Book Review: Jenna’s Case by Andy Siegel

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BOOK BLURB

 

A teen-aged girl can be among the most vulnerable of human beings. And the preyed-upon young woman at the dark center of Jenna’s Case is certain to win the heart of readers. Believing Jenna Radcliff to be the victim of a Brooklyn doctor willing to put greed above his oath to do no harm, Tug takes on her case with deeply felt zeal. Yet what he quickly comes to understand is that his new client—once an obviously bright, outgoing girl (and ace neighborhood jump-roper)—is now a nearly mute shadow of her former self. As he proceeds to amass evidence against the conscienceless and defiant surgeon who’d willfully mutilated Jenna, Tug unfortunately soon discovers that the forces set against him are not only more numerous than he’d imagined but also more deadly.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

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Better than expected. I LOVE when that happens. My first read into the Tug Wyler adventurous legal series was an entertaining romp. Tug Tyler is a personal injury lawyer who’s quite an interesting character to say the least. The overall tone is humorous with a good dose of conflict served in various forms. Andy Siegel is a good storyteller who’s witty and has a good knack for storytelling. Jenna is the victim filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a shady doctor with criminal ties in the neighborhood. This book is full of twists and turns with another spin or two for good measure. My next read is Nelly’s Case. 

 

 

We Recommend!

 

 

 

 

©Michael Paras Photography (973) 476-3988

 

 

Andy Siegel maintains a special commitment to representing survivors of traumatic brain injury in his practice of law. He is on the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and of the Brain Injury Association of New York State. His many trial successes have regularly placed those outcomes among the “Top 100 Verdicts” reported in the state annually. A graduate of Tulane University and Brooklyn Law School, he now lives outside of the greater NYC area. 

So how did the colorful, cocky and self-deprecating Tug Wyler come into being? He was hanging around, shadowing my daily life for a long time; I just didn’t know it. But here’s the short version: I shared a trial story with a mom at my kids baseball game who said I should write a book and the idea of him just appeared in my head.

Unable to shake the spell he cast, I began to write, each morning when I got on Metro North, what became my debut novel, Suzy’s Case. But I was doing it only to amuse myself. I didn’t read courtroom mysteries or legal thrillers; as far as I was concerned, I was living them. The rush to cover up genuine wrongs of the sort that lie at the heart of the Tug Wyler Mysteries happens continually out there in the real world. Believe me, fiction doesn’t know the half of it.

Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster published Suzy’s Case. My book agent Sterling Lord then penned a deal with Open Road Media and Mysteriouspress.com to publish Cookie’s Case. After requesting and receiving the reversion of my rights on these novels, and after my option with CBS Television to create a one-hour procedural TV show based on the Tug Wyler character expired, I formed Rockwell Press.

For Tug Wyler readers, I promise a mix of rule-bending high-tension conflict during the course of which you’ll laugh in spite of yourself . . . while never knowing what’s going to happen next. Like me, Tug’s the kind of street-smart push-it-to-the-limit lawyer you’d want on your side when the worst has happened.

 

Website |Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Law & Vengeance by Mike Papantonio

Law and Vengeance

 

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

Gina Romano is a highly successful trial lawyer with Bergman/Deketomis, a firm dedicated to protecting the public by exposing and penalizing corporate crooks and their allies in government. Well into her thirties, Gina hasn’t overcome the anger and defensiveness resulting from a bizarre and traumatic childhood. As she contemplates whether to marry solid, attractive and loyal veterinarian Bryan Penn or to send him packing, the murder of a friend and mentor, Angus Moore, turns her life into a quest for vengeance. In consort with partner Nick Deketomis, Gina runs headlong into a life and death struggle against weapons manufacturers, a gun rights lobbyist, psychopathic Chicago police, a hi-tech genius assassin, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Still, the most formidable and dangerous enemy she faces is herself.

 

 

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The Bergman-Deketomis Law Firm undergoes a severe blow when one of their own is murdered while investigating a large U.S. Weapons manufacturer. The enemy never plays by the rules. What happens when the enemy strikes close to home? Lawyers in the firm are tested by the law of vengeance when their morals begin to blur.

