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You have not read a book like this before and, I’d wager, you’ll not engage with its like again. With some 600,000 books now published each year in the United States, that’s saying something. Originality isn’t what it used to be; no, it’s much, much more difficult. In “True Crime Addict,” James Renner reports the story, becomes the story and more often than not, is the story.

In 2004, Maura Murray, a college student, was reported missing. She’d wrecked her car against a guardrail, called for a tow, but then vanished in the scant moments before help arrived. In 2011 Renner, who knows this turf well — he’s been anthologized in “The Best American Crime Writing” — took up the cold case and began looking for her in the New England countryside, in the details of the case, and, most interestingly of all, inside his own head.

Each of these locales is mysterious and Renner is a tantalizing and almost gleeful tour guide to and through the impulses of the armchair detective.

His blog, mauramurray.blogspot.com, takes the story past the last page and is indispensable for true crime obsessives.

Mardi Jo Link is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Wicked Takes the Witness Stand,” among other books. She lives in Michigan.

True Crime Addict
By: James Renner.
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 280 pages, $25.99.

True Crime Addict

By: James Renner.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, 280 pages, $25.99.