You could say Serial started it all. The podcast was downloaded over a quarter of a billion times, and the question of whether or not Adnan Syed killed schoolmate Hae Min Lee in 1999 became the weekly topic of water cooler conversation. Suddenly, discussing murder and cell tower evidence became commonplace. And so for some, the true crime wave was born.
Now, there are countless podcasts dedicated to the topic of true crime, and there’s one for everyone. My personal favorite? My Favorite Murder, a comedy / true crime podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Two friends, three cats and 200+ episodes dedicated to hometown murders and the hosts’ comedic (but always respectful) takes on their “favorite” murders of the week. No matter what you’re looking for, whether that’s cults, small town stories or a deep dive into a crime spree involving stolen Venus Flytraps, it’s guaranteed there’s a crime podcast that will strike your fancy. (Need more recommendations? Check out this excellent Vulture round up written by my friend Hillary Nelson—there are 52 options to choose from.)
But for some of us murderinos, an interest in crime has been there all along. We just couldn’t really talk about it without people backing away from us slowly at parties. Mine began with checking out the entire Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson collected works from the middle school library, before graduating to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, mine and many people’s first foray into the true crime genre.
Read on for three can’t-miss true crime books to read (with the lights on).