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Author Topic: No Justice  (Read 2845 times)
Darcia Helle
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« on: August 02, 2010, 02:37:59 PM »



How far would you go to right a wrong?

For Michael Sykora, killing started as blind rage. Then it became something he's good at. To most of those who know him, Michael is a software designer, a smart but average guy with a workaholic nature. To a chosen few, Michael is a part-time hit man whose specialty is eliminating hard-core criminals. Michael has managed to keep his two personas separate. Until now.

When Nicki, a close friend, gets into trouble, Michael steps in to help. Having lost his fiance to a brutal crime, Michael will do whatever necessary to keep from losing another woman in his life.

At one time or another, don't we all wish we could do the things our Justice system cannot or will not? What would it take to push you over the edge?

No Justice is the first book in my Michael Sykora suspense series. It's available in trade paperback and a variety of e-book formats. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and a bunch of other online stores! You can find more information, as well as an excerpt, on my website:
http://www.QuietFuryBooks.com
http://www.DarciaHelle.com

You can click on the cover above to use the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon. You can also chat with me here about anything relating to this title!
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 08:57:49 AM by Darcia Helle » Logged

Darcia Helle
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2010, 08:55:24 AM »

No Justice was recently reviewed on the Busy Moms Who Love to Read blog. As part of the process, the reviewer asks each author a question: What's the back story on the big story? I thought this was a great way for readers to gain insight into the authors' writing process. I thought I'd share my answer here with you.  Smiley

'What's the back story on the big story?'

Some time ago, I served on a jury for the murder trial of a man accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend. While I had known that our justice system had flaws, this was a close-up view of those injustices behind our justice system. We, the jury, were not allowed to hear anything about the plaintiff’s past. His life was a locked box. The victim, however, had no such privacy. The defense attorney gleefully flaunted the victim’s past, including her sexual history from as far back as her teen years. I will never forget the look of anguish on her parents’ faces.

The defense did a great job of spinning the tale and making the victim out to be less than virtuous. After a week of this, when we were sent to deliberate, only two of the 12 jurors initially voted for murder one. I was one of them. The other 10 wanted involuntary manslaughter, citing her behavior and his cocaine use as “excuses”. I should mention here that the man had left his dead girlfriend in his bed, while he went out and partied with friends all night. Also, according to witnesses, he was quite sober at the time of the murder.

The other juror and I fought for, and eventually won, a murder one conviction. Before we left the courthouse, the judge spoke to us privately. She congratulated and thanked us for the conviction. At that time, she was able to tell us what had been carefully kept from us throughout the trial; the man we’d just convicted had a long history of abusing women. He’d already been convicted of several assaults and one rape. An involuntary manslaughter charge would have been little more than a slap on the wrist. He’d have been out in no time, free to rape and murder yet another woman.

My husband and I were discussing this one day; that case specifically and the justice system in general. That’s when the character Michael Sykora was born. In many ways, Sykora is my husband’s alter ego. (But, to be clear, my husband does not moonlight as a hit man!)

As for the specific plot, that developed from a combination of the characters’ voices and the conversation with my husband. I don’t write from an outline. I start with a character and a vague idea. Then I listen and follow where that leads me. About midway through writing No Justice, I realized that I had way too many plots and subplots going on. At that point, I knew that Michael Sykora needed to be a series. He wasn’t happy with one book. I stripped down that initial manuscript and told the story of where I thought the series needed to begin.

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rjmcdonnell
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2010, 11:06:53 AM »

I loved the way you wrote about your inspiration for the Michael Sykora series. I've been on a couple of juries and found the experience to be quite jarring. In fact, I was a pre-law student the first time I served, and switched majors a few months after seeing an up-close view of the system's flaws. BTW, No Justice is an exceptionally good read.
RJ McDonnell
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RJ McDonnell
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Darcia Helle
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2010, 12:07:00 PM »

Thanks, RJ!

