Tuesday, May 10, 2011

True Crime Tuesday/News you can use or NOT

JAN: On Saturday, as I caught up on the newspapers, I sifted through the crime reports, as we ghoulish fiction writers tend to do. There were stories about a mom, whose son allegedly killed her AFTER first digging her grave, and stories about the discovery of baby skeletal remains in the closet of a woman who apparently killed five babies at birth. Perhaps this is fodder for Stephen King, but for me, it was all too sad, too dark. I don't want to think about sons killing mothers or mothers killing their babies. But I kept reading and finally found:

NEWS I COULD USE: Much like the way, I secretly admire bank robberers, when deep in my heart I KNOW THEY are bad guys I should spurn, I found myself smiling, against all my good judgment, when I read about the high spiritedness of William Monopoli. This twenty-six year old clearly has watched too many movies. When cops tried to stop his 1998 Ford Ranger pickup truck on Route 93, headed for Milton, he put the pedal to the metal.

Right in the middle of the afternoon, he sped down the Southeast Expressway to Route 24, at speeds "exceeding 80 mph" with cop cars chasing him all the way to West Bridgewater. For those of you who live outside of Massachusetts, that's about twenty miles. At one point he struck a Toyota sedan, although luckily no one was hurt, and kept going, even attempting to ram "several cruisers."

The chase only ended when he lost control of his truck, crossed the median strip and crashed into a guard rail. But he's one plucky dude. He jumped out of the truck and fled on foot, and state police had to sick the dogs on him. He was bitten, caught, and finally put under arrest. (There were outstanding warrants on charges of armed robbery and probation violation, hence the chase. But you've got to wonder, did he actually think he'd outrun the state police?)

The amazing part, was that just like in the movies, no one was seriously injured.

I don't know about you, but I find chase scenes tricky to write. Not only because I don't like cars or speed - which certainly doesn't help - but also because I've SEEN so many of them on television and in movies. So the details of this car chase are incredibly useful to me, in part because I know the terrain, I can imagine the specifics. And what I can't imagine, I can record by driving the same route myself. So with apologies to the state police, and the driver of the Toyota sedan, who had to live this nightmare, I thank William Monopoly and The Boston Globe.

HOT OFF THE PRESSES!!! Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy prequel, called The Amersham Rubies, comes out as a freebie on Kindle, starting today. Go straight to Amazon and check it out!

LATE BREAKING NEWS: Congratulations to Hank on her Anthony award nomination for Drive Time!!

Come back tomorrow when I interview former Attorney General and Mob expert Arlene Violet about her new musical crime play "The Family" debuting at the Tony-award winning Trinity Rep. Theater in Providence next month.

And Thursday, Ellen Byerrum guest-blogs for us about the future of the great American road trip.


  1. Jan, the part I love is when the dogs set after him and he has to be bitten to be subdued! That's a detail I wouldn't have considered...

    And big congrats to our Hank for her Anthony nomination for Drive Time! Whoo-hoo!!

  2. oh, thank you! Yes, I am completely thrilled.

    I think it wasLee Child? Who said..write fast things slow and slow things fast. Can that be right? Wondering if I'm remembering this correctly...

  3. We just had a shooting at our local mall...and believe me, that isn't something happening everyday in Central Illinois, even in this town.It began with someone noticing a purple car driving erratically through the mall parking areas...and also noticing that when the five men got out, at least one had a gun. Evidently they were all looking for the same person. Only one it seemed had a grudge though...the one with the gun (of course). When he found his 'target', he knocked the guy down and then started shooting at him. The police had arrived by this time and had to shoot HIM at least twice before he was subdued. Both men are still in the hospital...and the four others have been charged with conspiracy. All this happened on an otherwise peaceful sunny Sunday afternoon. Funny that the part sticking with me is the purple car...one of the guys borrowed it from his girlfriend! And PURPLE...I mean, if you're trying to be inconspicuous, how about beige?

    And congrats Hank! Meant to post that last night and got sidetracked by chicken chow mein and Castle. :o)

  4. Wow Maryann,
    Those mall shooting stories scare the crap out of me and I rarely go to the mall. But the idea that they can become a setting for rampage...

    The purple car -- if you wrote that in a scene, someone would say, oh come on....how believable is that?? But truth is these violent types don't exactly think things through.


  5. Roberta,

    That's the part I liked best too. Kind of like Maryann's purple car....

    a detail you wouldn't think of on your own.


  6. I've decided I feel like that guy, if you substitute "book tour" for "high-speed chase" and "searched by TSA" for "bitten by police dogs."

    Sorry I've been a non-show for the past few weeks. One thing this constant traveling has taught me is that it's time to bite the bullet and get a smart phone. Being off the internet for huge hunks of time really is inconvenient!

    In keeping with the theme of true crime, maybe I can buy one that "fell off a truck" from a guy behind a Best Buy store.

    Oh, and for heaven's sake, yes, congrats to Hank! DRIVE TIME is racking up more nominations than Michelle Bachmann at a tea party convention!

  7. Yay for the dogs! The dogs love to chase and bite. It's a big game to them, but not so much fun for the person on the receiving end. I don't have much sympathy for the fleeing kid, however. He could so easily have killed another driver or a bystander. Or one of the cops.

    I find action scenes VERY hard to write, but if it was Lee Child who said, "Write fast things slow," I think that's great advice. Concentrating on the details in an action scene gives it a sense of immediacy. I hope. Good luck with your chase scene, Jan!

    And congrats again to our Hank!

  8. Yay Hank! Congratulations. And we should come up with a shorter word to mean the same thing. I have to write it so often and it takes time. Any suggestions?

  9. Congrats to Hank and I've downloaded Rhys Molly Murphy prequel and it's now in the queue on my Kindle.

    Sorry I've been MIA, ladies. What a rollercoaster life has been the last couple of weeks. I'm always amazed at how stupid criminals can be. I don't care if you're Kyle Petty, you can't outrun radios, the helicopter, and if end up on foot, a K-9. I'm so glad no one was injured in the high speed. Unfortunately, too many times they are. In fact, our county sheriff, back when he was the chief of a suburban department, responded to a high speed with a crash involved. Turned out, his wife and toddler were killed--their car hit by a highway patrol vehicle in pursuit of a motorcyclist.

  10. Oh Silver,
    That is so sad. I always think that when I see high speed chases in movies, how dumb they are because in real life they would kill people.


  11. I'm with Julia...actually I'm not mores the pity! But I am on tour for Slugfest and I've been in so many hotel rooms in the past three weeks that I've started to take a picture of the door so I remember my room number. just back from AZ and off to PA tmw. What was the question??