J.K. Rowling is serving up a new twisted mystery this fall with the release of ‘Lethal White’, the fourth installment in the Strike series. Rowling shared an update on Twitter recently, unveiling the book’s eerie cover and release date of September 18 2018.
Written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith,the Cormoran Strike series follows private detective Cormoran Strike and his partner Robin Ellacott as they investigate brutal murders throughout London. Lethal White is a follow-up to Career of Evil, which was released three years ago and though fans have been waiting longer than anticipated for the new installment, the synopsis is certainly worth the wait.
I seen a kid killed… He strangled it, up by the horse.
When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.
Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott – once his assistant, now a partner in the agency – set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.
And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been – Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much more tricky than that…
Lethal White will be released on September 18 2018
Whether it’s J. K. Rowling becoming Robert Galbraith or Martyn Waites becoming Tania Carver, writers commonly change things up if they’re putting out a crime story. Something about the arsenic, chalk outlines, and cigar smoke requires a brusque, stern-sounding name. Often the first and last name has an actual definition that has something to do with inflicting pain or suffering. Tania Carver, for example—are you trying to get carved? I don’t think so.
So take a stab at becoming the next bestselling crime novelist, and start the good old-fashioned way: By coming up with a pen name. We’re here to help! Find your initials and let us know what name to look up at the bookstore.
Some favorites from the office: Jasper Knight, Winslow-Everett Cage, Jonathan Mortelle, Ajax Burns. Personally, I would gladly read anything written by Jasper Knight.
Sometimes, it seems to be a universal agreement that Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is one of the best, or the best, crime shows on TV. The true crime stories, piece-by-piece investigations, and variation of characters makes for a true hit. After all, detectives Benson and Stabler are as classic as PB&J or mac and cheese. You won’t catch the duo in the newest episodes, but the reruns are always on to fill our ears with that notable, dong dong.
From dark suspects to various persons of interest, it’s easy to start feeling like a sleuth yourself. SVU sort of trains you to pick up on body language, keywords, tone of voice, and mannerisms that allow you to use process of elimination to make a conclusion. You get to play detective while stepping into the inner psyche of a killer. SVU answers the question of why these people commit the crimes they do and how they do it. So if you can’t get enough hard questioning, justice, and badass detectives, here are five books to get your Law and Order fix off-screen.
This psychological thriller is bound to give you goosebumps, especially if you take public transportation. Zoe’s daily routine of getting to work by train soon takes a sharp and disturbing turn when she finds out women who take the same line as her have been victims of crime. From assault to murder, Zoe soon finds clues that she could be next and the stranger on the train car might be a little too close.
An investigative nonfiction work about the real search for a killer still at large on Long Island. From police documents to news coverage, the world of online escorts is turned upside down in this work. Here, we see the dark dangers and threats to the women who make a living this way. We get a powerful account on the five women who fell victim to the dark side, the ones who never got their justice in an idyllic part of America.
This ain’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re feeling like Olivia Benson, you better get on the case. When a series of vicious crimes pop up where two people are abducted, imprisoned, and forced to decide who lives and who dies, detective Helen Grace is on the move. These patterns are the worst she’s seen, and she’s been through a dark past. But when clues begin to fall in place, the truth seems more terrifying than the crime.
For those who are willing to delve deep into human behavior in the face of pressure, this novel fits you well. When two well-off families sit down to have dinner one night in a nice restaurant, forced conversation acts as a mask for something darker. Both of their teen sons have recently committed a horrific crime that the police are investigating. As the dinner culminates, little cues, mannerisms, and hidden thoughts bubble to the surface. As civility slips away, the human hunger to protect your own sets in. Totally psychological.
A recent adaptation in October 2017, this crime novel is a chiller and a thriller that seems to snowball out of control. The story begins with a young boy waking up to find that his mother has disappeared. All he has left is the pink scarf he gave her that was wrapped around a snowman’s neck, one that showed up mysteriously on his lawn after a recent snowfall. Local detective Harry Hole takes on the case and finds links to suspicious letters he’s been receiving. After digging into the past, he’s found other women who have vanished at the first snowstorm of the season. Harry finds his sanity starting to freeze over. Read it as a seventh book in Nesbo’s series or as a standalone, this one is damn good.
As readers we love to embark on literary journeys filled with crime, terror, frightening characters and events that keep us on the edge of our seats.
Books and films are platforms which we can use to confront our deepest fears and process them in safe ways. In addition to offering us a thrilling ride, these novels represent and confront the most disturbing, vile, and unforgettable crimes, motives, and aftermaths. While there are tons of terrifying novels out there, here are 9 that will truly terrorize you.
