Jan and I were very fortunate to have as a dinner guest yesterday evening Diane Brinker who was one of the eight sisters of Kathleen Briles. There were 9 girls and 2 boys. Diane shared a lot of details with us and it was a pure blessing to simply be able to sit and talk with her. In some ways, having conversations with her and others, the people in these stories become family to me as I ride along listening to the fun days and the sad days. It is so sad to me to meet them with all this pain brought about by one person, and the tragedy is that Kathleen would not have died if the FBI had not failed to keep their computer data base up to date. Diane shared photos of her sister and her family with us. It was a wonderful evening but so tragically brought about. It leaves me with a major responsibility to write Nightmare in Terra Ceia with as much sensitivity as I can muster.
Good morning to all my readers. It is 0512 and I have been up for a few hours working on Nightmare in Terra Ceia. It is the true story of the murder of Kathleen Briles on 8/3/2009. It is the followup to Do You Know How To Fly?.
Do You Know How To Fly is the first book in the two book series of Predator; The Man Who Didn’t Exist.
This book was reviewed by Kirkus Reviews and also by Onlinebookclub.org. It can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and also on my web page: http://www.authorgordonkuhn.com .
It is available in print and also in ebook fashion.
Goodreads has a contest running on my book Do You Know How To Fly which is a true crime novel. It is the first of two books about a career criminal who came to the Tampa Bay area after being placed on parole for bank robbery and sentenced to 15 1/2 years in Federal prison.
Shortly after his arrival here he dumped the woman who married him sight unseen while he was in prison and who helped his being released from prison and moved in with a woman much younger. Shortly after that he began a series of robberies, assaults, and home invasions. It ended with his capture after a bar fight but too late for the murder of a local doctor’s wife. Sadly had the FBI’s CODIS program for DNA been up to date he would have been stopped months prior before two local women (one the doctor’s wife) was brutally murdered.
Kuhn’s debut true-crime story shows how a violent man’s life led him to death row.
The author uses interviews and other sources to piece together the life of Delmer Smith, a seasoned career criminal awaiting execution in Florida. Smith was born in Detroit in 1971, on the cusp of the city’s economic decline. By age 14, he was convicted of raping a woman at a carwash where he worked. The 18 months that he spent in a juvenile reformatory dashed any possibility of rehabilitation; instead, he learned “how to be more proficient as a criminal” as he became “a creature without a conscience.” As a young adult, Kuhn writes, Smith carried out burglaries, carjackings, and bank robberies, which eventually led to a 15-year incarceration. After his second prison stint, he moved to Florida; there, Kuhn writes, Smith assaulted and beat multiple women—all the while leading a double life as a “wise and loving uncle” to his two nieces. Eventually, the violence led to a murder conviction. The author interviewed many of Smith’s victims and found that the women were now “desperately seeking someone or something to fully trust again.” Thanks to these firsthand accounts, readers receive a nuanced portrait of a predatory man. Kuhn’s decision to jump between accounts of Smith’s early life and present-day interviews is an effective one; by regularly pulling readers back to the present, he reminds them of the painful, enduring impact of his subject’s actions. Moreover, Kuhn shows a great deal of sensitivity when recounting the crimes, evoking deep pathos instead of graphic sensationalism. That said, the book does include some unnecessary background information, including three pages on Smith’s birth alone; it also bafflingly overuses section breaks, which disrupt the otherwise strong narrative flow.
A thoughtful, engaging account of a brutal life and the carnage that it left behind.
They were husband and wife. Best friends. Two who loved each other without question. Her name was Kathleen, Kathy for short. His was Doctor James Briles. He went by Jim.
Kathy spent the last day of her life excited with the prospects of preparing a special dinner for the man she loved. One they would never share. She had gotten her hair done just as it had been on their first date. She had stopped to visit with friends telling them of her plans for the evening.
It was to be a special night. One filled for them with the sense and wonder of simply being in love. But the actions of one man, one monster, turned it into a scene of horror.
Book One is published: Do You Know How to Fly?
You can order it from Barnes and Noble, Amazon has it and also has it in e-book fashion, and I have it on http://www.authorgordonkuhn.com . Order from me and it will arrive with my personal note to you.
So here I sit with the majority of Book Two done and I am procrastinating. Call it what you will, but I just can’t seem to get myself going. I am within reach of being done with Book Two and I just can’t seem to push myself over the edge. Maybe it is a case of fear. Yes, fear.
I have been working on this for 6 1/2 years and to let go of my baby, so to speak, is frightening. Not only that but is it a good book or is it shit? I don’t know. I feel it is a good book but at the same time I am concerned that the author, me, is just delusional. That happens to everyone I think that has created something and who has this ache in their hearts to be looked upon as an artist, relevant for the current times and yet building a legacy for others to look up at and marvel at the work done so far.
So, anyway, I met with retired Sheriff’s Detective Ned Foy who solved the Briles’ murder case and had coffee with him. I gave him a copy of Book One and he said he is excited to read it. He is also looking forward to Book Two.
Now the pressure is on. Actually it had already started this morning at breakfast when Sherry Call Roberts walked up to me and poked me in the stomach asking how close I was to finishing Book Two . Of course she was being playful but the point was simply this: get going and get finished and stop procrastinating. It is easy to fall into that trap. So I am grateful to Sherry and to Ned and to everyone who is bugging the hell out of me to finish the book. It needs to get done.
The other nice thing, and I mean that really, is that Ned told me that he would join the readers I have now and review Book Two. After all, he is the main man on that. It was his case to solve and he did. He can provide me with even more insight than I have now. He’s excited. I’m excited. And, I know that everyone else will be excited too as we all move forward with this. I know I am not alone.