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True Stories of Law & Order: SVU: The Real Crimes Behind the Best Episodes of the Hit TV Show

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  326 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
The real-life cases behind TV's hit crime drama-including photos!

The crimes, the suspects, the trials-as they really went down.

True Stories of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit focuses on twenty-five of the scandalous true crimes that real detectives have grappled with- the facts behind the fictionalized stories on the phenomenally popular TV show. Beyond the actual c
Paperback, 260 pages
Published November 6th 2007 by Berkley (first published November 1st 2007)
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Rebecca McNutt
Aug 17, 2016 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing
Law & Order is one of the longest running television programs out there, a crime drama show that goes above and beyond most in the genre, branching off into "SVU" and "Criminal Intent" - it's also based on hard solid facts and some of North America's most shocking cases. This book holds some of those true cases and how they were solved.
BAM The Bibliomaniac
No new real crimes reported here. In fact, I thought of one or two true life cases that may have sparked a stronger inspiration than the one stated. Interesting read for a fan of the show that is not heavy into true crime fandom
Jan 26, 2016 Melissa rated it liked it
This is a book of true crime stories that supposedly inspired episodes of Law & Order: SVU. The majority of are famous crimes that we already know about or at least heard about.
My problem with this book is that some of the episode plots are broad and could have come from multiple cases. I guess it is understandable that they chose the most famous headlines the authors do not tell you how they know for sure it is the case the episode is based on. There are a few that after reading the plot a
Anita Dalton
You know, I read this because I got a cheap copy. I don't watch much TV but I can never read about true crime, so why not take a chance. This book was surprisingly entertaining, and the writers can write some mean true crime. It takes no small amount of skill to make a book transcend the gimmick behind it but these two managed. Moreover, you have to be pretty good at what you do to make true crime entertaining without making it exploitative. Both managed it. I went and checked both authors out i ...more
Eva Leger
Feb 05, 2009 Eva Leger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love all these books! Both of the authors are amazing and I'm so happy they took this on and gave us these books. I'm not even the biggest Law & Order fan but I am a true crime reader (sometimes, that is) and seeing the real cases behind the shows is way cool.
This has some cases that everyone has heard of, the Bernardo and Homolka story, Albert DeSalvo, etc. and others that are more quite and weren't made well known. I definitely recommend this to any fan of the show or any tru
Jul 04, 2010 Nancy rated it liked it
I ordered this from PaperBackSwap's marketplace recently because I used to be slightly ridiculous in my watching of SVU and I am a huge fan of true crime reads. Episodes from SVU are referenced at the start of each chapter followed by a description of the case that inspired the episode. While an interesting read, I would have preferred fewer episodes so as there could be more details. Also, there were references to things that sounded super interesting with notes like "because of space limitatio ...more
Nov 26, 2014 Sara rated it it was ok
This book is excellent if you want to be completely paranoid about every single neighbor, stranger, or loved one you encounter. The sheer amount of human depravity recorded in True Stories of Law & Order: SVU is disturbing. I was especially haunted by the account of the BTK killer. The writing style is unsophisticated and easy to read, but strays into the poorly written territory, particularly in the chapter regarding the Smart case. Not overly graphic, but detailed enough to linger in the m ...more
May 01, 2014 Whitney rated it liked it
provides good info. very succint. the writing was lacking but also understandable due to the content
Feb 08, 2017 Katie rated it liked it
Always interesting to see the 'ripped-from-the-headlines' stories that writers of the show use for inspiration, but while I enjoyed the book, it only piqued my interest without going into enough detail to satiate my curiosity. Some of the stories, while interesting, seemed only tangentially related to the show. The authors also included a lot of subjective opinion - I enjoyed this, because they had a very common sense approach to things that I tend to agree with, but it might annoy others who do ...more
Chrystal Hogan Hood
Dec 02, 2016 Chrystal Hogan Hood rated it did not like it
Shelves: checked-out
this book was too dark for me. I love the show, but the true crimes was horrific.
Nicole Couillard
Nov 30, 2015 Nicole Couillard rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I have seen every episode of the series about a million times. I knew that each episode has some truth to it, but reading the actual stories about the base of each was really cool. Some of the actual stories are very deranged and horrifying. When I was reading the stories, I remembered some of the episodes and what happened on the episode and how close it was to the actual story. I have been a fan of the show for a while, and I knew that they had to alter the stories ...more
Diane Schneider
Jan 05, 2015 Diane Schneider rated it liked it
The book is as advertised: the true stories that episode of Law & Order SVU are based on. I already read a lot of true crime, so some of the material I already knew, but all in all, it's a good true crime anthology. The authors mention in an introduction that sometimes the writers of the show took liberties and in some cases, used only pieces of the actual crime to color their plots. In addition to the sentence-long summary of the episode in question, it would have been helpful if the author ...more
Aug 15, 2014 Diana rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, crime
Law & Order is famous for their "ripped from the headlines" stories, and this book details some of the most notorious cases used.

