8 Thrillers for True Crime Lovers

Podcasts, documentaries and true crime books are not hard to find, in fact quite the opposite. There’s so much content touching on the genre these days, it’s hard to know where to start. Readers looking for non-fiction can narrow their options by choosing which cases they want to explore. But how do you locate fiction books that cater to true crime buffs?

Fortunately, we have what you need. These eight thrillers are perfect for fans of the genre, and many of them even touch on the specifics of its growing popularity.


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Heather Gudenkauf The night guest is told through three different narratives, and one follows a true crime expert who writes books chronicling horrific real-life events. Wylie Lark has retired to a remote farm to work on her latest project. And in the middle of a snowstorm, she finds herself welcoming an unexpected visitor.

Trapped inside with a child who is clearly hiding something, Wylie finds herself thrust into a nightmare scenario similar to the ones she talks about. Stranger still, it could be linked to a triple homicide and kidnapping that took place years earlier. This tragedy balances the current storyline of the novel, presenting readers with two mysteries they will be eager to solve.

The truths that arise as they come together are not easy to digest. However, they will keep readers turning pages, much like playing the next episode of a podcast or documentary.




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To like The night guest, The book of cold cases follows the perspective of a true crime lover, this time, one who runs his own blog.

When receptionist Shea Collins has a run-in with Beth Greer, she can’t help but pursue an interview. After all, Beth once found herself at the center of an investigation that shook their hometown to the core: the Lady Killer murders.

Beth was acquitted of the heinous crimes, but most residents of Claire Lake, Oregon still believe she is guilty. When Shea sets out to uncover the truth, she finds much more than she bargained for. His journey will not only appeal to true crime buffs, but also horror fans at all levels. Shea’s investigation is full of twists and turns. Some are reminiscent of your favorite true crime series, while others are more like a scary story brought to life.




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the night bath.jpeg True crime documentaries and podcasts have drawn attention to real-life murder cases, and The night bath by Megan Goldin explores this phenomenon in depth. The novel sees podcaster Rachel Krall cover a rape trial in the city of Neapolis. During her travels, she receives an anonymous note asking for her help with another case: a drowning that occurred more than two decades ago.

The message insists that the victim of said drowning was in fact murdered and begs Rachel to investigate. When she does, she finds surprising connections between the two incidents. As his story unfolds, he highlights how publicity can shape such cases. It also offers commentary on how often women are targeted, as well as the challenges they often face in seeking justice.




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Readers looking for something similar to The night bath——although aimed at younger audiences—should add Courtney Summers Sadie to their reading list. The story follows West McCray, a radio personality who goes in search of a missing girl named Sadie. Sadie disappeared after her sister’s death, determined to find the person responsible.

Now West is tracking Sadie using all the clues she left behind. True to his vocation, he even launched a podcast. Thus begins an investigation that is superimposed on another. And readers will be desperate to find out what happened to Sadie and her sister as the two Sadie stories unfold. Courtney Summers’ YA thriller maintains the suspense while providing readers with a surprisingly moving story. It’s the one that sticks with you long after you’ve gone through the novel.




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True crime podcasters usually investigate murders and disappearances, but what happens when they go missing? This is the premise of Eliza Jane Brazier If I disappear, which kicks off when a podcaster named Rachel goes missing. Sera, an avid listener, knows how these situations tend to escalate. So she sets out to find her favorite podcast personality on her own.

However, Rachel’s investigations haven’t fully prepared Sera to find herself in the middle of one of her own. As she comes to the conclusion that other missing women may be connected to Rachel’s case, she realizes that she is in danger as well. His attempt to leverage his knowledge of true crime to solve the case of a real missing person proves thrilling. It’s one that readers aren’t likely to forget.




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Megan Collins’ The family plot follows not just true crime fans, but a family obsessed with it to the point of cutting themselves off from the rest of the world.

Dahlia and her siblings were raised in an environment that exposed them to scary scenarios early on. And even after coming out, Dahlia struggles to leave behind her strange childhood. The disappearance of his twin brother did not help in this enterprise. And when the family reunites years later to bury his father, they finally find his brother’s body.

His remains raise uncomfortable questions about what happened to him. As Dahlia’s family deals, she sets out to uncover the truth behind Andy’s death. Her investigation makes everyone a suspect, sparking conversations about how Dahlia and her siblings’ upbringing has affected them. The family plot creates a disturbing, hard-to-solve mystery while tackling the recent true crime craze. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a unique thriller, to say the least.




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Unlike many other titles on this list, Peter Swanson’s Eight Perfect Kills does not feature a true crime buff as the main character. However, its premise will surely appeal to those who are intrigued by unique crimes. In this novel, the killer follows a specific plan, the one presented in classic detective novels.

Years ago, bookseller Malcolm Kershaw wrote a blog post listing “perfect” murders in fiction. The killer in Swanson’s story took those scenarios and started acting them out in real life. In doing so, they seem to send a message to Malcolm. And he has some secrets to hide, an awkward prospect when the FBI knocks on the door.

As Malcolm tries to figure out who’s trying to reach him and why, Eight Perfect Kills offers many exciting twists. And watching them play will undoubtedly feel like listening to a podcast, even if this batch of murders is based on fiction.




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Everyone has different reasons for exploring the true crime genre, and some readers are more interested in digging into the mind of a murderer. That’s why documentaries about famous serial killers get so much attention. And those intrigued by such deep dives will likely enjoy Sascha Rothchild’s debut blood sugar. This thriller is told from the perspective of a killer, and it’s a deeply disturbing read.


blood sugar follows the story of Ruby, a woman accused of murdering her husband. She is not actually responsible for his death, but, unbeknownst to the authorities, she possesses took three more lives. Ruby has gotten away with her crimes so far, but her husband’s death threatens to bring her past to light.

An indictment of the criminal justice system, blood sugar portrays a uniquely balanced image of a murderer. In fact, it proves that even those who seem put together and nice can hide far darker secrets. And isn’t that a point that true crime stories bring up time and time again.





Amanda Mullen is a pop culture writer who can usually be found juggling her endless Netflix queue with the pile of books she needs to read. You can find her gushing about all things entertainment @peaksandpages on Twitter.

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