What is Letters of Rec?
Monthly posts from a nonfiction/true crime professor about what I'm reading, watching, and listening to.
Who am I?
I wrote the memoir Son of a Gun and the book-length essay Bookmarked: Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. My writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Tin House, New England Review, DIAGRAM, and many other publications, as well as anthologies including Best of the West and The Pushcart Prize. Sometimes I make podcasts.
I grew up in a working-class military family in rural Arizona, attended the University of Arizona—where I was a first-generation college student—and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. I’m an associate professor at Oregon State, where I teach nonfiction and true crime courses.
Some recent-ish writing:
“Murder Tourism in Middle America,” an essay that appeared in Tin House and The Pushcart Prize XLIII, and later became a chapter of my second book
“Regulators,” an essay about attending a Warren G concert, in DIAGRAM
“A Real Community,” an essay about my hometown of Tombstone, AZ, from Territory
An essay about Saddam Hussein and the English goth-rock band The Bolshoi, from March Xness, the annual tournament of music essays