Book Review: True Crime Addict by James Renner (Maura Murray book)

True Crime Addict by James Renner

Book Number 5 of 2021 was True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray. Before I read it, I was familiar with the mysterious vanishing of Maura Murray, having listened to several of the podcasts discussing her case.  If you’re not familiar, see Investigation Discovery summary here. 

There is definitely enough content to Maura’s story to dedicate to an entire book. But I didn’t feel that Renner honored Maura or her family, nor did he honor his own family. I really don’t know that I’d want Renner involved if a member of my family was missing. Maura’s story is mysterious with some major oddities. Renner covers the story pretty well, and obviously has spent a large amount of time researching the case. 

But the story falls short in the execution. Renner admits to being obsessed with Maura’s story, but his obsession is more for himself, than any desire to help the Murray family. It’s hard to feel like he had compassion for them. Something about Renner’s storytelling was unsettling, uncomfortable, and creepy. Someone else on Goodreads said “if an author in a non-fiction book refers to a strip club as a”tittie bar” AND spells it “tittie”, that person has no business writing a book. EVER.” The casual f-bombs didn’t add anything to the book. It felt like he was trying to be cool, when he wasn’t. 

It’s one thing for Renner to talk about his own use of Cymbalta, weed, and booze (including, driving drunk). But it especially bothered me that he talked about his young son’s behavioral problems and medications in the book. That felt like an invasion of privacy to broadcast. Why drag your young child into that? Although I appreciate the amount of time Renner has invested in his research, I don’t think I’ll be reading any more of his books.

I feel bad for Maura’s family, it has to be difficult to still have no answers after so many years. I hope they’ve found peace. I really think that the most likely explanation of Maura’s disappearance is that she’s not alive.  I believe she took off on foot after the crash – a poor judgment call probably influenced by alcohol. It’s foreseeable that she was very intoxicated, and probably died of hypothermia somewhere near where her car crashed, and her remains were never found. I don’t think she’s living a quiet life in Quebec or anywhere else, unfortunately.  What are your theories?

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