Gregg Olsen’s Progressive Interview

When true crime writer and Crimerant co-blogger Gregg Olsen thought of ways to get the word out about his just-published second novel A COLD DARK PLACE, the idea struck him to conduct a Q&A over a series of blogs – including this one – in sequential fashion:

Q: There are some true-crime cases that are impossible to shake, that have a way of sticking in your brain and creating, if not full-blown obsession, then something close to it. I know I’ve got quite a few of them, from Joseph Chandler to “Cali” to BTK; what are yours?

A: I remember exchanging emails with you about the Steven Staynor/Timmy

White case when we posted an update on Crime Rant last year. I knew,

right then, that it was a case you could never shake, Sarah. Me, too.

But I have a few others that I wonder about all the time. Was Ann Marie

Burr, Teddy Bundy’s Tacoma neighbor his first victim? I’ve driven

through that neighborhood a time or two, hoping for a psychic vibe,

because that’s what it’s going to take, I guess, to solve that one.

There are others that make great mystery stories: the Ramsey case

comes to mind. Who killed Jonbenet? All the Milk Carton Kids from the

1970s and 80s.

Another that haunts me is very local –  two years ago a couple miles

from my house in rural Kitsap County, Washington, a full term baby was

found by some teenage girls in a garbage bag on the side of the road.

Just like trash. We hear about dead babies being dumped at prom night

or in a hotel Dumpster every now and then. But this one hit because of

its proximity to where I live. I wonder about that case all the time.

They’ve never determined who the mother was. The baby was likely alive at her birth. The teddy bear and flowers left at the scene have

disappeared into the earth. The baby was buried in a local cemetery and

the story seems to be over. We will likely never know what happened.

Yet someone out there is carrying a big burden. In the true crime

business we call that a “small murder,” one that doesn’t carry enough

detail (we really don’t know much) or resonance (dead babies are sadly

all too common) for a true crime book. I’ll be thinking of that baby

for years to come. The only ending might come in the form of a novel.

The progressive interview continues at Paul LaRosa’s NY Murder Book Blog where he asks, “Why do so many crime fiction and mystery readers devour and accept the most horrendous acts of brutality in their fiction but those same readers turn their noses up at true crime as being ‘too graphic’?” Check out Gregg’s answer here.