Discover RRPL’s Shared Shelf. Each week a staff member will share a glimpse into their reading shelf in hopes that you will discover that next great read.
True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray by James Renner
Investigative journalist James Renner was just eleven in 1989 when ten-year-old Amy Mihaljevic disappeared from Bay Village, Ohio. This disappearance marked the beginning of his interest and obsession with true crime. For many suburban Northeast Ohio children and teens this case was their first introduction to crime and the impact on their lives was immediate. How could something like this happen in broad daylight in a small, white, suburb? This desire for answers led Renner to a career in journalism.
Fast forward to 2011. James begins investigating the mysterious 2004 disappearance of Maura Murray, a University of Massachusetts student who vanished following a car wreck in rural New Hampshire. Maura was an athlete, a former West Point cadet, and a nursing student at UMass. On February 9 she emailed professors letting them know she would be absent for a week due to a death in the family. Later that night she was involved in a single car accident hundreds of miles away. By the time help arrived Maura was gone.
What happened to Maura Murray? The question remains unanswered today.
This case fascinated Renner and dragged him down a rabbit hole of research that took a toll on him personally. True Crime Addict is part investigative journalism, part confessions of a true crime addict.
If this case interests you, join me and Sherry next Wednesday, September 9 for a Zoom discussion.
Register here to and you will be emailed the link: http://rrpl.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?EventId=26155&backTo=Calendar&startDate=2020/09/02
It’s been a while since I wrote a pandemic post and since I am tried of writing book reviews I thought I’d muse on the strangeness of the times again. I don’t need to tell any of you that things have changed. Our lives are so different today and I have to say, it’s not all bad. Social distancing has forced us at the library to reimagine how we offer programs to our patrons. It’s been challenging and at times uncomfortable, but reframe that discomfort as part of the growth process, you are now talking about professional development! I have picked up some new skills and gotten to think outside the box a lot over these past months. Here are a few things I am especially proud of:
Pre-Covid we had an in person cooking club, but I figured out how to make that a no-contact program. Cooking kits! Each kit included all the ingredients, a recipe, and instructions on how to properly use a knife to cut the onion and pepper. I am currently brainstorming a fall cooking kit. Any suggestions?
Pre-Covid my colleague and I had a True Crime Book Discussion Group. Early on offered to have a Zoom meeting with our regular attendees. They were not keen on the idea, but we were so excited about our book that we decided to talk about it ourselves! Interested in our discussion of Israel Keyes? Here’s the video! https://youtu.be/rXxloWLfKHA
We also created a new Facebook Group. It’s been a lot of fun interacting with patrons in this way. Feel free to join us! https://www.facebook.com/groups/riverinos/about/
Finally, the project that took the most time to complete and required me to learn new skills is my virtual escape room. I had planned to offer an in-person, after-hours escape room for our teens this summer. Instead, I had to make it all online. If you are up for a challenge, please give it a try. You can find it on the teen page of our website.
What new skills have you acquired during this pandemic?
There are tons of new releases that come to our shelves every week. Here are some books we picked out for you!
Deadlock by Catherine Coulter – Targeted by a vengeful psychopath who would destroy his family, Savich receives three mysterious boxes containing clues leading to an unfamiliar community and a young wife who must confront a decades-old secret.
Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Evolution by Brian Freeman – Going rogue to investigate suspicions that the agency that trained him is responsible for his lover’s murder, Jason Bourne teams up with journalist Abbey Laurent to identify who set him up for the assassination of a congresswoman.
1st Case by James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts – Recruited into the FBI when her unorthodox programming skills get her kicked out of MIT, a computer genius tracks a killer who has been targeted young women through a sophisticated messaging app.
His & Hers by Alice Feeney – Sacrificing everything for her hard-won BBC presenter career, Anna teams up with DCI Jack Harper to investigate a childhood friend’s murder in her sleepy hometown village. By the author of I Know Who You Are.
Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey – The former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Native Guard shares a chillingly personal memoir about the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather.
Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings. Ed by Ellen Datlow – A debut novella by an award-winning writer and fantasy illustrator finds a reserved young woman from a Western Queensland town receiving a mysterious note from a long-missing brother that raises supernatural questions about other family disappearances.
Relentless by R. A. Salvatore – A conclusion to the best-selling trilogy finds Zaknafien and his mercenary friend, Jarlaxle, enduring the most difficult challenges of their lives to secure the fate of Gauntlgym, before unexpected circumstances compel an uncontrollable battle against life itself.