I loved the introduction, background, development, and point of view of lawyer Gina Romano. Exceptional. Her character made all the difference and really spiced things up a bit. The legalese and hairy cases are always fascinating but having great characters can’t be beat. Loved it.

 

 

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Mike Papantonio is a senior partner of Levin Papantonio, one of the largest plaintiffs’ law firms in America, that has handled thousands of cases throughout the nation involving pharmaceutical drug litigation, Florida tobacco litigation, litigation for asbestos-related health damage, securities fraud actions, and other mass tort cases. “Pap” has received dozens of multimillion dollar verdicts on behalf of victims of corporate corruption.

Papantonio is one of the youngest attorneys to have been inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. In 2012 Papantonio became President of the National Trial Lawyers Association, one of the largest trial lawyer organizations in America. For his trial work on behalf of consumers, Papantonio has received some of the most prestigious awards reserved by the Public Justice Foundation, The American Association for Justice, and the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Papantonio is an author of four motivational books for lawyers. He is also co-author of Air America: The Playbook, a New York Times Political Best Seller.

Papantonio is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show “Ring of Fire” along with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Sam Seder. Papantonio has conducted hundreds of recorded interviews with guests, including Dan Rather, Helen Thomas, Howard Zinn, Arianna Huffington, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bernie Sanders, David Crosby, Merle Haggard, Morgan Spurlock, John Edwards, Bill Moyers, Rickie Lee Jones, Alanis Morissette, Pete Seeger, Jackson Browne, Chuck D from Public Enemy, Henry Rollins, Ted Sorensen, and Elizabeth Kucinich. His role on “Ring of Fire” is featured in the movie, “Jesus Camp,” which was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

Papantonio is also a political commentator who frequently appears on MSNBC, Free Speech TV, RT America Network, and Fox News.

Papantonio is married and has one daughter. He is an avid scuba diver and often dives on the Emerald Coast.

 

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Law & Disorder Review by Mike Papantonio

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The Author

 

Mike Papantonio is a senior partner of Levin Papantonio, one of the largest plaintiffs’ law firms in America, that has handled thousands of cases throughout the nation involving pharmaceutical drug litigation, Florida tobacco litigation, litigation for asbestos-related health damage, securities fraud actions, and other mass tort cases. “Pap” has received dozens of multimillion dollar verdicts on behalf of victims of corporate corruption.

Papantonio is one of the youngest attorneys to have been inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. In 2012 Papantonio became President of the National Trial Lawyers Association, one of the largest trial lawyer organizations in America. For his trial work on behalf of consumers, Papantonio has received some of the most prestigious awards reserved by the Public Justice Foundation, The American Association for Justice, and the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Papantonio is an author of four motivational books for lawyers. He is also co-author of Air America: The Playbook, a New York Times Political Best Seller.

 

 

 

 

Goodreads Description

 

In the tradition of John Grisham, from radio talk show host and “America’s lawyer” Mike Papantonio, comes Law and Disorder, a highly suspenseful legal thriller in which a Florida attorney finds the system working against him.

Brash, brilliant, handsome Nicholas Deketomis has built a highly successful career as a lawyer protecting the rights of the innocent while winning multibillion dollar lawsuits from the powers that be. “Deke” may have come from the wrong side of the tracks but he’s built a wonderful life for his close-knit family. His wife, Terry, and two children live in a beautiful house in a seaside community along the Florida Panhandle.

But their comfortable life is endangered. In the midst of a highly contentious multimillion dollar lawsuit against a powerful pharmaceutical company, as well as publicly advocating for a liberal Florida State Senate candidate, this time Deke may have riled the wrong powerbrokers. Scheming against him are a local Bible-thumping preacher, an ambitious district attorney, and two malicious brothers running one of the country’s biggest oil corporations. A vile conspiracy is hatched to bring down Deketomis: Setting him up and attempting to convict him on a bogus murder charge would solve many of their problems.

Deke’s in the trial of his life, which quickly becomes a media circus. But this good man will not go down without a bruising fight—especially when he finds his family threatened. And just as it seems that his enemies may have him cornered, he finds help from the unlikeliest source.

