Author: James Renner
Genre: True Crime, Nonfiction
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 4,5 stars
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
When an eleven year old James Renner fell in love with Amy Mihaljevic, the missing girl seen on posters all over his neighborhood, it was the beginning of a lifelong obsession with true crime. That obsession leads James to a successful career as an investigative journalist. It also gave him PTSD. In 2011, James began researching the strange disappearance of Maura Murray, a UMass student who went missing after wrecking her car in rural New Hampshire in 2004. Over the course of his investigation, he uncovers numerous important and shocking new clues about what may have happened to Maura, but also finds himself in increasingly dangerous situations with little regard for his own well-being. As his quest to find Maura deepens, the case starts taking a toll on his personal life, which begins to spiral out of control. The result is an absorbing dual investigation of the complicated story of the All-American girl who went missing and James’s own equally complicated true crime addiction.
James Renner’s True Crime Addict is the story of his spellbinding investigation of the missing person’s case of Maura Murray, which has taken on a life of its own for armchair sleuths across the web. In the spirit of David Fincher’s Zodiac, it is a fascinating look at a case that has eluded authorities and one man’s obsessive quest for the answers.
As a huge ‘missing persons’ buff (seriously, one of my more macabre and less known hobbies is searching the internet and browsing through various forums on the topic), I just had to read True Crime Addict. Like James Renner, the author, I’m a bit of an addict too. Heck, I studied criminology because I find crime, cold cases and missing people fascinating. So the author and I had a lot in common, and the disappearance of Maura Murray definitely was no new topic for me. However, it never became an obsession, not the way it did for James Renner, who spent the better part of several years trying to find out what happened to this young woman.
One night, Maura Murray’s car got into an accident. No one got hurt, a neighbor saw it happen, briefly talked to Maura, and went inside to call the police. It was snowing, but despite that, the police arrived in minutes. But when the police arrived, Maura was gone. No one has heard or seen her since. In this true crime memoir, James Renner investigates the case and tries to find out what happened to her.
The case was intriguing, and I’ve made up my mind about what happened to Maura. It may not be the truth, but based on Renner’s investigation, it seems the most likely thing. If you want to read my thoughts, scroll down to the bottom of the review (I don’t want to spoil it for potential readers). The author’s writing is funny and intelligent, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Can’t wait to read his other ones.
My opinion: I think, since there were no hints of struggle or foul play, and with the problems she had with her father, Maura decided to start a new life somewhere. The family’s reluctance to talk to anyone about the case also tells me this. That, or something happened at the party Maura went to earlier that night, since everyone is deliberately vague on that.