One title on his list:
"The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America," by Erik Larson (2003)Read about the other books on the list.
One of the best-selling true-crime books of all time, this is a two-headed tale of the glory of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair – stunningly, an estimated 27.5 million people flocked to it – and the misery sown by one of America's first known serial murderers.
In his next true-crime book, "Thunderstruck," Larson tried too hard to blend two disparate topics together. But his approach works perfectly here, with both the World Fair and the murders serving to open the curtain on a new age and a new century, for both better and worse.
If you're ever in Chicago, by the way, you can take tours based on the book and visit the fairgrounds that captured the country's attention.
Also see Ann Rule's five best true-crime books and Sarah Weinman's seven best true crime books.