Author of the true crime memoir, The Kill Jar
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Simon & Schuster (2018)


Simon & Schuster (2018)

Enthralling. Gripping. Cinematic. Raw. A cold case murder investigation paced like a podcast, as visually stunning as a film, and as brave and personal as our darkest memoirs. J. Reuben Appelman cracks open one of America’s most notorious murder sprees while simultaneously banging the gavel on his own history with violence. A deftly-crafted true crime story with grit, set amid the decaying sprawl of Detroit and its outliers.

With a foreword by Catherine Broad, sister of victim Timothy King.

Now the basis for a true crime documentary series for television, airing in 2019!


  • “A powerful, confident voice in the new true-crime memoir genre. There comes a moment when the reader realizes this is a not a search for a killer of children but a search for a cult of dangerous and powerful men and it shakes you to the core.”

    – James Renner, author of True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray

  • “A true crime story in the best possible sense, where chapter by chapter we converge on a surprising and unimaginable truth... Always deft, often sublime, Appelman uses his investigation to draw us into his personal journey through darkness, to light and life.”

    – Chip Johannessen, Executive Producer of Dexter and Homeland

  • “J. Reuben Appelman becomes both Virgil and Dante, leading us through his own dark history and the history of his city while making the almost unbearably honest, compulsive demands of a roadside accident. Although The Kill Jar can be painful to gaze at, it is far more dangerous to look away.”

    – Michael Hoffman, Director of One Fine Day, Restoration, and The Last Station

  • “Appelman’s pathos is visceral and cathartic… his investigative work into this dark, twisted case is remarkably thorough and perceptive."

    – Publishers Weekly

  • "J. Reuben Appelman not only expertly unfurls the sordid and fascinating tale of the O.C.C.K. case, but with poetic light also reveals the truth of violence, longing, and imperfect depravity in the human condition. The Kill Jar is completely edifying and endlessly thrilling."

    – Alan Heathcock, author of VOLT and 40