 

 

 

MY THOUGHTS…

 

 

 

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First impressions

Lawyer Nicholas Deketomis is a big time Florida lawyer who’s hell bent on stopping a mammoth pharmaceutical company from profiting from a dangerous drug on the market. While he’s building his case against this behemoth, there’s another case he feels compelled to take. Of course, his life, career and family are put into danger in the process.

The book is very well written. The book largely reflects on the experience of the author who captures perfectly the greed of big corporations in crime. I never realized how politically motivated things can get behind the scenes.

 

At the heart of the story…

“Deke” the lawyer is of course at the heart of the story. He was well written, confident, driven, workaholic, and determined for justice. But that was part of the problem for me. He was a little too ‘perfect’ in my opinion. I think he was painted a little bit too heroic for my taste. He didn’t seem that vulnerable or flawed. Maybe that wasn’t even it. Bottom line, I couldn’t relate to him that much. That me feel more distant and less resonant with him.

 

Other thoughts

This really was a well written story with sprawling plot lines and believable characters. For a legal thriller it did give me a different feel comparatively speaking. The legal cases were focused on bringing down big corporations with deep pockets and resources at their disposal. The subtle political motivations hidden the big companies was an interesting viewpoint to see. Mike Papantonio’s writing is crystal clear and has an excellent use of language throughout the book.

 

Conclusions

We can have a well written book after it’s been polished a billion times over. Who doesn’t want that? But will our characters be memorable? Or will they resonate deeply with your readers? It depends. Some certainly will while others won’t. It’s a very subjective experience that doesn’t necessarily reflect on the skill of the writer.

Reading this was also a healthy broadening experience. I have to give it to Mike, it’s a pretty unique brand of legal thriller. None of the other legal thrillers I’ve read bear this kind of flavor. You like apples? I like apples. There’s over 300 different kinds of apple trees out there. Eating one kind of apple will eventually get boring. Red delicious is my favorite. Jonathon Golds, Gala, and Granny Smith apples are nice too. Books can be like this. It’s great to have different kinds of thrillers from all kinds of authors. That’s what I love about writing. Everyone is so unique!

I’ll definitely read another book written by Mike Papantonio. Why? Because only he is qualified to write a unique kind of story.

 

 

Law and Disorder:  Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

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Great Interview with Marc Rainer Author of the Jeff Trask Crime Series

 

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Everyone Please Welcome

Marc Rainer Author of the  Jeff Trask legal thriller series

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author:


Marc Rainer is a former prosecutor in the federal and local courts of the District of Columbia, and a former circuit prosecutor for the U.S. Air Force’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he has more than thirty years experience in the prosecution of major cases. He is married to a former Air Force OSI Special Agent, and lives in a suburb of a major American city.



A Winter of Wolves will be available via Amazon and in select brick-and-mortar retailers as of October 2016.




 

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According to Goodreads

Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask and a team of investigators are on the trail of what they believe is a lone wolf terrorist who is murdering law enforcement officers in the nation’s capital. Their investigation leads them into a firefight with a cell of radical Islamic terrorists who have something much more terrible in mind. If successful, the terrorists’ plan will threaten the entire eastern seaboard of the United States. The fourth book in Marc Rainer’s Jeff Trask crime drama series is a contemporary historical novel incorporating issues associated with many current events.

A Winter of Wolves is also the 4th volume in the series.  Check out the first three volumes on Goodreads.



          Let’s begin….

          What led you to become a writer?

          After 30 years of service as a federal prosecutor, I had collected hundreds of professional “war stories” from cases. Told correctly, these are also known as “plot lines.” My wife kept saying, “You should write a book,” so I did.

          There’s no better fuel than life experience. Excellent!




          Which authors inspire your writing the most?

          If any served as inspiration, it would be the W.E.B. Griffin  father-son team and series, since it showed me how characters could be developed over the course of a series of novels. I also love the way Michael Connelly writes.

          Haven’t heard of W. E. B. Griffin, but I also love Michael Connelly. Great source of inspiration! 




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          What’s your goal in becoming a writer?

          I honestly just wanted to see what I could do. Nothing beyond that. The modest success (about 40,000 sales as a self-published author) has been a pleasant surprise.

