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Ryan David Jahn

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Subject: Murder of Kitty Genovese, Macmillan New Writing, CWA New Blood Dagger, Crime Thriller Awards
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Ryan David Jahn

Ryan David Jahn
Pictured in Los Angeles, 2009
Born Ryan David Jahn
Arizona, United States
Occupation Novelist, screenwriter
Nationality American
Genres Crime fiction, noir, thriller

Mary Jahn (2004-2012, her death)

Jessica Alt (2013-present)

Ryan David Jahn (born 1979) is an American novelist and screenwriter. His first book, Acts of Violence (Good Neighbors in the U.S.), is a literary thriller inspired by the 1964 murder of Catherine Genovese.[1] Upon release in 2009 it was both praised as "compassionate and authentic,"[2] and criticized for containing "relentless, near-pornographic brutality,"[3] though overall critical reception was positive,[4][5][6] and it won a Crime Writers' Association dagger for best first novel. He has released three other books, one of which, The Dispatcher, was long-listed for the Crime Writers' Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger.


Born in Arizona, Jahn spent much of his youth moving between his father's apartment in Austin, Texas, and his mother's various rentals in and around Los Angeles, California. At one point, while living near Los Angeles, he was one of six people sharing a one-bedroom apartment, and has said it was to avoid these cramped living quarters that he spent much of his time in public libraries.[7] He finished high school at sixteen, and later joined the army, an experience he has described as "ludicrous."[8] He now lives and writes in Louisville, Kentucky.


Though his work has been described as crime fiction, including by Jahn himself ("It revolved around a crime, so that seemed to be what it was"),[9] he has cited writers as diverse as Raymond Carver, Ernest Hemingway, and Stephen King as influences.

His first novel, Acts of Violence, takes place over a period of three hours and revolves around the murder of Katrina Marino, a bar manager stabbed in the courtyard outside her apartment block. Her murder is witnessed by several people, none of whom call the police or try to help, as each denies responsibility, an example of the bystander effect. Though inspired by the murder of Catherine Genovese, the case that first spurred research into the diffusion of responsibility, Jahn has said he wasn't interested in writing a didactic work. "I didn't want to create symbols; I wanted the story to be inhabited by people."[10]

Jahn's second novel, Low Life, was released on 2 July 2010. He has said in interview that "it’s about a payroll accountant who lives a lonely, friendless life. One night while he’s asleep in bed someone breaks into his apartment and tries to murder him. During the altercation he ends up killing his assailant, and rather than calling the police, he puts the body on ice in his bathtub and tries to find out who wanted him dead and why."[11]

His third novel, The Dispatcher, was released in 2011, and his fourth, The Last Tomorrow, in July 2012.


  1. Acts of Violence (aka Good Neighbors) (2009)
  2. Low Life (2010)
  3. The Dispatcher (2011)
  4. The Last Tomorrow (2012)


Won: The Crime Writers' Association John Creasey New Blood Dagger for Acts of Violence (2010).

Nominated: Spinetingler Award, Best Novel: New Voice, for Good Neighbors (2012).

Long-listed: The Crime Writers' Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for The Dispatcher (2012).


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