Mark Pinsky, a religion beat veteran known for his reporting for the Los Angeles Times and Orlando Sentinel, has been awarded a Gold Medal in the True Crime category of the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards for his book Met Her on the Mountain: A Forty-Year Quest to Solve the Appalachian Cold-Case Murder of Nancy Morgan (John F. Blair Publishers).

Met Her On the Mountain was heralded by Huffington Post as one of the best new releases of the week when it came out in October, 2013. It was a Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week with a starred rave review calling it a “compulsively page-turning true crime narrative [that] has it all: smart prose, a now-obscure unsolved murder that was notorious at the time, and an investigative journalist trying to pick up the trail.”

Pinsky spent four decades investigating the murder of federal antipoverty worker Nancy Morgan, who was killed while on a VISTA assignment in Madison County, North Carolina in 1970. In Met Her on the Mountain he presents a tale of rural noir encompassing a bloody local history, a corrupt political machine, a clash of cultures, and a deep suspicion of outside do-gooders.

After Nancy was found naked, hogtied, and strangled in her government car, an inept investigation involving local, state, and federal law-enforcement agencies failed to find a clear explanation of the motive or events of her murder. The case was left unsolved, but Pinsky believes he has identified the person responsible.

When Pinsky, a Duke student at the time, first read about the murder of Nancy, he felt an immediate connection to the young activist. Over the next 40 years of his successful career as a journalist and author, Pinsky remained haunted by the questions surrounding Nancy’s murder. “I was determined to bring her killers to justice,” he says. “I saw her as a comrade in the fight for social justice.”

Mark I. Pinsky holds degrees from Duke and Columbia. In addition to his investigative reporting on the crime and religion beats for the Los Angeles Times and the Orlando Sentinel, he has contributed to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, and many other publications. He lives in Maitland, Florida.

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Kelly Hughes
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