I understand how being on a jury could push you away from law school. It's truly an eye-opening experience. Thankfully, there are some great lawyers out there who do wonderful things. I could never be a trial lawyer and have to defend someone I know is guilty or prosecute someone I don't believe deserves to be in prison. We claim that everyone is "innocent until proven guilty" but we all know the system slants heavily for the wealthy and against certain types of victims.

How is book three coming? Do you have a rough idea about the publication date?

I'm plugging along on book three but I'm not getting nearly enough done. In fact, I should be writing now, rather than playing catch-up in my email and gabbing on message boards!
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Barbara Ensign
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2010, 12:03:32 PM »

I have been called for jury duty on 4 occasions. First one, we never left the "pool room".
2nd time, I was disqualified because my ex was in law enforcement. 3rd time a murder case, I was actually on the witness stand - judge was done interviewing me and he said "Thank you, you will be juror # 1" and the prosecutor said "sidebar" and I was disqualified, reason unknown. 4th time, rape of a minor, I was picked for the jury, we only needed one more person, we broke for lunch. While at lunch I remembered I did know a person who was falsely accused and charged with rape, and stupid me told the judge when we came back from lunch. I was dismissed again.
I just want to sit on one jury, and see how the whole thing works, why some things are allowed and others are not. I think everyone should do 1 trial, to appreciate the system.
What bothers me the most when I sit in these jury pools, and you listen to these people complaining about having to be there. It makes me think how much would it really suck if you are innocent, and you get these people on your jury. They don't want to be there, they are miserable, and probably hate the defendant before they know the evidence! SCAREY!
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Darcia Helle
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2010, 12:38:23 PM »

Most people in your position would be celebrating the disqualifications! But I agree with you about everyone serving at least once. We should see how our justice system works up close. However, I don't know that you'll ever get your answers as to what's allowed and what isn't. Most of that is hashed out behind closed doors, in the judge's chambers with the lawyers, or at the sidebar with whispers. Often, we'd be sent back to our juror chambers while the lawyers, defendant and judge argued legalities of bringing something into evidence. We only knew it as an hour that we sat around waiting. We never knew why. The jury doesn't hear reasons behind anything.

I often wonder if our jury system shouldn't be more of a volunteer basis. I've spoken to many people who would love to serve but have never been called. My grandfather spent his entire life wanting to be on a jury. He never once received a jury duty notice. Others, who don't want anything to do with it, seem to get those notices every couple of years. If jurors are already irritated with the disruption to their lives, are they even paying attention? Are they wanting to hurry and get out of there, so they're willing to compromise during the deliberations? And wouldn't those who truly want to serve be more attentive and therefore make better jurors?

When you were disqualified at that sidebar meeting with the prosecutor and judge, I imagine it was because the prosecutor felt you were going to be too lenient. There must have been something in your history or your demeanor on the stand that made him believe (right or wrong) that you were a liability to his case.

The system baffles me still. Lawyers pay a ton of money to "experts" who "read" potential jurors. How does that make a fair and unbiased jury? And if you have someone accused of rape, and that man has a history of violence against women, shouldn't the jury be allowed to hear that? Why do we get to hear that the women had multiple sex partners a decade ago while in college, yet we don't get to hear that the accused beat his girlfriend or attempted rape in the past? We also don't hear that he's had dozens of sex partners or that he has an addiction to porn. These things should be fair. Either we hear the past of both or the past of neither. There is nothing "fair and impartial" about our current system.

I'm on my soapbox again. <stepping down> I apologize.  Embarrassed
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rjmcdonnell
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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2010, 02:01:39 PM »

If all goes well, I'm shooting for a late Spring 2011 release.  But that could change. I feel like I've gone through a self-taught semester of grad school over the summer, reading several editing books and coming up with ideas on how to incorporate what I've learned into the rewrite. Michael Connelly once described editing as being like the sideshow act of plate spinning. You have to keep many different elements of the novel spinning at the same time to prevent them from crashing down. I've added several plates since Rock & Roll Rip-Off. If I can avoid being covered in shards of shattered china I should have a decent book.

How about you, Darcia? Is the new site building readership?