          Wonderul. I believe it’ll only get better. The reviews are great!




          What three things have hindered your writing?

          I don’t have three. The only obstacle before I retired was the day job; in other words, having enough time. Since then, the retail bias against self-published authors may have hindered sales, but not the writing itself.

          Having enough time is always a struggle. 




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          What keeps you motivated?

          I just like to write.

          That’s good enough motivation for anyone.





          “Good writing is clear thinking made visible.” -Bill Wheeler




          What is my antagonist?

          I don’t allow those, don’t have one.

          Oh, I love that attitude. Excellent.




          Compared to my previous work, what’s it like being a writer?

          First, I like my boss a lot more. Second, since I was a career prosecutor, I miss the cops and agents – real-life heroes – with whom I had the pleasure of working for years. Third, my schedule is my own now, and being comfortably retired, there’s no pressure. I’m very fortunate in that way.

          This sounds like a very sweet experience. I wish I had it! 







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          What would I say to a writer who has given up?

          Find something you believe in enough to NOT give up on. Examine yourself. Why did you give up on writing? Lack of financial success? Self doubt? One can be overcome with perseverance. The other is a sign of some deeper issues. Identify them and start to deal with them.

          Perseverance is the name of the game. I needed to hear this myself. 





          What are the key elements to a legal thriller?

          I try very hard to avoid formulas. In real-life legal work – especially in solving criminal cases –  formulaic approaches can lead to “tunnel vision.” By that, I mean that if you approach a case the same way every time, trying to solve a case using the same method that happened to work the last time, you can miss a lot of clues, make a lot of serious mistakes. Each case involves different people with different motivations. Some criminals act without rational motivation at all; they are creatures of impulse. A crime-based legal thriller by definition has to involve a crime, or series of crimes. After that, I climb on board with my characters for the investigative “ride,” to see where that leads. The solution can occur in or out of the courtroom.

          I agree wholeheartedly. Formulas can be quite boring.  






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          Introduce us to the Jeff Trask series.

          Trask is my fictional alter-ego. A lot of my plot lines are based upon actual cases, and I use trial transcripts from actual cases in the books, with the usual name changes “to protect the innocent” (and guilty). While Trask and I share a lot of experiences, he probably learns faster on the job than I did. I strive for realism. There aren’t any Hollywood gun fights where the good guys snapshoot someone off the roof of a building a hundred yards away with a handgun, then outrun a string of machine gun bullets. I also try not to use the hackneyed lone, tortured soul, alcoholic detective approach. Complex crimes are not solved by rogue superheroes acting alone. They are solved by teams of good people – cops, medical examiners, forensic specialists, and then prosecutors and their staffs – all working together. I’ve been fortunate enough to earn praise from professionals in these fields who say,  “Finally, somebody got it right.” Some critics have said that Trask is “too perfect,” in that he is NOT the typical tortured hero. We all have some demons, but I don’t seek readers who have to look down on a character in order to feel better about themselves. I don’t write literary fiction, and don’t have to apologize for that. The series is about how real teams solve real cases, facing criminals or criminal organizations posing real threats. It also has a lot of dark humor in it, which is also real, in that the guys and gals who do this work for a living have to have that sense of humor to do their jobs without going nuts.

          I love the whole team idea to solving crimes. Not conforming to the typical hero complex is a great way to step outside the box. 





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          What are the chief characteristics of Jeff Trask?  

          Smart. Occasionally a smart-ass, in fact. He does not, however, talk down to anyone or use his brain for anything other than finding solutions. He loves classic rock, and always has a jukebox playing in his head, usually providing a theme-based tune to any situation in which he finds himself. For example, in one book, he encounters a crime scene with about a dozen victims – gang members – shot to hell by a rival criminal element. Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” starts playing in his mind. Trask works well with others as long as they are interested in being part of the solution and not the problem.

          The characteristics of the protagonist help readers fall in love with them. 





          Any planned releases for 2017?

          The next book in the series has already started to take shape in my head. It will find its way to a keyboard some time next year.

          Looking forward to it! it’ll give me some time to catch up in the series.





