MORGUE nominated for Edgar!

This morning, the Mystery Writers of America announced that MORGUE: A LIFE IN DEATH, by Dr. Vincent Di Maio and Ron Franscell, is among the nominees for its prestigious Edgar Awards as one of the five best true crimes of 2016. “It’s always a humbling moment when a life’s story is considered worthy of re-telling,” co-author…Read More…

Whistling in the graveyard

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” —William Faulkner So the would-be mass murderer at Ohio State University this week was apparently inspired by the hateful words of American-born cleric Anwar al Awlaki, al Qaeda’s most powerful recruiter before he was obliterated in a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011. A few years ago, I…Read More…

A season of slaughter is coming

Where I grew up, you learned the smell of rain coming, and could damn near tell the exact day, maybe the exact moment, the seasons changed. Well, a dark season lies ahead. In 2009, in the earliest, scariest days of the Great Recession and the uncertainty of a new presidential administration, I predicted an uptick…Read More…

There’s pain and love. Then there’s painful love.

Some stories are about love, and some are about pain. But painful love stories like the star-crossed romance between Annie Beatrice McQuiston and Claude “Cowboy” Henry started long before they met in a whorehouse on a humid night in Depression-era Texas. EXCERPT Joe Calloway died naked in a Louisiana rice field, trembling with terror and…Read More…

A dark night, long ago and far away

Every crime writer has heard this little heckling voice, usually from the cheap seats, but sometimes from inside his own head. It isn’t always loud, but it’s often piercing. Tragically, today is the 43rd anniversary of a monstrous crime against two of my childhood friends in the small town where we grew up: Two young sisters were abducted…Read More…

Vincent van Gogh: Suicide or homicide?

Among the historic, infamous, and heartbreaking deaths we explore in the brand-new book MORGUE: A LIFE IN DEATH (St. Martin’s Press) is the presumed suicide of the troubled genius Vincent van Gogh. Presumed. When van Gogh’s latest biographers, Pulitzer-winning authors Steven Naifeh and the late Gregory White Smith, were perplexed by the evidence, they eventually…Read More…

How many murder victims can you name?

Because you’re here right now, it’s safe to assume you’re fairly conversant in matters of mass- and serial-killing. You know your Mansons from your Bundys, right? Well, it’s Monday and you’ve got a tough week ahead, so here’s something fun—in a macabre sorta way—to distract you from your nasty, binge-watching obsession with “Making a Murderer.”…Read More…

Can you spot the killer?

      Winston Mosely murdered New York bartender Kitty Genovese in an infamous 1964 knife attack that raised questions about the role of bystanders in crime. When he died in prison this week at age 81, his old mug shot (far left in the lineup above) was splashed across the Internet and  we all thought simultaneously, “Yep,…Read More…

‘Lost’ pieces of ‘The Darkest Night’

Tomorrow, THE DARKEST NIGHT celebrates eight years since it was first published in paperback. Almost immediately it became a bestseller and readers continue to find it in great numbers today. It’s not because I am an extraordinary storyteller, but because this powerful story of two girls’ terror moves anyone who hears it to want to…Read More…

Digging up Lee Harvey Oswald

Here is an excerpt of my upcoming book MORGUE: A LIFE IN DEATH, which explores the most historic, infamous, and heartbreaking cases of renowned medical examiner Dr. Vincent Di Maio. In this “clear, gritty, and enthralling narrative,” Dr. Di Maio and I guide the reader into the inner sanctum, behind the morgue door, to tell his fascinating life story…Read More…

The Black Dahlia dissected again

Today, it’s been 69 years since Elizabeth Short’s grisly parts were discovered in a vacant Los Angeles subdivision, sliced cleanly in half and posed lasciviously. This obscure waitress suddenly became far more famous in death than the Black Dahlia (as we know her now) ever dreamed in her brief life. Breathing, she was just another pretty face. In chunks…Read More…

What would be your last meal?

