Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Lowly Evidence Box

Thank you to the gang at 7 Criminal Minds, and in particular, noir crime writer extraordinaire Kelli Stanley, for inviting me to post at 7 Criminal Minds today.

I am currently promoting the release of INDEFENSIBLE (January 1, 2011 for MIRA Books), the second book in my legal thriller series.

In DAMAGED, the first book in the series, struggling lawyer Kate Lange unearths a legal conspiracy that rocks the foundations of medical research.

INDEFENSIBLE takes place four months after Kate’s confrontation with the Body Butcher. Managing partner Randall Barrett is accused of domestic homicide, and his defense lies in the hands of the one person who knows too well the taint of criminal scandal: Kate Lange.

I was delighted to discover my guest blog coincided with this week’s challenge: to present different points of view about a photo. Even though Kate Lange is my series lead, I write in multiple points of view in my books, with the goal of revealing my characters’ deeper motivations through their differing reactions to a circumstance or event. In fact, one of the issues I explore in INDEFENSIBLE is how our perception affects interpretation of facts. Rather like a glass of clear water, facts appear on the surface to be irrefutable, transparent. And yet, they are interpreted by our perception of context, just as clear water distorts the image of whatever lays beneath it.

For today’s guest post, I decided to use the image of a simple evidence box. A box that would be full of witness statements, expert reports, and forensic findings for a murder proceeding. A box which should contain all the answers. And yet, for a lawyer, raises many questions.

Evidence Box - or Pandora's Box?

In these brief excerpts from INDEFENSIBLE (MIRA Books, January 2011), both Kate and her imprisoned boss Randall confront the truth of the evidence box.

Kate is reviewing the evidence disclosed by the Crown with her mentor, criminal defense lawyer Eddie Bent:

Kate settled back in her seat with the file. Eddie turned the interviews back on. She was glad he was occupied with the video because she felt slightly clandestine reading the therapist’s notes. Maybe because she was curious to see what made Randall’s ex-wife tick. She wanted to know what kind of woman Randall had chosen to be his mate, what kind of woman could screw around on a man like him.

It didn’t take long for her curiosity to change into discomfort. Dr. Gainsford’s notes were terse and to the point, providing a telescopic view of Elise’s innermost fears and anxieties. Those should have died with her. But now they would be shared with all kinds of people who would dissect the notes--and subsequently dissect her. It didn’t seem fair that this woman was a victim of a horrible crime and was now subject to the most intimate scrutiny in an effort to make the perpetrator pay. First her body had been taken apart. Now her mind was fair game to everyone who had a point to prove.


Kate has given Randall the evidence box to review while he is sitting in jail awaiting his bail hearing.

Randall Barrett stared at the document box in his cell. He had thought he’d hit rock bottom on Friday when he’d been strip-searched, had all his personal belongings taken away, and been assigned a prison ID number. The final indignity had been when he had to sign out a razor. Never again would he take for granted his possessions.

The first night had been grim. The correctional center was located on the outskirts of an industrial park. They’d put him in a cell by himself--for his own protection, they told him. He’d spent the night awake, lying on his narrow bed, listening to the strange noises, the yelling, the catcalls, everything hollow and metallic with nothing on the walls or the ground to dampen the sound. He thought of his massive, comfortable bed, the cool serenity of his garden, the crickets he’d hear at night. The low, throaty call of the mourning dove in the early morning. Charlie snoring at his feet.

But he did not anticipate the depths to which he’d fall until he opened the evidence box.

How many times had he lugged the identical bland brown boxes to hearings, or stacked them in the corners of his office and asked clerks to review their contents. They were a professional appendage, a practical necessity. Not a Pandora’s box that would reveal the pain he had wreaked on a woman he’d once sworn to cherish and protect.

He’d sifted through the papers, slowly, carefully. The police had only allowed him certain information prior to his arrest. Now he was given the full accounting of the horror of Elise’s murder through Nick’s damning statements, the M.E.’s clinical findings, and Lucy’s traumatized recounting of her mother’s final hours.

But it was Dr. Gainsford’s notes that sent him freefalling into the abyss.

Copyright 2011 by Pamela Callow. All Rights Reserved.

Pamela Callow is the author of a legal thriller series for MIRA Books. DAMAGED, her debut novel, was a Levy “Need to Read” Pick for June with Top Ten Bestseller display. INDEFENSIBLE, the second book in the series, released on January 1, 2011 to a top rating by RT Book Reviews. She is currently working on the third and fourth book of the series, as well as writing a short story featuring Kate Lange that she was invited to write for ITW’s Thriller 3 Anthology.

Pamela is a member of the Nova Scotia bar and has a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Prior to making writing a career, she worked as a strategy consultant for Accenture Consulting. She has two wonderful kids, one amazing husband, and a mischievous pug. When she isn’t writing, she loves to go for walks (unlike her dog), drink coffee, and fantasize about travelling around the globe.

Hang out with Pam at all the usual internet haunts: her website, Facebook Author Page, and twitter.


Meredith Cole said...

Enjoyed your excerpts, Pamela. Thanks for being our guest today!

Pamela Callow said...

Thanks for inviting me, Meredith! I enjoyed this week's challenge!


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Thanks for visiting, Pamela. I enjoyed the post.

Pamela Callow said...

Thanks, Sue Ann! Thanks for having me.


Kelli Stanley said...

Fascinating stuff, and a fascinating book!! :) Thanks for joining us, Pam, and may INDEFENSIBLE fly off the shelves in bookstores (physical and virtual) everywhere! :)


Pamela Callow said...

Thanks, Kelli! And wishing you mega sales for your numerous stellar releases this year! :)

Bev Pettersen said...

Very cool, Pam. Thanks for the POV insight. Loved both your books, by the way. Write faster and congratulations!! It's great to have a new author presenting such good thrillers:)

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Welcome, Pam! INDEFENSIBLE sounds creepy and wonderful. I love the idea of the evidence box as a way to reveal character. You even had a bit of the third character's point of view: the victim.

Nicely done and best of luck with INDEFENSIBLE!

Reece said...

Hi Pam,

Nice excerpt -- I'm hooked. Best of luck with INDEFENSIBLE!

Pamela Callow said...

HI Bev,

Thanks for dropping by! So glad you enjoyed DAMAGED and INDEFENSIBLE! And I'm doing my best to write as fast as the story lets me! :)

Pamela Callow said...

Thanks, Rebecca! I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpts - and you are quite right, the victim's POV was indirectly present. A ghost to the proceedings!

Thanks for having me,

Pamela Callow said...

Thanks, Reece! Glad you enjoyed the excerpts!