How to Write & Sell True Crime

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Koerner meticulously re-creates their crime and brings a whole lost era — a gonzo inflection point in history — to life.

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Killer on the Road , Ginger Strand With scrupulous research and biting wit, Strand tells the grand American story of the creation of our national interstate system — and the killers who quickly claimed the highways as their killing field. This is a finely balanced work of social history and true crime that will make you rethink civil engineering, road trips, and the idea of ever pulling over on the freeway to fix a flat tire.

A mix of crime story, memoir, and family history, the book is a search for answers about love, family, and the legacy of violence. Mikal Gilmore is unsparing in his depiction of his troubled family: the frontier Mormonism that shaped them, the poverty and addiction that plagued them for generations, and the federal systems that failed them repeatedly. While Mailer portrayed Gary Gilmore as a folk hero and deadly cipher, Mikal gives us a killer who was both a stranger and a brother — a man many of us could know.

Vulgar Favors , Maureen Orth On July 15, , when fashion designer Gianni Versace was gunned down on the steps of his Miami mansion, the world reacted in disbelief. Who would kill such a beloved figure? Hellhound on His Trail , Hampton Sides When writing about a tale that has been told a thousand times before, you have to come up with a new device. As you go back and forth, both the soon-to-martyred King and his assassin are transformed from the archetypes as we know them into the humans they once were.

50 Of The Best True Crime Books

The only problem: How can you find another supervillain like Robert Durst? Hold my beer, says John Carreyrou. This is the story of the charismatic Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, her Svengali-esque second-in-command, and their multibillion-dollar-valued Silicon Valley start-up that claimed it could diagnose hundreds of diseases with a finger prick of blood. When James Ellroy was 8 years old, the body of his mother was found near a ball field in El Monte, California. She had been raped and murdered, and her killer was never caught.

I want to take your secrets public. I want to burn down the distance between us. I want to give you breath. As true-crime writers, we can get obsessed with a case. Evidence of Love , Jim Atkinson and John Bloom This superb book centers on adulterous lovers who happen to belong to the same church. He argued that it was Gore who first brandished the ax and Montgomery was only defending herself. It would have been easy to be snarky or salacious with this material, but Atkinson and Bloom prove to be compassionate chroniclers of life in Wylie, Texas, part of the so-called Silicon Prairie back when Texas Instruments was a big deal.

What is it about true crime books that are so addicting?

More Books by Gary Provost

Is it an opportunity to understand trauma and the dark impulses of human nature? Is it the chance to play detective and investigate real crimes? Hopefully you all find something new on here for your TBRs! To the public, Jeffrey Dahmer was a monster, but to the author, who was friends with Dahmer in high school, Dahmer was much more complicated.

What follows is a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of the notorious serial killer and a haunting graphic memoir. What he learned revolutionized forensic science and police investigation.


  1. Thirty Pieces of Silver: A Play in Three Acts?
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And in this book, Dr. Bass takes readers on a real-world CSI journey through the history of forensics and some of the most fascinating cases of his career. If you like your forensic nonfiction a little on the gross side, this book is for you. Part true crime, part history, part travelogue, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is loosely centered around a murder investigation that took place in the s, but the real focus is on the complexities of southern culture and the eccentric people that Berendt met while living there.

Told by the prosecuting attorney in the infamous Manson Family trial, this is the definitive account to the crimes, trials, and bizarre life of Charles Manson and his devoted followers. The mega-famous podcast, Serial , told the story of Adnan Syed, who in was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfriend.

But Serial only told part of the story.


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In this new narrative, Rabia Chaudry presents new evidence that dismantles the case against Adnan and advocates for his release from prison. In the late s, residents all over New York City discovered human remains and other clues to a grisly crime, but there were no witnesses, no suspects, and no motives. As the detectives embarked on a seemingly-impossible investigation, the rival newspapers run by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst turned the investigations into a media circus.

In , Mexican American journalist Alfredo Corchado received a tip that he might be the next target of the Mexican drug cartels, and he only had 24 hours to determine if the threat was real.

How to Write True Crime Stories: 9 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

This book is part real-life thriller and part expose into a country plagued by drug trafficking and government corruption. Ten years after the Columbine Massacre, investigative reporter Dave Cullen looks at the events leading up to and following the tragedy in an attempt to learn how something like this could happen, and to analyze the impact that these two students left on the country. In December , London was plagued a killer smog that grounded mass transit and killed around 12, people with polluted air.

It also acted as a cloaking device for a serial killer who was stalking women across the city. The Black Dahlia was one of the most horrifying murders in American history, and for 70 years the crime has remained unsolved…until now. Using previously unseen classified documents, Piu Eatwell reconstructs a different version of the crime, one that implicates the LAPD in a massive coverup.

How to write True Crime

Part true crime, part medical investigation, this book chronicles the Hoyt family and their five young children that died suddenly and without explanation over the course of 25 years. Now Mia and Olivia talk about what that experience was like for their relationships, their lifestyles, and their families. In , ten Colombian men and women, most of them journalists, were kidnapped by Pablo Escobar in an attempt to force the government not to extradite Escobar or any of his fellow narcotics traffickers. Provost uses one of his own books, Without Mercy , as an example:.

If my killers had simply murdered Art Venecia and buried his body in his own yard, then confessed a year later, it would have been interesting, but not bookworthy. The more bizarre, the better. Be honorable and treat your subject matter with respect. True crime writers have delved the human condition, as well as uncovering new evidence that has freed the innocent and harried the guilty. Just remember to keep these tips front and center! What are your favorite works of true crime?

Have you ever tried writing any yourself? Fred is an editor, blurb writer, and all-round books guy. He helps our authors take their manuscripts and cover copy from good to perfect and, in his spare time, can be found lurking in libraries.

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Read more about Fred. I am interested in writing true crime novels. I have three degrees that are associated with psychology and criminal investigation. Though I do have the fortitude. I have a passion for understanding and knowing why.


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  • But is this something that is really just not in the cards or can this be done with limited time and money? Just wondering.