7 True-Crime Books Like If You Tell

True Crime Books

Are you still haunted by the chilling narrative of “If You Tell” by Gregg Olsen? If so, you’re not alone. This gripping true crime story leaves many readers yearning for more tales that delve into the darkest corners of human nature and the complexities of crime.

In this post, we’ll explore a collection of books that will satisfy your thirst for true crime narratives. Each offers a deep dive into real-life mysteries, psychological twists, and heart-pounding suspense.

From investigations that changed the course of criminal history to intimate explorations of crime’s impact on victims and communities, these books promise to keep you on the edge of your seat, just like “If You Tell.” Prepare to be captivated by these enthralling stories of intrigue, resilience, and the pursuit of justice in the face of unimaginable adversity.

7 Books Like If You Tell (Murder Mystery & Criminology)

True crime books offer a window into the complexities of human psychology, particularly the minds of criminals. They cover motives, backgrounds, and circumstances that lead to criminal behavior, providing a deeper understanding of human nature.

I will talk about seven murder mystery books similar to If You Tell. These books explore the intricacies of criminal investigations and legal proceedings. They provide a real-world education on how the criminal justice system works, from police investigations to courtroom dramas.

NameKey FocusTropes
In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteA non-fiction novel that meticulously reconstructs the brutal murder of the Clutter family in Kansas in 1959 and the subsequent investigation, trial, and execution of the killers, blending true crime journalism with literary style.True crime narrative, investigative journalism, psychological depth, narrative non-fiction, criminal profile, small-town America, moral complexities, detailed character study, law enforcement process, ethical questions in journalism.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamaraA true crime book about the author’s obsessive investigation into the identity of the Golden State Killer, a notorious serial rapist and murderer who terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s.True crime, amateur investigation, cold case, serial killer, personal obsession, narrative non-fiction, victim stories, law enforcement collaboration, unsolved mystery, psychological profiling.
And the Band Played On by Randy ShiltsA comprehensive story of the early years of the AIDS epidemic in the United States, chronicling the medical community’s struggle to understand and contain the disease amidst social and political challenges.Public health crisis, investigative journalism, medical research, social stigma, political inaction, LGBTQ+ community history, epidemic response, personal narratives, societal impact, health policy.
The Lighthouse by Keith McCloskeyThe mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from the Flannan Isles Lighthouse in 1900, delves into various theories and historical context to shed light on this enduring maritime mystery.Historical mystery, maritime setting, disappearance, investigative research, lighthouse history, folklore and legends, unsolved cases, psychological analysis, atmospheric narrative, historical documentation.
The Search for the Green River Killer by Carlton SmithA true-crime book detailing the lengthy and complex investigation into one of America’s most notorious serial killers, the Green River Killer, focusing on the detectives’ relentless pursuit to solve the case.Serial killer investigation, law enforcement procedures, victim profiles, true crime narrative, psychological profiling, detective work, forensic science, criminal psychology, societal impact, persistence in justice.
One of Your Own by Carol Ann LeeA detailed biography of Myra Hindley, exploring her life, her role in the Moors murders in England during the 1960s, and the public’s reaction to her crimes and imprisonment.True crime, criminal biography, notorious murder case, psychological analysis, societal impact, partner in crime, moral examination, British legal system, media portrayal, public perception.
The Lost Girls by John GlattA true crime book that recounts the harrowing story of the kidnapping and decade-long captivity of three young women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, at the hands of Ariel Castro in Cleveland, Ohio.Kidnapping, long-term captivity, survival story, true crime narrative, victim perspective, criminal psychology, resilience, legal proceedings, community impact, investigative journalism.
Books Like If You Tell List

1. In Cold Blood

The story represents a murder mystery. The Clutter Family Murders refers to the 50th November 1959 in the small town of Holcomb in Kansas. Here, four members of the Clutter family were brutally murdered at gunpoint, all in separate rooms. Some were tied up, and some were not. There was no motive for the crime. Everyone liked the Clutter family, and they had a good reputation.

The case was eventually solved, and this book is super interesting because it follows in the footsteps of the murderers before the crime happened and talks about the Clutter family. It’s well-written, and everything in this book resembles If You Tell. It talks in-depth about the perpetrators and the victims, making for an incredibly layered story.

In Cold Blood

Author: Truman Capote
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: U.S. State & Local History, Criminology
Number Of Pages: 343
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

2. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

This is the story of the Golden State Killer, who was unidentified when this book was written but is now known. The author, Michelle McNamara, dedicated all her time to solving this case, which was pretty much unknown by the public before she brought it to their attention. So, this is an incredible book, and Michelle’s ability to set the scene of each crime blows me away. If You Tell is a book that allows readers to relate to many situations and traumas.

