The Tao of Doo

In his kind and generous review of my first mystery, DEATH NOTICE, author James Reasoner said the plot was vaguely reminiscent of something found in Scooby-Doo, only played seriously. He meant it as a compliment and I took it Read more


Another October, another release date. Since BAD MOON is my second book, you would think I'd be used to it. But nope, I'm not. BAD MOON's publication date feels as surreal as DEATH NOTICE's did last year. For readers, the Read more

Writing With ... Louise Penny

I am thrilled beyond words to welcome one of my favorite writers, Louise Penny, whose Armand Gamache mysteries have appeared on bestseller lists worldwide.  Her last book, BURY YOUR DEAD, won the Ellis for best mystery in Canada, and Read more

Is Browsing Dead?

I'll be the first to admit that I was a nerdy teenager. Not pocket protector nerdy, but no sports star, either. I was bookish, I guess you could say. I read A LOT back then, and nothing pleased me Read more

Why We Left Earth

Outer space has always been a mystery. Even before mankind fully grasped its vastness, they wanted to go there. Early astronomers, fascinated by the stars, invented ways to get a closer view. Think Copernicus, Galileo, Cassini. Writers not content Read more

On Other Blogs

Posted on by Todd Posted in News, Wonderful Web | Comments Off on On Other Blogs

If it seems like I’ve been neglecting this blog a little bit, that’s because I have been. Not on purpose, though. I had a very busy book tour in October and November, a big, family vacation in early December, and then the holidays. As a result, my poor blog has lacked for content.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been blogging elsewhere. Part of the fun of being an author is that other blogs invite you to write things for them. Sometimes the topics are set in stone. Most times, they’re not. So while the additions to this blog have been pretty sparse, I’ve been active elsewhere around the Web. Here’s a round-up and links to what I’ve been up to on other blogs:

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BOY?: Jungle Reds is a blogging collective made up of some of the finest, fiercest women writing crime today. They invited me to talk about my writing habits, BAD MOON and my Internet search for the boy who became the model for the character of Charlie Olmstead.

THE TAXIDERMIST’S SON: Over at Killer Reads, the official mystery and thriller blog of Harper Collins, my British publisher, I discussed growing up the son of a taxidermist and how it inspired DEATH NOTICE.

GUILTY PLEASURES: THE PARENT TRAP: I love Crimespree Magazine. They’re a great bunch of folks who have been very kind to me over the past two years. So when they asked me to pick a movie to write about for their Guilty Pleasures column, I gladly obliged.

R IS FOR RITTER: Mystery Fanfare invited me to write about anything I wanted. I chose to list the five songs that give me constant inspiration. Surprising, “Bad Moon Rising” isn’t one of them.

LOST BOY: At Elizabeth White’s blog, I talked about the sad case of Etan Patz, who disappearance changed the way we live and whose story was a major inspiration for BAD MOON.

WHAT IS TODD RITTER READING?: Campaign for the American Reader asks authors to talk not about their own work but about what they’re currently reading. At the time, I was enthralled by two stories, one fiction and one nonfiction.

HOW TO GET PUBLISHED IN 10 EASY STEPS: Finally, when Jennifer Hillier, author of CREEP, asked me to do a guest post, I gave her this tongue-in-cheek look at the steps to becoming a published writer.

Finally, this one isn’t new, but it’s still a lot of fun, and I thought I’d share it again for those of you who missed it last year: MY DATE WITH NANCY.



The Awesome List No. 4

Posted on by Todd Posted in Awesome List | Comments Off on The Awesome List No. 4

I know, I know. It’s been ages since I’ve done one of these. So why start again now? Well, because this week has been awesome, and here are the top five things that have made it so.


Good heavens, I love this show. I’ve always enjoyed British period dramas featuring lavish country homes and repressed emotions, but I find this show absolutely spellbinding. On the surface, Downton Abbey is pure Masterpiece Theater — lovely to look at, as elegant as Waterford crystal, as repressed as a nun. But underneath the poised and polished surface are the roiling emotions, petty jealousies and revenge plots of a soap opera. It’s as if All My Children had been taken over by Merchant Ivory.

The Daily Telegraph


I love watching tennis, especially the four majors. The first one each year is the Australian Open, held in Melbourne. The finals are this weekend, and I can’t wait to see Djokovic beat Nadal. But the best match of the tournament has already been played. It was Kim Clijsters vs. Li Na. Clijsters badly hurt her ankle, lost the first set and was a point away from losing the second set when she miraculously came back. She beat back four — four! — match points to win the second set, then the third and the match. And while she lost in the semifinals, unable to repeat last year’s victory in Melbourne, Clijsters will always have my respect.

3. THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach

Despite the rave reviews and award nominations, I was hesitant to read Harbach’s debut novel. I don’t really watch or understand baseball and felt that the book wouldn’t interest me. I was wrong. The reviews were right. Only fifty pages in, I’m already under its spell.


I’ve only seen four of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture. I plan on seeing the other five before the big night on Feb. 26. But I doubt any of them will top Hugo as my favorite film of the year. It led the pack with 11 nominations, but faces stiff competition from The Artist and The Descendents. Hopefully, though, all those nominations will inspire more people to head to the cineplex and check out this charming, heartfelt and — dare I say it? — magical film. (And if you can, see it in 3-D! It really enhances the film.)


No more needs to be said.

Mourning a Man Who Bled Blue & White

Posted on by Todd Posted in Musings | 1 Comment

Getty Images

We all knew it was coming. We knew it as soon as the lung cancer diagnosis was announced. We knew it when the exclusive interview ran in last weekend’s Washington Post, lingering on details of sickness and suffering. And we knew it yesterday, when CBS News wrongly reported on his demise and his family announced his condition was rapidly declining.

But on this bleak January morning, we are now faced with the fact that Joe Paterno has died. And despite knowing it was inevitable, I type this with tears in my eyes and sadness in my heart.

I’m crying because, as a Pennsylvania native and a Penn Stater, this loss strikes closer to my heart than it would if I had been born in another state and educated at another school.

I’m crying because yet another touchstone of my younger days is gone, which summons memories of people, places and events I hadn’t thought about in years.

I’m crying because the nation lost a great man who had only recently fallen out of greatness.

I’m crying because Joe Paterno died amid shame and scandal and it didn’t have to end this way.

Despite being the winningest coach in major college football history, those of us who went to Penn State know JoePa was about more than just football. He was a figurehead, a hero, a moral compass who, leading through example, taught us about hard work, humility, giving back to the community. Hundreds of books in the library bear stickers indicating that they were gifts to the university from him and his wife, Sue. In an age of McMansions, he stubbornly spent his life in a mere house, his name, number and address easily found in the phone book. When my father turned fifty, I asked a classmate of mine on the team to get Coach Paterno to sign a football for him. The coach gladly complied and my father was thrilled.

Despite having only a passing interest in Penn State football (I went to exactly three games during my time there), Joe Paterno was still one of my heroes. In my mind, he was one of the few true greats. I admired him from afar. (I never met him in person.) I defended his honor. When I went to the Creamery, I always ordered Peachy Paterno.

Then it all fell away, with a swiftness that was both shocking and disorienting. Allegations arose that one of his assistant coaches had assaulted young boys, some of them in the football team’s training facilities. Rumors of a university-wide cover-up quickly took on the aura of fact. Everyone, it seemed, had known about the allegations yet did the bare minimum required by law. One of them was Joe Paterno, a fact that split my heart wide open.

When Coach Paterno was fired, I applauded the decision. He had to be held accountable. Children were harmed under his watch. He could have done better. He should have done better. And for the past few months a hard, bitter part of me knew I would never be able to forgive him for that.

But now that he is gone (Which is still hard to type, by the way. Even though he was 85, many Penn Staters thought he’d outlive us all) I think that, if not forgiveness, then at least some context is in order. Joe Paterno loved his wife. He loved his family. He loved the team that he had coached for decades. He loved the university that the team represented. He did a lot of good. He did a little bad. We can remember the bad — as everyone will — but we must not forget the good. He was not a perfect man. No man is.

I want to close with a phrase familiar to anyone who’s ever spent time in Happy Valley. I didn’t say it during the scandal because I thought it was inappropriate. But I will say it now, because Joe Paterno’s life encompassed much more than the past three months. And I will say it in his honor, because he believed in it with every fiber of his being.

We are Penn State.