These stories of tragic murders and deranged serial killers will give you a glimpse into the darkest side of humanity. Here are seven true crime books about some of the most disturbing cases in history.
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1. Behind Closed Doors: The Secret Life of the Knorr Family
Eight years after the death of her sisters, Terry Knorr came forward with her family’s story of verbal abuse and beatings, sexual assault and incest, one sister locked in a box and left to die, and another sister doused in gasoline and burned near the highway.
Mother’s Day by Dennis McDougal exposes the ugly depths of the Knorr family…and the woman who planned it all: Terry’s mother. READ AN EXCERPT.
2. The Heinous Crimes of the “Ypsilanti Ripper”
Over the course of three years, a serial killer tortured, killed, and mutilated half a dozen victims. Many were female college students; all were missing one or more limbs.
In The Michigan Murders, Edward Keyes gives the enthralling true account of the savage murders that tormented a Midwestern town. READ AN EXCERPT.
3. She Fell in Love with Her Fiancé’s Killer
Hope Masters found herself in a nightmarish situation when a man named “Taylor” killed her fiancé and held her captive on a remote ranch in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. After being brutally and sexually tormented over the span of a weekend, the unfathomable happened: Hope began to fall in love with her captor.
Joan Barthel’s A Death in California is a frightening and fascinating true account of how even the purest heart can be drawn to the allure of darkness. READ AN EXCERPT.
4. Inside the Demented Mind of John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
Successful contractor and amateur clown John Wayne Gacy, Jr. seemed to lead the ideal suburban life–until he was convicted of slaughtering 33 young men. It was the 1978 disappearance of Robert Piest that finally led authorities to Gacy’s modest home–and foul-smelling basement–where police unearthed one of the most disturbing murder cases in American history.
Read about Gacy’s violent upbringing, five-year murder spree, and how the Killer Clown was finally caught in Tim Cahill’s Buried Dreams. READ AN EXCERPT.
5. Murder at McDonald’s: A Harmless Heist Goes Horribly Wrong
When 18-year-old McDonald’s employee Derek Wood stumbled upon a safe in the back room one fateful day in 1992, he hatched a plan to rob the fast-food restaurant. But during the heist, Derek and his two friends murdered three people and left a fourth permanently paralyzed. In the end, they only made off with a total of $2,017.
Phonse Jessome’s Murder at McDonald’s chronicles how Derek’s plans went from harmless to horrifying within a matter of seconds. READ AN EXCERPT.
6. Doubly Disturbing: The Marcus Twin’s Mysterious Suicides
Identical twin brothers Cyril and Stewart Marcus were respected and well known gynecologists. They had attended one of New York’s most renowned institutions, written a classic textbook, and, most of all, saved lives. But anyone could tell you that something was not quite right with these twins.
Reporter Linda Wolfe shares her own first-hand experience with the twins–along with other true crime stories–in The Professor and the Prostitute. READ AN EXCERPT.
7. The Goodbar Murder: A Woman’s Fatal One-Night Stand
Roseann Quinn was the picture of innocence: A Catholic schoolteacher, beloved by the eight-year-old students she taught at St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf in New York City’s Bronx. But on January 1, 1973, Roseann was stabbed 18 times by a stranger she brought home from the bar.
Her murder inspired Lacey Fosburgh’s “interpretative biography” Closing Time: The True Story of the “Goodbar” Murder. As well as being an accurate account of a tragic murder, Fosburgh’s book poses the question: Just how much do we really know about the private lives of those closest to us? READ AN EXCERPT.
Feature photo courtesy of Open Road Media