15 Amazing Fictional Serial Killer Books, Movies, TV Shows and Podcasts for Fans of Criminal Minds

While truth can be as scary as fiction, sometimes fiction is just more fun. (For recommendations on true crime serial killers, see our true crime recommendation lists). If you are a lover of serial killer fiction, we won’t insult you with recommendations like Hannibal Lecter, Dexter, Alex Cross or American Psycho. These are classics and clearly at the top of their class. This list is meant to introduce you to some fictional serial killer content that you might not know about yet. 

We are also a huge fan of the written word, so many of our recommendations started as novels. However, whether you want to watch, read or listen, we’ve got you covered.

If you want to READ about fictional serial killers:

This new series was made for Criminal Minds fans. Centered around FBI agent Sterling Gray in the Bureau's Behavioral Analysis Unit, the series has all of the elements a BAU junkie desires. As an added bonus, this series takes you around the world as Agent Gray hunts down killers in London, Thailand and Belarus. 

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This series just launched and is sure to keep the hunt going in more locations around the world. Read here.

Like every good serial killer story, the “why” is what gets the reader to show up. It’s not just simply that they are evil, but what drives someone to kill over and over. This series explores that in a unique way. In a “Criminal Minds meets Hannibal Lecter” style, in the first book of the series, we meet a killer who 

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captures women, tattoos them with butterfly wings, and keeps them in his garden only, to kill them and then keep them under glass. This book goes beyond cat and mouse and can get dark and twisty, but for hard core serial killer fans, it’s a must-read. Read here.

If you're looking for something a bit more “Penelope”—serial killer, but also cheeky—this is the book for you. The title pretty much says it all. Korede is the older sister, and she enables her younger sister Ayoola to kill no less than three boyfriends. But what happens when Ayoola sets her sights on the object of 

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Korede’s affection? Read here.

The Perfect Husband

This series starts out with what feels a bit more like a psychological thriller series; it follows a woman married to a man who seems perfect but is actually an unforgiving serial killer. However, the full series by Lisa Gardner follows FBI profiler Pierce Quincy as he hunts down serial killers of all shades of evil. 

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Criminal Minds fans will love the familiar but page-turning format of dead bodies, clues and a hunt for the killer. Read here.

This breaks the format of fictional serial killer books in such a wonderful way that we felt it deserved mentioning on this list. It won’t feel like your Criminal Minds read, but it is also a refreshing take on the fictional serial killer format. This book takes a look at the lives of three people who were not victims of an infamous 

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serial killer, but whose lives were touched anyway. It follows the detective, reporter and next-door neighbor as they repair their lives, but are not prepared for the new murders that cause them to relive their nightmare all over again. Read here.

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If you want to WATCH fictional serial killers (or read them too!)

Perfume Story of a Murderer

This one hits the trifecta of being a movie AND a TV show, both based on a novel. What happens when the world's finest perfume maker becomes obsessed with finding the perfect ingredients to capture the scent of young womanhood? The premise is creepy no matter which format you choose! Watch here.

Talented Mr. Ripley

So, this one is likely to make a lot of “serial killer” lists but we are putting it here because few fans actually know that the movie with Matt Damon is actually just the first of five books in the Patricia Highsmith “Mr. Ripley” series. We think this makes it worth a rewatch of the 1999 movie, but then maybe follow this

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bi-sexual, conman/serial killer as he moves on from Italy and into France with his posh new wife. Watch here.

8. The Shining Girls

Best-selling novel turned Apple TV hit. If you are looking for a fresh take on the serial killer genre, look no further. Nothing says fresh take like “time traveling serial killer.” While the TV show deviates some from the book in terms of the focus on the main character, the main point stays intact. However, because of 

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this shift, we do recommend indulging in both!

Because the creator of this story is Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), it has many elements that she is known for in the psychological thriller genre. However, as multiple girls end up dead, clearly at the hands of a single killer, we are willing to call this one serial killer gold. You can now watch it as a miniseries or read it as a

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book—either way, it will have you guessing until the very end. Really, the very end—don’t forget to watch through the credits…. Watch here.


With a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and a hook that gets you from the start, we are okay with the fact that this series only has one season so far. Based on the novel by the same name, Ragdoll gives us six victims out of the gate—but all sewn together to form one body. It has a bit of dry humor you may or may not 

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appreciate, but if you love a good serial killer story, this is for you. Watch here.

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If you want to LISTEN to fictional serial killers

Alice Isn’t Dead from Story Podcasting

They’ve done it again. From the New York Times bestselling co-author of It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale comes a fast-paced thriller about a truck driver searching across America for the wife she had long assumed to be dead. In the course of her search, she will encounter not-quite-human serial 

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murderers, towns literally lost in time, and a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman. And now it’s also a best-selling novel! Listen here.

Okay, this isn’t your typical serial killer cat-mouse thriller. In fact, it’s a bit of a comedy. However, it is really good, unique and has almost 5 stars on Audible. Pete Davidson and Keke Palmer bring to life Bynn Morris (Palmer), an aspiring artist desperate for a job to help her ailing grandmother. She takes a job at a 

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company with the motto “Do Bad Things for Good Reasons.” Joining forces with her awkward tech nerd of a co-worker (Davidson), she unexpectedly gets swept into a company-wide contest that forces her to question her morals. Listen here.

We love Joshua Jackson, and we love serial killer books. This was bound to hit our radar. Oracle is a psychological thriller following Nate Russo, an FBI psychic who helps solve abductions and homicides by touching those close to the missing persons. His unique gift comes with a terrible price: he sees the horrific 

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moments before the victims disappear. We especially love Oracle 2, where he tracks a serial killer…. Listen here.

Okay, this is also a book and a Netflix series, however, the audiobook goes into more detail (unabridged) than either of the other two, so we give it a nod for the listen over the watch or read (though why not listen and watch!). This is the only non-fiction work on the list, but for Criminal Minds junkies, this scratches that 

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itch well. It is a behind-the-scenes chronicle of John E. Douglas and his 25-year career in the FBI Investigative Support Unit, where he used psychological profiling to delve into the minds of the country’s most notorious serial killers and criminal. Listen here.

Nobody does it like Stephen King. Strawberry Spring has the build-up and twists you expect from the king of horror. Based on a short story, this scripted podcast is set in the 1960s on a college campus and follows  a group of students terrorized by a serial killer. This “modern-day Jack the Ripper” uses a weather 

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pattern with unusual fog (called a strawberry spring) to cover his tracks. All the elements of a great horror story and serial killer chase wrapped into a tight podcast. Listen here.

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