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          Favorite quotes:




          “Government’s never react well, but they over-react superbly.” Robert Lassiter, Trask’s fictional mentor.





          Connect with Marc Rainer

          Facebook | Goodreads | www.marcrainer.com | Amazon




          Thanks Marc!

          Begin 2017 with a challenge. Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge.

           

          Join the Goodreads group: Book Hoarders Bucket List Challenge.

           

          A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

           

          Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

          Thanks for ridin’ the Train folks!  Come again!

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          Benjamin Thomas

          @thewritingtrain

          http://www.thewritingtrain.com

          A new Political Thriller by J.C. Peters

           

          Everyone please welcome J.C. Peters!

           

           

           

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          The Dog and its Day

           

           

          There has been only one assassination on a Presidential Candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, in 1968. Has the time come for the next serious attempt? Legal Philosopher, historian and author J.C. Peters uses this scenario in his first political fiction novel, The Dog and its Day (Odyssea Publishing), available now on Amazon and major online retailers. As the United States comes to elect the next President in the coming months and with the first debate completed, Peters is compelled to depict the main characters in the book off current political and presidential candidates.

          In The Dog and Its Day, two conservative billionaires decide to hire the best assassin $10 million can buy to kill Republican presidential candidate Ronald Drump, realizing any other candidate would have a much better chance of winning against the notoriously unpopular Valery Clayton. The assassin, an American, is meticulous, methodical and he never fails. As a rule, he does not operate stateside, but the chance to retire in style, with a legendary campaign season swings into high gear, the killer chooses his time, place and method. The hour is fast approaching. One main can change the course of history. The question: who will it be?

          To learn more about the book and author J.C. Peters, visit www.JellePeters.comTwitter, or LinkedIn.

           

           

           

           

           

           

          *How did you go from writing historical nonfiction to fiction?

          After finishing my latest nonfiction history book, World 2.0: A History from Enlightenment to Terrorism and Beyond, which had taken me more than three years to write and research, I was actually planning to take a small break. But as I watched Donald Trump rise in the Republican primaries, I began thinking about how incredibly high the stakes would be if he actually became the Republican nominee, how the entire country could be swayed into one of two very different directions and how the course of history is often determined by just one person. Truth is, I had come upon many Donald Trumps while writing World 2.0. Of course, if one man can change the world, it also takes just one man to stop him. And that is how the story of The Dog and its Day was born.

          It’s amazing how one person can affect the world and turn it upon its hinges.

           

           

           

           

           

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          *Can you note the differences you experienced?

          Interestingly enough, the difference between fiction and nonfiction was far smaller than I had expected. In the last six months of working on my history book, I sometimes fantasized about finally being able to throw off the constraints of having to research and double-check every single fact. In fiction, I thought, I could do whatever I wanted, I would finally be the king of my own universe! But when I started writing The Dog and its Day—actually even before that, when I was still just thinking about the story—I realized that for me at least, the main difference would be to recalibrate reality a few degrees. When it comes to thrillers, I was never that interested in outlandish stories where the villains do unspeakable things. In The Dog and its Day, I wanted to explore how an assassination plot on Donald Trump would be conceived, planned and executed. That turned out to take quite a lot of research as well, but at least I didn’t have to name sources, write footnotes and create an index anymore.

          That’s awesome. I’m writing a my first fictional piece and hope to pen nonfiction one day. 

           

           

           

           

          FICTION REVEALS TRUTH THAT REALITY OBSCURES -RALPH WALDO EMERSON

           

           

           

           

          *Does your book explore a particular theme?

          One man can change history. Nothing is set in stone and history does repeat itself.

          This is very fascinating. I guess it all depends on who is changing history and how they’re doing it. 

           

           

           

           

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          *What can you tell us about these two billionaires and their relationship with one another?

          They are lifelong friends who together founded a coal-mining company 30 years ago and expanded it into a global empire in the decades that followed. They have had people standing in the way of their business interests eliminated before. When one of them suggests to have the Republican nominee assassinated, the other first recoils, but then he realizes the time for moral objections has long since passed.

          Sounds like a great premise! Two power hungry billionaires with their own agenda.

           

           

           

           

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          *Tell us three things about Ronald Drump. 