The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay – In a U.S. release of a contemporary classic from Bangladesh, a woman marries into a traditional, once-powerful family before encountering the ghost of a vengeful child bride who would hide a dynasty-saving fortune.
The Butterfly Lampshade by Aimee Bender – Unable to explain bizarre phenomena that accompanied the most formative events of her youth, Francie reflects on how the perceptions of childhood can take on near-magical qualities that sometimes carry over into an adult world that fluctuates between realities.
Crossings by Alex Landragin – A debut in three parts designed to be read straight through or in alternating chapters finds a Jewish-German bookbinder in occupied Paris discovering links between poet Charles Baudelaire, a Walter Benjamin-like exile and a seven-generation woman monarch.
Afterland by Lauren Beukes – Fleeing west to find a safe haven in a world vastly transformed by a pandemic that has killed nearly all men, a mother disguises her son as a girl to escape dangerous adversaries, including her own sister.
When She Was Good by Michael Robotham – A sequel to Good Girl, Bad Girl finds criminal psychologist Cyrus Haven uncovering answers about Evie Cormac’s dark past that force the latter to flee and question whether or not her secrets should remain hidden.
Geometry of Holding Hands by Alexander McCall Smith – Investigating local rumors about mysterious occurrences taking place throughout Edinburgh, a skeptical Isabel finds the limits of her good sense and ethics tested by the demands of her family, including her tempestuous niece’s latest romantic entanglement.
Playing Nice by J. P. Delaney – Informed by a stranger that his son was switched at birth with another baby, Pete struggles to adjust to the needs of two families before an investigation unearths disturbing questions about the hospital and the night the exchange occurred.
The End of Her by Shari Lapena – When a woman from her husband’s past shows up and raises questions about the death of his first wife, Stephanie remains loyal to her husband until a newly opened police investigation starts eroding her trust and her marriage.
The Ultimate Betrayal by Kat Martin – When her father is implicated in the theft of millions in chemical weapons from a government depot, an investigative journalist risks her life to prove her father’s innocence and expose the true culprits.
Hell in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls by Jax Miller – The award-winning author of Freedom’s Child describes how her investigation into the 1999 unsolved disappearance of two teens from rural Oklahoma unearthed shocking links to police corruption, regional meth addiction and an ominous pattern of murders.
To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America into Iraq by Robert Draper – The author of the best-selling Dead Certain examines the flawed decision-making process that went into the invasion of Iraq, citing the role of post-9/11 fear, intelligence failures and leader ideologies in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
Deal With the Devil by Kit Rocha – This is the first book in a near-future science fiction series with elements of romance. Orphan Black meets the post-apocalyptic Avengers by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author duo Kit Rocha.
You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success by Al Roker – The Today Show coanchor Al Roker presents an entertaining guide to achieving a life of happiness and success through the power of “yes!”. Packed to the brim with cackle inducing and cringe-worthy behind-the-scenes insights and observations from over four decades in the media, this book reminds us all that long-term success in our personal lives and our careers is just within reach.
I have been spending a lot of time lately adding content to the library’s new true crime book discussion Facebook group page. We are the Riverinos and we’d love to have you in the group. If you are looking for more book, podcast, and tv reviews please join us.
Here’s a little taste of what you’ll find in the group:
Good Kids, Bad City: A Story of Race and Wrongful Conviction in America by Kyle SwensonOn May 19, 1975, Harry Franks, a white salesman, was robbed, assaulted, and murdered in broad daylight in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. Three black youth were sentenced and spent a combined 106 years in prison for the crime. The murderer was never caught. The entirety of the prosecution’s case against Wiley Bridgeman, Kwame Ajamu, and Ricky Jackson was based on the eye-witness testimony of 12-year old Ed Vernon. Nearly 40 years later Vernon recanted his story, revealing that the police used fear and coercion to convince him to tell the story they wanted him to tell.In Good Kids, Bad City, journalist Kyle Swenson weaves the personal stories of the young men who were sentenced to grow up in prison with the corruption and injustice that plagued the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland police department. Swenson’s narrative is a scathing indictment of systematic discrimination that continues to this day.
We have some new releases picked out for you to dive in for the following week. There is more adventure, detective, romance, suspense and true crime for you to enjoy!
Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis – The co-creator of the It’s Lit! web series presents the alternate-history tale of a woman who becomes an interpreter for an unknown being when her estranged whistle-blower father launches a media frenzy about a first-contact cover-up.
