Saturday, September 20, 2014

Defending Turquoise is a Courtroom-Heavy WhoDunIt

As a young lawyer (mid-20's) I spent lots and lots of hours just hanging around courtrooms and going to school on other lawyers. I was learning how they did things like put on direct testimony without leading a witness, cross-examining without open-ended questions, how to make objections on relevance, foundation, hearsay, best evidence, and so forth and why to make them and when. I learned how to make "speaking objections" (frowned on by judges) and how to make clean objections that were not themselves objectionable. Yes, I learned how to fight dirty for those times when someone else was fighting dirty and you needed to protect your client. Opening statements and closing arguments are an art form and I spent years learning how to deliver on those opportunities. Then I studied all the judges within my geography and learned what they liked/disliked, what they would put up with and wouldn't, and I made notes about all of this, lots and lots of notes. Next I bought books. Books on expert witnesses and how to ask the right questions. How to object to expert witness testimony, how to argue against and for experts--all the tools a trial lawyer would needed

When all was said and done I was ready.

And by now the better cases had begun to fall my way.

My big break came when a police chief hired me to defend him on theft charges. The FBI was the investigating agency and the Illinois State Police forensics were in there too. After a three day trial I got a not guilty. From then on I had a reputation as the "go-to" guy on cases in my area.

So what came next?

I started going after cases on a national basis. Soon I was defending clients from California to New York, from Texas to Washington.

I'm not telling these things to brag. I am telling them to point out the preparation it took for me to begin writing believable and accurate novels about lawyers and court proceedings. I wanted my books, especially the trials and testimony portions, to be as accurate as could be, for how things happen during trials and what lawyers are thinking about when those things happen.

When OJ Simpson went on trial I took a leave of absence from my office and stayed home every day and watched that trial in its entirety. Who wouldn't? I got to watch F. Lee Bailey, Robert Shapiro, Johnny Cochran, and Barry Scheck (probably the greatest DNA lawyer of the time). These guys were fantastic, and had huge reputations and I loved getting to known them and learning how they did things. Has this paid off in my writing? I think so.

Which brings me to this. My new book, coming in about 1 week, is courtroom intensive. It takes the reader through two murder trials. It exposes the reader to how small some judges can be, how hateful they can act, and how godlike they assume themselves to be. Don't get me wrong; those judges are a tiny percentage of the really fantastic men and women who populate the rest of the bench. The good ones like Bill Garbarino, Richard Mangum, Steve Verkamp, Cecil J. Burrows and so many others I've worked before. These guys are the best of the best and I will always be grateful for how well they treated me, how respectful they were to us all, and how wise their decisions and well-informed.

So in Defending Turquoise I have tried to get some of that best and worst into the book. I have lived this stuff, ate it and slept it, and love bringing it to the page for you to experience. There's nothing more rewarding to me than getting to share some of what I know with my readers.

Defending Turquoise. Get it now and enjoy my longest and my most trial-heavy book yet.

One last thing. The killer isn't revealed right away. Please don't spoil the book for others with reviews that tell who did what.

But please leave reviews,lots of them. That's got a lot to do with me getting paid in this new job of mine, writing.

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