Crime authors tend to do research by looking online and exploring true crime cases. Some authors even do research by reading other crime authors' work, even though this could lead to complications with plagiarism and copyright if they end up copying another writer's work. However, there is a new generation of researchers surfacing, as a podcaster and filmmaker is trying his hand at solving a Cold Case through a new form of documentary. This has been seen recently with the "Up and Vanished" podcast, which was created by Payne Lindsey.

The "Up and Vanished" podcast explores the unsolved disappearance of Georgia beauty queen, Tara Grinstead.

11 years ago, the high school teacher went missing after being at a pageant all day and hanging out with friends at a barbecue at night. Her body was never found and it seemed like she had disappeared without a trace. It was one of the biggest files for the GBI -- the Georgia Bureau of Investigation – and it remained unsolved until Payne decided to dig a little deeper.

Talking to people opened up old wounds

Unlike so many others before him, Payne decided to talk to people about the case. He quickly ran into trouble in her hometown of Ocilla, Georgia, as he found that people were not willing to talk to him about her disappearance. It was clear that perhaps people knew more than they were telling him.

Through discussions about the case and promoting the podcast on social media and in the local media, two suspects were eventually arrested for the disappearance and murder of Tara. Both of them claim to have nothing to do with the case and a trial is expected to take place next year.

Even though it may have been tough for Lindsey to knock on doors and try to talk to people that had no interest in talking to him, many say that it was his podcast that opened up this cold case.

It is a story that is clearly making headlines across the country and the host is currently traveling around the country to do live shows, where listeners can ask questions and interact with the people behind the podcast. Lindsey is currently thinking about the second case that he and his team are going to tackle.

How can you use this for your novel?

"Up and Vanished" clearly changed the way we do research. While some people will sit at home and Google their way to the answers, Lindsey went into a little town and shook things up. Despite doing a podcast about the case, people were not happy with his actions. He revealed that he received death threats for exploring this topic. Some people were clearly hiding something and he was determined to find out what it was.

That's not to say that you should go out and shake things up in a small town with a cold case, but perhaps you can use a cold case as an inspiration point and start asking some tough questions. Use some of these investigative questions as part of your novel.

The crime you have chosen to write about in your novel may not be solved because the tough question simply hasn't been asked. You can leave your case unsolved. You are the author, you call the shots. As Payne himself explains, the "Up and Vanished" podcast was simply meant to answer the question: What happened to Tara Grinstead?

Have you listened to the "Up and Vanished" podcast yet? Do you find inspiration in the story?

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