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Showing posts by: James Renner click to see James Renner's profile
Thu
May 19 2016 11:00am

Q&A with James Renner, Author of True Crime Addict

Read this exclusive Q&A with James Renner, author of True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray, and then make sure you're signed in and comment for a chance to win a copy of the book!

James Renner, author of True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray, has been obsessed with missing people since he was a child. After learning about the disappearance of Maura Murray, he put his investigative journalism skills to task and began studying the case. He set up a blog to track his process and hoped to grow a community that could share his passion and help find out what happened on that day in 2004. After years of research, Renner has written a book about his search for Maura Murray.

Well, we had some questions of our own! James was nice enough to sit down with CrimeHQ and provide some great answers about the book, society's current obsession with true crime, and a few lighter questions about his personal life.

[See what James has to say in this exclusive Q&A!]

Thu
May 19 2016 9:00am
Excerpt

True Crime Addict: New Excerpt

James Renner

True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray by James RennerJames Renner's True Crime Addict is the story of his spellbinding investigation of the missing person's case of Maura Murray (availableMay 24, 2015).

When an eleven year old James Renner fell in love with Amy Mihaljevic, the missing girl seen on posters all over his neighborhood, it was the beginning of a lifelong obsession with true crime. That obsession leads James to a successful career as an investigative journalist. It also gave him PTSD. In 2011, James began researching the strange disappearance of Maura Murray, a UMass student who went missing after wrecking her car in rural New Hampshire in 2004. Over the course of his investigation, he uncovers numerous important and shocking new clues about what may have happened to Maura, but also finds himself in increasingly dangerous situations with little regard for his own well-being. As his quest to find Maura deepens, the case starts taking a toll on his personal life, which begins to spiral out of control. The result is an absorbing dual investigation of the complicated story of the All-American girl who went missing and James's own equally complicated true crime addiction.

ONE

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The day my lawsuit against my former newspaper was settled, I drove out to the Lodge, the nudie bar on State Route 14. This was in 2009. For the last six years I had worked as a reporter. Not the sort of reporter you see in movies. I wasn’t a beat reporter for some important daily paper. I wrote for the alt-weeklies, those free papers you find in bars and record stores and comic shops. There were two in Northeast Ohio, The Free Times and Cleveland Scene, before they merged in 2008. When I started out, a feature story paid $2,500. When I was fired six years later, the same story paid $300. Desperate times for a gonzo journalist.

[Read the full excerpt of True Crime Addict...]

Thu
Apr 21 2016 2:15pm
Excerpt

True Crime Addict: Audio Excerpt

James Renner

Investigative journalist James Renner has been investigating Maura Murray’s disappearance since 2011. Renner set up the blog My Search for Maura Murray to share his thoughts and findings with the public, in hopes that others like him would take interest in the case or someone connected to Maura might reach out to provide newinformation on what actually happened.

When 11-year-old James Renner fell in love with Amy Mihaljevic, the missing girl seen on posters all over his neighborhood, it was the beginning of a lifelong obsession with true crime. That obsession led James to a successful career as an investigative journalist. It also gave him PTSD. 

In 2011 James began researching the strange disappearance of Maura Murray, a UMass student who went missing after wrecking her car in rural New Hampshire in 2004. Over the course of his investigation, he uncovered numerous important and shocking new clues about what may have happened to Maura but also found himself in increasingly dangerous situations with little regard for his own well-being.

As his quest to find Maura deepened, the case started taking a toll on his personal life, which began to spiral out of control. The result is an absorbing dual investigation of the complicated story of the All-American girl who went missing and James' own equally complicated true crime addiction. 

[Listen to an audio excerpt of True Crime Addict now!]

Fri
Feb 17 2012 12:00pm
Excerpt

The Man from Primrose Lane: New Excerpt

James Renner

The Man from Primrose LaneAvailable March, 2012-

In West Akron, Ohio, there lived a reclusive elderly man who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family; all over town, he was known as the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day, someone murdered him.

Fast-forward four years. David Neff, the bestselling author of a true-crime book about an Ohio serial killer, is a broken man after his wife’s inexplicable suicide. When an unexpected visit from an old friend introduces him to the strange mystery of “the man with a thousand mittens,” David decides to investigate. What he finds draws him back into a world he thought he had left behind forever. And the closer David gets to uncovering the true identity of the Man from Primrose Lane, the more he begins to understand the dangerous power of his own obsessions and how they may be connected to the deaths of both the old hermit and his beloved wife.

Prologue

He was mostly known as the Man from Primrose Lane, though sometimes people called him hermit, recluse, or weirdo when they gossiped about him at neighborhood block parties. To Patrolman Tom Sackett, he had always been the Man with a Thousand Mittens.

Sackett called him the Man with a Thousand Mittens because the old hermit always wore woolen mittens, even in the middle of July. He doubted most people had noticed that the old man wore different woolen mittens every time he stepped out of his ramshackle house. Most people who lived in West Akron averted their eyes when they saw him or crossed the street to avoid walking by him. He was odd. And sometimes odd was dangerous. But Sackett, who had grown up just a few houses north of Primrose Lane, had always been intrigued. In a binder somewhere in his basement, alongside boxes of baseball cards and his abandoned coin collection, was a detailed list of each mitten he’d seen the old man wear—black mittens, tan mittens, blue mittens with white piping, white mittens with blue piping, and, once, in the middle of some long-ago May, Christmas mittens with candy canes and reindeer.

On the short drive from the station to the little red house on Primrose Lane, it occurred to Sackett that he had not seen the Man with a Thousand Mittens since the day he had graduated from high school, twelve years ago. He recalled the old man shuffling down Merriman in front of his home, as his mother snapped pictures of his little brother, who had stolen his cap and gown and had stumbled around the lawn buried in maroon and gold rayon. He remembered how excited he had been a few days later, when the strange old man had appeared in a couple of those photos: blurry and distant, but there. As far as he knew, they were the only pictures of the man that existed.

Sackett turned onto Primrose Lane, which was really nothing more than a long driveway, as the Man with a Thousand Mittens was the only person who actually lived on this no-outlet side street. Sitting in the shade of the leaning porch was the young man who had dialed 911. Billy Beachum. He was the only direct contact the old man maintained with the outside world.

[Read the full excerpt of the prologue and chapters 1-2 of The Man from Primrose Lane by James Renner]

Fri
Feb 10 2012 9:30am

The Girl with the Sideways Ponytail: Searching for Answers in Cleveland’s Coldest Case

AmyWhen I was in the sixth grade, a girl was abducted not far from where my mother lived. Her body was later found lying facedown in a wheat field. That event became the demarcation line between my childhood and an early adolescence. From the day she was snatched away, I began searching the world for her killer.

Amy Mihaljevic was approaching her eleventh birthday in the fall of 1989. She was a precocious girl. The kind who naturally migrated toward the adults in the crowd. A pretty girl with old soul eyes and blond hair she sometimes wore in a sideways ponytail. That fall was especially tough for Amy and her mom. They were arguing a lot, the way moms and daughters will do as the child begins to mature faster than either would like. When the killer called Amy at home after school, he got lucky with his pickup line. He said he worked with her mother and asked Amy if she would like to go with him to pick out a present to celebrate her mom’s recent promotion.

[A cruel ruse...]