This book definitely assumes you are familiar with the show, as the storylines are only briefly summarized in one sentence. But the cases themselves are usually well written and informative.
T.M. Carper
Aug 05, 2011 T.M. Carper rated it really liked it
Good true crime stories. There's some infamous cases and some other less well-known cases, including one that I learned about in my criminalistics class (Chapter 12's case, actually). It is mainly about the real-life cases, not the TV version of the cases, but it does say what episodes the cases link to.
Jun 27, 2008 Meredith rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 02, 2015 Chelsea rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
I picked this book up because I'm a big Law and Order: SVU fan and an even bigger fan of true crime stories. It's a quick, interesting read and a good introduction to true crime writing - there are no gory details or complicated legal jargon to slough through. All in all, I enjoyed it and will most likely look into a few of the cases more thoroughly.
Jan 27, 2010 Lauren rated it liked it
I picked up this book for about 4 dollars at Border's, as L&O:SVU is one of my favorite shows. It's a very unique book, taking some of the show's biggest cases, and revealing the real life events they were based on. Chilling, eerie, and at times downright scary, this book provided a dose of real to my book shelf. Very detailed, well researched.
I don't think I've ever actually seen this show, but I enjoyed reading about the real cases that its writers used as the basis of different episodes. (The book is unauthorized and not affiliated with the show.)
Cameron Roth
Jan 15, 2016 Cameron Roth rated it it was amazing
This is my all time favorite show, and I have to admit that it is my all time favorite book as well. I can not count how many times I have read this book. Best present I have ever received. A must read for sure. If you like the show, you will not want to put down this book.
Brianna Jones
Feb 07, 2009 Brianna Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-books
Of all the true crime I have ever read this was one of the hardest. The stories are twisted and gruesome but for some reason it is compelling to read. It is written really well and tells the stories of about 25 cases that were used to give the writers ideas for the show.
Sheena  at Hot Eats and Cool Reads
This book was interesting and I liked that they are short stories so you can read them here and there.
Aug 14, 2011 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reads like something someone cobbled together to make a buck from the popularity of the Law & Order franchise.
Lucie Hayward
I'm a huge Law & Order: SVU fan and thought this book would be interesting reading. Not so much. It wasn't very well written, nor was it as detailed as I'd have hoped.
Arlene Allen
A total reminder why I do not read true crime. I don't know what I was thinking. I read maybe half the book and couldn't sleep.
Katelynn Nutt
I think this book is eye opening, when you read this book it make you think twice about many things...
Mar 02, 2012 Bethany rated it it was ok
Shelves: true-crime
Not to read before bed. It was good, but probably better to read as you saw the episodes because I didn't recall most of the episodes so it was just a collection of random crime stories for me.
Jul 05, 2011 Mark rated it liked it
Good summary of chosen cases that were "ripped from the headlines" or at least inspired later Law and Order SVU episodes.
Venus Glancy
Dec 23, 2010 Venus Glancy rated it really liked it
So far,I think that it is a good book,and am enjoying it.I have read this book,and it is a good read.
I don't usually read true crime books, but SVU is one of my favorite shows. This book was a fast read and did not have graphic details of the crimes.
Mar 08, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing
I love Law and this was a great read for me!
It told the true stories behind the episodes...where the writers got thier ideas.
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