Crime writer and author Diane Fanning

4. The Coast to Coast KillerSerial killer Tommy Lynn Sells left a path of destruction across the U.S. from 1979 through 1999. It is believed he murdered 22 people, including several children (although he puts the figure at 70). A steady pursuit of self-gratification and self-preservation characterized him. Sells’ teetered precariously between periods of working, staying sober, and having a relationship with a woman, to (when things boiled over in his life), abusing alcohol and cocaine, getting fired or quitting his job, committing petty crimes, and killing people. This cycle repeated itself year after year. A Study in Crime speaks with crime writer and author Diane Fanning.

Crime writer and author Diane FanningDiane Fanning is the Edgar Award-nominated, best-selling author of 15 true crime books and 11 mysteries. And recipient of the Innocence Project’s, Defender of Innocence Award. She has appeared on the Today Show, 20/20, Forensic Files, Snapped, The Biography Channel, Investigation Discovery, E!, and the BBC, and served as a consultant on 48 Hours and 14 seasons of Deadly Women. HBO Max and Lifetime, each optioned one of her books for a limited series and a movie. A former resident of South Texas, Diane now lives in the shadow of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Bedford, Virginia. 

Find her here: Website, Facebook, (Main) Facebook (True Crime), Facebook (Lucinda Pierce), Facebook (Scandal in the Secret City), X, and Instagram.

NOTES: This episode contains subject matter that may be inappropriate for some audiences. Listener discretion is advised.

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Diane Fanning’s books include one anthology: Red Boots & Attitude (2002), and 11 fiction titles: 

And 15 non-fiction titles:

Sources for this episode include:  Through the Window: The Terrifying True Story of Cross-Country Killer Tommy Lynn Sells by Diane Fanning.


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Podcast Host Scott FulmerA Study in Crime is written and produced by private investigator Scott Fulmer. He is the author of the true-crime memoir, Confessions of a Private Eye, and a decorated Gulf War veteran. A nationally known private eye, he has conducted investigations throughout the U.S.; everything from fraud, theft, and cheating spouses, to murder, kidnapping, and missing persons. Scott lives in the Texas hill country near San Antonio. 

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