THE NUMEROUS SOLUTIONS OF
est. New York | c. Los Angeles
est. New York | c. Los Angeles

About Me

Billy Jensen is a true-crime journalist focused squarely on unsolved murders and missing persons. But after seventeen years of writing hundreds of stories with no endings, he was fed up—and decided to try to solve the murders and find the missing himself. It worked. Combining the shoe-leather investigative tenacity and skills he learned reporting crime with radical techniques honed from his day job as a digital executive, Jensen has solved or helped solve ten homicides and helped locate missing persons. Law enforcement agencies now reach out to Jensen to help in cases that have them stumped, using him as a “consulting detective.”

 

His 2019 book, Chase Darkness with Me: How One True Crime Writer Started Solving Murders (Sourcebooks/Audible) was an instant New York Times Bestseller.

 

He was friends with Michelle McNamara and, after her sudden passing, helped finish her #1 New York Times bestselling book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, about the hunt for the Golden State Killer, which will be adapted into an HBO docuseries in 2020. He was a senior producer and investigator on the Warner Bros. show Crime Watch Daily and cohosts The First Degree podcast with Alexis Linkletter and Jac Vanek and Jensen & Holes: The Murder Squad podcast with Paul Holes.

In former days, he co-founded the Long Island Press newspaper, earned a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Kansas and played professional roller hockey (earning the first minor penalty in Major League Roller Hockey history).

 

How Billy Works

Hi. Enough writing in the third person. Here’s how I work:

 

You know in hockey that one guy who takes one last shot at the goalie’s glove to try and jar the puck loose after the whistle? That’s me. I love doing that. Everyone gets pissed. I get roughed up. I draw penalties. I get in their heads. It’s nothing personal, and these guys want to take my head off. But I am just trying to show one thing. I will keep going. Punch me. Spear me. Cut my face open. I will keep going. I approach everything the same way—from a story that needs to be told to a case that needs to be solved to a project that needs to be built. The truth/money/opportunity is the puck. The guy holding it is the obstacle. And me? I’m the guy that is going to keep jabbing at it until it goes in. And you jab at it long enough– it goes in.

 

 

pic_strip

 

How I got started

In 1996, I was on my way to a career as a religious studies academic, focusing on new religious movements, which the media refer to as “cults.” I focused on the Christian Apocalyptic groups of the central United States, while at the same time was founding and playing for the University of Kansas hockey team. In the Spring, I got a call that my father was going into heart surgery. So I left Kansas with a master’s degree, and went home to save the family house painting business.

 

While climbing up and down the ladders, breathing in asbestos dust and scraping paint off foundations, I needed a creative outlet. So I started a zine—The Fight Card, which chronicled every punch of every fight The New York Islander enforcers engaged in during the 1996-97 season.

 

I would build them on an old mac, print and staple them at Kinkos, then hand them out at games, often leaving them in the bathroom stalls for some pugilist reading pleasure for a lucky fan.

 

At the same time, The Village Voice was launching an edition of their paper on Long Island. The editor saw The Fight Card, and offered me a single story for the first issue. I took it, and never looked back. I kept pitching and writing, shuffling  between sports, entertainment, and crime stories.

 

I earned my first cover story in the spring of 1997. Dad was back to full health, and I took leave from house painting to play professional roller hockey. Earning the first penalty in league history, I was a scrub, and saw limited playing time. But I could play with those guys, and got a few pucks in the net.

 

In 1998, my father passed away, a month after my daughter was born, and two weeks after my cover story “My Dad Kicked Your Ass at Shea, a Baseball Memoir” was published. I was 25 with no safety net. I gave up pro hockey (I was pretty awful anyway), and started working full time as a listings assistant, then listings editor. I hustled by reporting for the New York Times on the weekends, writing crime stories. Then one thing led to a billion things. Hell, read the book or drop me a line at bill@billyjensen.com.

Keep Digging,

Billy