Closest to the Fire: A Writer's Guide to Law and Lawyers

Oblique Angles Press
Free sample

 Write about the law -- and get it right!The world of law and lawyers, with its suspense, its moral quandaries, and its ripped-from-the-headlines subject matter, provides wonderful material for fiction. This guide will help writers explore these many story possibilities, while avoiding the pitfalls awaiting the unwary. Included throughout the book are ideas for stories or story elements based on the content and available for the readers' use.
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About the author

 Karen A. Wyle is an award-winning appellate attorney with more than thirty years' experience. A cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, she worked for law firms and the California Court of Appeal before establishing her solo practice in Bloomington, Indiana. Wyle has filed amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and seven state supreme courts. She has also written and published five novels. One-quarter of her novel Division is set in a near-future courtroom.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Oblique Angles Press
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Published on
Oct 13, 2015
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Pages
656
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ISBN
9780990564157
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Reference
Law / Alternative Dispute Resolution
Law / Antitrust
Law / Bankruptcy & Insolvency
Law / Civil Procedure
Law / Constitutional
Law / Contracts
Law / Court Rules
Law / Criminal Law / General
Law / Criminal Law / Juvenile Offenders
Law / Criminal Law / Sentencing
Law / Criminal Procedure
Law / Ethics & Professional Responsibility
Law / Evidence
Law / Family Law / General
Law / General
Law / Intellectual Property / General
Law / Judicial Power
Law / Jury
Law / Labor & Employment
Law / Legal Profession
Law / Property
Law / Reference
Law / Witnesses
Reference / Handbooks & Manuals
Reference / Writing Skills
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The tale of two American teenagers recruited as killers for a Mexican cartel, and the Mexican-American detective who realizes the War on Drugs is unstoppable. “A hell of a story…undeniably gripping.” (The New York Times)

In this astonishing story, journalist Dan Slater recounts the unforgettable odyssey of Gabriel Cardona. At first glance, Gabriel is the poster-boy American teenager: athletic, bright, handsome, and charismatic. But the ghettos of Laredo, Texas—his border town—are full of smugglers and gangsters and patrolled by one of the largest law-enforcement complexes in the world. It isn’t long before Gabriel abandons his promising future for the allure of juvenile crime, which leads him across the river to Mexico’s most dangerous drug cartel: Los Zetas. Friends from his childhood join him and eventually they catch the eye of the cartel’s leadership.

As the cartel wars spill over the border, Gabriel and his crew are sent to the States to work. But in Texas, the teen hit men encounter a Mexican-born homicide detective determined to keep cartel violence out of his adopted country. Detective Robert Garcia’s pursuit of the boys puts him face-to-face with the urgent consequences and new security threats of a drug war he sees as unwinnable.

In Wolf Boys, Slater takes readers on a harrowing, often brutal journey into the heart of the Mexican drug trade. Ultimately though, Wolf Boys is the intimate story of the lobos: teens turned into pawns for the cartels. A nonfiction thriller, it reads with the emotional clarity of a great novel, yet offers its revelations through extraordinary reporting.
A powerful, bracing and deeply spiritual look at intensely, troubled youth, Last Chance in Texas gives a stirring account of the way one remarkable prison rehabilitates its inmates.

While reporting on the juvenile court system, journalist John Hubner kept hearing about a facility in Texas that ran the most aggressive–and one of the most successful–treatment programs for violent young offenders in America. How was it possible, he wondered, that a state like Texas, famed for its hardcore attitude toward crime and punishment, could be leading the way in the rehabilitation of violent and troubled youth?

Now Hubner shares the surprising answers he found over months of unprecedented access to the Giddings State School, home to “the worst of the worst”: four hundred teenage lawbreakers convicted of crimes ranging from aggravated assault to murder. Hubner follows two of these youths–a boy and a girl–through harrowing group therapy sessions in which they, along with their fellow inmates, recount their crimes and the abuse they suffered as children. The key moment comes when the young offenders reenact these soul-shattering moments with other group members in cathartic outpourings of suffering and anger that lead, incredibly, to genuine remorse and the beginnings of true empathy . . . the first steps on the long road to redemption.

Cutting through the political platitudes surrounding the controversial issue of juvenile justice, Hubner lays bare the complex ties between abuse and violence. By turns wrenching and uplifting, Last Chance in Texas tells a profoundly moving story about the children who grow up to inflict on others the violence that they themselves have suffered. It is a story of horror and heartbreak, yet ultimately full of hope.

