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True Crime Genre: History of True Crime

Here you will find several resources detailing the history and development of the true crime genre. Both popular and academic, the sources listed here will provide a well-rounded explanation of the genre and its place in popular culture.

True Crime as a Genre

Women & True Crime


Several recent studies have shown that women make up the majority of the audience for true crime media – this includes books, television programming, and podcasts. The following two resources are both studies that attempt to explain women’s growing interest in the genre.

Captured by True Crime: Why Are Women Drawn to Tales of Rape, Murder, and Serial Killers?

By Amanda Vicary and Chris Fraley


This research study investigated gender differences among readers of true crime books. The results revealed that when presented with a selection of books on violent topics, women not only significantly preferred the true crime option, but believed that they would enjoy the book much more than the men who selected the same title reported. Though the quantitative study aspects are quite academic, the discussion section presents an accessible account of the results and the potential reasons that women might have a preference for true crime. Overall, this resource will be most useful for those who are seeking to read something evidence-based rather than casual or entertaining. Click the title to be redirected to the article.

Dystopian Romance: True Crime and the Female Reader

By Laura Browder


Laura Browder’s qualitative study is presented in a narrative format and presents her findings in a discussion-based, accessible format. She begins by discussing her poll of several bookstores reported that women make up nearly three-fourths of true crime readers, and goes on to conduct phone interviews with several women and then hypothesize about their interest in true crime. She comes to several conclusions about the genre’s role, including that its appeal may be similar to horror movies or that it may be cathartic for some readers. This resource would be most useful for those who are looking for a nuanced discussion of women’s interest in true crime. Click the title to be redirected to the article.