7 True Crime Bio Books Like Criminal Minds

True Crime Memoir Books

For fans of “Criminal Minds,” the intricate puzzles of the human mind and the suspenseful chase of unraveling a criminal’s psyche make the show captivating. If you’re on the hunt for books that dive deep into psychological thrillers, featuring brilliant profiling and the complex nature of crime, you’re in the right place.

Let’s go on a literary journey that explores the shadows of the human psyche, where each page turn brings you closer to the heart of darkness and the brilliance of those who seek to understand it.

7 Books Like Criminal Minds (True Crime Memoir)

Fans of “Criminal Minds” enjoy the psychological aspects of criminal profiling and behavioral analysis. Books in a similar vein feature complex and twisted criminal minds, providing readers with thrilling and suspenseful narratives. Like the show’s characters, we are drawn to books that involve solving intricate crimes, puzzles, and mysteries.

We enjoy following detectives, investigators, or profilers as we work to catch criminals. If you want the suspense and tension that comes with trying to uncover the identity of a criminal or unravel a complex plot, here are seven books for you. They cover the darker aspects of human nature, including the motives and psychology behind criminal behavior. This exploration of the human psyche is thought-provoking.

NameKey FocusTropes
Newtown by Matthew LysiakAn in-depth journalistic exploration of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, detailing the events, aftermath, and impact on the Newtown community and national discourse on gun control and mental health.True crime, community tragedy, investigative journalism, societal impact, gun control debate, mental health issues, resilience in the face of tragedy, the quest for justice and understanding, the role of media, and the process of healing and advocacy.
My Friend Dahmer by Derf BackderfA graphic novel memoir that offers a unique and chilling perspective on the teenage years of Jeffrey Dahmer, the future serial killer, as observed by his high school friend Derf Backderf.Graphic memoir, true crime, psychological insight, adolescence of a serial killer, outsider perspective, high school dynamics, early warning signs, societal neglect, the complexity of friendship, and the impact of a troubled home life.
Columbine by Dave CullenA comprehensive and deeply researched account of the Columbine High School massacre, exploring the lives of the shooters, the victims, and the aftermath, challenging myths and providing insights into the tragedy.True crime, investigative journalism, school shooting, psychological profile, societal impact, trauma and healing, law enforcement response, media influence, community resilience, and the quest for understanding in the face of senseless violence.
The Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleA gripping true crime narrative by Ann Rule, detailing her personal acquaintance with Ted Bundy, one of America’s most notorious serial killers, juxtaposing her professional observations with her personal disbelief.True crime memoir, serial killer profile, personal and professional conflict, investigative journalism, the duality of human nature, deception and charisma, law enforcement challenges, psychological analysis, the impact of crime on society, and the evolution of forensic science.
In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteA pioneering work of the true crime genre, documenting the brutal murder of the Clutter family in Kansas and the subsequent investigation and trial of the killers, blending journalistic precision with literary narrative.True crime, non-fiction novel, psychological exploration, murder investigation, rural America, the American Dream shattered, capital punishment debate, narrative journalism, the depths of human nature, and the impact of violence on a community.
Mind Hunter by John E. DouglasAn inside look into the FBI’s elite serial crime unit through the eyes of John E. Douglas, one of the first criminal profilers, detailing the development of criminal profiling and the investigation of serial killers and violent criminals.Criminal profiling, true crime, FBI investigations, serial killers, psychological analysis, law enforcement memoir, investigative techniques, the mind of the criminal, case studies, the evolution of forensic science, and the challenges of confronting evil.
Inside the Mind of BTK by Johnny DoddA detailed account of the investigation, capture, and psychological analysis of Dennis Rader, the BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill) killer, through the lens of the lead detective and a forensic psychologist.Serial killer profile, true crime investigation, psychological profiling, law enforcement perspective, cat-and-mouse game, forensic psychology, criminal confession, community impact, the dual life of a killer, and the advancements in criminal science.
Books Like Criminal Minds List

1. Newtown: An American Tragedy

The book focuses on the shootings at Newtown and the deaths of the children going to school. So, the story gives you a good picture of the killer’s family dynamic. Also, it gives you how the police are present and how police panic in that stressful moment because active shooters are fairly common in the States.

The author shows us a complete scenario of how the police, in this case, fed off misinformation, put out their own misinformation, and how the media reacted. So it’s a fascinating book because, like Criminal Minds, it deals with a fair amount of detail and nuance. This might be an emotional read if you’re sensitive to those things.

Author: Matthew Lysiak
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Tropes: Safety, History, Suspense, Tragedy, Lifestyle, Bullies
Number Of Pages: 268
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

2. My Friend Dahmer

This graphic novel is all in black and white print and is told by an individual who attended high school with Jeffrey Dahmer. This one comes up so high because this is a different portrait you usually get of serial killers. The story is focused on the time leading up to the first murder and the time before the proper sprees start. Those people fully develop into the patterns they will set later on as they murder more people.

This graphic novel is gripping because the author talks about himself as a young boy and what is happening in his head. You might imagine being gay, dealing with these awful images, and not knowing how to stop himself from wanting to do what he was doing. Also, the things he did that we saw were as horrific as Criminal Minds! So, these are ways of coping with his fantasies and the darkness in him. This book exposes that, so it’s impressive and unique.

