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The Lineup's Most Disturbing True Crime Bestsellers

The Lineup's community has terrifying taste—these are your most beloved titles.

Three Sisters in Black true crime books
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  • Photo Credit: Three Sisters in Black by Norman Zierold

Here at The Lineup, we love bringing you the latest and greatest in true crime coverage, as well as recommending the most riveting true crime books. We are committed to sharing the very best in true crime—all year round. Our writers are avid true crime junkies, just like you—we're always binging the latest true crime documentary or falling down an internet rabbit hole searching for clues on obscure cold cases.

But the reason you're here is because you have great taste, too. Today, we're bringing you The Lineup's most chilling true crime bestsellers. These books are consistently popular among readers in our community—and it’s not an accident. This list has it all; from serial killers to crimes of passion, from twisted families to disturbing cold cases. Whatever your preferences, this list of 15 true crime books is sure to offer something for every type of true crime aficionado. 

Forever and Five Days

Forever and Five Days

By Lowell Cauffiel

Many of the residents of the Alpine Manor nursing home are so far gone that they can’t even understand where they are. They need someone to help feed them, bathe them, and even keep their eyes wet with artificial tears. Cathy Wood is one such caretaker that dedicated herself to caring for these patients. A caretaker who wanted to give them a mercy that seemed out of reach.

Wood made a pact with her lover, Gwen Graham, to kill the residents they were responsible for caring for. After all, why would it be suspicious if an elderly patient slipped away into a quiet death? But the deeper they got into their nefarious deeds, the more clear it was that something suspicious was afoot. READ AN EXCERPT.

Monster Slayer

Monster Slayer

By Robert Scott

For four years, a vicious killer struck fear throughout the hearts of anyone who roamed through the deserts of the Shiprock, New Mexico area. It all began on Thanksgiving of 1996, when Joseph Fleming and Matthew Trecker were stabbed to death during an alleged robbery. Next came a woman brutally sexually assaulted, yet lucky to escape with her life. Donald Tsosie, bludgeoned and stabbed, didn’t manage the same. Nor did Betty Lee. Such was the reign of terror of violent misfit Robert “Bobby” Fry. READ AN EXCERPT.

Early Graves

Early Graves

By Thomas H. Cook

Alvin and Judith Ann Neelley had a bond so dark and twisted they consecrated their marriage in blood. At first, the chaos they wrought was just simple prank calls, vandalism, or harmless shots fired off at neighboring houses. But as their deviance grew, they set their sights on 13-year-old Lisa Ann Millican. She was found dead three days later, shot and pumped full of liquid drain cleaner, and the horrors she experienced during her abduction were unspeakable. And she was only the couple’s first victim. READ AN EXCERPT.

Blood Echoes

Blood Echoes

By Thomas H. Cook

Thomas H. Cook strikes again—this time to tell the story of three men who escaped a Maryland prison on May 5th, 1973. After vanishing, they later resurfaced in Georgia with one of their teenage brothers, joyriding in a stolen car. It was only a matter of a week before the four of them were arrested for one of America’s most disturbing murders—the slaughter of the Alday family. The court battle that followed was a gruesome affair. READ AN EXCERPT.

Evidence of Love

Evidence of Love

By John Bloom and Jim Atkinson

Candy Montgomery sang in the Methodist church choir. Her husband had a nice job at a technology company in north Dallas. Her life was seemingly perfect—much like that of Betty Gore. In fact, Candy and Betty’s daughters were best friends. But after Candy went to bed with Betty’s husband, Betty turned up dead. Candy’s plea? Self-defense. But the gruesome state of the body implied otherwise. READ AN EXCERPT.

Three Sisters in Black

Three Sisters in Black

By Norman Zierold

A finalist for the Edgar Award, Three Sisters in Black recounts one of the most bizarre true crime stories in American history. On November 29, 1909, police arrived at the home of Oceana “Ocey” Snead in East Orange, New Jersey and discovered a tragedy. Ocey appeared to have drowned herself in her bathtub, her emaciated body found facedown with a suicide note nearby. But police soon realized that the case was not quite as cut and dry as they originally believed.

Before she died, Ocey was cared for by her mother and two aunts, and although they now draped themselves in black mourning clothes and veils, they were far from loving family members. Practically from the moment she was born, they tortured her both physically and psychologically, and when Ocey finally inevitably succumbed to their abuse, they would cash in. Read the story of how three women almost got away with murder and shocked the nation. READ AN EXCERPT.

Sleep, My Child, Forever

Sleep, My Child, Forever

By John Coston

It seemed to onlookers that single mother Ellen Boehm was plagued by tragedy. She was unable to secure a stable income, her two young sons, aged only two and four, died within a year of each other, and her eight year old daughter nearly died when a hair dryer fell into her bath. Despite all this, Ellen remained remarkably calm. Her supposed stoicism drew the attention - and suspicion - of St. Louis Homicide detective Joseph Burgoon.

Burgoon’s suspicions would prove right when he discovered that Ellen had gone to multiple companies and taken out life insurance policies on her children that totaled up to $100,000. The findings of his investigation painted a portrait of a cold-hearted killer who would do anything to get money. In Sleep, My Child, Forever, author John Coston uses police reports, case documents, and other sources from the case to recount the story of Ellen Boehm’s disturbing crimes and Sgt. Burgoon’s dedication to finding the truth. READ AN EXCERPT.

Bitter Blood

Bitter Blood

By Jerry Bledsoe

It all began when the bodies of a millionaire and her daughter were found in their Louisville, Kentucky mansion. Just a few months later, a wealthy North Carolina widow was found murdered alongside her son and daughter-in-law. A pattern quickly emerged to police: The Sharps, the Newsoms, and the Lynches were all well-to-do southern families, and it first seemed that a professional was hunting them down. But one woman shifted their suspicions.

