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Ron Franscell

Ron FranscellSpecialties: narrative nonfiction, journalism, crime writing, crime history, media issues
Home base: northern New Mexico
Web site: www.ronfranscell.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorRonFranscell

Ron Franscell is the acclaimed author of 18 books and has been hailed as one of America’s most respected narrative nonfiction writers. Just days after 9/11, the Denver Post dispatched him to the Middle East to cover the first months of the War on Terror. His reporting from the USS Enterprise, other units in Operation Enduring Freedom, and from theShadow Man cover streets in most Arab or Muslim capitals earned recognition from the national Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) and was submitted for a Pulitzer Prize. His books have been praised by literary luminaries such as Ann Rule and Vincent Bugliosi. His debut book Angel Fire—a USA Today bestselling literary novel about two brothers necessary relationship amid the wounds of the Vietnam war—was listed by the San Francisco Chronicle among the 100 Best Novels of the 20th-Century West. After returning from the Middle East, Ron wrote his international true-crime bestseller The Darkest Night (St. Martin’s, 2008). Other nonfiction books in his catalog include the 2017 Edgar finalist Morgue: A Life in Death (St. Martin’s, 2016) and ShadowMan: An Elusive Psycho Killer and the Birth of FBI Profiling (Berkley, 2022).

Darkest Night coverRon frequently appears as a commentator on CNN, NPR, Fox News, and episodes on Investigation Discovery, History Channel, Reelz, and A&E. He is also a widely published journalist, book reviewer and essayist whose award-winning work has been published in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times, Christian Science Monitor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and others. He’s spoken at prominent literary events including Bouchercon, Pike’s Peak and Mendocino Coast writers conferences, and ThrillerFest. And he has been a judge for the International Association of Crime Writers’ prestigious Hammett Prize. 

Ron and his wife live in the high desert of northern New Mexico, surrounded by wild horses, howling coyote, and books. They also operate a small vineyard that produces enough wine to keep their artist friends happy.

Suggested Topics

  • The Ethics of Writing True Stories
  • What Hath Capote Wrought? A Brief History of Narrative Nonfiction
  • Hit and Myth: How the Hero’s Journey Can Cure Writer’s Block (and Make Your Book Timeless)
  • Research Techniques in the Age of the Internet
  • Caliche Dust: How Being There Breathes Life into True Stories

Video Samples







What People Say About Ron Franscell

“People who know the history of the BSU [The FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit] have heard of this case, but never before have the full details been collected and published. In ShadowMan, true crime author Ron Franscell, with 18 books to his credit, has done his usual thorough research. Along with a solid sense of time and place, he pulls readers into the crushing pressure of Dunbar’s frustration and doubt about this new psychological tool.... ShadowMan makes an important contribution to the history of profiling as well as a more gripping true-crime narrative than the popular fiction we see about profilers today.”
—forensic psychologist, professor and author Katherine Ramsland in Psychology Today