          He is the Republican nominee for president. A New York real estate developer without any political experience. He is brash, arrogant, notoriously unreliable and far behind in the polls when the two billionaires decide to have him eliminated.

          Well, may the odds ever be in his favor.

           

           

           

           

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          *Tell us three things about Valery Clayton.

          She is the Democratic nominee for president. Her husband, Richard Clayton, was President in the 1990s. She has vowed to close all coal mines in the United States if elected.

          I’m surprised they the billionaires wouldn’t have her assassinated instead. Especially if she’s trying to close the coal mines!

           

           

          *How meticulous is this legendary assassin? 

          He is the kind of man who, if he had an unforeseen chance to take out his mark with a 9mm handgun in a dark forest with nobody else around, would still do nothing more than mumble a greeting and walk on, if he had planned to take him out a day later with a .300 Winchester Magnum from 800 yards away.

          I’ve always thought assassins were cool for some reason. It must be the nature of the job and how they manage to get away with it, or not.

           

           

           

           

           

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          *If you were Ronald Drump and realized an attempt on your life what would you do?

          Probably the same as what the real Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has done. Hire extra private security—much to the dismay of the Secret Service.

          Yikes! Sounds like a high stress job. Whew.

           

           

           

           

           

           

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          *If you had opportunity to change the world as Drump, Clayton, the billionaires, or the assassin which person would you be?

          The billionaires and the assassin can only stop someone else from becoming President of the United States. I would prefer to be in power myself.

          Good answer! 

           

           

          *What is your favorite time period in history?

          I find that once you start digging and are transported back in time, each period has its own unique stories to tell and adventures to share. Fourteenth century France might seem less interesting than World War II at first glance, but once you start exploring the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death and it all comes to life again, it quickly become another favorite period in history.

          It would be adventurous to be a time traveler and go back to observe how things unfolded personally. 

           

           

           

          If you think you have it tough, read history books. -Bill Maher

           

           

           

          *Will you write more political thrillers?

          I already have a new plot. One that strikes at the heart of the presidency and puts the President in an impossible situation. So yes.

          YES. More political thrillers! Keep us posted!

           

           

           

           

           

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          THANKS J.C. PETERS!!!

           

           

          THANKS FOR RIDIN THE TRAIN!!!

           

           

           

           

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          Benjamin Thomas

          @thewritingtrain

          http://www.thewritingtrain.com

          Legal Thriller, Mystery and Crime Fiction with Sherrie Marshall

           

           

           

          It’s time for FORENSIC LENSES!

           

           

           

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          This week we would like to see through the “lenses” of a person who not only loves mystery, legal and crime thrillers; but also who has over two decades of work experience in the legal system. Come join us for another investigative session of Forensic Lenses…

           

           

           

           

          LET’S WELCOME FELLOW WRITER AND MY GOOD FRIEND SHERRIE MARSHALL

           

           

           

           

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          *What did you study in college?

          I have a B.S. In Organizational Leadership and a minor in Economics. Yes, that’s a real degree. It’s code for how to be a leader in today’s disorganized society. The instant gratification expected in everything we touch lends to a society that has become less focused. It has left the door open for much needed leadership. I just hope I can contribute some small part.

          I’ve definitely heard of this one. Couple of my comrades have the same degree! 

           

           

          *What genre do you write?

          I have an affinity toward legal thrillers and mystery. After serving the legal community for 22 years, I’ve learned that the human spirit is the most creative medium to write about. The criminal side, as well as tangled civil matters fascinate me.

          We’re definitely kindred spirits in this department. Legal thrillers, mystery, law…It’s all so fascinating. My dream is to write a sci-fi type legal thriller, then perhaps other quirky legal thrillers. Whatever my imagination can come up with. 

           

           

           

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          *How long have you wanted to be a writer?

          For as long as I can remember stories have been brewing around in the old gray matter. It’s only in the last year that I’ve decided to share. Writing has been an evolution for me. Like any artist will probably admit, sharing our craft is intensely personal. I’m delighted to have arrived at a place in my life that I finally have the time to create and the inclination to share.

