Crime Course Reading List

True crime and crime fiction are two genres that have exploded in popular culture. I am just as guilty as the next person to be fascinated with the psychology of the killers, thanks to Criminal Minds; the plot surrounding a crime, kudos to Dateline with Lester Holt reruns; and the characters involved as depicted in these series and popular culture.

I have come to find that my students are also interested in true crime and crime fiction. When looking for a book to read for Reading Bingo, students have been known to say, “I’m looking for a book that is dark and twisty” or “Do you have anything that is like Making a Murderer?”

Recently, while looking through the stacks at MSU’s Spartan Bookstore, a few titles caught my eye – Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places. Both titles were grouped with a four other books and all were centered around topics of crime, killers, and murder.

Whenever I visit a bookstore on a college campus, I always peruse the required books for undergraduate courses I enjoyed, such as education, English, history, social sciences, politics, geography, and integrated arts and humanities.

In Cold Blood and Dark Places and it’s accompanying books were part of an online course offered at Michigan State this summer called IAH 221C 730: Great Ages of the Modern World (I). MSU requires all undergraduate students to take two Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities courses of various levels. This course was offered this past summer in an online format.

Knowing that I could not take the course, I decided to stock up on the required texts with the intention of reading the books with the lens of the course – criminals and crime fighters. Check out the texts below and stay tuned for reviews!

In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler

The Poet – Michael Connelly

Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

K is for Killer – Sue Grafton

The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson