By: Nancy RommelmannPublished: August 1, 2022

Down That Dark Passage: Kathyrn Miles of "TRAILED: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders"

As I wrote a few months ago, with regard to true crime books, "All stories are worth telling well, but especially the difficult ones, when we need the writer's assurance as we walk down the dark passage."

As someone who occasionally takes on such stories, I'm interested in how and why other true crime writers approach the work. My lead-off interview is with Kathryn Miles, author of "TRAILED: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders," about the horrific unsolved 1996 murders of two young women with Shenandoah National Park.

Miles does what the best true crime writers do. She takes on the awesome responsibility of explaining murder, with compassion and clear-eyes and deeply empathetic reporting.

As she writes in TRAILED, "Maybe, just maybe, when two selfless, joyful, beautiful humans die in a place, what's left behind is not the agony of their deaths, but the brilliance of their lives."

"What Man Can Do to Man: 13 True Crime Books That Get It Right," by Nancy Rommelmann

Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders, by Kathryn Miles. More about Miles at

Shot in the Heart, by Mikal Gilmore

Lost Girls, by Robert Kolker

Blood Will Out, by Walter Kirn

The Adversary, by Emmanuel Carrere

Columbine, by Dave Cullen

Down City, by Leah Carroll

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

The Journalist and the Murderer, by Janet Malcom

Helter Skelter, by Vincent Bugliosi

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

Crossed Over, by Beverly Lowry

Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer

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