James Renner is the author of two books of nonfiction that detail his adventures in investigative journalism: Amy: My Search for Her Killer and The Serial Killer's Apprentice. His work has been featured in Best American Crime Reporting and Best Creative Nonfiction. He lives in Ohio.
Author photo © Christopher Yohn
January 2013 Debut of the Month. This part crime novel, part sci-fi book is highly recommended - but it’s one where you really don’t want to know too much of the plot or a lot of the book is spoilt. It’s devious, dark, and audacious and definitely worth a read.
In West Akron, Ohio, there lived an elderly recluse who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family, and was known only 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 broken by his wife's inexplicable suicide. When an unexpected visit from an old friend introduces him to the strange mystery of "e;the man with a thousand mittens,"e; David decides to investigate. But the closer he gets to uncovering the man's true identity, the more he begins to understand the reality-altering power of his own obsessionsand how they may be connected to the deaths of the old hermit and David's beloved wife. Deviously plotted and full of dark wit, James Renner's The Man from Primrose Lane is an audacious page-turner unlike anything you've ever read.
When an eleven year old James Renner fell in love with Amy Mihaljevic, the missing girl seen on posters all over his neighbourhood, 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 wellbeing. 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' own equally complicated true crime addiction. James Renner's True Crime Addict is the story of his spellbinding investigation of the missing person's case of Maura Murray, which has taken on a life of its own for armchair sleuths across the web. In the spirit of David Fincher's Zodiac, it is a fascinating look at a case that has eluded authorities and one man's obsessive quest for the answers.
The history of Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill is interesting not only because the communities played a major role in the American Revolution but because of their cultural and educational institutions and residents whose culture and ethnicity have contributed to the well-being of the area. These communities have always been a haven for immigrants who have come here to live and work since the pre-Columbian era. Native Americans came to trade goods, Jewish refugees came during the 1930s to flee the tyranny of the Nazis, and since the end of World War II there has been an influx of the Latino community. The area is also noted for its dolomitic Inwood marble, which has been quarried for government buildings in New York City and some of the federal buildings in Washington, D.C. Through vintage images, Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill illustrates the transformation of this area over the decades.