In Cold Blood mixes true crime with narration, detailing the real-life murders of the Clutter family in 1959. The family of four was brutally murdered by two strangers for no apparent reason than a robbery-gone-wrong. Capote spent months in the small town in which the crime occurred and was there before, during, and after the trials. His close interviews with one of the perpetrators particularly offer an inclusive sketch of what went on in the mind of a murderer.
Making its way into the top book picks of popular newspapers and magazines like The New York Times,New York Post, and Entertainment Weekly, this thriller is the definition of a weekend trip gone wrong. When a reclusive writer embarks on a nostalgic trip in the woods with old pals, a good time, turns into a murder mystery plagued by foggy recollections.
This gripping crime novel is so gruesome and disturbing that it inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic film Psycho (if you don’t know the iconic shower scene turned blood bath, who are you?) The narrative is inspired by real-life crimes committed by Ed Gein, a notorious psychopath, who is the epitome of “mommy issues.” The protagonist is a mommy’s boy whose disturbing infatuations with women leads to a gruesome and unforgettable crime and aftermath.
Inspiring the recent film adaptation directed by Kenneth Branagh, legendary crime novelist Agatha Christie takes readers on a murderous ride involving a slew of unforgettable and suspicious characters who are all aboard the Orient Express. The seemingly typical train ride turns into a murder mystery after a millionaire is found dead, stabbed a dozen times. If you’re a fan of murder mysteries, then this one is for you!
This captivating crime novel interweaves a thrilling narrative of police procedure with true story of the murder of Elizabeth Short in 1947. On January 15, 1947 the tortured corpse of a young aspiring actress was found in an empty lot in Los Angeles. The victim immediately became known as the Black Dahlia by the newspapers who were in a frenzy over the peculiar, disgusting, and mysterious details surrounding the crime. Ellroy portrays two detectives who embark on a quest to capture the criminal responsible and brought about some reassurance and stability to the nation who were rattled by the disturbing evidence.
This intriguing novel investigates the facade of perfect relationships, as a seemingly loving couples becomes under the suspicious of a gruesome murder committed at a dinner party. The pair’s panicked appearance persuades detective Rasbach to dig deep into the strange background of the couple, where he uncovers something unsettling. As the true account of the murder comes to light, the couple has to fight against their natural suspicions while trying to prove their individual innocence. Trying to piece together the puzzle of the crime and events leading up to it offers a thrilling read.
If you’re a fan of serial killers and cults, then this one if for you. This dark novel follows a group of youth living in San Francisco in the 1960’s whose passion for sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll becomes overshadowed by the rise of a killing spree by a vile offender. After attempting to flee the state and embarking on a cross country journey to distance themselves from the violence, they find themselves unable to escape.
The Queen of Suspense returns on our list with this classic crime thriller involving ten strangers whose vacation on a secluded island together quickly results in gruesome murders. While the initial murder of a victim begs the reader to ask who did it, audiences quickly realize that each character is guilty of something. As the group falls one by one, the culpability and suspicions surrounding each character changes rapidly. Christie’s novel is a true example of suspense and readers will play the guessing game until the very last page.
While some readers may consider Blood Meridian a Western novel rather than a crime novel, there is no lack of violence and depravity in this tale. This epic novel follows the violence spread across the United States during the westward expansion in the 1850s. Sound boring? Well the violent action ions committed by one character to the next will keep you awake and invested until the very last page. The story follows a young teen who walks into a very real nightmare involving Indians who are being hunted, murdered, and sold like animals. The extreme violence is truly terrifying and its underlying themes of racism, subjugation, and more, are much more disturbing.
Do you have any recommendations to add to this list? Let us know in the comments.
I spent the weekend binge-watching the newly released Netflix series Mindhunter. By the time I was done, my mind was on one thing: serial killers.
If you haven’t seen the series (and you should!), it follows two FBI agents who try to understand the psychology of serial killers (coining the phrase themselves) in the early days of criminal profiling when little was known about what drove the behavior of these criminals. In order to understand them, the agents go right to the source, interviewing imprisoned serial killers who have committed vile and nefarious acts.
The series is based on true experiences described in the true crime biography Mindhunter. And it’s not the only written account offering a researched insight into the controversial and widely-contested crimes plaguing the century. Here are ten fascinating books about serial killers which will have your mind spinning…
1. Mindhunter by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker
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The Netflix series Mindhunter was adapted from this very book, written by FBI agent John E. Douglas. Throughout his twenty-five year FBI career, Douglas played a major role in our modern understanding of criminal profiling. Mindhunter offers a chilling first-hand account of infamous serial killers and the crimes they committed. Douglas’ written account of his interviews with figures from Charles Manson to Ted Bundy and so many more will leave you reeling.
