Reading crime – truth can be stranger than fiction

There is nothing better than hunkering down on a freezing winter’s day. What better than reading binge worthy cases of deception and murder or listening to a spine-chilling true crime podcast with our true crime recommended reading lists? Because the truth can be stranger than fiction... and just as gripping!

Join the chase as investigators hunt down black widows and blood-thirsty killers, fraudsters and mobsters. Learn about forensics and the psychology of the criminal mind, or gain a greater understanding of fundamentalists and extremism. Play Sherlock and try to solve an historical "cold case" or pick apart the evidence in a miscarriage of justice.

The death of George Floyd in the US and the subsequent protests and involvement of the Black Lives Matter movement brings to mind cases of injustice in policing and the legal system, many involving people of colour. We trust that our criminal justice system works to only punish the guilty - but the truth is a staggering number of innocent people are incarcerated yearly. Many of these stories end in freedom for the accused, often only due to tireless efforts by lawyers and human rights groups like the Innocence Project. Others are still waiting to see justice served. The stories in our injustice and wrongful conviction reading list are by turns moving, thrilling and ultimately inspiring tales of resilience and hope.

The Blood of Emmett TillThe Central Park FiveDead Wrong

Catalogue record for In dark placesOur New Zealand true crime list is for anyone interested in discovering what makes our New Zealand justice system tick and seeing injustices corrected. Gain an understanding of the justice system, criminal motivations and New Zealand's fascinating criminal history.

To find out what triggers extreme acts of violence take a look at our extremism, crimes in warfare, genocide, hate crimes, and sects reading list. 

To understand the psychology behind crime and how forensic analysis can be used to prove innocence take a look at our forensics and criminal motivation list in which fascinating crime stories explore the beginning of forensics and criminal psychology. Investigations into historical cases and scientific memoirs enable us to gain a layman’s understanding of the part of criminology called legal medicine. Explore DNA analysis, toxicology, fingerprinting, post mortems and criminal profiling. Behind every great case brought to trial there is a burden of proof and a need to understand the motivation for the crime for justice to be well served.

Whether you are a true crime lover or just dipping your toes in to play detective our historical crime  and true crime books adapted for film and TV lists will entertain and enlighten.

Find all these lists, new crime titles and more in our new true crime reading guide.

Further reading