truth, all the while keeping his investigation a secret from the suspected traitor.
'The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting' by Rachel Shteir
Shoplifting is really no big deal, right? Wrong. This fascinating book tracks the history of shoplifting and explores the real cost of the seemingly "victimless" crime. This is a fascinating read that dives into the effects of consumerism, the rise of shoplifting culture, the drive for surveillance, and more.
'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean
In this mesmerizing book, Susan Orlean explores the world's orchid obsession and tracks the rise of a subculture devoted to this singular flower.
'The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft' by Ulrich Boser
This book is a riveting "whodunit" about one of the world's largest unsolved art thefts — the disappearance of $500 million worth of Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Degas paintings.