When I think of true crime I think of my grandma and grandpa. They’re not criminals or anything–I just associate them with true crime because shows like Dateline were always on T.V. at their house.
If you, like me, mingle stories about sociopaths with the wistful memories of your beloved grandma and grandpa’s house, then buckle up. I’ve got a list of recommended true crime books for you. If your grandparents were more into something like Antiques Road Show, but you’re still into true crime, then get out of here you sicko. Just kidding, this list can be for you also.
1. A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard:
Jaycee was abducted when she was a little girl and held prisoner for 18 years. She was 11 when she was taken and almost 30 by the time she escaped. This is her memoir.
Her abductor’s names were Nancy and Phillip Garrido. That’s right, Nancy–Phillip’s wife–was with him when he took her. She helped hold Jaycee captive at their house. Nancy’s a real treat. Great at parties. If you were to look closely at Nancy you’d notice that she was not really a human person at all, but actually just garbage in a human shaped bag.
Jaycee had two babies while she was held captive. The first child she had when she was only 13. Phillip, garbage in a man shaped bag, would talk about evil demons being at fault for his actions. He thought people would find his story inspiring after Jaycee was recovered. He said, “You are going to be completely impressed…It’s a disgusting thing that took place with me at the beginning. But I turned my life completely around.”
Spoiler: You are not going to be completely impressed with Phil.
2. Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland:
This is a similar story to the one shared in “A Stolen Life”, but this one is about 3 girls who were held captive in a garbage man’s house. I mean “garbage man” as in the man was also trash–not a waste collector. He was actually a children’s school bus driver. Rest easy, Cleveland; the records check they do when they hire people to transport your babies to school is clearly exhaustive.
This story was horrific but interesting in part because there’s this strange dynamic between the 3 girls. One of the girls seems to be the garbageman’s favourite, and there’s some jealousy from the other girls because of it. This is obviously really sad and a symptom of stockholm syndrome (presumably–but keep in mind that I am a librarian, not a psychologist–so who knows?).
3. In Cold Blood
This one probably doesn’t need to be listed because everyone and their mailman knows about it, but I just read it so I’ve got to list it. Read this if you generally read fiction and want to transition into some non-fiction. This is written very novelistically (not a word). In Cold Blood tells the true story of the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, in 1959. The book is written as if it were a novel; it’s got dialog, detail, and all that eloquent prose you might like if you like fiction.
If you want to read more from me, check out my book Oh Honey.
Thanks for reading.