          I like the word you’re using in describing this journey. It’s definitely an evolution in many ways. Writers are the most interesting people on earth. Unless of course, you’d happen to be an alien writer. THAT would be something.

           

           

           

          “Easy reading is damn hard writing” -Nathaniel Hawthorne

           

           

           

          *What exactly is your work experience? (In the legal system)

          The first ten years were spent as a bailiff sitting in the courtroom for trials and hearings of all kind. I worked for a District Judge which allowed me to study human nature stemming from a very unsavory place. It was not for the weak at heart, but I became fascinated with human psyche. After my journey through the courts, I became a paralegal and focused mainly on Securities Litigation. Weirdly, it wasn’t that much different than previous criminal trials I had attended. Someone was always faced with losing something very dear to them, money, retirement, possibly business or family. The law is an ever-evolving study of human nature, and it intrigues me deeply.

          This is too good, Sherrie. I had a hardy laugh and about cried, all in the span of one paragraph. I laughed at what you said about human nature stemming from an unsavory place. I pictured you making a face at some pungent smell in the courtroom. Lol! But in all seriousness, I almost cried at the mention of loss that people have to face. I guess I never realized it in this way before. Someone is always put at a loss for something dear to them. Whether it be family, friends, possession, freedom etc. There will always be a loss involved with consequence. 

          “The law is an ever-evolving study of human nature” I love this statement. Human nature is extremely flawed. But some authors explore the beauty in the midst of the storm through their writing.  I believe it was Sally Allen who said something about it in our interview. Finding beauty in the midst of the shipwrecked human condition. Very intriguing. 

           

           

           

           

           

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          “Someone was always faced with losing something very dear to them…”

           

           

          The law is an ever-evolving study of human nature, and it intrigues me deeply.- Sherrie Marshall

           

           

           

           

           

          *Which books did you devour growing up?

          I loved the antics that Nancy Drew found herself in every novel. I couldn’t wait to check out the next book from the library and shred through it like it was the holy gospel. My imagination worked overtime at a very early age. It fascinated me that a young girl could solve a crime. Talk about your strong female character!

          That’s awesome! I admit, I’ve never read Nancy Drew but I’m glad you’re imagination was set on fire! That’s great. Would you ever write a YA mystery?

           

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          *Who are your childhood heroes?

          My parents were my everything. They showed each other kindness and respect. I held a naïve belief that all children had parents like mine. We took picnics regularly; I can still taste mother’s fried chicken, and we stayed after church to eat dinner on the ground (it’s a southern thing). Then I found Elvis. I completely admired that a backwoods boy from Tupelo, Mississippi could turn his beautiful pipes into a voice heard ‘round the world. The fact that he paused his career to serve his country deepened my admiration even more. I always thought if he could do it, anyone who tried hard would have a chance too.

          That’s great. Parents are a very important part of our lives. Elvis is awesome. I love to impersonate Elvis. I actually have a pair of “Elvis” sunglasses (Shh..Don’t tell anyone).

           

           

           

           

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          *What are your favorite legal thrillers and mysteries?

          John Grisham is the legal thriller king in my book. I have to say after studying writing for decades, he is not the best person to emulate if you’re a newbie. He breaks all the writing rules, but is a fine example of consistency in delivering a wallop of a story to readers every time. Books in this department include The Testament and The Innocent Man by Grisham, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Burden of Proof by Scott Turow.

          I’m a Grisham fan as well. I have the Testament downloaded but haven’t read it yet. Definitely looking forward to reading Harper Lee, and I’ve yet to read Scott Turow. .

           

           

           

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          *List your favorite crime and mystery writers.

          James Patterson is simply a freak of nature in the writing world, and I also enjoy English cozies by Deborah Crombie. I believe I’ve read all novels written by both authors.

          Awesomesauce! I have some Patterson books lined up on my to-be-read-list. The cozy mysteries are extremely appealing for some reason. The next one I’ll read is by Elizabeth Spann Craig, or Riley Adams. 

           

           

           

          “Maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.” -Unknown

           

           

           

           

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          *Who are your top 5 sleuths and what do you appreciate about them?

           Alex Cross (Patterson) is such a lovable detective. He has a realistic family life with ups and downs that carries through the entire series. The crimes he must solve are heinous, which peaks my interest.

