Fiction and TV for True Crime Fans

Posted by Sara Grochowski

If you’re a fan of true crime, find a list of recommended true crime documentaries and books is just a google away. It’s a bit harder to find a list of solid fiction recommendations; books and tv shows that scratch that itch for shocking, twisty, and compelling crime drama. We at Quirk have you covered with pop culture that will keep your eyes glued to pages and screens long into the night. Shout-out to the murderinos out there – this one’s for you!


Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

After a summer in Georgia with her grandmother, Claudia returns to Washington, D.C., ready to take on eighth grade with her best friend, Monday, even though Monday’s been radio silent over the summer. Claudia soon finds, though, that Monday is gone. Stories about where she is don’t add up and no one seems concerned, but Claudia can’t shake the feeling that Monday might be in real trouble. Inspired by the missing D.C. girls and another real crime (which is too spoilery to share!), readers will be hooked from page one. Don’t miss Jackson’s novel Allegedly, too, which is also based on a real-life crime!


Sadie by Courtney Summers

Okay, so we're cheating a bit with this one because it doesn’t technically hit shelves until September 4, 2018, but it’s only because it needs to be on your to-read list if you’re a true crime junkie, especially if you’re into true crime podcasts. The book is told from two perspectives: a podcast unraveling the case of a missing girl named Sadie and Sadie, the missing girl. This novel is absolutely heart wrenching and will stay with you long after the final page.



The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel

Part of the Louise Rick series – which are all worth picking up! – this novel begins with a ranger discovering a body in a Denmark forest. When a woman identifies the body as Lisemette, a child she once cared for in a mental institution year previous, Police Commissioner Rick begins investigating “forgotten girls” like Lisemette, who are abandoned by their families in institutions, discovering more crimes committed and hidden.


Yours Truly by Annabel Pitcher

Zoe has a dark secret… a secret that she's been carrying with her since a tragic day in May. Though no one would ever suspect it, Zoe is a murderer. She killed a boy she was supposed to love and got away with it. But the guilt of her actions keep her awake at night and drive her to seek out an unconventional pen pal, a Mr. Stuart Harris. Mr. Harris might be the only person who can understand how Zoe feels… he may be the only person she can confess to. After all, Mr. Harris also killed someone he was supposed to love, his wife, and he now sits on death row in Texas. So begins Zoe's story, told entirely in letters written from a cold, damp shed to a death row inmate an ocean away. 


The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr

When young mother Cora Bender stabs a man at the beach, the crime seems random. It should be an open-and-shut case, but Cora has secrets and the police commissioner is sure there’s more to the case. Bonus! This book was adapted into a limited series for USA in 2017. While the television show takes a few liberties, changing some details, it’s still worth a watch!


The Killing (2011)

In season one, detective Sarah Linden’s last day of work takes a surprising turn when a blood covered sweater is found in a park, with no body in sight, along with an ATM card belonging to Stan Larsen. Linden and her replacement, Stephen Holder, soon discover that 17-year old Rosie Larsen, Stan’s daughter, has been missing since Friday night. So begins Linden and Holden’s search for Rosie and dive into the dark underbelly of Seattle. There are four seasons of The Killing, each better than the last.


Absentia (2017)

This Amazon Original begins when FBI agent Emily Byrne is recovered after years missing, assumed murdered by serial killer Conrad Harlow. Byrne’s memory isn’t reliable after years in captivity and she’ll do anything to uncover the truth of her disappearance. Viewers will be captivated by Byrne’s quest to hunt down the monster who ruined her life…and will likely wonder how reliable Byrne truly is.

Sara Grochowski

Sara Grochowski is an unapologetic book pusher, whether she’s in the library stacks or bookstore. She also writes for Publisher’s Weekly and speaks at conferences about great books and best practices for booksellers and librarians. You can find her on Twitter @thehidingspot and her blog, The Hiding Spot.