Which is harder to write … true crime or crime fiction?

My true crimes like SHADOWMAN and THE DARKEST NIGHT are the product of old-school research and investigation. I’m an old-fashioned reporter who believes in first-hand, up-close sensory experiences that tell me everything I want to tell a reader. I can only get that from having my boots on the ground in the places where it […]

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I’m gonna miss you, Elsie Mae

I never met Elsie Mae but I wish I had. I don’t know too much more than last week’s obituary tells me: She taught grade school for most of her life, led Sunday school, and played the church organ at the First Presbyterian Church in Ottumwa, Iowa. She had 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She […]

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Hollywood veteran Jim Meskimen breathes life into DEAF ROW

When you read a printed book, you might imagine the different characters’ motivation, feelings, and emotions. You might even envision funny little mannerisms. But when you listen to an audiobook, good narrators add something else: Their voices. It ain’t easy. The narrator’s job is to entice you into the story but also to re-create every […]

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New book trailer for DEAF ROW!

Get a taste of the new thriller that suspense superstars Anne Hillerman, CJ Box, and John Lescroart are raving about! Then go pre-order DEAF ROW at your favorite bookstore and get it in your mailbox, e-reader, or audio player on February 14! AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER HERE* WIND CITY BOOKS AMAZON print AMAZON audio KINDLE BARNES […]

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Miracle on County Road 34

The end of the year always inspires me to put things in order.  Last night, I was rearranging the scattered piles of books and papers in my office when I came across a rather ratty Christmas card from an old friend, a country acquaintance up north from back in another life. I thought I’d share […]

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The Ladder Guy

My father six months ago, so this blog has a special sentimental value to me this year. I hope you think about your dad when you read this. A long time ago, when my kids were very young, my parents visited for an early December weekend, a rare occasion since I’d moved north with my […]

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5 Yuletide Crimes: Death doesn’t take a holiday

The song says it’s the most wonderful time of the year—but it has historically been a lot less wonderful for some. Crime doesn’t take a holiday. In fact, evil celebrates those the days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, too. You already know that burglars, muggers, identity thieves, and carjackers run rampant during the holidays, […]

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In defense of Ebenezer Scrooge

I originally wrote this essay as a newspaper column in 1995. It appears here today with a few minor but festive updates because, well, Scrooge is timeless. No businessman in the history of literature has been as misunderstood as Ebenezer Scrooge. His very name is now a synonym for pinch-fisted churlishness and humbuggery. Why? Certainly […]

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We’ll always have mass murder

This essay was originally written just two days after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in 2012. This weekend’s tragic shooting in Colorado Springs CO and yesterday’s workplace violence in Chesapeake VA make me want to re-run it, as I have several times when such senseless events happen. It appears anew here now, with only minor […]

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‘Chilling’ new DEAF ROW cover unveiled!

A great book cover elicits an emotional response. And if it’s done well, a reader will feel the same while reading the book. In the case of the new cover art for DEAF ROW—my first crime fiction in more than 20 years, coming next February from WildBlue Press—artist Tatiana Vila was aiming for menace … […]

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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.

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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.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Everything I need to know, I learned in Little League

Essayist Robert Fulghum once surmised that everything he ever needed to know he learned in kindergarten, but I was a slow learner. Maybe Little League was just the beginning of my higher education, but everything else I ever needed to know I learned in the sandlot on endless summer days that simmered into night games […]

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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 […]

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