If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our June author interviews: Fish Out of Water Authors--6/7, Susan Van Kirk--6/14, Renee Patrick--6/21, and Joanne Guidoccio--6/28.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in June: 6/3--Geoffrey Mehl, 6/10--Joan Leotta. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 6/17--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 6/24--Kait Carson.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Review of Two Series--Defense Attorneys


While researching for the betterment of my current WIP, I sought out books to read in which the main characters were female, defense attorneys since my main character is a retired defense attorney. I wanted to find out how the authors structured their books, what language they used, and how much legal procedure they detailed. I found two series worthy of recommending.


Under the name Perri O’Shaughnessy two sisters write as a team, Mary O’Shaughnessy, a writer, and Pamela O’Shaughnessy, a former defense attorney. The series, stared in 1995, is still ongoing. Lake Tahoe, a riveting character, and its surrounding mountains attracts summer and winter tourists to the area. Since I’ve never been to Lake Tahoe, I found the setting interesting.

The main character, defense lawyer and single mother of a twelve-year-old boy, Nina Reilly, lives with her brother and his wife and carries a heavy caseload. Nina constantly juggles her work, personal life and motherhood, and sometimes she drops one of them, making her life a mess. Her clients at times lie to her, putting her in a tenuous legal position, but her own behavior, such as concealing evidence, does as well.

In Obstruction of Justice, Nina witnesses the death of an abusive father while hiking on a mountaintop, which she shares with the dysfunctional family and her hiking partner (and potential lover) a D.A. The apparent natural death by lightning strike of the abusive father should relieve stress, but the family remains on edge. Nina empathizes with the mother of the family, who is trying to keep her family together while suffering from the effects of abuse. When the deceased father’s father also dies, the prosecution, her D.A. hiking partner, makes a case against the grandson.

The case provides enough twists to be entertaining, and yet I found few characters evoked my sympathy. Nina’s empathetic responses to the family borders on unprofessional behavior. This emotionalism may or may not be realistic, but I found myself unable to identify with her. While investigating the case, her PI (and old flame) interviews a woman, who becomes the object of his sexual obsession. Imagine my surprise to find that I considered him the most sympathetic character. In the end, I found the plot satisfying, and I wondered if the intensity of trial lessened my enjoyment of the book and the main character even if it provided realism.   

Kate Wilhelm, author of the second series, writes in various genres and has won three Nebula and
two Hugo awards. First published in 1963, she is still writing. Recently, she bought the rights back for some of her books, formed her own company, and publishes her backlist in eBook format. For an established writer, I can’t applaud her enough. Aside from her science fiction, psychological suspense and other genres, she writes two mystery series. Many of her works have been adapted to the cinema and TV screens.

The Barbara Holloway series is set in Eugene Oregon, and her defense practice takes her to smaller towns set nearby. From reading about the series, the book I read, Desperate Measures, appears to be representative of the books in this series. Ms. Wilhelm started the series in 1991 and although she took a hiatus from 2008 to 2011, she continues to write it.

Barbara’s father is also a defense attorney, from whom she learned her trade. But she establishes her own practice and at times they compete. In Desperate Measures, after the murder, there is a lag period while the police investigate. Meanwhile, separate clients appear on her and her father’s doorsteps. Both clients think that the police will arrest them of murder. Before either is charged, the lawyers proceed to investigate. Father and daughter end up investigating to identify each other’s clients and conceal evidence from the other. When a second death takes her father’s client to the grave, they form a team using her father’s trusted PI to make a defense for her client and to investigate if the second death is also a case of murder, pitting them against the coroner and converging their cases.

The investigation is interesting, and Barbara’s client is a unique and sympathetic fellow. Born with a birth defect that multiple surgeries have not alleviated, her client’s face still gives him the appearance of a monster even though he is intelligent and possesses a wry humor. Barbara must defend him against prejudice originating in his horrific appearance that sullies the prosecution’s case.  

Although one of the Perri O’Shaughnessy series authors practiced as a defense attorney, if I were to choose between the two series, I’d pick Ms. Wilhelm’s series to read. Both are admirable and good reads. To me, it is either a case of Ms. Wilhelm doing her homework well and/or that she excels as a writer, again proving that it is the author not the story upon which storytelling success rests. And that determination gives me faith that I can write a story with a defense attorney main character, when I, like Ms. Wilhelm, never attended law school.

10 comments:

Shari Randall said...

Hi Elaine,
Thank you for doing such a terrific job describing the plots without giving anything away. I've read a few reviews that merrily spoil the twists and surprises the author has worked so hard to craft. Then I think, Well, I don't have to bother reading that book.

E. B. Davis said...

I'll have to give credit to Warren Bull for teaching me how to write a book review (and a few other things too!). My love of reading and passing on recommendations was the impetus of my writing. I admire those who have mastered the craft.

Anonymous said...

One of the Best series I've read is John Lescroart's about defense attorney, Dismas Hardy and in The Second Chair his defense attorney buddy is a girl. John was never a cop nor lawyer yet he writes well from both perspectives because he has a real life buddy who has. He consults with them and gives them opening credits for their contributions. Do that!

Laura Hernandez
Recovering Defense Lawyer

E. B. Davis said...

I'll have to read the Lescroart series, Laura. Thanks for recommending it. Yes, well, I wish I had a handy best friend that I could tap for information. Interviewing defense attorneys hasn't been going too well. If you are volunteering my email address is ekba@msn.com. Love your self-labeling!

Jenni Gate said...

Great post, Elaine!

I commented on the guppies. Contact me if I can help. :)

Gloria Alden said...

Good reviews, E.B. Now I have two more series I'd like to try. I like how you chose these for research for your main character.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Best of luck in this project. I too am a fan of John Lescroart.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

When I was researching series to read, I did come across Lescroart's series, but since the main character wasn't female, like my MC, I looked to read series in which the lead was female. I'm not sexist, I'm just thinking of applicability to my series. I will try Lescroart.

Gloria--both series are commendable reads that can be found in the library.

Thanks, Jim. On the Guppy list, Jenni looks like she could be my new best friend. Gotta love the Guppies.

KM said...

A couple of new series to add to my already impossibly long to-be-read list (Gloria's Daylilly book is next!)

I enjoy reading mysteries where I can trust the author to be reasonably factual in their presentation. Nothing pulls me out of a story as much as a "wait a minute, that's not right" moment.

E. B. Davis said...

Neither of these series will do that, KM. In fact, as I said, in the Perri O'Shaughnessy series, there seemed to be too much tension, which could be realism, that detracted from the story. Both series were good reads, but I liked the MC better in Wilhelm's book. Everyone is attracted to different characters so that my preference creeping in.