           Gemma James (Crombie) is a female detective that solves crimes in the UK with sensible rationale. No hyper-dramas, which I appreciate.

           Sherlock Holmes is of course on my list. He is so flawed by nature, that I can’t help but pull for him when solving a crime.

           Mike Hammer (Spillane) had a no nonsense style that forged “hard boiled” detectives into my brain at a fairly young age. All that Hammer reading became beneficial later when I worked with lawyers 

           Inspector Clouseau was such a bumbler, I couldn’t help but love him. Since I was so young, I never knew whether or not the caper would be solved. But of course, they all were, which may be my earliest hook into the legal arena. The movies released in the 60’s and 70’s were always a family favorite.

          I love it! This is a very diverse group of sleuths. Honestly I’ve been pondering starting a Mystery Thriller Week starting February 2017. Interested? I could use your assistance.

           

           

           

          “Danger is the snack food of a true sleuth” -Mac Barnett

           

           

           

           

          *What do you experience as they solve crimes?

          The novels that capture my attention always propose more than one logical answer to a set of problems. I am enthralled with how the sleuth arrives at his decision to pursue one only to find that it is a complete disaster. I’m not a fan of such plot devices as Deus ex Machina, but I love a surprise during the climax of any novel, as long as there was some small crumb left along the way that I can go back and connect. It becomes the “Wow” factor for me in novels. I’m a “twist” junkie.

          Nice. I’m thinking it must be very challenging to fool an experienced mystery reader.

           

           

           

           

           

          AT THE SCENE OF THE CRIME….

           

          *As a reader, what are your top 5 pet peeves?

          Talking heads, hopping heads, a huge cast of characters with a POV, abandoning me for 100 pages after a cliff-hanger, and novels without resolution. I like to know what happened after the disaster.

          Very good list here. I’m always fascinated by what irks readers in their experience of a story. It gives great insight.

           

           

           

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          *What fascinates you most about criminal, civil matters?

          I led a lovely sheltered and protected childhood and was shocked to discover the other side of human nature. I began to research what made serial killers tick, and why passion seems to be the human emotion I most closely equate with animal instinct. In other words, if someone is threatened with the loss of something they hold as dear to them as breathing, then fight or flight enters into the equation. I believe that is where the wires get crossed in many killers. Civil trials can be as twisted and quirky as criminal court. One of my favorites included a lawsuit where a real estate developer decided to cut corners and not spray for termites under the foundation. Guess what can swarm thick enough during dinner to blind you? Yep, termites. It was strange though, after the verdict in favor of the family, that home burned to the ground while they were on an extended vacation. Hmm, fascinating.

          Fascinating indeed. I can see why discovering the other side of human nature would be very shocking. It sounds like such a contrast doesn’t it? Certainly makes for great fiction!

           

           

           

          *As a person who has much experience in the legal system, what is justice?

          Such a loaded question! Justice is administered in a legal sense when a jury of your peers decides on a verdict. But, whoa, is that a huge oversimplification?! In my personal opinion, real justice is when a wrong is set right, be it sincere incarceration for an offender or the correction of a civil issue. Where these two can never meet to administer true and rightful justice is a flaw in our judicial system. Laws are made to protect us all, but at what expense to our basic rights as humans? It is unfortunately deemed prejudicial to a defendant to tell a jury about his prior convictions for similar crimes and patterns. I never sat through a trial where a jury was allowed to consider every piece of evidence for this reason. Jurors and Judges have some of the hardest jobs on the planet. They must weigh all evidence and vote to do the “Just” thing. Justice probably boils down to what Atticus Finch said in To Kill a Mockingbird, “We’re paying the highest tribute you can pay a man. We trust him to do right. It’s that simple.”

          I couldn’t wait to ask this question. LOVED EVERY BIT. This is a large reason why I’m even writing at all. What is justice? I can’t escape this question. It comes back to me time and again. 

           

           

           

           

           

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          Thanks so much for sharing Sherrie!

           

           

           

           

           

           

          Benjamin Thomas

          @thewritingtrain

          http://www.thewritingtrain.com