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RJ McDonnell
Rock & Roll Mystery Series
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2011, 09:22:57 AM »

For those who haven't yet read No Justice, may I suggest you put it on your TBR list? The book is punchy, well-written and kept me glued to the pages. I loved this book.
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Jen Hilborne
Darcia Helle
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2011, 09:30:01 AM »

Thank you, Jenny!  Smiley
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Gail M Baugniet
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2011, 04:44:51 PM »

Hi Darcie,
At Jen Hilborne's suggestion, I decided to add your novel, No Justice, to my TBR list. But when I went to my Kindle store, I saw the book was offered in my price range so it is now in my Unread Novels Collection on my trusty little Kindle, waiting TBR.

My careers mostly covered employment with insurance companies and police departments so I never moved from jury pool to jury. I retired in 2009 to write full time and looked forward to the questioning when I again landed in a jury pool. I was almost home free until the defendant's lawyer asked (rather condescendingly, I thought) what I did now that I was retired. I told him I was a writer. Naturally, he asked what I wrote. When I said murder mysteries, he slowly turned to the judge ...

Speaking of civic-minded prospective jurors, my folks were both about 87 years old and my mother suffered heavily of dementia when she received a jury request. Mom & Dad agonized over what they would do if she was chosen to sit jury duty and I had to call the court to explain the situation before either of them would accept that she would not be called! (Now, I can smile.)

Gail
 
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Gail M Baugniet
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2011, 06:36:17 PM »

Wow! That sounds great, Darcia!

I've never been on a jury. I was only called once for federal jury duty, but I was disqualified in the first cut. Almost everybody in my family is/was in law enforcement. I worked in a federal prison at that time (and still do).

I wouldn't mind being on one, but no defense lawyer would let me on a jury.

I'm checking out your book. It really does sound great.
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Darcia Helle
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2011, 01:54:36 PM »

Gail, thank you for purchasing No Justice! I hope you enjoy it.  Smiley

I know jury selection is supposed to be random but the process leaves a lot to wonder about. I know people who are called every couple of years (my mother included, though she's never made it to an actual trial). Others are never called at all - and those are usually the people who would love to be on a jury. Then they put us through this crazy picking process, where the lawyers crawl through our lives and decide whether we're worthy. This, of course, is based solely on what their high-priced consultants tell them to look for in a juror in order to convict or acquit. That's not exactly random or fair.

My Dad was never allowed to serve on a jury because he was a firefighter. Now he's retired but probably still wouldn't get picked.

Gail and Doug, I would think that people with your background would be excellent jurors. It is totally unfair for defense attorneys to assume that you will automatically convict someone simply because of your background. I might be naive (and have been accused of that in the past) but seeing the system up close seems like it would make you more aware of the pitfalls and what to look for in a trial. I'd rather have you on my jury than a redneck who carries a gun to the grocery store and sees the world only in distinct shades of black and white.   Roll Eyes
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Gail M Baugniet
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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2011, 12:41:51 AM »

"I'd rather have you on my jury than a redneck who carries a gun to the grocery store and sees the world only in distinct shades of black and white."
Unless you're the defendant on trial for carrying a concealed weapon ... in a grocery store. Wisconsin is trying to pass a gun law now with no need to know how to use a gun (says it's unfair to the poor people who really need to have a gun but can't afford to pay for training.)
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Gail M Baugniet
Darcia Helle
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2011, 07:38:31 AM »

That's insane! I'm all for freedom and holding on to our rights but there is a line we are allowing the NRA and various fanatical groups to push us across that is beyond comprehensible. I've been hearing about various states doing things like what you mentioned with gun laws. No waiting lists, no background checks, no restrictions on where you're allowed to carry your guns ... honestly, the only people those things benefit are those that shouldn't be carrying a gun! I don't remember which state it was but one wanted to legalize carrying a gun into schools and day care centers.  Huh
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Darcia Helle
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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2011, 06:26:48 AM »

No Justice is half off during Smashwords' Summer Sale - throughout the month of July it's just $1.50!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/3956
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