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7 True Crime Books You Need to Read to Believe

Sometimes the most shocking stories are the true ones, and true crime books are filled with unbelievable situations and some of the world's most fascinating individuals. These truly compelling books give unusual insights into crimes and criminals that have shocked the world, sometimes for centuries. From Jack the Ripper to modern gangsters, we have lots of great reads in our list of 7 true crime books you need to read to believe.

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1. The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins

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John Pearson

John Pearson's terrific true crime book about two of the UK's most infamous criminals, The Kray twins, has recently been adapted into the film Legend, starring Tom Hardy. Reggie and Ronnie Kray were gangsters with full control over the London criminal scene in the 1960s. In this bestselling biography of their lives, John gives an insight into how these brutal brothers went from rubbing shoulders with celebrities to facing life sentences in prison.


2. In Cold Blood

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Truman Capote

Truman Capote's eerie account of the murders of Herb Clutter and his family by Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock is truly unforgettable. After carrying out interviews with the killers after their eventual arrests, Capote pieced together the shocking story of why and how they committed the murders and how they managed to go on the run for so long without being caught. This is a true crime classic by a world-famous author that will make you think.

3. They All Love Jack

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Bruce Robinson

One of the most elusive criminals in history is brought under the magnifying glass in this fascinating book by writer and director, Bruce Robinson. In They All Love Jack, Bruce presents a compelling theory that Jack the Ripper was in fact a well-respected member of society who managed to carry out his crimes in an elaborate cover-up. Linking the secret organisation of Freemasonry to this infamous serial murder case, Bruce's book is daring and original and will completely convince you of the true identity of Jack the Ripper.

4. Inside Alcatraz

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Jim Quillen

Jim Quillen was incarcerated in Alcatraz after a troubled life as a petty thief and San Quentin State Prison escapee. In this revealing memoir he recounts the infamous 1946 Alcatraz escape attempt and his experiences with 'the Birdman', the prison's most notorious inmate. After his time in Alcatraz, Jim turned his life around and eventually returned to the prison, not as an inmate, but as a volunteer telling visitors about his experiences.

5. The People V. O.J. Simpson

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Jeffrey Toobin

Jeffrey Toobin's account of the infamous O.J. Simpson trial was recently adapted into an award-winning TV series. This compelling and shocking case is described in great detail by Jeffrey and brings to light much of the secret and underhand dealings that happened during the trial. From the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman to the final verdict, this book takes you through the trial that gripped the world.


6. Killing Pablo

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Mark Bowden

This book focuses on how it took both the United States and Columbian governments to find and kill Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug lord of a notorious cocaine cartel. At the height of his criminal career he was the wealthiest criminal ever and part of the Chamber of Representatives of Columbia in a time where terror reigned. Mark Bowden's fascinating book details the events that led to the death of this infamous criminal.


7. The New York Times Book of Crime

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Edited by Kevin Flynn

This book brings together the most infamous American (and some international) crimes The New York Times has reported on over 164 years of the newspaper's history. Featuring photographs and copies of the original front pages, this book is a brilliant insight for true crime fans and history buffs alike.


For more unbelievable real stories, check a look through our selection of true crime stories.