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A mind-bending, genre-twisting debut novel.

In West Akron, Ohio, there lived a reclusive elderly man who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family; all over town, he was known as the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day, someone murdered him.

Fast-forward four years. David Neff, the bestselling author of a true-crime book about an Ohio serial killer, is a broken man after his wife’s inexplicable suicide. When an unexpected visit from an old friend introduces him to the strange mystery of “the man with a thousand mittens,” David decides to investigate. What he finds draws him back into a world he thought he had left behind forever. And the closer David gets to uncovering the true identity of the Man from Primrose Lane, the more he begins to understand the dangerous power of his own obsessions and how they may be connected to the deaths of both the old hermit and his beloved wife.

Deviously plotted and full of dark wit, James Renner’s The Man from Primrose Lane is an audacious debut that boasts as many twists as a roller coaster. But beneath its turns, it’s a spellbinding story about our obsessions: the dangerous sway they have over us and the fates of those we love.

THE MAN FROM PRIMROSE LANE is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


“Punctuated by moments of desperate tenderness, this unusually demanding and grim tale provokes troubling reflections on guilt and innocence, good and evil, revenge and redemption.” -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“…fully fleshed characters, and the sense of place is engaging and vividly rendered.” -Booklist

“THE MAN FROM PRIMROSE LANE is a haunting, wickedly clever book. Part Dennis Lehane, part Murakami with a twist of HP Lovecraft mixed in gives it a taste like no other. Renner starts off his fiction career with a bang.” – Jonathan Carroll, author of The Land of Laughs and The Ghost in Love.

“THE MAN FROM PRIMROSE LANEis one of those novels that will leave you torn: you’ll want to read it slowly, in order to savor every scene, but you’ll feel compelled to rush through the pages to discover what happens next. James Renner weaves an intricate story of murder, abduction, and obsessive love, and does it with uncommon skill and intelligence. The book is an incredible achievement — beautifully written and dazzlingly plotted, full of well-drawn characters and unexpected twists.” – Harry Dolan, author of Bad Things Happen.

“A well-told story filled with darkness, horror, humor and surprising tenderness. And that’s just the first part. There is a moment in this novel when the story moves in a way so unexpected I actually had to put it down and catch my breath. Go ahead, see what I mean. I’ll wait here for you.” – Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.


James Renner spends his spare time hunting serial killers and writing about his misadventures. His true crime stories have been published in the Best American Crime Reporting and Best Creative Nonfiction anthologies.

Sometimes he pretends to smoke cigarettes because he wants to feel relaxed but is too afraid of the harmful effects to actually smoke.

He lives in Akron, Ohio with his wife, Julie, and son, Casey