Quantum Shadows by L. E. Modesitt – On a world called Heaven, Conwyn, known as the Shadow of the Raven, contains the collective memory of humanity’s Falls from Grace and discovers that another Fall may happen and if he doesn’t stop it, mankind will not survive.
The Sin in the Steel by Ryan Van Loan – In a debut fantasy set in a world of dead gods, pirates and shapeshifting mages, a brilliant former street youth-turned-detective and her ex-soldier partner investigate the activities of a pirate queen to expose societal corruption.
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson – Observing a life of strict submission to minimize discrimination for her mixed heritage, Immanuelle discovers dark truths about her community’s church and her late mother’s secret relationship with the spirits of four witches.
Near Dark by Brad Thor – A latest entry in the best-selling series that includes such award-winners as Backlash, Spymaster and The Last Patriot continues the high-suspense adventures of elite military operative and intelligence agent, Scot Harvath.
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue – A novel set in 1918 Dublin offers a three-day look at a maternity ward during the height of the Great Flu pandemic. By the best-selling author of Room.
The Answer Is: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek – Longtime Jeopardy! host and television icon Alex Trebek reflects on his life and career.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell – The award-winning author of I Am, I Am, I Am presents the evocative story of a young Shakespeare’s marriage to a talented herbalist before the ravaging death of their 11-year-old son shapes the production of his greatest play.
The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsession with the Unexplained by Colin Dickey – The co-editor of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology and author of Ghostland examines the world’s most persistent unexplained phenomena, from Atlantis and alien encounters to Flat Earth and the Loch Ness monster, to explore their origins and historical endurance.
The Daughters of Foxcote Manor by Eve Chase – Moving to 1970 Foxcote Manor when their London home burns down, a woman and her children take in an abandoned baby girl who is forced to investigate a murder and her own origin story 40 years later.
Decoding Your Cat: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Cat Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones – American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. Ed by Meghan E. Herron, Debra F. Horwitz & Carlo Siracusa – Providing in-depth coverage of the underlying reasons for problematic feline behavior, a guide to promoting a cat’s physical and psychological health shares science-based anecdotes to explain how cats relate to the world and their environment.
Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel – Envied for her close relationship with a famous music artist and Julliard classmate, a successful chamber group founder finds her summer plans riotously upended by sudden family upheavals, including her elderly father’s marriage.
Perfect Father, The: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder by John Glatt – Documents the August 2018 murders of Shanaan Watts and her young daughters, describing how viewers watched her husband’s televised plea for help less than 24 hours before he confessed to killing his family.
Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act by Nicholson Baker – The National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of The Mezzanine presents a deeply researched assessment of the Freedom of Information Act that reveals how deliberate obstructions, from extensive wait times to copious redactions, conceal government corruption and human-rights violations.
The Vanishing Sky by L. Annette Binder – A mother in a rural 1945 German community protects her traumatized soldier son from her husband’s escalating nationalism, while her younger son flees the Hitler Youth to embark on a perilous journey home.
She Proclaims: Our Declaration of Independence from a Man’s World by Jennifer Palmieri – An empowering guide to feminism by the best-selling author of Dear Madam President outlines a blueprint for activism while sharing lessons from her personal choice to live on her own terms instead of embracing toxic patriarchal norms.
Drone Strike by Nicholas Irving & A. J. Tata – Nicholas Irving’s Reaper: Drone Strike is the next book in the explosive thriller series by the former special operations sniper and New York Times bestselling author of The Reaper.
Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric by Thomas Gryta & Ted Mann – How could General Electric perhaps Americas most iconic corporation suffer such a swift and sudden fall from grace? This is the definitive history of General Electrics epic decline, as told by the two Wall Street Journal reporters who covered its fall.
How Lulu Lost Her Mind by Rachel Gibson – From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson comes the story of a mother-daughter journey to rediscover the past before it disappears forever. Heartrending at times and laugh-out-loud funny at others, How Lulu Lost Her Mind is the book for everyone and their mother.
Paris is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay – One of Popsugars Best New Books for Summer 2020. A thirty-year-old woman retraces her gap year through Ireland, France, and Italy to find love&;and herself&;in this hilarious and heartfelt novel. From the start of her journey nothing goes as planned, but as Chelsea reconnects with her old self, she also finds love int he very last place she expected.
