Remembering the Dead: Interview with True Crime Author Jamie Malton's "Killer Case Files #4"
True crime author Jamie Malton remembers the dead in her latest compilation, Killer Case Files #4. This book recounts twenty stories of shocking and brutal true crimes against innocent victims who deserve to have their stories remembered.
Not all authors can delve into the darker places of the human psyche. It is not a topic for the faint of heart. What, then, compels a writer to shine a light on the evils lurking in the corners? We sat down with Jamie Malton to discuss her choice of subject matter and some of her motivations.
Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in true crime writing?
I came to true crime through a side door. My interest in crime writing began with genealogy and the construction of my family tree.
I was adopted, so I did a DNA test a few years ago to discover the origins of my biological family. I knew nothing about them and had to build my biological family tree through documents in the historical record and through DNA matches.
I joined a group on Facebook run by CeCe Moore, a genetic genealogist who helps people use records and DNA matches to find family members. At some point in the process, I realized that people were not only solving family mysteries through genealogy but also using DNA to construct family trees to identify and catch criminals. I was hooked.
I had been a freelance writer for years so I started writing about cold cases that had been solved using DNA. Eventually, I decided to focus on true crime writing full-time, and the Killer Case Files series of books was born.
Each case in the Killer Case Files is a murder case, and they are mostly cases from the last 30 years, although I try to include one historic murder case in each volume. I usually have one or two cases in each volume that were solved by genetic genealogy. Genetic genealogists use DNA analysis and traditional genealogy techniques like building family trees to help identify suspects for the police.
Can you walk us through your research process for your books?
I have a love-hate relationship with research because I really love the research process, and I could spend weeks doing it, but at some point, I have to stop researching and start writing, or the story won't be told.
I look at police reports, court documents, and interviews with the people involved in the case, including audio and video recordings and interviews with the convicted murderer. I also look at local online news websites, old newspapers, and genealogy websites. I find that through my research, I often find new angles or facts that haven't been covered before. More than one reader has mentioned that they were familiar with the crime but that my story had details they'd never heard before. I strive to present a compelling and engaging story while also being as accurate and unbiased as possible. I also fact-check and verify all information before including it in my book.
How do you approach telling the story of a crime while also respecting the privacy and dignity of the victims and their families?
Telling the story of a crime requires a delicate balance. I always try to be sensitive to the victims and their surviving families and respect their privacy, especially if children are involved.
I never lose sight of the fact that the victims in my stories were real people. They were every bit as important and significant as you or I. They all had future plans for their lives that were stolen from them.
I also try to provide a fair portrayal of all parties involved, including the perpetrator. The facts of the case are in the story, and it's up to the reader to decide how they feel about it.
Before my books were published, I decided to donate a portion of the proceeds of each book to charities that support crime victims and their families. Readers found my books right away, and I'm proud to say that I've already been able to start the donation process to several charities.
I hope to one day fund a full DNA lab processing on an unsolved murder case to aid police in finding the perpetrator. They’re expensive and local police don’t always have the funding to pay the labs that do DNA reconstruction on decades-old evidence.
How do you see the true crime genre evolving in the future?
I think the true crime genre is becoming more diverse, with more stories being told from different perspectives and more stories written that focus on underrepresented communities. That’s a good thing to see, although more needs to be done. I hope my writing can not only be a voice for the victims who have been silenced but a spotlight on where we can do better as a society.
I’m not sure that policing has caught up. In a more recent serial killer case that I covered in Volume 2 of Killer Case Files, the convicted murderer was preying on women with drug-seeking behavior and a history of prostitution. These women were reported missing by their families, but the police decided their lifestyle didn’t warrant a full investigation. The police didn’t even know they had a serial killer out there until six of those missing women were found buried in the same spot. It was an embarrassment for the police department and an injustice for the victims' families.
Can you discuss any challenges you faced while writing your latest book?
Family dynamics and dysfunction are complicated to write about on the best of days. My latest book, Volume 6, had a complicated and controversial case about a young man who murdered his mother and tried to murder his father over a video game his parents had forbidden him to play.
This teenager, with no history of violence or mental illness, started playing video games while recovering from an ailment. He then moved on to more violent and mature games in opposition to his parents’ wishes. Whether video games cause aggression is a contentious subject, and it was a challenge to tell the story of this family and give a fair and accurate account of what happened. It seemed obvious to me that the first-person shooter game had a huge impact on the young man’s behavior, yet there will be those who say it had no ill effect and he would have “snapped” regardless.
Can you talk about any particular case or story that impacted you while researching or writing?
I think those of us who write or read true crime stories all have stories that haunt us.
I grew up in Indiana, and the disappearance of 18-year-old Denise Pflum from Connersville, Indiana, sticks with me. She disappeared in 1986. Her car was found abandoned in Connersville on a farm road, and the investigation was just a mess from the beginning. The lead investigator, a cousin in Denise’s family, didn’t write any witness statements down on paper, preferring to keep it all in his head. Physical evidence from the abandoned car was destroyed accidentally. And three of Denise’s peers have confessed to friends on multiple occasions over the years that they killed her, yet no one has been convicted.
Denise’s parents, now in their 80s, have lived without her for 37 years, and they still have no answers. Her body has never been found. I think about this case at least once a week and check the family’s Facebook page for updates.
