Friday, November 6, 2009


By Shane Gericke

I'm doing book edits this week, so I'll keep this brief. (Note: cool courtroom reference.) The only lawyer that can defend me for my crimes is:

That's right. Mr. Perry Mason. The suavest, coolest, lawyer a courtroom has ever seen.

Perry was a god when I was growing up. Was it the catchy theme song? Raymond Burr's iron hair and silky eloquence? His hot assistant Della Street? Was it because he could get anyone to confess in open court at any time? All of the above?

Truth be told, it probably was the theme song.

But it just worked for me.


Ain't no such thing, despite the sunny promises of John Grisham. Court is BORING. It moves at a snail's pace, and is made slower yet by objections, sidebars, conferences, judge's rulings, and the sheer, sheer tedium of testimony.

Nonetheless, I attended court Tuesday, to see the likes of serial killer Brian Dugan, who murdered two girls and a woman. One of them was Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville, ten years old, whom he kidnapped, raped and murdered. (He confessed, so yes, he's guilty.) The jury trial is to decide whether he gets the death penalty.

I sat with Jeanine's parents, Tom and PatNicarico. How they are able to stomach the nauseaous gasbagging of this killer, I have no idea. But they do. It's what you do for family.

Alas, I'll have to give you my full report next week, as I must get back to edits. (For the uninitiated, that means I'm rewriting the book to match my editor's suggestions. It's a lot of work, and it takes a lot of time.) The good news is we have a title. It's TORN APART, and it's my editor's idea. I like it a lot. TORN APART launches in July 2010, and I'd be pleased if you'd buy a copy. Like I tell my mom, you don't have to like it, you just have to buy it.

Be well, and thanks for reading.


Shane Gericke said...

Since I have zero comments today (alas!), I'll use this space to reply to reader Curt Wendelboe, who asked me Tuesday:

"I just finished Cut to the Bone and was second guessing myself until the very end as to the identity of the Executioner (good work!). I noticed in some scenes you describe in great detail the murder, while in others you leave some to the imagination. What makes you decide if you'll describe a homicide with all the gore attached, and why do you leave some up to the reader to fill in the details?"

Excellent question, Curt, so I hope you're reading this. The answer:

I describe a few murders in great, gory detail to jump-start your imagination, to show you how far evil can go. The other murders I leave blank, so you can fill in the details yourself. Trust me, what you dream up will be far gorier and disgusting than anything I could write.

In short: Writing is the art of unleashing YOUR imagination.

Hope that makes sense!

Warmest regards for your asking,

Jen Forbus said...

I'm sorry Shane - I was slacking last week. And for some reason (I have NO idea why) your Perry Mason clips made me think of NIGHT COURT. I think because you mentioned watching Perry growing up, so I was thinking about what I watched growing up. NIGHT COURT was the first thing that popped into my mind, but then L.A. LAW also made an appearance. I think I could stand being represented by Jimmy Smits! :)

I'm looking forward to hearing more about your day in court. As more and more unfolds here in Cleveland with our tragic discovery, I can't help but think of your trial.