Ohio Author Spotlight: Robin Yocum

The work of acclaimed crime fiction writer Robin Yocum has been strongly influenced by his upbringing in the heart of the industrialized Ohio River Valley. Born in Steubenville into a family of steelworkers, coal miners, and railroaders, he grew up in Brilliant, a small town in Eastern Ohio. Determined to forge a different path, Yocum was the first in his family to attend college. A journalism major at Bowling Green University, Yocum worked at a variety of jobs ranging from newspaper carrier and truck driver to gas station attendant and night janitor at the Steubenville Country Club.

Robin Yocum

After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he started his journalism career at the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, moved to the Martins Ferry Times Leader and finally landed at the Columbus Dispatch from 1980 to 1991, where he started out on the crime beat and was later the senior reporter on the newspaper’s investigative team. During his time as a newspaper reporter and investigator, he received more than 30 local, state, and national journalism awards in categories ranging from investigative reporting to feature writing, the most important of which were from the Press Club of Ohio and the Associated Press.

Yocum, the father of three grown children, is now the president of Yocum Communications, a public relations and marketing firm in Westerville, Ohio, as well as a crime fiction writer. He uses the Ohio River Valley where he grew up as the setting for several of his novels. He also uses some of the people he grew up with and his family as inspiration for some of the characters. 

Yocum is the author of two non-fiction books and five critically acclaimed novels: A Welcome Murder, A Brilliant Death, Favorite Sons, The Essay, and A Perfect Shot. Favorite Sons was named the 2011 USA Book News’ Book of the Year for Mystery/Suspense. It was selected for the Choose to Read Ohio program for 2013 – 2014 and was a featured book of the Ohioana Book Festival. A Brilliant Death was a finalist for the 2017 Edgar Allen Poe Awards presented by the Mystery Writers of America.

A Brilliant Death/Robin Yocum

Yocum has also turned his prodigious talents to writing short stories. He was a contributor to Columbus Noir, an anthology edited by local author Andrew Welsh-Huggins, and his short story The Last Hit was one of 20 stories selected for the Best American Mystery Stories 2020, an annual anthology edited by the legendary Otto Preminger. Yocum’s many fans anxiously await his next contribution to the world of crime fiction, The Sacrifice of Lester Yates

The Sacrifice of Lester Yates/Robin Yocum

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