How do you decide which cases to write about?
I try to cover cases that didn’t make recent national headlines. My readers usually prefer reading a new story, so I work hard to research and write about more obscure crimes. Most of my murder cases are from the United States, but I also cover cases from Europe and Australia.
The majority of the cases in my books are solved, but I will occasionally write about an unsolved murder. I dedicated my first book to Margaret Fetterolf, and I tell her story in Volume One of Killer Case Files. She was a murder victim and a Jane Doe for 45 years. A distant genetic “cousin” uploaded her DNA test to a site that allows law enforcement access. This allowed the police to finally identify Margaret. She was a teenage runaway, and now the police have to solve her murder. If the murderer is still alive, he’s likely in his late 60s or early 70s. I’d love to see her murder solved.
How do you think true crime writing can help in the understanding and prevention of crime?
The media tends to focus on the alleged offender and the trial and sentencing process. We often don’t get the whole story even after the criminal is in prison. True crime writing endeavors to correct that. I tell the story of what happened before, during, and after the crime occurred to shed light on the causes and motivations behind criminal behavior.
Most true crime readers are women; many will tell you their behavior changed after learning about crime cases from books and podcasts. They are more careful, make safer choices, have better situational awareness, and teach their children the same things.
Where can readers find out more about your work and your books?
The best way to find my books is on Amazon.
Readers can also contact me at my website: JamieMalton.com I love it when readers suggest a case from their hometown. These cases don’t always get national exposure, and I may be able to include them in future books.
WARNING: The explicit details of these cases come directly from eyewitness accounts, interviews, police reports, court transcripts, crime scenes, and autopsy reports. They contain disturbing facts that may not be for everyone.
Killer Case Files (Killer Case Files #4)
by Jamie Malton
Genre: Non-Fiction True Crime
Release Date: November1 , 2022
A true crime anthology of 20 stories, Killer Case Files delivers gripping accounts of
depraved and horrifying murders. These killers can range from seemingly normal
people to psychopaths and serial killers who commit years of murder and mayhem.
Follow law enforcement as they use forensic science and old school detective skills to
identify and apprehend these violent criminals, deviant predators, and serial killers.
20 Shocking Stories in Each Volume
Volume 4 includes . . .
◆ Death in the Desert: A girl walking to high school in Las Vegas was found dead after being
viciously sexually assaulted. The case went cold for thirty two years until a local
philanthropist donated $5,000 to a company specializing in DNA genomics - stipulating that it
be used on a cold case. Soon, not one, but two murders were solved.
◆ A Nun Killer: In 1981 an elderly nun was murdered in her bedroom. In 1992 a young man
was executed for her murder. That much is certain. What is not certain is whether the
convicted and executed man was really guilty.
◆ Just a Drifter: When a twenty-two year old woman goes missing while walking her dog it
doesn’t take long for solid clues to lead to a senior citizen who is a drifter. But police can’t
help wondering whether a drifter in his sixties has finally committed his first murder, or
whether he’s previously committed several others.
◆ Washington Axe Murderer: A beautiful area of Seattle, popular with both locals and
tourists, had its residents living in fear during the summer of 1990 as an axe murderer stalked
the neighborhood and left terrifying messages inside homes.
. . . plus 16 more shocking, true crime murder stories from Jamie Malton's Best True
If you enjoy the books from top authors like Jack Rosewood, Robert Keller, and Jason Neal –
you’ll love Jamie Malton’s Best True Crime series.
Each volume in this series includes a 21st bonus chapter and additional supporting Case Files
from every story - available free at the author’s website, where readers can join the author to
dive further into additional photos, news reports and disturbing specifics of each case.
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/62818315-killer-case-files
- Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/killer-case-files-20-shocking-true-crime-stories-
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BFDZX846
Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
All Books in the Series:
- Killer Case Files Volume 1: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B6PVH9JV
- Killer Case Files Volume 2: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B7JSBP54
- Killer Case Files Volume 3: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B82PFRGP
- Killer Case Files Volume 4: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BFDZX846
- Killer Case Files Volume 5: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BK2XFHXX
- Killer Case Files Volume 6: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BKTRNZLC
- Killer Case Files Volume 7: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BQCDCDBH/
Amazon best-selling author Jamie Malton is an American non-fiction writer. She is the author of Killer Case Files: Jamie Malton’s Best True Crime Series which is an
anthology of crime stories where the author examines the homicides perpetrated by murderers and serial killers.
Drawn to the how and why of real crime stories and fascinated by the detailed police work, DNA reconstruction, and genetic genealogy, she started writing her books to share the details of these stories with her readers. For book research, she splits her time between American and European destinations where she often visits some of the places where crimes have occurred. With criminal apprehension and victim restitution as a personal cause, she donates a portion of her book sales to charities that fund DNA reconstruction to solve cold cases and charities that support the families of murdered victims.
You can reach her at JamieMalton.com where she curates her research into Case Files for her
readers who want to dive deeper into any case in her books.
- Website: https://jamiemalton.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamieMaltonAuthor
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/truecrimejamie
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamiemalton/
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22570433.Jamie_Malton
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Jamie-Malton/author/B0B6T78DV5
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