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Mothers & Murderers

Title: Mothers & Murderers: A True-crime Memoir


As a 23-year-old ambitious cub reporter, Katherine Ellison thought her life was ruined when she made a careless mistake while reporting on a major murder trial and got sued for libel – for $11 million.

Instead, her mistake helped her understand a family secret and led to insight, adventure, and love.

The book takes readers from San Jose, California, before it was Silicon Valley, to Pakistan, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, and the Philippines, as it follows the two stories of Ellison's roller-coaster career and love life and the twists and turns in a murder case whose characters could have been cast by the Coen brothers.

As the book progresses, with each story offering insights into the other, the reader comes to understand both why Ellison made the mistake that almost ruined her life and how she was able to overcome it.

It's a story of resilience and empowerment -- equally relevant for women who came of age after the second wave of feminism and women who today face strikingly similar challenges in taking responsibility for their behavior, whether conscious or unconscious. Few if any other books have taken such an intimate and honest look at how women use and abuse their power.

Ellison's memoir "is like nothing else I’ve ever read, and I mean that in the best possible way," says best-selling non-fiction author Stephen Hinshaw. "Weaving together her own story and a stranger-than-fiction true-crime tale, Katherine Ellison captivatingly describes a young woman's path from blind impulse to wisdom. In gripping prose that by turns is tragic and hilarious, she makes an ultra-strong case for the examined life, shedding light on the lies we tell ourselves and others--and the hard work involved in taking responsibility for yourself."