Blogs by William Manchee
The Stan Turner Mysteries
3/25/2007 8:31:59 PM
Hi. Thanks for dropping by. Today I wanted to introduce myself and tell you a little about the Stan Turner Mystery series. I'm an attorney by trade practing in Dallas with my son. My true passion, however, is writing fiction.
If you are not familiar with my work I have a mystery series called the Stan Turner Mysteries. StanTurner is the protagonist and he's a young attorney who has a propensity for attracting impossible cases and getting in over his head. The stories are inspired by actual experiences and cases from the past so they are quite realistic.
Undaunted is the first of the series and it is the story of how Stan Turner becomes an attorney. It's the late 50's in Southern California and Stan goes to the Ventura County Fair and they have the old Univac Computer programed to tell fortunes. He has his fortune told and it's a very ominous one warning him that his life will be a perilous one and fraught with danger. About this time he has a brush with the law, gets interested in the legal system and decides he wants to be an attorney. Well, his fortune becomes a prophecy and he is confronted with every imaginable problem---the worst being when he enlists in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War he inadvertantly befriends a serial killer.
When I wrote Undaunted I hadn't planned for it to be the beginning of a series, but when it was finished I knew I had many more stories to tell and this was the ideal way to do it. So, in Brash Endeavor Stan is in Dallas having finally graduated from law school. It's the late 70's and Stan is very anxious to start his law practice. Unfortunately, he's broke so he starts his practice with a $2,000 cash advance from his American Express Card. It's a boom time and their are a lot of shady oil and gas and real estate investors around. A couple of these become clients and get Stan in serious trouble fast and his wife, Rebekah, ends up on trial for murder.
As I said much of what happens in the Stan Turner Mysteries is based on actual experiences. One of these experiences led to the creation of a character named Mo. I handle bankruptcies from time to time and on one occasion I'd just finished up a case with a client and while we were leaving the courthouse he made the comment that the agency was pleased with how I'd handled his case and they'd be sending me more business. I didn't immediately understand what he was saying and he was gone before I could quiz him more about it. It may have just been a joke, but either way it was an interesting idea. So, I introduced Mo to the series in book 3, Second Chair.
Second Chair was inspired by a murder trial my daughter was a witness in. Stan is called up to Sherman, Texas where a college girl is accused of killing her baby. It looks like an impossible case because the girl has no memory of what happened and Stan probably shouldn't be handling a murder trial since he's only been practing law for a year or so. But he agrees to do it on the condition his law professor act as second chair, not realizing that his law professor is a drunk and probably won't show up for trial.
A missionary who couldn't pay his bill was the inspiration for Cash Call. The missionary had been in a car accident withoug insurance and needed me to defend him. When I was done he advised me he had no money, but could give me some ancient Costa Rican pottery as payment. He assured me the pottery was worth as much as he owed me. The only imbellishment I added to the story for Cash Call was that unbeknowst to Stan there were diamonds worth millions embedded in the pottery.
Deadly Distractions was based on a long battle one of my clients had with the IRS. He'd been a tax protestor and when an agent threatened to come on his property to seize a tractor, he told him if he did he'd kill him. Obviously this didn't go over too well with the agent and he made sure my cleint paid dearly for it for the next ten years. In the novel Stan is called back from vacation when a client is cornered in a barn by the FBI, allegedly having killed an IRS agent. It looks like a slam dunk case for the government because they have a witness who claims to have seen Dusty standing over the body with shotgun in hand. Dusty, however, professes his innocense and has been a hard luck client, so Stan agrees to defend him.
The stock market crash of October 1987 is the setting for Black Monday. This was a difficult time for Dallas and I remember it well. In the novel there's been three murders in Dallas that night. The chairman of and S&L and his girlfriend are found with their throats slashed and and old lady is found exphixiated along with her 11 dogs. Stan's partner Paula ends up defending the defendant in the double homicide and Stan discovers he's the executor over this girl's estate and must figure out who killed her in such a bizarre fashion and why.
So, that brings us to Cactus Island, book 7 in the series which I'm currently promoting. It marks a temporary shift in the series from legal mystery to legal sci fi. In this episode Stan's CIA connection comes back to haunt him. This summer the second and last of the 2 legal sci fi novels, Act Normal, book 8 in the series will be out.
Anyway . . . this is one of my fiction series. I'll tell you about the Rich Coleman Novels next time.
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