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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We’ll always have mass murder

This essay was originally written just two days after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in 2012. Yesterday, the tragic Uvalde TX school shooting left 19 children and two teachers dead. It appears anew here now, with only minor updates because, well, nothing will ever change. —RF This is America, dammit, and we have a God-given…

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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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How many murder victims can you name? Go …

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.”…

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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…

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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…

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The Ladder Guy

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 family. I had already committed to hanging the Christmas lights before the weather turned bitterly cold—which is when I normally seemed to put up my Christmas lights. My…

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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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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…

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