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Meet the Author

Barbara Janik is a quirky, middle-aged Texas woman full of grit and determination. In her debut memoir, Chasing bin Laden: My Hunt for the World’s Most Notorious Terrorist, Barbara takes readers on an emotional journey through the high-stakes world of lay investigations. A masters-level historian and meticulous researcher, she cleverly integrates 177 citations into the manuscript to help corroborate this hidden history.

Barbara’s Story

In high school, Barbara Janik walked the halls every day, wearing the same black sweater and mumbling to herself. To many she was twitchy and odd, which made her a social reject. But despite this, she graduated 5th in her class and earned enough scholarships to cover her tuition at a private Catholic university.

In the fall of 1987, when Barbara arrived at University of St. Thomas in Houston, she was unaware that she would be attending one of the toughest, most prestigious universities in Texas. Like in high school, she was often considered unusual by her peers. Despite this, she thrived. While at St. Thomas, she discovered and nurtured her love of writing.

After earning her bachelor’s in liberal arts, she briefly taught first grade and then high school. But she quickly grew dissatisfied with the low pay and social stressors, so decided to go back to college to study computer science. However, when the IT job market crashed, she dropped out and began working as a PC repair technician, which led to her mastery of the art of “Google-fu.”

In 2006, Barbara once again took her life in a new direction. While still working as a tech, she branched off into lay detective work. She would seek lucrative rewards for hunting down missing persons, criminals, and terrorists. That summer, Barbara made an unexpected discovery: the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. She accomplished this using social media, people finders, detective sites, her new “Google-fu” skills, and raw intuition. As a result, bin Laden was secretly arrested on August 16, 2006.

Not long after, Barbara started graduate school at Sam Houston State University and attained a master’s in history. This gave her the credentials she needed to work for several years an adjunct professor and the skills to write the historical portions of Chasing bin Laden.

Today, Barbara Janik lives in a small home in rural Texas with her partner and black cat. She spends her days writing, running a small Amazon reselling business, playing nerdy games like Dungeons & Dragons, and obsessively Tweeting.

Join Barbara Janik on an emotional journey
through the hidden world of lay investigations.

The Making of Chasing bin Laden

Years of writing, development, and editing
Pages of End Notes
Buckets of tears
Number of times “anxiety” and “panic” appear in the book
Number of times "bin Laden" appears in the book