top of page
“Rother is the next Ann Rule. 
-- NYT bestselling author Gregg Olsen 


“A suspicious headline-making death proves to be only the beginning as Rother unlocked the door of this real-life mansion of horrors to reveal a shocking true story of money, power, duplicity and scandal.
-- NYT bestselling author Michael Fleeman on DEATH ON OCEAN BOULEVARD

“With a journalist's eye for the telling details of life, Caitlin Rother is a keen architect of the most important part of storytelling: character. The people in her prose grip you tightly with their truth.
-- NYT bestselling author Michael Connelly

Caitlin Rother has written or co-authored 14 books, ranging from true crime to memoir and mystery. A New York Times-bestselling author and investigative journalist, Rother worked nearly 20 years for daily newspapers. Writing books full-time since 2006, she draws from decades of watchdog reporting on topics from addiction to suicide, mental illness, murder, government, political corruption and the criminal justice system. A popular speaker, she has appeared more than 250 times on TV, radio and podcasts as a true crime expert. A former writing instructor of 10 years, she coaches a limited number of aspiring author clients. She loves ocean swimming, singing and playing keyboards in Harmonic Convergence. Explore the photo galleries and learn about her latest titles, backlist, videos, and podcasts!

COMING SOON:  
DTTB first cover.jpg
DSC_0987, ex. 3, got from Britt Imes, family in limo.JPG

If you have tips on this or other book-worthy stories, please contact Rother at caitlinrother@gmail.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

DOWN TO THE BONE: A Missing Family's Murder and the Elusive Quest For Justice (Citadel, March 2025) 

Joseph and Summer McStay, and their two young sons, Joey Jr. and Gianni, went mysteriously missing from their house in Fallbrook, California, in February 2010. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSD) investigated their disappearance as a missing persons' case for months, after finding no blood or any physical evidence of foul play in the house. However, the circumstances were certainly suspicious: eggs were left out on the counter, a half-eaten apple on the stairs and two bowls of popcorn on the futon, indicating they left in a hurry, yet their family had no idea where they were. The SDSD let the case go cold, deciding the McStays had left voluntarily to Mexico, even though there was no activity on their phones or credit cards.  Nearly four years later, their skeletal remains were discovered in the High Desert of San Bernardino County -- with holes in their skulls, along with a sledgehammer consistent with the injuries, and Summer's bra sliced in half and her pants pulled off. A year after that, Joseph's business partner, Charles "Chase" Merritt, was arrested for their murders, but maintains his innocence. After many twists and turns in the case, a revolving door of different defense attorneys, and a protracted trial, Merritt was found guilty and, after more delays, sentenced to death row.  Nonetheless, some observers believe Merritt was wrongly convicted, or if he was involved, didn't act alone.  Rother takes her usual deep dive into this case.  

DSC_0049, got this from Britt, ex. 5.JPG
ALSO COMING SOON:  
Body Parts cover, 2025.jpg
15B-new) Kerry Cummings, September 1997.jpg

BODY PARTS: A Serial Killer's Deadly Compulsions (Citadel, February 2025) 




















 

In this significantly updated edition, Rother has added 10,000 words of new material about the identification of serial killer Wayne Adam Ford's first victim, via forensic genealogy, 25 years after he killed and dismembered her in Eureka, CA. This 25-year-old victim now has a name--Kerry Anne Cummings--and her family, whom Rother interviewed for this new edition, now has closure. The rest of the book takes a psychological look at the life of Ford, a long-haul trucker who was convicted of murdering four troubled young women during rough sex, dismembering two of them, and then turning himself in so he wouldn't kill again. Still claiming the women’s deaths were accidental -- and that their strangulation was erotic asphyxiation, for their pleasure -- he is on death row at San Quentin prison in California. See below for previous covers of the book, released in 2009 and 2013, and Ford crying at his sentencing hearing.

Kerry - 1991 HS Graduation.jpg

If you have tips on this or other book-worthy stories, please contact Rother at caitlinrother@gmail.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Now under development with Untitled Entertainment for a TV limited series, with Rother as executive producer 

Zahau, DOOB cover.jpg

DEATH ON OCEAN BOULEVARD: Inside the Coronado Mansion Case (Citadel, 2021)

"You’ll be convinced first one way then the other as you race through the pages of this disturbing mystery. DEATH ON OCEAN BOULEVARD is so meticulous, so organized... Caitlin Rother is the journalist we all want to be when we grow up."
--True crime author Camille Kimball

Many locals call the death case of Rebecca Zahau "the Coronado mansion murder," despite the sheriff's department's findings that Rebecca committed suicide at the Spreckels Mansion. A jury in civil court agreed, finding Adam Shacknai, her boyfriend's brother, responsible for her "wrongful death." The Zahau family believes Rebecca was murdered, but Shacknai contends he is wrongly accused. As he fights to clear his name, the Zahau family continues to push for the Medical Examiner's Office to change the cause and manner of death to homicide by manual strangulation, and for the criminal case to be re-opened and re-investigated as a murder. Caitlin, whose husband committed suicide by hanging, gives readers an objective, but uniquely personal look at the evidence and theories in this case. (See more inside.)

“Bondage, power, and secrets-- The 350-page book,  laden with details, reports, and information, guides the reader through the chilling death, the lawsuit and lingering questions in swift fluidity. Most importantly, it unveils insightful new details, most as vexing and troubling as they are illuminating. 
-- The Coronado Times
Zahau, KUSI head shot, Layla.jpg
20210114_164610.jpg
Zahau, SDSD door, off website.jpg
bottom of page