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About the author:
What inspired you to write your book?
I practiced law in Indiana and the federal courts for 30 years. The legal case in the book is inspired by one that I handled as a young lawyer. Characters and events are fictional, but are based on my experience of representing clients ranging from Fortune 500 CEOs to crooks and crack heads — the silk stocking and seamy under belly of law practice in Indy.
Here is a short sample from the book:
May 14 through May 21:
“Doug! He’s back!”Trudy yelled when she saw Jack walking through the door into R&B. Doug darted out of his office waving the morning edition of The Bulletin. Doug grabbed Jack’s arm and pulled him into Doug’s office. Doug slapped the paper down on his desk so Jack could see the front page. Without uttering a word, Doug pointed to the heading of an article in the lower right corner: “Church’s House Burns, Body Found.”.
Jack involuntarily sucked in his breath. It felt like a linebacker just gave him a forearm shiver to the chest. He mumbled as he read, “…house burned…one of the properties owned by Victory Tabernacle…Reverend Brown restrained by 3 firemen from entering blazing house…collapsed on knees in gutter praying…body of 23 year old black female found in premises…reported by Reverend Brown to be his daughter…Fire Marshall’s preliminary finding is arson…Coroner’s report not yet available but possible suicide…accelerant found on hands of unidentified black female…drug percoset also found on female…possibility of overdose…Reverend Brown was taken in for questioning by IPD…”
“Oh my god, Jack whispered.” He ran out of the office without a word to Doug or Trudy. Rather than wait for the elevator, Jack threw open the fire escape door and took the stairs two at a time. He was down the eight flights in exactly twenty-four seconds. (Jack had timed his run at three seconds per floor the first year R&B leased office space in the Emory Building.) He kept running and crossed Delaware Street, passed the City-County Building and crossed Washington Street without waiting for the crossing light to change. Jack pushed through the entrance door to the County Jail. He was breathing hard as he waited his turn at the information desk.
The desk sergeant checked the booking records and informed Jack that Reverend Brown had not been booked. Sgt. Mueller knew Jack from his many visits to clients in the Jail. At Jack’s request she called Investigations. Jack waited impatiently rocking back and forth heel to toe in front of the information desk. It took Sgt. Mueller ten minutes working the phone to find out that Rev had been released in the early morning after a couple hours of questioning.
Jack thanked the Sergeant, walked quickly out of the Jail and jogged back to the Emory Building. He charged into the R&B office, swept past Trudy’s desk stating loudly that he was on his way to Rev’s house. Jack grabbed the legal pad off his desk and stuck it in his brief case. He patted his pocket to make sure he had his car keys. As Jack headed for the door, Doug poked his head out of his office and asked, “What’d you find out? Is he okay?”
Jack turned toward Doug. “He wasn’t charged. That’s all I know at this point. I’ll let you know –“ Without finishing Jack grabbed the door knob to leave. He was dimly aware that the phone had been ringing and Trudy was waving her hand at him. Just as he pulled the door open Trudy shouted, “Jack, it’s Diane!”
“Shit!” He turned back to his office, picked up the phone, and jabbed the flashing button. “Honey, I’m so glad you called, but this is a really bad time. I was just on my way out and it’s kind of an emergency, you know, on the Brown case.”
There was a pause, then Diane’s voice, “Oh – so, you don’t have time to talk now?”
“No, I really don’t. But is there something I can do for you? Do you need anything?” Jack tried to modulate the anxiousness out of his voice and make his tone concerned and intimate. But his body was seething with nervous energy. He very badly wanted to get to Reverend Brown and find out whether Rev was okay and what happened. He knew the tone of his voice had betrayed him – that Diane was not the most important thing to him right now.
“Can I call you back later? Can we get together to talk?”
“No, that’s ok. I – I just wanted to hear your voice and know you’re okay.”
“I’m fine. Fine! Did –“
“Okay, then. You take care.”
Jack was going to ask if Diane had read the article in The Bulletin that morning. But she hung up before he got the words out. He thought he’d heard a little sob just before she hung up. “Shit!” He was furious with himself for being so brusque with Diane. He hadn’t been able to explain that he needed to find the Rev, that he was really needed by someone else. “God damn it!” He yelled as he strode once again past Trudy, who was biting her lip and shaking her head sympathetically.
Jack parked his white LeBaron convertible in front of Rev’s small house, grabbed his brief case and jogged up to the front door. He knocked loudly. No answer. He cut across the front yard to the church, a simple wood-framed building less than thirty feet from the Rev’s door.
Jack skipped up two concrete steps. He was confronted by two heavy wood doors, painted white like the rest of the church. He grasped a vertical iron handle and pulled the door open. He stepped into a small foyer with alcoves for coats on either side. He walked forward pushing open another door partially covered with red vinyl and hung on a swinging hinge. He stepped inside the sanctuary, then halted.
A processional aisle separated two sets of dark wood pews. The walls were white spackle and there were two long vertical windows on each side with tinted glass of alternating panes of violet, yellow and red. The ceiling was two stories high and vaulted with exposed oak beams. At the front of the sanctuary, the opposite end of the building from where Jack stood, there was a simple walnut table. The table stood on a platform raised six inches higher than the main floor. The table apparently served as the alter and Lord ’s Table. On the middle of the table was a gold-plated cross with a marble base flanked by two gold-plated offering plates. Reverend Brown was kneeling silently in front of the alter.
Jack stood quietly breathing heavily. He studied Rev’s motionless form for a minute. Jack started to walk down the aisle toward the kneeling figure. Without looking up, Reverend Brown said loudly, “There’s nothing you can do for me! Best just stay away!”
Jack paused when Rev spoke, but then continued down the aisle to the front of the sanctuary. He stopped beside the first row of pews. Jack started to speak, but Rev cut in without looking up or turning around to look at Jack. “It doesn’t matter now. Nothing does.”
Jack didn’t know what to say anyway. Any words he had died in his throat. He started to reach out and put his hand on Rev’s broad shoulder, but he stopped himself. Rev didn’t move. He had resumed his silent prayers.
Jack stood behind Rev for several minutes. The nervous energy that had propelled him out of his office to hunt down Rev drained away in the quiet of the sanctuary. Jack’s shoulders drooped. The triumph he’d felt at the end of Jocelyn Handey’s deposition seemed a long time ago. Yet, it was less than two hours ago Jack had turned his back on Ted Schweibel and walked out of the B&R conference room. He had walked around Monument Circle and then back to his own office in a distracted state of consciousness. There were problems to deal with, yes, but things were beginning to come together, at least with the case. For the first time since Diane had left, he’d allowed himself a few minutes of reverie, just enjoying his own eccentric thoughts. Now, he felt dead tired.
Jack wanted to collapse into the pew at his side; or even join Rev kneeling at the alter. He needed to rest. Instead, Jack just shook his head, turned and walked out of the church.
Jack called Rev every day the rest of that week. There was no answer to any of his calls and Rev didn’t call Jack.
The following Monday an order was issued by the court setting a hearing on The Bulletin’s motion to dismiss on May 26th at 1:30 p.m., signed by the Honorable H. Caleb Hole. Jack sent a copy of the order to Rev with a note asking him to please call before the 26th.
There was no reply from Rev.
Well, Jack thought, the show must go on. With Rev’s help or without it, he had a hearing to prepare for. He remembered Doug’s warning that the Rev might turn out to be a false prophet. Maybe Bonesy was right.