Author: Derf Backderf
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Illustrated edition
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Tropes: Biographies, History, Serial Killers, Educational, Horror
Number Of Pages: 224
Item Weight: 1.39 pounds
Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.05 x 9.25 inches
Available: Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle & Comixology

3. Columbine

Dave Cullen researches books well and spends most of his time on them. In a true crime story, we need someone empathetic and detail-oriented. In terms of understanding the entirety of a crime, his take on Columbine is genuinely impressive in its scope. There is something unique and valuable in the way he writes this book and explains matters without falling into that glorification side.

Like Criminal Minds, Columbine is about massive pop culture, historical references, and a well-balanced image of what happened at the school. I push it into the hands of anyone vaguely interested in true crime, and it sounds as if it could be a good starter book for those who are getting into the genre.

Author: Dave Cullen
Publisher: Twelve, Illustrated edition
Award winner: Goodreads Choice
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Tropes: Violence, Journalism, Psychology, Sociology, Bio, Myth-legend
Number Of Pages: 496
Item Weight: 1.14 pounds
Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

4. The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story

This book talks about the life of Ted Bundy. Ann Rule writes the more pulpy true crime stuff. So it is the easier-to-digest thing you’re going to get. The reason why this book comes so highly is because of the personal aspect. The author is uniquely positioned to tell Ted Bundy’s story. She knew Bundy as a friend. They worked together at a suicide hotline before he killed young women. So, she thought she knew him and his falseness.

Bundy was one of the worst serial killers in US history. This is an excellent book with a good overview of Bundy’s life and crimes if you are after a very pacey read or a bit more depth. Some people struggle with true crime, but it’s not quite as vicious as it can come across in other true crime books. The scene details and character behavior are very similar to Criminal Minds. If you like the thriller side of it, you might find that you’ll enjoy it.

Author: Ann Rule
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Tropes: Serial Killers True Accounts
Number Of Pages: 548
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mass Market Paperback

5. In Cold Blood

This book brings you inside a murder, which is not all that unusual now. Murders are awful, and it doesn’t matter how many people die. But you have two murderers and a family, so it is pretty significant! It’s the worldwide number of people who die reasonably regularly. Capote is a skilled storyteller, and he brings you inside the life of the family and the people who killed them.

It is a true-crime book that reads like Criminal Minds. So it’s hard sometimes to put yourself away because the book is so well written and remind yourself that these are real people. They feel so perfect in your mind that it’s hard to remember that these are real people who died.

This book is number one for me because it’s hard to imagine these are real people with real lives and the victims and the killers. Also, there’s more to that one individual than that event. To properly understand what’s lost when people take victims and why that might even happen in terms of the psychology of those who do it, we have to look at them as whole people. The author balances them beautifully, so you must give them a chance!

Author: Truman Capote
Publisher: Random House Audio
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Tropes: Murder & Mayhem True Accounts, Thriller, American Literature, Dark
Number Of Pages: 343
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mass Market Paperback

6. Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit

Author John Douglas is the guy behind Mind Hunter, where the show was based, and he is the most prolific profiler and has worked for the FBI for years. The book is an excellent introduction to the genre, and it’s essential to manage your expectations a little bit when you go into this book. This book is part memoir and part about his time as a profiler.

So Douglas discusses a few high-profile cases in this book and Criminal Minds. The first half is a bit more boring, and the second half is more interesting. If you want to listen to the audiobook, I highly recommend it because it talks a lot about modus operandi and the signature of killers.

That’s super interesting, and it’s a type of knowledge that comes back in every other book of his and other authors you will read. Having that basic knowledge helps you understand the psychological components better.

Author: John E. Douglas
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Tropes: Criminal Biographies, Psychology, History, Mystery
Number Of Pages: 432
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

7. Inside the Mind of BTK: The True Story Behind the Thirty-Year Hunt for the Notorious Wichita Serial Killer

This one is about the BTK killer, a serial killer from Wichita, Kansas, who has double digits of victims. So it is horrendous to think about the situation. But his psyche is fascinating to read. Also, John Douglas can sometimes overstate his involvement in solving crimes because he was not involved in solving these crimes.

Usually, his profiles are pretty accurate. So, he can overstate his involvement in solving certain crimes, even though some of these crimes aren’t even federal, and the FBI wouldn’t be involved. But that’s a whole side tangent. When you are reading this, I recommend keeping in mind the part where John Douglas talks about himself. If you are a fan of Criminal Minds, you must read it.

Author: Johnny Dodd
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Tropes: Horror, Psychology, Sociopaths
Number Of Pages: 344
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

Last Words

As we wrap up our exploration of books resonating with the essence of “Criminal Minds,” it’s clear that the allure of psychological thrillers lies in their ability to weave complex narratives that challenge our understanding of morality, justice, and the human condition.

These recommended reads not only promise to keep you on the edge of your seat but also invite you to ponder the deeper questions that such stories evoke. Happy reading, and may these books fill the void left by the show, one thrilling chapter at a time.

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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