Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ON HITTING THE MARK

I believe I have previously mentioned that I sometimes present guest speakers in my law school classes with a copy of one of my books. Bernie Mortenson, a retired FDLE agent, spoke to my class a few weeks ago on a subject at which he is an expert--complex criminal investigations. I gave him a copy of The Last Murder and got the following email back from him:

Just finished your book last night...............................great writing!! It was even better for me since I knew almost all of the folks involved.
You did a fine job putting all that together.............................that in itself must have been a monster job.
I really enjoyed the group of students last week................they were certainly more engaged than the 1st class (at least I felt that way). Hope I covered all you  wanted me too.
I'm going to get in touch with some of the folks in the book and recommend they get it and read it........................no charge:)
talk to you later
PS: I noticed while reading the book I covered some of the procedures you used in putting the case together.........................glad I made the talk before reading it!!

My response: 

Thanks for the kind comments. I'm not sure what you meant about being glad you made the talk before reading the book. I think what you said dovetailed nicely with what I wrote in the book.
Would you mind if I posted your remarks about the book on my blog?

To which he replied:

would be happy to have them posted.......................the ref to speaking to the class before reading the book, was that if I had read the book first, it would seem as tho I was simply parroting what you had written. It was most pleasing to see that "great minds do run together"!
Thanks again for the book and the opportunity to pass on a few thoughts to future prosecutors.

I take this exchange as further confirmation that I hit the mark with the audience I primarily intended to reach--lawyers and law enforcement officers in the criminal justice system. I had intended the book to also speak to a larger audience of non-professionals who might be interested in criminal investigations and criminal procedure, Florida history, and historical trials, and I have received some positive feedback from that sort of reader. There are other audiences which might be interested in the subject matter of the book but disappointed with its presentation. Hopefully those belonging to such audiences will be mollified by the knowledge that the work was intended more as a textbook than a tell-all.