I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Melissa Rivers this month! We talk about The Porchlight Project, Maura Murray, and Amy Mihaljevic. Check it out here.
A year ago, I put together a new nonprofit to fund new investigations into some of Ohio’s coldest cases. I’m so thrilled to announce that there has been an arrest made in our first case – the 1987 unsolved murder of Barbara Blatnik. James Zastawnik was arrested for the girl’s murder on Wednesday. Here’s a report from the Beacon Journal and USAToday.
Donna Zanath, Blatnik’s sister, said Wednesday evening that she was in shock that an arrest had been made after all this time. She credited Project Porchlight, a local effort lead by Akron author James Renner that took on her sister’s case as its first attempt to generate renewed interest in a cold case. Project Porchlight raised $6,000 for DNA testing that helped with the Blatnik case. “Without James Renner, we wouldn’t be talking right now,” she said, choking back tears.Beacon Journal
Learn more about The Porchlight Project here. You can also donate via the website. Every little bit helps. Thank you!
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?”
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.
The Porchlight Project has it’s next case. We’re working with the New London police department and will pay for DNA testing of human bones found in an old barn, there. The remains are that of a young woman between the ages of 12 and 20, and could have been in the barn for over 30 years.
Please consider a donation to The Porchlight Project today! Every little bit helps and gets us closer to taking another cold case.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!