Susie Sharp Newsom Lynch was the epitome of a Southern belle, and the only link between the three families. She seemed to have everything, but even beautiful young mothers have their secrets. Could Fritz Klenner, son of a famous doctor, known gun-enthusiast, and Susie’s cousin and lover, have something to do with the gruesome crimes? This New York Times bestseller is a true story of family feuds and deadly obsession that reads like the best of Southern Gothic fiction. READ AN EXCERPT.

Innocent Victims

Innocent Victims

By Scott Whisnant

In 1985, Fayetteville, North Carolina was rocked by the discovery of the bodies of Kathryn Eastburn and her two daughters, Kara and Erin. The police quickly identified a prime suspect in US Army soldier Tim Hennis. He was arrested based on circumstantial evidence, and a jury sentenced him to death. Hennis never stopped claiming his innocence, and his legal team worked to dismantle the case against him, winning him a second trial where he was found not guilty. 

But 25 years later, a crucial piece of DNA evidence would call everything into question once again. The findings once again pointed to Hennis, and was brought to trial for an unprecedented third time. Author Scott Whisnant traces the entire case from that fateful day in 1985 through the third trial and readers will have to decide for themselves if justice has finally been served. READ AN EXCERPT.

A Death in White Bear Lake

A Death in White Bear Lake

By Barry Siegel

20 years after she put her newborn son, Dennis, up for adoption, Jerry Sherwood tried to find him - only to learn that he had died before he turned four. The cause of death was peritonitis, but the autopsy photos showed him covered in bruises with an anguished expression on his face and the coroner had not determined a mode of death, accident, natural causes, or homicide. Determined to discover the truth about her son’s death, Jerry looked into Harold and Lois Jurgens, the Minnesota couple that adopted Dennis and five other children. They seemed to be the prototypical wholesome, midwestern family, but digging deeper revealed a far more sinister truth. 

As Jerry and local detectives rebuilt the case, more and more questions emerged. It seems that many people witnessed Lois Jurgens abuse her children, but none of them ever spoke up. Did her family connection on the local police force have something to do with that? How was a killer able to hide in plain sight in a town like White Bear Lake? READ AN EXCERPT.

Buried Dreams

Buried Dreams

By Tim Cahill

Journalist Tim Cahill draws upon exclusive interviews and previously unreported material to tell the a harrowing journey inside the disturbing mind of John Wayne Gacy. On the outside, Gacy appeared to be just a regular businessman—until the bodies of his young male victims were discovered in the crawl space underneath his house. Even more chilling is that—all while preying on his victims—Gacy entertained at children’s parties and other events as “Pogo the Clown.” READ AN EXCERPT.

Women Who Love Men Who Kill

Women Who Love Men Who Kill

By Sheila Isenberg

The updated edition of Women Who Love Men Who Kill includes gripping new case studies, providing an absorbing look at how the digital age is revolutionizing this unusual phenomenon. In it, you'll meet the young women writing “fan fiction” featuring America’s most sadistic murderers; the killer serving consecutive life sentences for strangling his wife and smothering his toddler daughters—and the women who visit him in prison; the high-powered journalist who fell in love and risked it all for “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli; and many other women absorbed in online and real-life dalliances with their killer men. READ AN EXCERPT.

Beyond Obsession

Beyond Obsession

By Richard Hammer

Beyond Obsession—written by lengendary true crime author Richard Hammer—explores a daughter’s conspiracy against her mother, a young boy’s deadly infatuation, and the brutal murder that stunned a small town. Joyce Aparo, a former social worker, was found strangled in 1987, and the shocked people of her community in Glastonbury, Connecticut wanted to know why. But the truth about who murdered her, and why, was much darker than anyone could have fathomed. For over a year, Joyce’s teenage daughter Karin had conspired with her boyfriend Dennis Coleman to kill her, citing years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her mother as the reason. Karin told Dennis she’d do it with or without his help. But he was in love with her—and determined to do anything to satisfy her—even commit murder. READ AN EXCERPT.

Gang Mom

Gang Mom

By Fred Rosen

Mary Thompson—a Eugene, Oregon, anti-gang activist—secretly ran her own murderous mob of teenagers—which included her own son. When Aaron Iturra, just eighteen years old, was found dead in his bedroom in Eugene, Oregon, Detective Jim Michaud discovered evidence pointing to a surprising suspect: Mary Louise Thompson—now known as Gang Mom. She used to be a biker chick and police informer and had become famous locally for being a vocal anti-gang activist. All that changed, however, when Michaud learned she was running her own gang of juveniles, inciting them to prey on the unsuspecting city, dealing dope and burglarizing homes. Things turned deadly when she found out Iturra was going to testify against her son Beau in a felony case—and she put out a hit on him.

Related: Theresa Knorr: The Mother Who Burned Her Daughter Alive

A Dark and Bloody Ground

A Dark and Bloody Ground

By Darcy O'Brien

This deadly account of a gruesome string of killings in Kentucky is written by Edgar-Award winning author Darcy O'Brien. When a small-town physician Roscoe Acker, called in an emergency one sweltering August evening, his own life was teetering—but it was already too late for his  daughter, Tammy, who'd been viscously stabbed 11 times before being pinned to her bedroom floor with a kitchen knife. The horrific crime was driven by greed: after three intruder's had breached Dr. Acker's security system and attacked them, the men also made off with his entire life's fortune. Publishers Weekly says it's, “An arresting look into the troubled psyches of these criminals and into the depressed Kentucky economy that became fertile territory for narcotics dealers, theft rings and bootleggers.” READ AN EXCERPT.