Considered the #1 True Crime Bestseller of all time with over 7 million copies sold, Helter Skelter is a must-read for true crime fanatics. Bugles and Gentry go over gripping accounts of the Manson murders led by the criminal of all criminals, Charles Manson.
In the summer of 1969, Los Angeles residents became terrorized by seemingly random savage acts committed by Manson’s cult following. Notable murders include the Tate-Liabianca case in which Hollywood actress Sharon Tate, who was two weeks from giving birth, was brutally murdered in her home along with guests. Helter Skelter describes the unnerving crime scene in which the word ‘PIG’ was written on the front door of Tate’s home in her own blood.
Acting as inspiration for the film Zodiac (2007), Graysmith’s true account of his desperate search for the Zodiac killer will captivate any true crime fan. The 1970s was not the best time for California residents between Manson’s murders and the chilling killer self-named Zodiac. The Zodiac killer committed a string of slayings between the 1960s and 1970s, responsible for at least five confirmed deaths, although he claimed to have killed thirty-seven more victims.
The Zodiac killer is by far one of the most fascinating killers because of the mysterious coded messages he terrorized California journalists and sheriff offices with. Graysmith’s close connection to the killer and fervent search to capture him will entice any reader.
Richard Ramirez was a satan-worshipper and serial killer who targeted, raped, and killed at least thirteen people in the spring and summer of 1985 before being caught by authorities. His vile and immoral crimes are analyzed by Carlo, who traces his descent into violence.
Ramirez’s vile acts mirror his equally disturbing upbringing in which Carlo divulges in. From seeing someone murdered at the age of thirteen to experiencing debilitating health issues, Ramirez’s journey begs the question as to how an upbringing impacts violent behavior. Furthermore, Carlo’s intimate and honest interviews with Ramirez will leave readers reeling.
Considered America’s first celebrity serial killer, it’s theorized that Bundy may have killed as many as 100 victims, though he only admitted to killing thirty-six women. Bundy was a rapist and necrophiliac who largely committed crimes against women in various states in the 1970s.
Bundy is particularly interesting to study because he was handsome, articulate, and educated, which challenges the image we may think of (i.e. Manson) when we think of a serial killer. Michaud offers new evidence and a thorough analysis into Bundy’s background and crimes to deliver readers a thrill.
His name may not be as familiar as Manson and Bundy, but Ed Gein is one of the most notorious serial killers. His crimes were so revolting that they inspired horror films like Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and The Silence of the Lambs.
Gein is the epitome of “mommy issues.” If you’ve seen Psyco or Bates Motel, then you know. Gein grew up on a farm in Wisconsin with a domineering mother with whom he had a troubling relationship. After her death in 1945, his mental health took a downfall, resulting in him digging up his mother’s corpse in a grave on their property. The act lead to other grave robberies and eventual murders. His horrendous and revolting crimes become fascinating narratives in this true crime account.
This doctor’s crimes will make you hesitate to schedule another doctor’s visit. Kermit Gosnell was a respected doctor who offered abortion services at the Women’s Medical Society Clinic in Philadelphia. Gosnell ran the clinic for more than three decades and it was there that he performed gruesome mutilations on women and infants.
Gosnell’s disturbing crimes are nauseating, yet the story is intriguing. McElhinney and McAllen investigate Gosnell’s background and how he was able to get away with his horrendous deeds for so long. From police misconduct to civilians who turned a blind eye, this tale will read like a gnarly thriller but is completely based on true events.
8. The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
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Ann Rule was one of the many writers who launched their writing career covering the Bundy slayings. What separates this true crime account from others is that Rule personally knew the serial killer.
While covering the story, Rule was unaware that the serial killer whose crimes she was covering was the same man that was her coworker and confidant at the Seattle Crisis Clinic. Her written tale describes the startling truth she arrived to as the serial killer’s face became clear.
Mixing true crime with art, this author/illustrator offers a visual narrative of the Green River Killer and his crimes. The Green River Killer, also known as Gary Leon Ridgway, murdered dozens of women throughout the 1980s in Seattle, Washington. Targeting mainly runaways and prostitues, Ridgway strangled them then put the corpses in woodsy locations.
After nearly twenty years, Ridgway was finally apprehended by authorities, including lead case detective Tom Jensen. Jeff Jensen, his son, incorporates second-hand knowledge of the case with stunning visuals, offering readers a terrifying yet artistic perspective of the infamous tale.