Medical mystery books with x-rays in the background

Recommended Reads

7 medical mysteries & thrillers for true crime fans


May 20, 2024

True crime is everywhere — just to be clear, I mean the content genre. If you’re into true crime books, movies, or podcasts, medical mysteries are a great offshoot to explore. Astonishingly true medical tales and riveting medical fictional thrillers make for great reads with a similar appeal to true crime. They provide the same intrigue, but with the added complexity of medicine.

Track down these real and fictional medical mysteries worth reading if you’re a fan of true crime. One thing that does not need to be a mystery is where to find them — answer: the Libby app.

True medical mysteries

DiagnosisDiagnosis by Lisa Sanders
🎧 Audiobook

Full of actual medical mysteries, read about patients with puzzling symptoms and the doctors that work to put the pieces together. While the standard diagnostic method works for most people most of the time, there are times that’s not the case. There’s plenty of drama in these cases, but also thoughtful reflections on physician’s work.

The Mystery of the Exploding TeethThe Mystery of the Exploding Teeth by Thomas Morris
🎧 Audiobook

If you like the cringe-factor in some true crime, then this collection of strange medical tales throughout history is for you. The namesake “exploding teeth” is just the beginning as medical historian Thomas Morris takes readers through mysterious and strange medical reports found in old medical journals, ranging from illnesses and operations to remedies and recoveries, plus some tall tales.

Narrative medical mysteries

Hidden Valley RoadHidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
🎧 Audiobook

There are still plenty of mysteries in modern medicine. Delving into a remarkable example, this book looks at the Galvins, a family with 12 kids who saw 6 of these children diagnosed with schizophrenia. This book provides insight into the family over the years, offers research into the mental disease, explores the history of the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia, as well as the medical field’s changing and growing knowledge of the condition.

Bad BloodBad Blood by John Carreyrou
🎧 Audiobook

If you’re still looking for some crime in your medical mysteries, this account of the rise, lies, and fall of Theranos, a biotech company, will check all your boxes. The startup touting technology that could run blood tests with just a few drops raised billions of dollars. So, when the technology didn’t actually work, the fake reports were just a part of efforts to cover up the failure. This investigation into Theranos looks at fraud and corruption in medical technology and entrepreneurship.

Fiction medical thrillers

The Butcher and the WrenThe Butcher and the Wren by Alaina Urquhart
🎧 Audiobook

From the co-host of true crime podcast Morbid, this novel is about a killer keen on medical experimentation and a forensic pathologist who solves every case at the medical examiner’s office. Told from the perspectives of both killer and doctor, this fascinating fictional story is still full of facts.

Ammon's Horn or the Mystery of the BrainAmmon's Horn, or the Mystery of the Brain by Pierre and Christine Magistretti

Part of the fun of mysteries is trying to figure it out before all is revealed. In this novel, scientists compete for a grant for Alzheimer’s research by searching for answers to riddles that combine science, geography, and history. The riddles are not the only mysteries, though, when a conspiracy arises. With so much to unravel, this medical thriller is perfect for sleuthing true crime followers.

Murder by DegreesMurder by Degrees by Ritu Mukerji
🎧 Audiobook

Looking back in time, this historical medical mystery following a female doctor as an amateur sleuth in 19th-century Philadelphia is great for fans of history. Dr. Lydia Weston teams up with police to investigate the apparent suicide of a former patient of hers. The details in this novel highlight the history and the crime as the mystery is investigated.

*Title availability may vary by library & region.

If you love true crime, these books may be just what the doctor ordered. Download the Libby app to borrow them from your library.

RELATED READ: 8 intriguing books to read if you love true crime


About the Author

Tori Casper is a collection development librarian at OverDrive, where she helps public libraries build and highlight their digital collections. Outside of work and reading, she enjoys hiking, gardening, wildlife photography, and planning trips to national parks. Tori is always happy to discuss all the books with strong nature settings.


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