The research she put in for this is impeccable. She goes into so much detail about each crime, and it’s for this reason that I struggle to read this so much. Everything in this book is so vivid that it’s not exactly something you can blast through in a few days. The investigative journalism went into this book, which I aspire to be.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

Author: Michelle McNamara
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Category: Serial Killers True Accounts, Law Enforcement Biographies
Number Of Pages: 352
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

3. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic

The tagline is politics, people, and the AIDS epidemic. This is a chunky book with tiny writing, and I’ve read every single page of it. You need patience for this one. Sometimes, the contents and the topics make me so angry that I must put them down. But I’ve read enough of it to recommend it in good conscience.

It’s outstanding investigative journalism that looks into the 80s AIDS crisis in the USA. However, it does explore other areas of the world about AIDS. They highlighted the many ways in which the U.S. government failed when it came to the AIDS epidemic. It was dismissed as a gay disease. Gay cancer made it anything less worthy of paying attention to it.

The author discusses Reagan’s failures as president and how he dismissed the CDC’s advice because he didn’t like their findings. Many parallels can be drawn between these circumstances and the USA’s today, and the author also discusses the race to a cure.

And the Band Played On

Author: Randy Shilts
Average Rating: 4.8/5
Category: Health Policy & Administration
Number Of Pages: 660
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

4. The Lighthouse: The Mystery of the Eilean Mor Lighthouse Keepers

Maybe you hadn’t heard this case before three lighthouse keepers and a rock off the coast of Scotland disappeared. It’s an enduring mystery, including a strange and mysterious look like If You Tell. The country’s bad-tempered men were missing clothing. It’s very to the point but informative, which you sometimes need when researching.

This book focuses on what it means to be a lighthouse keeper and the crew’s conditions on the rock. Then, it delves into the theories surrounding this case. I found it well-researched, which is essential in a true-crime book.

The Lighthouse

Author: Keith McCloskey
Average Rating: 4.2/5
Category: Great Britain History
Number Of Pages: 228
Available: Paperback | Kindle

5. The Search for the Green River Killer: The True Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer

This is an absolute must-read or must-listen if you’re into serial killers. It was written before Gary Ridgway was caught, which adds a non-biased voice to the book. It mainly focuses on the search. I love to see investigative techniques, and this book focuses on what is similar to If You Tell.

The story talks about how underfunded the investigation was, and it’s super strange in hindsight, knowing that Gary Ridgway was a killer because it feels like the investigation gets so close at some point. But it’s never quite there. I would recommend doing this one as an audiobook. There are a lot of names and victims.

The Search for the Green River Killer

Author: Carlton Smith
Average Rating: 4.2/5
Category: Serial Killers True Accounts, Detective
Number Of Pages: 544
Available: Audiobook | Mass Market Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD

6. One of Your Own: The Life and Death of Myra Hindley

As the title suggests, this is about the life of Myra Hindley, who is one part of the jury responsible for the Moors murders, along with Ian Brady. Most true crime books are about men, so reading about a female killer is very interesting. The psychology behind it is very different. It’s why Hindley stayed with Brady for so long. Was she always inclined to kill herself? Was it a response to being with a killer?

This book gives no answers to those questions because no one would ever know the answer apart from making Myra herself. But it makes you think as If You Tell. Also, it is meticulously researched and so well-written. It gave me chills at some points, and the settings of these murders are inherently creepy anyway. Moreover, this is one for the faint-hearted, though it includes many graphic descriptions of child murders, and that’s not for everyone.

One of Your Own

Author: Carol Ann Lee
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Crime & Criminal Biographies
Number Of Pages: 464
Available: Paperback

7. The Lost Girls: The True Story of the Cleveland Abductions

This is a horrifying story about the three girls kidnapped, imprisoned, and abused in a house for many years by Ariel Castro and how they miraculously managed to escape alive. You can’t help but remember this is a true story about real girls who went through the worst imaginable and came out the other side alive somehow.

This book covers everything from Castro’s past and family to each girl’s life. It’s a well-written account of what happened and has a happy ending, which is unusual for a true-crime book. So we get to see the crimes of the Long Island serial killer, who has yet to be apprehended. The way this is written is gripping to the point where you forget this is a nonfiction book. If you are a fan of If You Tell, you must try it.

The Lost Girls

Author: John Glatt
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Category: True Crime Memoir
Number Of Pages: 384
Available: Audiobook | Mass Market Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

Each book we’ve explored offers a unique perspective on the depths of crime and the heights of human resilience. They remind us that behind every case are stories of real people, affected and forever changed.

So, as you turn the pages of these compelling narratives, may you gain deeper insights into the human condition and a renewed appreciation for the pursuit of truth. Until our next literary adventure into the heart of true crime, stay curious and keep exploring the stories that challenge and intrigue us.

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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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