Amy by James Renner (Audiobook – Tantor Audio)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 – 4.5 stars

This book is about a young reporter’s unceasing quest to find out what happened to Amy Mihaljevic.

Amy Mihaljevic disappeared in 1989 when she was ten years old. In early 1990 her body was found. James Renner, around the same age as Amy at the time, had been following the story about the cute little girl with the side ponytail. When Amy’s body was found James was devastated. The perpetrator was never caught. Sixteen years later, James, now a fledgling reporter for Scene magazine, revisits the story about Amy, hoping to uncover what really happened to her. As he gathers information from family members, friends and detectives who worked on the case, James quickly discovers there were a number of viable suspects who walked away, a few of them still living, and that one of them could be responsible for Amy’s death. As his investigation intensifies and he tracks down and interviews some of the suspects, along with those who knew them, James is struck by the deviance and depravity that surrounds him, and he becomes obsessed with finding Amy’s abductor.

James Renner’s tenacity in pursuing the Amy Mihaljevic case was captivating. Although a fledgling reporter at the time, Renner’s interviewing techniques were impressive. He cautiously spoke with anyone he could find that was connected to the case or considered a suspect, regardless of the danger to his own life. Each new chapter seemed to present another suspect or perspective regarding what happened to Amy, and I couldn’t stop listening to this book until I’d devoured the entire second half in one sitting. The suspense was such that I couldn’t tear myself away from it. There were real-life bogeymen, conspiracy theories, cover-ups, and almost too many suspects to keep straight. Some of it was very sad too though, like the impact that Amy’s death had on her mother, Margaret. She’d appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1992—the show was about unsolved child murders. Margaret had a rough go of it after Amy died. I won’t divulge what happened to her, but it was sad.

It’s fascinating to me how some seemingly ordinary people are really cold, calculating, and manipulative at their core; capable of committing heinous crimes. People we see in restaurants or who we have casual conversations with as we go about our daily lives are these same people. It’s frightful imagining the number of disturbed individuals who lurk among us. Renner’s book exposes us to some of the personalities of such characters.

This book was compelling. In the end, I was hoping to learn that justice had been served for little Amy, but it was not to be. I didn’t receive the closure that I thought was sure to come. The investigation is still ongoing nearly thirty years later. Nevertheless, the story gripped me, enlightened me and educated me in a way that I won’t easily forget.

Thank you, Tantor Audio, for a free download of AMY, by James Renner. The author, whose voice is somewhat monotone but serene and welcoming at the same time, did a great job narrating his book.

16 thoughts on “Amy by James Renner (Audiobook – Tantor Audio)

  1. Heartbreaking to know that this is an open case and justice is yet to be served. This does sound like a tough read. Glad to hear it was also enlightening and educative. Great review, Laurie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review Laurie. It is so sad that justice has not yet been served. I don’t think I want to read or listen to this one because there is not closure. it must have been a difficult book to listen to, especially to hear the mother’s pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Carla. I couldn’t stop listening to this one. I’m hopeful that with new technology they’ll find out who did this some day. They just solved another similar case after about 28 years involving an 8 year old girl who was abducted and, well, I don’t even want to say what happened to her. 😔 They ran the killer’s DNA through the ancestry database and eventually found him and he confessed.🤬
      With this particular book it’s the journey that will keep you glued to the pages, and not the destination.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Shalini!! 💕 I think you’d be okay reading it. It doesn’t focus on how she died. It’s mostly about how the author went about finding suspects and what his research and interviews revealed.
      Thanks for stopping by. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good review, Laurie, but such a sad story. I don’t know how a parent can ever recover from such a loss. I wanted to hear in your review that there was closure, but this is real life, not a cozy mystery or a 45 minute TV episode. I give credit to Renner for trying. It sounds like an all-consuming, dangerous effort.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Linda. Yes, I wanted closure as well. Amy’s mother never recovered from the loss. She died relatively young. I read that she was 54 when she died, and alone. I hope they’ll find the perpetrator one of these days. New technology makes me hopeful. Renner was obsessed with finding Amy’s killer. I can see how that could happen. When I look at her cute face I just want justice to be done for her. He felt similarly, too.
      Thanks for commenting, Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is saddening that they still haven’t found her killer 30 years later. I’m hopeful they’ll eventually be a break in the case! So awful. This sounds like a compelling read though. I like crime stories, but this one had to be tough. Loved your review, Laurie! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m hopeful too, Mischenko. There’s so much new technology these days. Maybe something will surface that will lead the police to the perpetrator.
      It was very compelling. The author didn’t focus on how she died. It was more about how he went about tracking down suspects and what their interviews revealed. I think that’s how I was able to get through it. I used to devour true crime books many years ago. Ann Rule was one of my favorite true crime authors. But now that I’m older I can’t take reading those kinds of books back to back anymore. They’re just too sad. But I do still find them intriguing and fit one in to my reading schedule occasionally.
      Thanks for stopping by. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

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