Excited for “Devil in the White City”? Try These Other True Crime Adaptations

Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City was published in 2003 to acclaim from critics and excitement among readers. The novelistic style drew readers into the story of H. H. Holmes, a con artist and criminal who is widely considered to be the first modern serial killer. Hulu’s series adaptation of The Devil in the White City is in the works for 2024 with Keanu Reeves set to star and Martin Scorsese to direct. While you wait for it to hit the small screen, check out another true crime book that has been adapted to TV or film. The following books are all available digitally through either hoopla or Libby.

Mindhunter – Adapted into a series by Netflix. In chilling detail, the legendary Mindhunter, John E. Douglas, takes us behind the scenes of some of his most gruesome, fascinating and challenging cases—and into the darkest recesses of our worst nightmares.

Under the Banner of Heaven – Adapted into a series by FX and Hulu. At the core of Krakauer’s book are brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a commandment from God to kill a blameless woman and her baby girl. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this appalling double murder, Krakauer constructs a multi-layered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, polygamy, savage violence and unyielding faith. Also available as a downloadable audiobook

I'll Be Gone in the Dark – Adapted into a series by HBO. I'll Be Gone in the Dark is the masterpiece Michelle McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death and offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic—one which fulfilled Michelle's dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer. Also available as a downloadable or streaming audiobook. 

In Cold Blood – Adapted to film in 1967 as In Cold Blood and in 2005 as Capote. In one of the first nonfiction novels ever written, Truman Capote reconstructs the savage murder of the Clutter family in 1959 and the investigation that led to the capture, trial and execution of the killers, generating both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. Also available as a downloadable audiobook

Black Klansman – Adapted to film in 2018. In 1978, Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, responds to an ad seeking new members for the Ku Klux Klan. He proceeds to play a white KKK member in phone calls while his partner Chuck poses as Stallworth in person. Stallworth uses the opportunity to investigate the organization, sabotaging events, exposing white supremacists and befriending David Duke.

Molly's Game – Adapted to film in 2017. Molly Bloom reveals how she built one of the most exclusive, high-stakes underground poker games in the world—an insider's story of excess and danger, glamour and greed.

My Friend Dahmer – Adapted to film in 2017. In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche—a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates.

Catch Me If You Can – Adapted to film in 2002. Known by the police of 26 foreign countries and all 50 states as "The Skywayman," Frank Abagnale lived a sumptuous life on the lam—until the law caught up with him. Now recognized as the nation's leading authority on financial foul play, Abagnale is a charming rogue whose hilarious, stranger-than-fiction international escapades and ingenious escapes—including one from an airplane—make Catch Me If You Can an irresistible tale of deceit.

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