I love true crime. I listen to a dozen true crime podcast. I read true crime books. I watch true crime documentaries and tv shows. And that’s just on my own time. At work my fellow Murderino (that’s what fans of the hit podcast My Favorite Murder call ourselves) and I started a true crime book club. The Riverinos Discussion Group was formed and while I am biased, but I think it was hit. Due to Covid-19 we are currently on hiatus with our in person meeting, but I can’t be stopped! So, my first exciting bit of news is that I can created a new Facebook group for our Riverinos. We are still working on adding content, but you can join the group here.
Here is a little taste of what you’ll find in the group:
Riverinos won’t be having a July meeting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the subject here in our group. Maureen Callahan’s book, American Predator is an in-depth report of Israel Keyes and his alleged crimes. Want more? Riverinos hosts Sherry and Megan loves podcasts! Here are Sherry’s recommendations for podcast episodes that cover Israel Keyes:
Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad
June 10th, 2019
Israel Keyes: https://open.spotify.com/episode/7I0fyBfPrFLMdv8UkNdSsv?si=9APevInzSPSFPB3Sd2a2-w
Morbid: A True Crime Podcast
- Episode 62: Israel Keys Part 1 https://open.spotify.com/episode/2i5n51WlmJIEJR9ph4Sdnr?si=Xuswu5EXQJe47mFkSL4Glw
- Episode 63: Israel Keys Part 2 https://open.spotify.com/episode/0NpYKe6zq8b9TkMWAVydj7?si=DP9-tA7mQGGyMp9OYJJcvA
Missing: Maura Murray
March 8th, 2018
Episode 72: Israel Keys Profile
My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
Episode #46 Skippers Unite!
True Crime Bullsh**: A Serial Obsession
Episodes 1 (12/6/18) through Episode 0215 (12/21/19)
https://www.our-americana.com/tcb?fbclid=IwAR2fpRGQI_ooJs1x81zmoOrKx7j1JgVYPrVqcjnyrelG0pYi0MTiNSyeUmEEpisode #0211 Keyes & Cars (11/7/19) discusses Keyes’s strange history with cars and missing people, including two infamous disappearances that happened within Keyes’s hotspots, and a re-examination of one of his murders.
Now, stick with me here. I mention Israel Keyes as a segue to the disappearance of Maura Murray, which is written about in True Crime Addict by James Renner. It’s been suggested that Israel Keyes could be connected to Maura Murray. If you aren’t familiar with her story I recommend reading Renner’s book. The book is great and the case is bonkers!
And, finally, speaking of James Renner, I was so excited to learn about his new project-he next book with be about the murder of Lisa Pruett. Lisa was a 16-year old from Shaker Heights when she was murdered on September 14, 1990. The case is of particular interest to me because it occurred just a few miles from my home in Cleveland Heights, where I was also a teenager. For more information about Lisa Pruett check out James’ website.
If you are also a true crime addict, please join me in the Riverinos group.
There are tons of new releases that come to our shelves every week. With all the books being unique in their own ways, it is hard to choose between the ones that are suitable for your taste. Here are some books we picked out for you!
Credible Threat by Judith A. Jance – Ali Reynolds and her team at High Noon Enterprises must race against the clock to save an archbishop who faces mysterious death threats. By a New York Times best-selling author.
The Summer House by James Patterson & Brendan DuBois – Investigating four Army Rangers who have been implicated in the destruction of a luxurious summer lake resort, Army Major, and former NYPD cop Jeremiah Cook is stonewalled by local law enforcement and dangerous secrets.
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan – Millennial Irish expat Ava becomes entangled in a love triangle with a male banker and a female lawyer.
The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin – Forging an unlikely connection with a stranger at a bar who warns her against resuming a dysfunctional relationship, an aspiring reporter investigates when the man goes missing on September 11, 2001. By the best-selling author of Something Borrowed.
Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters by Jennifer Chiaverini – Devastated by her 1875 suicide attempt, the sisters of widowed former First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln navigate the consequences of their husbands’ choices while advocating for Mary’s needs. By the best-selling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker.
The Persuasion by Iris Johansen – Eve Duncan and Joe Quinn’s artistic daughter, Jane, teams up with former flame Seth Caleb and confronts their complicated dynamic while trying to escape a brilliant psychopath. By the best-selling author of the Kendra Michaels series.
