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All the Books Recommended on MY FAVORITE MURDER in 2020

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Erin Mayer

Staff Writer

Erin Mayer is a writer and editor specializing in personal essays and musings about face creams that probably won't cure her anxiety (but hey, it's worth a shot). Her work has appeared on Bustle, Literary Hub, Man Repeller, Business Insider, and more. She spends her free time drafting tweets she never finishes and reading in front of the television. Find her at

To be a true crime obsessive in 2020 is to have ample options at your disposal. But My Favorite Murder, the podcast by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, remains a staple of the genre. Learning about little-known murder cases and tuning in to the hosts’ hilarious banter are hardly the only reasons to listen: the My Favorite Murder book recommendations are always on point. And what better time than Halloween season to stock up on spooky reading material? (Note: This list compiles all the books recommended on My Favorite Murder over the past year, most of which have white authors. For a more diverse reading list, check out these crime books by authors of color and LGBTQ+ authors.)

Where to Find My Favorite Murder Book Recommendations

Hardstark and Kilgariff are both big readers, and they regularly share their favorite books on the podcast and on social media. Follow @myfavoritemurder on Instagram and @MyFavMurder on Twitter and read the episode show notes to stay updated. To see what the individual hosts are reading and posting about, find Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark on Twitter or Instagram.


the unquiet dead book cover

The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan

The first in Khan’s mystery series introduces Detectives Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak as they investigate a suspicious fall from a cliff. While the partners look into the victim’s past, they uncover a seedy history that may have led to his death.

station eleven book cover

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mendel

The hosts of MFM are hardly the first people to recommend Mendel’s apocalyptic novel. Be warned: the catalyst for the action here is a pandemic. But the meat of the story follows a traveling symphony of actors and musicians fighting for their lives in the wasteland.

the sun down motel book cover

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

A haunted hotel and a murder mystery. What could be a better fall read? St. James’s second novel follows dual timelines, taking place in 1982 and 2017.

the vanishing stair book cover

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) by Maureen Johnson

The second book in Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious series sees our protagonist, Stevie, further investigating the mysteries of past and present at Ellingham Academy.

True Crime

chaos book cover

Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties by Tom O’Neill

Like Georgia Hardstark, I also used this book as a coping mechanism during lockdown. It immortalizes the author’s 20-year investigation into the Manson murders. His search for the truth is at times a bit shattered, but it makes for an engrossing read.

the forest city killer book cover

The Forest City Killer: A Serial Murderer, a Cold-Case Sleuth, and a Search for Justice by Vanessa Brown

In the mood for a chilling deep-dive into an unsolved mystery? This MFM-approved book follows the hunt for a prolific serial killer who terrorized London, Ontario, in the 1960s.

The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes by Dawn Schiller

While true crime books, documentaries, and podcasts are booming, the victims are too often overlooked. This powerful memoir by Dawn Schiller recounts her time ensnared by abusive porn legend John Holmes and living through the horrific (still unsolved) Wonderland murders.

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Out With Three: The Murder and Betrayal of Bald Head Island Police Officer Davina Buff Jones by Elaine Buff

Read a complete account of the death of Davina Buff Jones on Bald Head Island off the coast of North Carolina.


stay sexy and don't get murdered book cover

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

No list of My Favorite Murder book recommendations would be complete with Karen and Georgia’s own book. This joint memoir captures the spirit of the podcast (with way less murder).

how to be an adult in love book cover

How to Be an Adult in Love: Letting Love in Safely and Showing it Recklessly by David Richo

Maybe reading true crime isn’t your thing, but you can still get book recs from MFM. For instance, this self-help book about building loving relationships in adulthood mentioned on an episode.

getting unstuck audiobook cover

Getting Unstuck: Breaking Your Habitual Patterns and Encountering Naked Reality by Pema Chödrön

In a rut? Check out this audiobook all about breaking bad habits, with techniques steeped in Buddhist teachings.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

This collection of Cheryl Strayed’s “Dear Sugar” advice columns is beloved by many. It’s also a great choice if you need a quick pick-me-up (or a good cry).

this naked mind book cover

This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life by Annie Grace

Addiction is a frequent topic on MFM. Anyone who wants to examine their relationship with alcohol (and possibly cut back) can benefit from picking up this book. It includes scientific information about the effects of alcohol on the body and mind, plus practical tips.

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