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

February Interviews

2/5 Heather Weidner, Glitter, Glam, and Contraband
2/12 Rhys Bowen, Above The Bay of Angels
2/19 Elizabeth Penney, Hems & Homicide
2/26 Annette Dashofy, Under The Radar

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
2/1 Valerie Burns
2/8 Jeannette de Beauvoir
2/15 Kathryn Lane

WWK Bloggers: 2/22 Kait Carson, 1/28 & 1/29 Special Interviews with Agatha Nominees by Paula Gail Benson


WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, will be released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here on April 29th.

Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!

KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.

Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill" was published in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy on October 9th.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p


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.


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 Legate 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.

Jim 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.

Anonymous 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.