True crime books of 2019 CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS / @CSI?cafe |Source=[http://www.flickr.com/photos/26226522@N08/3435027358/ CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS / @CSI?cafe] * Uploaded by Diego Grez |Date=2009-03-25 21:10 |Author=[http://www.fl

For the first post of the year, I’m delighted to welcome guest-blogger Desiree Villena, a lifelong true crime aficionado.

Today she puts her passion and knowledge to use by choosing her best true crime books of 2019, giving prospective readers a taste of what they’re in for.

5 Best True Crime books

BY DESIREE VILLENA

2019 was a resoundingly illuminating one if you’re a fan of true crime.

From Netflix shows to podcasts, the true crime stories that we saw this year shed light on the darkest corners of society and built absorbing, hard-hitting narratives of criminals — as well as their victims.

The true crime books published last year were no exception. And if you’re looking for a recap of this year’s best true crime books, we’ve got you covered!

1. Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

In December 1972, Jean McConville disappeared into the black Irish night, abducted from her home by masked men. It was only in 2003 that her bones were discovered on a beach in Northern Ireland. She was a 38-year-old mother of ten.

As horrifying and traumatic as it is, McConville’s murder still isn’t the overarching subject of Patrick Radden Keefe’sSay Nothing. Instead, it serves as a springboard to examine the much vaster conflict in Northern Ireland known as The Troubles: the turbulent guerrilla war waged by the I.R.A that engulfed the region in violence for roughly four decades.

The result is a moving meditation on the moral implications of bloodshed, the war’s legacy, and the particular human cost of conflict.

2. The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott

Prohibition, a bootlegging king, and the height of the Roaring 20s. What more could you want? Oh, well, what about a cold-blooded murder and an unexpected affair thrown in for good measure?

That’s the bold premise of Karen Abbott’s The Ghosts of Eden Park— and the book more than lives up to it.

Abbott’s research is meticulous, her narrative gripping and her cast of characters wonderfully dynamic, creating a thrilling tale rife with twists and turns.

To say any more would be to give all of them away (though I can say this much: you might not be able to guess who’s the victim and who’s the murderer until the very end).

3. Highway of Tears by Jessica McDiarmid

In British Columbia, one of the starkest places in the world, lies a long, remote stretch of road: Highway 16. You might know it better as the Highway of Tears, the site of the disappearances and murders of up to 4,000 victims over the span of a few decades.

Jessica McDiarmid’s work of the same name is a gut-wrenching, much-needed book that pieces together these unthinkably tragic events, the repercussions on the families affected, and the numbing indifference with which the deaths were met.

At its core, this story is about the women themselves, most of whom were indigenous. In other words, Highway of Tearsis not a happy book, but it is a searingly relevant must-read for our times.

4. The Mastermind: Drugs. Empire. Murder. Betrayal. by Evan Ratcliff

In case the subtitle didn’t already give it away, this one is about drugs, empire, murder, and betrayal! Evan Ratcliff’s bestselling true crime book does have all of that in spades, but this description only skims the surface. What The Mastermindactually does is pull back the curtain for a fascinating look at organised crime in the 21st-century.

Indeed, the horrible crimes that this book brings to the light could only happen in the digital age.

Ratcliff went to great lengths to research, write, and edit this book, interviewing Le Roux’s henchmen and digging deep into the sprawling global digital empire to tell this story with impressive depth.

5. The Five: The Untold Stories of the Victims of Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

We all know the name of Jack the Ripper: the serial killer who prowled the streets of Victorian London in 1888 — yet the stories of the women he killed have been effectively lost. This is what Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five: the Untold Stories of the Victims of Jack the Rippersets out to amend.

The Five focuses on the Ripper’s “canonical five” victims: Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly. Rubenhold painstakingly rebuilds their lives in the context of Victorian society, showing us who these women truly were.

Crucially, The Five manages to give a voice to the women who never had one; in my opinion at least, that makes it one of the best true crime books not just of 2019, but of our era.

Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors and publishers with editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading (especially true crime and classic mysteries) and writing short stories of her own.

Read more

Reedsy

Articles on crime and crime fiction

Interview with award-winning author Louise Doughty