Surviving Autocracy by Masha Gessen – This incisive book provides an indispensable overview of the calamitous trajectory of the past few years. Gessen not only highlights the corrosion of the media, the judiciary, and the cultural norms we hoped would save us but also tells us the story of how a short few years have changed us, from a people who saw ourselves as a nation of immigrants to a populace haggling over a border wall, heirs to a degraded sense of truth, meaning, and possibility.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – Separated by their embrace of different racial identities, two mixed-race identical twins reevaluate their choices as one raises a black daughter in their southern hometown while the other passes for white with a husband who is unaware of her heritage.
A Convenient Death: The Mysterious Demise of Jeffrey Epstein by Alana Goodman & Daniel Halper – In this book, investigative reporters Alana Goodman and Daniel Halper search for the truth behind the scandal that shocked the nation. With unprecedented access to Epstein’s victims and lawyers, to medical professionals, Wall Street insiders, and law enforcement officers, they reveal the dirty secrets and sinister ties that may have driven someone in Epstein’s circle to take matters into their own hands.
The Second Home by Christina Clancy – Inheriting their family’s Cape Cod summer home years after long-term estrangement, two sisters are reunited by a man with a legitimate claim to the property who would set the record straight.
Bombshell by Stuart Woods & Parnell Hall – Teddy Fay returns to La-La Land in the latest thriller from #1 New York Times-bestselling author Stuart Woods. It’s a lot of knives to juggle, even for a former-CIA-operative-turned-movie-producer accustomed to hazardous working conditions. This time Teddy will need to leverage every bit of his undercover skills and fearless daring to stay one step ahead of his foes . . . or he’ll find himself one foot in the grave.
Night of the Assassins: The Untold Story of Hitler’s Plot to Kill FDR, Churchill, and Stalin by Howard Blum – The Edgar Award-winning author of American Lightning documents the true story of how a Secret Service agent and his unlikely Soviet partner foiled a Nazi plot to assassinate Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin during the 1943 Tehran conference.
Dot.Con: The Art of Scamming a Scammer by James Veitch – From viral comedy sensation James Veitch (as seen on TED, Conan, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon) comes to a collection of laugh-out-loud funny exchanges with email scammers.
Ask Me Anything by P. Z. Reizin – From the author of Happiness for Humans, a romantic comedy for the technology age: a young woman unlucky in love gets a little help from the most unlikely of places to find her perfect match.
Spring is all about excitement! Here we have got some interesting titles making their way to our collection this month!
4/07: Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo & Scott Sonenshein – The best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and the psychologist author of Stretchshare anecdotes, studies, and strategies for promoting workplace fulfillment through focused organization and productivity. One million first printing.
4/07: Mind Over Weight: Curb Cravings, Find Motivation, and Hit Your Number in 7 Simple Steps by Ian K. Smith – Aims to help readers win the battle of weight loss by getting everything in order above the neck, guiding readers to find their motivation, stick to a plan and set the right goals.
4/07: Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines – Following the launch of her #1 New York Times bestselling cookbook, Magnolia Table, and seeing her family’s sacred dishes being served at other family tables across the country, Joanna Gaines gained a deeper commitment to the value of the food being shared.
4/13: The House of Kennedy by James Patterson – A revelatory portrait of the Kennedys explores how the dual mottos, “To whom much is given, much is expected” and “Win at all costs” shaped generations of life inside and outside the family.
4/14: Hell and Other Destinations: A 21st-century Memoir by Madeleine Korbel Albright – Revealing, funny and inspiring, the six-time New York Times best-selling author and former secretary of state—one of the world’s most admired and tireless public servants—reflects on the final stages of her career and how she has blazed her own trail in her later years.
4/14: No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier – The award-winning Bloomberg News reporter presents a behind-the-scenes look at how Instagram defied the odds to become one of the most culturally defining apps of the decade before its founders’ lesser-known but an explosive departure from Facebook.
4/14: Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace by Carl Safina – The New York Times best-selling author of Beyond Words brings readers close to three non-human cultures—what they do, why they do it, and how life is for them.
4/14: Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far by Paul A. Offit – An award-winning patient advocate presents a revelatory assessment of 15 out-of-date, common and widely used medical interventions, from vitamins and sunscreen to prescription drugs and surgeries, that are proving more harmful than helpful.
4/21: Kid Quixotes: A Group of Students, Their Teacher, and the One-Room School Where Everything Is Possible by Stephen Haff & Sarah Sierra – A Yale-trained educator whose experiences in a violent district triggered his mental illness describes how he organized an extracurricular reading program to provide a safe environment for at-risk students, including the silent daughter of an undocumented mother.