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If you've never listened to the "Morbid: A True Crime Podcast," now might be a good time. The two enchanting hosts just posted the first of a two part episode looking back at the 1986 murder of Katy Hawelka at Clarkson University and the current efforts by her family and friends to fight efforts by her killer to win parole.

The hosts Alaina Urquhart and Ashleigh "Ash" Kelley offer a very cogent and empathetic examination of the case, and have some very nice things to say about my book, A STRANGER KILLED KATY. In Part One, the hosts gave me goosebumps as I listened to their touching reactions to the book's account of how Katy's father heroically saved his wife and kids from a house fire in the 1970s. Morbid deserves its rabid following, which reportedly has made it among the top 10 most popular podcasts in the United States.

The impact of this episode about Katy has been immediate: Just since this weekend when the podcast was posted with a link to the family's longstanding petition opposing Brian McCarthy's parole, the number of signatures climbed by more than 3,000 to a total of about 12,000. You can find the petition here:

The book has also moved up in various Amazon best-seller lists, where the downloadable audio version alone was just ranked No. 22 among all true-crime audio books.

Numerous platforms, including Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts, offer Morbid. Below, I've placed a link to the podcast posted on YouTube.

Looking forward to Part Two, probably arriving this week.

EDIT. May 15, 2022: Part Two is now available at the same sites as Part One. (And this one's commentary, which draws upon a few creative slang phrases new to me, is as good as Part One.)

  • William D. LaRue

This past spring, I received an email from Tantor Media, a leading independent publisher of audiobooks. The company offered to publish an unabridged audio version of my true-crime book, A STRANGER KILLED KATY, which went on sale in January 2021 in hardcover, paperback and e-book.

Now, just four months after I got that email, readers can download the audiobook from numerous online sites, including and It has a retail price of $19.99, although you can find it discounted, or even free if you sign up for a trial subscription to one of these services.

If you’re a fan of audiobooks, you will recognize the name Tantor, as they have published more than 5,000 titles, including ones written by some big-name authors, including Allen Eskens, Marie Kondo and W. Bruce Cameron.

Small publishers like me also love Tantor because the company saves us the hard work of creating an audiobook while giving the same quality production that an author would receive from a traditional publisher. As part of my contract with Tantor, I was also given a chance to weigh in on the design of the cover, as well its choice of narrator.

How fortunate I am that Tantor chose award-winning narrator David Marantz, whose plain-spoken delivery nicely complements the serious prose of A STRANGER KILLED KATY. So far, he’s narrated more than 130 books through Tantor alone. David won an AutoFile Earphones Award for “The Mind Club” and was nominated for an Audie Award for contribution to “Rip-Off!”, a short story collection. David is a careful narrator. More than once in the past few months, through a Tantor representative, David asked me for guidance on the correct way to pronounce a person or place. David is also a New York City-based actor who has performed on stage, film and television. (You might have seen him in small roles on “Law & Order” and the science series “Nova.”)

I first fell in love with audiobooks in the 1990s when I spent a lot of time on the road visiting my family in Northern New York or going on assignment as a reporter for The Post-Standard. I remember many times I would become so enthralled with the story-telling that I’d almost find myself wishing the trip lasted a bit longer. These days, I mostly enjoy audiobooks at home, particularly in the evening, when they give me a chance to rest my weary eyes and get swallowed up by interesting storytelling.

This photo of Katy Hawelka was provided to the Times by her family.

Watertown Daily Times reporter Ellis Giacomelli did a great job writing about Katy Hawelka and my new true-crime book, A STRANGER KILLED KATY, as part of an awesome package of stories that appeared on the print edition's front page on Sunday, April 18, (see below) and at its subscription website.

The newspaper even dipped into its archives for a gallery of photos, some of which I've never seen before.

The main story, which includes that gallery, examines the 1986 murder of Katy and her family's efforts to fight parole for her killer, Brian McCarthy, now serving time in prison. You can find the story here.

A sidebar features an interview with me about the research and writing of the book. You can find that article here.

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