Reader Friday: True Crime

Which true crime novel shook you to the core? And why?

If you don’t read true crime, then substitute the fictionalization of a real crime.

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About Sue Coletta

Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and named her Murder Blog as “Best 100 Crime Blogs on the Net.” She also blogs at the Kill Zone (Writer's Digest "101 Best Websites for Writers") and Writers Helping Writers. Sue lives with her husband in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and writes two psychological thriller series, Mayhem Series and Grafton County Series (Tirgearr Publishing) and is the true crime/narrative nonfiction author of PRETTY EVIL NEW ENGLAND: True Stories of Violent Vixens and Murderous Matriarchs (Rowman & Littlefield Group). Currently on submission, her latest true crime project revolves around a grisly local homicide. For the spring 2022 semester, Sue will be teaching a virtual course about serial killers at EdAdvance in CT and a condensed version for the Central Virginia Chapter and National Sisters In Crime. Equally fun was when she appeared on the Emmy award-winning true crime series, Storm of Suspicion. Learn more about Sue and her books at

18 thoughts on “Reader Friday: True Crime

  1. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote. The murder of the Clutter family was senseless, grisly, and brought about by a convict exaggerating the wealth of the family to another. Capote humanizes the family, the murderers, pursuing law enforcement, jailers, and even the executioners with vivid writing that gives life to their voices. It’s a microcosm for what a cluster**** we humans can be. I read it when I was sixteen and have forgotten neither the story nor the pictures that Capote painted.

  2. Serpico by Peter Maas. I was in my mid teens when I read it and was totally aghast at the corruption in the NYPD and by extension, other police departments.

  3. I have to go with In Cold Blood as well, and rather wish I hadn’t read it. Too terrifying.

    Around the same time, I also read SYBIL, and it captured my imagination for years.

  4. The scariest true crime book I have read was “The Great Influenza”. Still scares me. I had learned a child about how Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin. What I didn’t learn until “The Great Influenza” was he was working on treating the flu, so his petri dish that was Bactria resistant was shelved for two years.

  5. My first choice is also In Cold Blood. Such a sad story and the murderers didn’t even get any money.

    A close second choice is In the Belly of the Beast, by Jack Abbott, who became Norman Mailer’s protégé and cause celebre. This book scared me because it showed how Abbott, who came of age in prison, could only survive within prison, never in the outside world.

  6. I don’t remember the author. – I read a novel called One by One. It was about these two guys who were going around randomly killing people by putting botulinum in things. It was really creepy and made me real nervous eating anything I didn’t have complete control over, which is everything

    I lent the book to my sister. She was reading it one night and decided the book was not for her. She put it in a brown bag and stapled it shut. That was not enough so she took the elevator down to the parking center in her building and locked it in the trunk of her car. She said she intended to return it but the story creeped her out so much she didn’t want it in her car. She pulled into a lot and put it in a dumpster.

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