How to write a killer: 5 great examples

Getting into the head of someone who’s taken a life isn’t easy (I hope!) But well written books can transport us anywhere, even into the head of a murderer. These are five books I’ve found very useful in writing my novel. They’re all wonderful and enjoyable reads as well. 

Gun1. Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo

Blood on Snow is the story of a ‘fixer,’ a man who works for a crime boss. His job is to ‘fix’ people who are causing problems. With a bullet to the brain. I can’t recommend this book highly enough, to anyone who likes to read, but particularly for those who are writing about a killer. There’s a lot to learn from the rich, complex character Nesbo has created here.

2. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History is about a group of college students who commit a murder. It’s fascinating because these college students are more or less ordinary people. The book delves into both the killing itself, and the aftermath, the way each of the students copes with what they’ve done and how they can possibly more forward (or not).

3. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood is a classic book about crime. In a small town, four members of a family were savagely murdered, and there seemed to be no motive behind the brutal killing. Truman Capote investigated the killers, and from his findings he put together what remains one of the best investigative journalism books out there.

4. Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

The TV show Dexter is based on this novel by Jeff Lindsay. The first few chapters describe Dexter, a serial killer, doing what he does best. It’s a powerful glimpse into the mind of a psychopath, and beautifully written.

5. Last Winter We Parted by Fuminori Nakamura

Last Winter We Parted is a brilliant book, but be prepared to read it twice, as the story is so complex. It’s a twisted tale of murder and revenge, and I don’t want to say too much more for fear of ruining it.

If there are any books that should be on this list, leave a comment and let me know!

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