Sixteen-year-old Cassie Jo Stoddard agreed to house sit for relatives on the weekend of September 22, 2006. It was something the teenager had done before…but this time something went terribly wrong. When the family returned home at the end of the weekend they found Cassie lying on their living room floor brutally stabbed to death.


Detectives focused on two of Cassie’s classmates who had briefly visited her on the night that she was murdered: Torey Adamcik and Brian Draper. Initially both boys denied any knowledge of the crime, but after two separate interrogations, Brian Draper told detectives a chilling story of murder straight out of a horror movie. The two boys were immediately arrested, and a shocking videotape was discovered that seemed to depict the two teens not only planning the cold-blooded murder, but celebrating it.


Community outrage was strong and immediate. The public demanded justice. But was the video actually what it appeared to be: a cold-blooded documentary that detailed the plotting of Cassie’s murder; or something else entirely? Could anyone uncover the truth in time and convince a jury that sometimes things aren't always what they appear to be?


The Guilty Innocent is narrated by Shannon Adamcik, mother of Torey, one of the accused boys. It takes readers behind the scenes of a trial where prosecutors cared more about public opinion than truth, defense attorneys, who had never argued a murder case, were in over their heads, and a young boy’s life hung in the balance.



The United States is the only country in the world that will charge a juvenile as an adult and sentence them to life without parole. As the mother of one such child, I know exactly what happens when a juvenile is placed in adult court where they cannot defend themselves. They are immediately cut off from all human contact, locked in isolation, and railroaded through a justice system they simply cannot comprehend. Consequently, many of these juveniles are sentenced too much longer and harsher terms than their adult counterparts. I've personally lived through this, and I was compelled to write about it.


I began for the simple reason that I had lived through this horrendous ordeal and I ached for someone to confide in. But reliving the most painful part of my life was extraordinarily difficult. Ultimately the only reason that I was able to persevere was my deep belief that the story was important and needed to be told. That is still true.


This is a true story and no one can tell it better than the people who lived it. A crime reporter can look at the details of a case, but they cannot tell you how it feels to live through it. I can and I did. I used the pre-trial and trial transcripts, copies of the police reports, the autopsy and DNA reports, and DVD recordings of all of the evidence in the case. I've done copious research. But more importantly, I take readers step-by-step through what it feels like when your 16-year-old son is accused of first-degree murder; all the odds are stacked against him; and his defense is in the hands of attorneys you can’t fully trust to come through for you. 

 Death is what you make it. . . . 


Eleanor never wanted to leave the daughter she loved so much. The overpowering urge to wander -- to search, without knowing what she sought -- drove her away. She left little Cassidy in her family's loving care. But Cassidy and the others died in an accident before Eleanor could find her way home. 

Now, they are all reunited, in an afterlife where nothing is truly lost. Places once loved may be revisited, memories relived and even shared. One may be any age suitable to the mood and moment. Surely this is a place where Eleanor and her family can understand and heal. But some of the memories haunting Eleanor are of dreams she had tried to forget. 

Somehow, she must solve the mystery of her life -- or none of them will be at peace. 

"Wyle should be proud of the opening scene of this book as it showcases . . . her descriptive powers . . . I love the way the concept of an afterlife is made real in Karen’s book, and the way the various characters inter-relate, re-live moments and re-visit places in their history. . . . Wander Home acts acts like a large, soft comfort blanket. But don’t get too comfortable. It is a barbed comfort blanket, charged with emotion. An excellent read, which I heartily recommend." -- The Indie Tribe 

"A story about the consequences of the choices we make, and the difficulty even we can have in understanding – and living with – the reach of those consequences. Wyle’s . . . vision of the afterlife . . . is one of the loveliest. . . . 
Wyle has a lovely way with language, weaving characters and setting together into a seamless tapestry . . . . A beautiful story, well-written and smoothly paced with characters you can’t help but fall in love with." All Things Jill-Elizabeth 

"The plot is well paced and opens the imagination of the readers. The afterlife that Wyle creates is brimming with memories, places to visit, and amazing people to meet. It's written in such a way that it is truly life after death. . . . Wander Home is a magical story that delves to the depths of the human psyche and is definitely recommended." The Coffee Pot

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