The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

What would you do if you discovered that the person you thought you knew was a serial killer?

This is exactly what happened when Ann Rule slowly but surely realised that Ted Bundy, the man responsible for raping and killing more than 30 women and the person who was working with her at a crisis hotline, was America’s most wanted criminal.

Ann knew Bundy long before he was convicted and subsequently executed, and in her book she gives us glimpses into a man that was seemingly charming and dazzling on the surface before the dark and ugly truth finally emerged.

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Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry 

He was the leader of a cult that committed some of the most heinous crimes ever, but just how did Charles Manson get his followers to join him on a killing spree that would shock the entire planet?

Chief prosecutor in the Manson trial Vincent Bugliosi, would do anything to make sure that Charles and his followers get the punishment they deserve.

In Helter Skelter, Bugliosi provides us with an insider’s account of the trial, tells us about Manson’s motivations and details how easily Manson manipulated those who followed him into the path of darkness.

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Grave Murder: The Story Behind the Brutal Welkom Killing by Jana van der Merwe

This is without a doubt one of South Africa’s most shocking and gruesome crime stories to date.

The synopsis of this book speaks of a young, soft-spoken girl next door and her upstanding fiancé, but the crime they committed contradicts their supposed gentle natures. Dismembered, decapitated and buried in a shallow grave, Michael van Eck never had a fighting chance.

It was a brutal crime that was labelled everything from a muti murder to a satanic killing. In Grave Murder, Jana van der Merwe provides us with an in-depth account of the motivations and details behind a crime that bears close resemblance to those committed by seriel killer Ed Gein.

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Prescription for Murder: The True Story of Dr. Harold Frederick Shipman

A few years ago I actually watched a documentary about Shipman and I remember being gobsmacked by the sheer amount of people that he killed throughout his medical career.

This “upstanding” doctor gained the trust of more than 200 patients, many of them elderly, and often injected them with lethal doses of morphine.

He forged medical documents to avoid detection, but was eventually caught when the daughter of one his patients became concerned because Shipman was a beneficiary of a will that didn’t include the daughter or her children.

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Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman

Suicide or victims of mass murder? There's been quite a few cults that have spawned this debate.

Think Heaven’s Gate cult, Manson and his followers and by far the worst, Reverend Jim Jones who, according to biography.com,  led more than 900 of his followers to commit suicide via cyanide-laced punch.

In Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People, we’re provided with background and insight into the history of the cult, Jim’s rise to power, the reasons people blindly followed him and how it all tragically imploded.

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Behind the Door: the Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story  by Mandy Wiener & Barry Bateman

It was a story that made international headlines. The Paralympic star athlete with a flourishing career, his beautiful law graduate and model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and the four gunshots that tragically ended her life.

In Behind the Door, investigative journalists Mandy Wiener and Barry Bateman provide us with a chronicle of the events that took place on the night Reeva was shot.

From the night of the murder right up until the trial, to the haunting questions that still remain to this day, it’s no doubt that this is one story that South Africans will not easily forget.

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What are some of the most haunting crime stories you’ve read? Share your recommendations with us and we'll feature it in a future article.