Your last breath is only a few hours away. The governor isn’t going to call. People are gathering outside to cheer your death. The Death Row chaplain has run out of prayers. The clock is ticking like a time bomb. You have one final decision before your life is over: what will you eat for…Read More…

Voices in my head

Every crime writer has heard this little heckling voice, usually from the cheap seats, but sometimes from inside his own head. It isn’t always loud, but it’s often piercing. My 2008 true crime, The Darkest Night, enjoyed a revival on bestseller lists when its long-awaited digital edition was released last year. This intimate story of…Read More…

16 Pages of Shocking Photos! (Did you peek?)

WARNING: Some morgue and crime-scene photos appear in this essay. Funny story. Not long ago, I was telling a fascinating little yarn about the autopsy of a deranged killer whose body was riddled with more than 200 bullets after pursuing police cornered him at the end of one of modern America’s bloodiest massacres. Then my…Read More…

Crime buffs only!

If you’re into true crime and history, you’ll love Ron’s Crime Buff’s Guides! There’s no better way to explore the crime history of places like Texas, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Maryland than following your GPS to the scenes of a thousand crimes. Coming in 2016—Outlaw Los Angeles!Read More…

We’ll always have mass murder

This essay was written just two days after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in 2012. It appears anew here now, with only minor updates. —RF This is America, dammit, and we have a God-given right to fool ourselves. The bodies of dead children hadn’t even been cleared from the classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary before…Read More…

Morgue: A Life in Death

2017 EDGAR nominee! In paperback May 2017! Pre-order now Forensic science is booming. TV dramas, books and movies have made morgues cool. Complex technology and intricate research can take curdled blood, bone shards, and flakes of skin and turn them into justice. And Vincent Di Maio, MD, son of a famous New York City medical…Read More…

The Darkest Night

A modern true-crime classic! On a chilly autumn night in 1973, 11-year-old Amy Burridge eagerly rode with her 18-year-old sister, Becky, to a neighborhood grocery store in the small town of Casper, Wyoming. When they finished their shopping, they discovered a flat tire on Becky’s car. Two men politely offered them a ride home. But…Read More…

Evil at the Front Door

Part of the NYTimes bestselling Notorious USA series! Louisiana – famous for its Mardi Gras, spicy cuisine, and Dixieland jazz – is also the scene of some of the most notorious crimes in the country. Bestselling authors Ron Franscell and Rebecca Morris write about a sultry, Southern beauty who proved to be a deadly hitchhiker;…Read More…

Nightmare at Noon

Part of the NYTimes bestselling Notorious USA series! Everything is bigger in Texas—even murder. Two of America’s best crime writers, Ron Franscell and Gregg Olsen, team up to tell the stories of a serial killer who slaughtered more people than any other psychopath of his day … without ever being noticed; two of America’s most…Read More…

Southern Fried Crime

Boxed set of Notorious Texas, Louisiana & Mississippi! Evil lurks from the scorched earth of West Texas to the suffocating bayous of Mississippi … where darkness is deadly and screams go unheard. “Southern Fried Crime” comprises harrowing crime tales from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, all from the files of the New York Times-bestselling Notorious USA…Read More…

Outlaw Texas

Winner of 2010 EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD TrueCrimeBookReviews.com Texas rightfully claims a celebrated place in the “wildest” West of both myth and reality, but nobody has ever written a travel guide to the many sites related to the Lone Star State’s renowned outlaw past … until now! Whether you’re a day-tripper, a true-crime buff or a…Read More…

Outlaw Rockies

‘The best damn crime travel series ever published!” Just like the popular CRIME BUFF’S GUIDE TO OUTLAW TEXAS, this quirky and fascinating travel book literally takes you to the scene of the crime with photos, maps, histories and GPS coordinates! From the Wild  Bunch and Tom Horn to Columbine and Ted Bundy, OUTLAW ROCKIES promises…Read More…