Journalist. Palindrome. Writer.

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James Renner is an award-winning journalist, and author of True Crime Addict, the definitive book on the Maura Murray disappearance. He also hosts the podcast, The Philosophy of Crime. In 2019, he founded The Porchlight Project which raises money for new DNA testing and genetic genealogy for Ohio cold cases. In May, 2020, James Zastawnik was arrested for the murder of Barbara Blatnik, thanks to the work of genealogists funded by the Porchlight Project.

Little Liars Everywhere

Today I published a new piece of long-form journalism, a story about false confessions and serial murder. Hopefully, Shaker Heights police will reopen these old murders so we can finally know who killed Plain Dealer executive editor Philip Porter and his wife, Dorothy. It’s possible the killer was also involved in the murder of Lisa Pruett, five years later.

JAMES ARNOS WAS ONLY NINETEEN when he found his grandfather’s dead body. It was Sunday, May 19, 1985 and James’s mother, Joly, had become concerned that she had not heard from her mother in several days. So she sent her son, James, to check in. Her mother was Dorothy Porter, a renowned artist, who lived with her husband Philip Porter in a large house in Shaker Heights, on Lee Road near Shaker Boulevard. Philip was executive editor of the Plain Dealer in the 60s. The couple were practically Cleveland royalty.

Click here to read the full story

First two Larkey mysteries now available on Kindle Vella!

The first two Larkey mysteries are now available on Kindle Vella, Amazon’s new short-story service that works sort of like a subscription podcast, except it’s a story you read on your phone or favorite device. Here’s the teaser for the first book, Winter’s End:

Retired FBI Special Agent Phil Larkey used to investigate the Bureau’s toughest “locked room mysteries.” These days, he just wants to investigate a good book beside a warm fire. But when a young woman is crucified on the side of a barn on a remote Lake Erie island, Larkey knows he’s the only one who can track down her killer before the ice thaws.

FOLLOW THE LINK to check it out!

Reviews Are in for The Philosophy of Crime

Here’s what people are saying about the new season of The Philosophy of Crime:

Philosophy of Crime
Philosophy of Crime

For my fellow true crime fanatics thirsty for something more; a more introspective, varietal look at this phenomenon we call true crime, look no further. This is the podcast I didn’t know I needed. – Kristen32

People are polarized by Renner. I get it. Just listen. – SailorFamiLee

Initially, I was really intrigued by title of this podcast but was hesitant to listen to or subscribe after I discovered James Renner was at the helm. SO … here I am, years later, binge listening to one of the most well-thought-out and thoroughly researched podcasts I’ve ever listened to. – ssoozee

I could not stop listening once I started. It went from listening at work, to the car and kept going while making dinner. – G Lunn

The Mile Higher Podcast Interview

I’m the guest on this week’s episode of the Mile Higher Podcast. It was such a treat to get to meet Kendall, Josh, and Janelle in Denver and talk about developments in the Amy Mihaljevic case, Maura Murray, and little green men! Check it out!

Season 4 is Here!

Philosophy of Crime
Philosophy of Crime

New episodes of The Philosophy of Crime begin today! Available everywhere you get podcasts.

Here’s the full release schedule:

May 4: “Do Serial Killers Every Really Have Multiple Personalities?”

May 11: “What Are Grand Juries and Why Do They Need to Go?”

May 18: “Tried As An Adult, Still a Kid.”

May 25: “Should We Defund the Police?”

June 1: “Renner’s 2nd Law of True Crime Dynamics.”

June 8: “Killer Art, Or: How to Love Thriller While Still Hating Michael Jackson.”

The Porchlight Project Solves Another Case!

The Porchlight Project
James Renner in New London.

The Case of the Bones in the Barn has been solved at last, and the answer leads to even more mysteries. For our second case, The Porchlight Project assisted the New London, Ohio Police Department to determine the identify of the young woman whose bones were found wrapped up in newspaper in an old barn, there. I was personally interested because the barn was located just a few doors down from a suspect in the Amy Mihaljevic case.

The Porchlight Project funded DNA testing and genetic genealogy, which led investigators to conclude that the bones belonged to one Hallie Armstrong, an eighteen-year-old schoolteacher who died in 1881.

Read the full story here.

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