A father, a son, and a river at the edge of the land

My father-son memoir The Sourtoe Cocktail Club, about our Yukon odyssey to the literal edge of the Earth to find a cocktail containing a mummified human toe, was published in 2011. It is a deep—and often funny—contemplation about whether I was still relevant to my teenage son after a divorce. On Father’s Day, eleven years later, it seems appropriate to contemplate it again.

Read More…

Something novel

Unable to go out into the world during Covid, I turned inward. How could I use what I’ve learned in decades of true storytelling and journalism? How can I still write a provocative book without leaving the safety of my home and imagination? The answers changed the arc of my writing.

Read More…

Beware of fast, easy answers about Uvalde’s tragedy

WHY is a natural and human question. I’m not a psychologist, I’m a journalist who has spent a career exploring what some evil, disturbed humans can do to fellow humans. But while it might be natural and human to want to know, we must be patient.  Partly because it’s not always evil we’re seeing. We…

Read More…

Montana, Wyoming tour set for ‘ShadowMan’

In May, Ron will hit the road with “ShadowMan” on a book tour in Montana, the epicenter of the grim crimes recounted in this new bestseller. (There’ll be some stops in his native Wyoming, too!) Click here to see the tour overview and keep checking back because new events are still being added.  SEE INDIVIDUAL…

Read More…

You’ve Got Mail: A letter that changed everything

Satchell Paige, the great baseball pitcher and philosopher-from-left field, once said, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” I’ve never been sure what he meant. Do your best right now because somebody better is gonna catch up? Leave your past in the past and focus on the future? Or maybe he meant that…

Read More…

Pioneering criminal profiler Howard Teten (1932-2021)

Today, I received word of the passing of Howard Teten, the pioneering criminal profiler who plays a front-and center role in my upcoming true crime book, “ShadowMan: An Elusive Psycho Killer and the Birth of FBI Profiling.” His death was related to Covid complications. He was 88. Yes, he was a pioneer and pioneers always…

Read More…

How to recognize a toxic narcissist—and survive

According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic personality disorder — related to sociopathy under the umbrella term Antisocial Personality Disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of…

Read More…

Pain & memory: The birth of Angel Fire

“Pain is the price we pay for memory. It’s some kind of sin to forget what hurts, as much as it is to forget what makes you smile. Suffering has its meaning, and memory has its graces.” —from ANGEL FIRE, A Novel  A lifetime ago, back in 1983, I took work as an editor at…

Read More…

The Resurrection of Elmer McCurdy

Elmer McCurdy was a two-bit outlaw, a wannabe desperado who overshot the Wild West and landed in the 20th century. Nobody knew his name, and nobody in the Oklahoma Territory cared much. In 1911, Elmer was 31 years old, usually drunk, and flat broke when he decided to hold up a train. His booty: $46…

Read More…

Peace, love … and murder

How long did you think it would take me to find a good true-crime story in my new digs, the tiny village of Placitas in northern New Mexico? Yeah, well, I never bogart a good yarn. This’ll blow your mind. In the 1960s and ’70s, Placitas was a far-out satellite in the hippie universe, man.…

Read More…

Better Angels: No veteran should die alone

It was after 2am and the graveyard-shift nurses drifted like ghosts in the hallway, tending to the dead and dying. It wasn’t that Michael* couldn’t sleep, even with meds he refused to take. He fought sleep with every fiber of his fragile body. He had fought in a war he barely remembered. A crucifix hung…

Read More…

The entangled histories of 'In Cold Blood' and narrative journalism

Lecture: 9:30am to 11am on Feb. 20Book-signing immediately afterwardCasper College (WY) Humanities FestivalMusic Building’s Wheeler HallAdmission is free Ron Franscell, who has been called one of the exciting voices in narrative nonfiction by some heavyweight authors like Ann Rule and Vincent Bugliosi, will deliver a lecture about how his particular style of crime journalism has…

Read More…

The best true-crime books of all time? Maybe not

Last weekend, USA Today published a Goodreads list of the “Best True Crime Books of All Time.” There are some truly great books on the list, compiled from various Goodreads features like reviews, lists, and ratings from 90 million members. Ninety million readers can’t be wrong, can they? In this case, sort of. The meaty…

Read More…