Mystery/Thriller

Pick a Fashion Statement and Find Your Next True Crime Read

Steph Auteri

Senior Contributor

Steph Auteri is a journalist who has written for the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Pacific Standard, VICE, and elsewhere. Her more creative work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, under the gum tree, Poets & Writers, and other publications, and she is the Essays Editor for Hippocampus Magazine. Her essay, "The Fear That Lives Next to My Heart," published in Southwest Review, was listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2021. She also writes bookish stuff here and at the Feminist Book Club, is the author of A Dirty Word, and is the founder of Guerrilla Sex Ed. When not working, she enjoys yoga, embroidery, singing, cat snuggling, and staring at the birds in her backyard feeder. You can learn more at stephauteri.com and follow her on Insta/Threads at @stephauteri.

Steph Auteri

Senior Contributor

Steph Auteri is a journalist who has written for the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Pacific Standard, VICE, and elsewhere. Her more creative work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, under the gum tree, Poets & Writers, and other publications, and she is the Essays Editor for Hippocampus Magazine. Her essay, "The Fear That Lives Next to My Heart," published in Southwest Review, was listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2021. She also writes bookish stuff here and at the Feminist Book Club, is the author of A Dirty Word, and is the founder of Guerrilla Sex Ed. When not working, she enjoys yoga, embroidery, singing, cat snuggling, and staring at the birds in her backyard feeder. You can learn more at stephauteri.com and follow her on Insta/Threads at @stephauteri.

Size Zero by Abigail Mangin.

Condom dresses and space helmets have debuted on fashion runways. A dead body becomes the trend when a coat made of human skin saunters down fashion’s biggest stage. The body is identified as Annabelle Leigh, the teenager who famously disappeared over a decade ago from her boyfriend’s New York City mansion. This new evidence casts suspicion back on the former boyfriend, Cecil LeClaire. Now a monk, he is forced to return to his dark and absurd childhood home to clear his name. He teams up with Ava Germaine, a renegade ex-model. And together, they investigate the depraved and lawless modeling industry behind Cecil’s family fortune.

I’m a recent(ish) convert to true crime. (I know. Join the crowd.) But then books like The Fact of a Body and I’ll Be Gone in the Dark came out and, suddenly, I realized that the genre could be more than just lurid stories about faceless victims and monstrous men. It seemed that contemporary true crime was finally giving victims a voice and, in the process, exposing systemic inadequacies and inequities. And it was doing all that within a narrative that was still deliciously suspenseful and scary.

And for history buffs, many true crime authors also shine at placing the reader into bygone eras. Allowing us to take a peek at the way life was lived before our time. Showing us how things were so different. But at the same time, so very much the same.

If you’re looking for your next true crime read, go ahead and pick a look that calls to you. All of the styles in the following quiz give a nod to certain moments in time.