Unless you've been on a self-imposed Netflix exile, chances are you've seen the Making a Murderer, the docuseries that's swept the nation. And if you have, then you've probably formed an opinion on whether Steven Avery is guilty or not, developed some issues with the flaws of our justice system, and are in need of more. Although there are plenty of TV shows and movies that will draw you in, there are also some great books to read if you like Making a Murderer.
Did you find Making a Murderer educating? Thrilling? Entertaining? All the more reason to read books in the same vein as the Netflix series. It's no secret that the world loves true crime stories, but add in a whole lot of corruption, dirty work behind the scenes, and a mystery, and you've got yourself a major winner.
For many, Making a Murderer turned them into investigators, eager to prove that the Manitowoc Sheriff's Department was planting false evidence in Avery's trailer. It's opened up a huge conversation about our country's justice and legal system, the flaws in it, and what happens when power falls in the wrong hands. The documentary also shed a lot of light on what privilege can do for someone, and how eager society is to discriminate against someone that is different from them and assume the worst about their character.
And for others? The documentary is just an entertaining story.
But no matter if you're hoping to join The Innocence Project and overturn wrongful convictions or you just love a good crime story, these 17 books are perfect for any Making a Murderer fan.
1'Devil's Knot: The True Story Of The Memphis Three' By Maria Leveritt
Devil's Knot is the true account of boys being accused of horrific crimes simply because they were different. The West Memphis Three included three teenagers accused of performing a satanic ritual and murdering three young boys, despite the absence of physical evidence and coerced confessions that made no sense. Their trial was more of a witch hunt and even though their convictions have been overturned, the book will still leave you furious.
2'To Kill A Mockingbird' By Harper Lee
A classic that's probably already on your bookshelf, To Kill a Mockingbird is a fictional story that resonates deeply with everyone, especially those who have witnessed an ignored conscience in favor of siding with those in power.
3'In Cold Blood' By Truman Capote
A non-fiction book focusing on the 1959 murders of the Clutter family, In Cold Blood grips you with the violence, but Capote's research and interviews with the residents of the small town bring light to the life of both the victims and the murderers.
4'The Central Park Five' By Sarah Burns
When a jogger in Central Park was raped and beaten in 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were arrested. But despite being minors and the lack of physical evidence linking them to the crime, they are convicted. The Central Park Five is an investigative look into the crime, the flaws in law enforcement and the justice system, and how the media frenzy compromised their innocence.
5'The Wrong Guys' By Tom Wells And Richard A. Leo
Based on a case from The Innocence Project, The Wrong Guys follows the case of a woman who is raped and killed, and the four innocent men that separately confess to the crime. Despite the real murderer being convicted, three of the four men still remain in prison. This book gives a hard look at the role confessions, even false ones, can play in a case and the reform needed in our criminal justice system.
6'Getting Life' By Michael Morton
When Michael Morton's wife is found savagely murdered in their bed, law enforcement wastes no time in presuming Morton is responsible for the crime, despite no physical evidence tying him to her death. After spending 25 years in prison, Morton is exonerated and Getting Life is his memoir detailing the entire ordeal.
7'The Innocent Man: Murder And Injustice In A Small Town' By John Grisham
A compelling non-fiction book, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town tells the story of how the presumption of innocence is nowhere to be found in the justice system and how eager society is to use lying witnesses and tainted evidence to win a case.
8'Just Mercy' By Bryan Stevenson
A bestseller, Just Mercy is a book about the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice founded by lawyer Bryan Stevenson, that defends those that are most desperate and in need. It will leave you inspired, and it's a total eyeopener to the lack of compassion in the justice system.
9'The Dreams Of Ada' By Robert Mayer
For another look into how poverty can compromise a man's innocence, read The Dreams of Ada. The book focuses on the disappearance of a small-town woman and how two men are arrested and brought to trial, despite a body never being found, no evidence against the two, and no witnesses or weapons.
10'Bloodsworth' By Tim Junkin
Bloodsworth chronicles the horrific crime of a 9-year-old girl being raped and killed, with the man convicted of the crime proclaims his innocence. After prosecutors improperly withhold evidence in his first trial, he's granted another one which also results in conviction.
11'Picking Cotton' By Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton, & Erin Torneo
Picking Cotton is an incredible look at forgiveness and judgement. After she's raped at gunpoint, Jennifer Thompson identifies Ronald Cotton as her attacker. Her identification is the only evidence against Cotton, who is convicted. After DNA evidence exonerates him 11 years lately, the two become unlikely friends in the face of tragedy.
12'Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder' By Vincent Bugliosi
Outrage outlines the incompetence of the prosecution and the mockery of justice that was present during the O.J. Simpson trial. This is the perfect book to read if you happen to be watching American Crime Story.
13'Gone Girl' By Gillian Flynn
If we're going to talk about how the media can ruin a presumption of innocence, then we have to talk about adding Gone Girl to your list. It may be fiction, but the dark novel highlights a lot of real problems in our media when it comes to reporting on a tragedy.
14'The New Jim Crow' By Michelle Alexander
It's no secret that race has played a large part of the social injustices of society, but The New Jim Crow really drives the point home. The book reports on the criminal justice system being used more as a control of race, and how it relegates those to second class status based off of their color.
15'Unfair: The New Science Of Criminal Justice' By Adam Benforado
Written by a law professor, Unfair chronicles the flaws and brokenness of the justice system, but argues that law enforcement officials and prosecutors are not to blame — instead, the blame is on society.
16'Convicting The Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong' By Brandon L. Garrett
If a criminal being exonerated by DNA evidence is what compels you to keep going in this genre, then Convicting the Innocent is a book for you. The author investigates how wrongful convictions happen in the first place and examines the first 250 cases of DNA testing used to exonerate prisoners.
17'It Happened To Audrey' By Jill Wellington And Audrey Edmunds
A truly heartbreaking tale, It Happened to Audrey is the story of a loving mother and child caretaker who is convicted and tried for the death of a baby in her care. She spends 13 years in prison fighting for her innocence before DNA exonerates her. The story is compelling, tragic, and terrifying.