Do you want to write a true crime book? Here’s everything you need to know to make it happen, from “Picking the perfect case” to “Marketing and Publicity.” Learn how to interview witnesses and the best ways to organize your work into a compelling narrative.
Category Archives: James Renner
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.
Now Streaming – The Philosophy of Crime, Season 3!
The Philosophy of Crime, Season 3 begins today! I’ll be releasing two episodes a week for the next three weeks. Available on all platforms. Here is the schedule:
April 15: “Why do some crimes have a statute of limitations?”
April 16: “It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world. Or is it?”
April 22: “Is it still possible to disappear and start a new life?”
April 23: “Is reasonable doubt reasonable?”
April 29: “How to interview a witness… after they’re dead.”
April 30: “What really happened at Kent State?”
Two New Podcasts!
SHAKER HEIGHTS is a six-part true crime podcast miniseries, which places the listener beside police detectives as they investigate the 1990 unsolved murder of Lisa Pruett. Did the weird kid in school get away with murder or was he unwittingly set up by a group of teens?
PALINDROME was released on 02/11/20, which is a palindrome, just like Renner. So I helped write this very symmetrical story for the pi_rational podcast. Dark and twisty and a little sexy.
Come See Me in October!
October 15: Wadsworth Library Talk (Amy Mihaljevic) 7 p.m.
October 18-20: Creature Weekend 2019 (I’ll be talking about Ohio myths and monsters!), Salt Fork State Park Lodge. Link to the event.
October 23: Lorain Community College (true crime presentation) 6:30 pm. Link to more info.
October 24 Weymouth Country Club, Medina 11:30 (lunch and true crime presentation!) Link to the event.
October 26 Sherwood Forest Library, Detroit! (true crime) 3:30 p.m.
The Porchlight Project Begins!
This last year, I’ve been working hard to put together a new non-profit that can provide financial help and media attention to the families of the missing and murdered, focusing on cold cases in Ohio. I’m excited to announce that The Porchlight Project is here and our first case is the 1987 unsolved murder of Barbara Blatnik.
The board members of The Porchlight Project include former police chiefs, private investigators, journalists, lawyers, and podcasters. We’ll be working together to bring closure to a handful of cases this year. Please visit our website and consider a donation today.
And now a front-page article from the Beacon Journal!
The Tour Continues!
I’m taking my “Confessions of a True Crime Addict” comedy show to the Pacific Northwest and California this October! Get your tickets today, before they sell out!
Oct. 2 – Seattle – The Jewelbox Theater – Tickets here.
Oct. 6 – San Francisco – Cobb’s Comedy Club – Tickets here.
Oct. 7 – Sacramento – Punch Line – Tickets here.
Oct. 10 – San Diego – Comedy Palace – Tickets here.
Oct. 11 – Portland – Curious Comedy Theater – Tickets here.
MUSE is here!
My new, little novel MUSE is officially out via Cemetery Dance. The story is set in 1960s New England, and follows a private investigator hired by a teenage girl to steal a box from the estate of H.P. Lovecraft. Signed hardbacks are limited to 750 copies. You can order yours here.
If audiobooks are your thing, Tantor Media put together a fabulous one for MUSE. You can get it on Audible, today!
MUSE is now available on Kindle as well.
The Philosophy of Crime, Season Two is Here!
Do lie detectors really work? How do psychopaths convince other people to commit murder? What’s the deal with familial DNA? I explore these questions and more in Season Two of The Philosophy of Crime. All 6 episodes are now available everywhere you can find podcasts. Check it out!
Confessions of a True Crime Addict Tour!
2019 TOUR ANNOUNCED!
This June, I’ll be on the road in the eastern U.S. for my “Confessions of a True Crime Addict” tour. It’s a mix of stand up and scary tales about my adventures in true crime journalism. Get your tickets before they sell out!
Here are the links for venues by city:
Thursday, May 30, Music Box Concert Hall, Cleveland. Get tickets here.
Wednesday, June 5, Zanies, Nashville: Get tickets here.
Thursday, June 6, Birmingham, Alabama, Stardome: Get tickets here.
Saturday June 8, New Orleans, The New Movement: More info here.
Tuesday, June 11, Charlotte, The Evening Muse: Get tickets here.
Thursday, June 13, D.C. Improv: Get tickets here.
Friday, June 14, Brooklyn, EastVille Comedy Club: Get tickets here.
Pre-order MUSE Today!
My new novel, MUSE, comes out May 14 but you can pre-order a copy, today at this link! This story is limited to only 750 signed copies and Cemetery Dance has done a wonderful job with it.
Here’s a hint of what it’s about:The enclosed was transcribed from ten mini-cassette tapes that were recovered from the offices of Boston attorney William J. Latch following his disappearance on June 19, 2014.
These tapes are part of the evidentiary record in the civil case of Latch V. Weymouth Life & Casualty.
William J. Latch was declared dead by the State of Massachusetts in April 2015 after Magistrate Gavin FitzGerald reviewed these tapes, privately, in his chambers. Weymouth Life & Casualty was therein ordered to release Latch’s survivor’s benefits to his children.
Latch’s body has never been found.
His client, Michael Hadley, also remains missing.