The ‘‘true crime’’ genre has amassed an extensive audience.
According to researchers Amanda M. Vicary and R. Chris Fraley. In their study, Women have been shown to be more drawn to true crime stories than men, they looked at online book reviews and learned that men were more likely to choose books about gang violence or war, while women were drawn to gruesome stories of crime. In a quote from their study:
In 1959 in a small town in Kansas, the bodies of four family members were found in their home. The father’s throat had been slit and the mother and two children had been shot through the head. The killers were on the run for weeks until they were finally arrested, tried, and, ultimately, hung for their crimes. Despite the horrific details of the case, Truman Capote’s book based on this crime, In Cold Blood, became a best seller. Indeed, since the publication of In Cold Blood in 1966, nonfiction books based on real crimes, including murder, robbery, and other crimes, have become extraordinarily popular. Although it might seem that these gruesome topics would have little appeal, the ‘‘true crime’’ genre has amassed an extensive audience.
If your taste runs toward social horror, dark fantasy, contemporary espionage, fair play mysteries, or absurdly entertaining psychological thrillers, then congrats, for 2022 is the year for you.
The “best” true crime books depend on the reader and writer. Everyone has their own opinion. However, I have complied the most listed or discussed top true crimes books of 2022.
In no particular order:
A Flicker in the Dark
by Stacy Willingham
In this buzzy debut from Stacy Willingham — that will soon be an HBO Max series produced by Emma Stone! — comes a lyrical thriller about Chloe Davis, who was twelve when six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, her own father had confessed to the crimes and was put away for life. Now, when a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, seeing parallels from her past that aren’t actually there, or for the second time in her life, is Chloe about to unmask a killer? criminalelement.com
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE — ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022 — Glamour, W magazine, PopSugar, The Rumpus, Book Riot, CrimeReads, She Reads
Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by. Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter — she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.
But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception; one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had united with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black — but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late? Bookshop.org
The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer
by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan
A hybrid of memoir and investigative nonfiction, this is the story of Liza Rodman’s lonely girlhood on Cape Cod in the 1960s. Her mother worked at a hotel and enjoyed the Provincetown night life. While she was out, the handsome hotel handyman babysat Rodman and her sister. They’d go get popsicles in his truck and hang out in his “secret garden” in the woods of Truro. Turns out, their nice-guy sitter was also a serial killer. Some of his dismembered victims were buried in that woodsy glade. Decades later, Rodman made the connection between her buddy and the splashy murder headlines and became obsessed with researching the case. www.marieclaire.com
My Lovely Wife
BY SAMANTHA DOWNING
Millicent and her husband live a charmed life in the suburbs, with two children, fulfilling and successful careers, and a nice social life. But they’re harboring a dark secret: they are serial killers, and they plan their murders together. At turns creepy, clever, and satirical, this is a dark book that will have you squinting at your neighbors. mytbr.com
ShadowMan: An Elusive Psycho Killer and the Birth of FBI
By Ron Franscell
(March 1, Berkley) Much of the current obsession with true crime starts with the birth of profiling. This book follows a killer, the largest manhunt in the history of Montana, and how it all lead to the birth of profiling, which we now take for granted. Give the success of FBI/profiling shows in the recent past, I have no doubt this one will get a ton of buzz, and I’m here for it. the-line-up.com
There are many new true crime books coming out in 2022. Pour a cup, pull the blanket up, and sink into a good book.