All Time Faves: Novels Based on Real Crimes

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The Song is You


The Song Is You
By Abbot, Megan
2007 - Simon & Schuster.
9780743291712 Check our catalog


The author uses a less-celebrated real-life crime—the disappearance of actress Jean Spangler from Los Angeles in 1949—as her hook to spin a downbeat tale about a journalist-turned-studio-flack, Gil "Hop" Hopkins.Hop's efforts at amateur sleuthing unearth a blackmail ring and a possible mob connection to Spangler's disappearance..

Devils Garden


Devil's Garden
By Atkins, Ace
2010-03 - Berkley Publishing Group
9780425232668 Check our catalog


From the critically-acclaimed, award-nominated author comes a new noir crime classic about one of the most notorious trials in American history--the 1921 manslaughter case against silent-screen comedy star Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle. …More

White Shadow


White Shadow
By Atkins, Ace
2009-12 - Berkley Publishing Group
9780425230541 Check our catalog


Inspired by true events, this thriller tells the story of the murder of criminal kingpin Charlie Wall in Tampa, Florida, and those who benefited from his death. RA tour de force from one of the best crime writers at work today.S--Michael Connelly. …More



By Boyne, John
2007-01 - St. Martin's Griffin
9780312343590 Check our catalog


July 1910: A gruesome discovery has been made at 39 Hilldrop Crescent, Camden. Chief Inspector Walter Dew of Scotland Yard did not expect the house to be empty. Nor did he expect to find a body in the cellar. Buried under the flagstones are the remains of Cora Crippen, former music-hall singer and wife of Dr. Hawley Crippen. No one would have thought the quiet, unassuming Dr. Crippen capable of murder, yet the doctor and his mistress have disappeared from London, and now a full-scale hunt for them has begun.…More

True History of the Kelly Gang


True History of the Kelly Gang
By Carey, Peter
2001-11 - Vintage Books USA
9780375724671 Check our catalog


In True History of the Kelly Gang," the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semiliterate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist."…More

Kings of the Earth


Kings of the Earth
By Clinch, Jon
2010-07 - Random House
9781400069019 Check our catalog


Told in a chorus of voices that spans a generation, "Kings of the Earth" examines the bonds of family and blood, faith and suspicion, that link not just three brothers but their entire community. …More

Stolen Away


Stolen Away
By Collins, Max Allan
2001-02 - Signet Book
9780451202413 Check our catalog


First published in 1991, "Stolen Away" is the most requested title in Max Allan Collins's Nathan Heller series by fans. In this story, Detective Nathan Heller tackles the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. Handpicked by Colonel Lindbergh, Heller's search for the truth takes him from a Chicago train station to a secluded farmhouse in Michigan. Winner of the Shamus Award for Best Novel. …More

The Black Dahlia


The Black Dahlia
By Ellroy, James
1987-09 - Mysterious Press
9780892962068 Check our catalog


The Black Dahlia is a roman noir on an epic scale: a classic period piece that provides a startling conclusion to America's most infamous unsolved murder mystery--the murder of the beautiful young woman known as The Black Dahlia. …More

The Executioner's Song


The Executioner's Song
By Mailer, Norman
1998-04 - Vintage Books USA
9780375700811 Check our catalog


Winner of the 1980 Pulitzer Prize. In what is arguably his greatest book, America's most heroically ambitious writer follows the short, blighted career of Gary Gilmore, an intractably violent product of America's prisons who became notorious for two reasons: first, for robbing two men in 1976, then killing them in cold blood; and, second, after being tried and convicted, for insisting on dying for his crime. To do so, he had to fight a system that seemed paradoxically intent on keeping him alive long after it had sentenced him to death. …More

To Die for


To Die for
By Maynard, Joyce
2003-02 -
9780595269396 Check our catalog


When her husband is shot dead by her teenage boyfriend, would-be television journalist Suzanne Maretto steps into the role of grieving widow with a brilliant performance. But few suspect her dark side. This chilling novel of ambition and sexual obsession goes behind the mask of an apple-pie beauty to probe the sinister manipulations of a mesmerizing femme fatale. …More

The Wives of Henry Oades


The Wives of Henry Oades
By Moran, Johanna
2010-02 - Ballantine Books
9780345510952 Check our catalog


An English accountant and his two wives are the subject of this intriguing and evocative debut novel based on a real-life 19th-century California bigamy case. …More

Tokyo Year Zero


Tokyo Year Zero
By Peace, David
2007 - Alfred A. Knopf
9781441756091 Check our catalog


In this rousing literary thriller, a Japanese serial killer prowls the streets of American-occupied Tokyo in the aftermath of World War II. As Detective Minami tracks down the killer, he is haunted by his own memories of atrocities that he can no longer explain or forgive. …More