Do You Know How to Fly? 09.01.2017 A


The following is an excerpt from Predator, The Man Who Didn’t Exist; Do You Know How to Fly? It is the first chapter. I already posted part of it and this is the entire chapter complete now.

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Birth of an Evil Seed

Delmer Smith III was born July 19, 1971 in Detroit, Michigan to a couple who are now both deceased. He is one of multiple children from this mixed-race union. His mother, Velma Shelton, was white and his father was black. Delmer is light skinned, light enough to pass for being white in many circumstances. The mixed bloodlines will provoke identification confusion in the future when, as an adult, he is the suspect in several crimes.
He is given his father’s name and the family happily pronounces him to be Delmer the 3rd. His name, and that of his father, is a variant of Delmar (also used within the family) and comes from Spanish and “Old” French. It means “of the sea.” The choice is, perhaps prophetic in an eerie way.
The sea is a mercurial place. It can be calm, inviting, sublime, and soft at one point in time and then, with little if any warning, it will become treacherous, evil, violent, destructive, a merciless killer. And, so it was to be with Delmer the 3rd. As it is for the sea, he also will be a mystery to those he meets in life. Michele Quinones, his onetime fiancé, told me as she was trying to make sense of their relationship, “He was the man who didn’t exist.”
She went on to say to me, “I recall one day we were fishing and he was standing off behind me and I looked up at him. He didn’t know I was watching him. What I saw was a man stripped for a moment of what or who he was. He was so soft standing there, a little boy. So strange,” she smiled as she thought back. “He was so at peace. And yet, there is this other Delmer that I did not know or even suspect might exist. I saw him for what he might have been, what he could have been, not as he was.”
He was a burglar. He had a weird sexual appetite. He preyed on women who were elderly, or close to being so. Moreover, he was a brutal killer without compassion for his victims, or sense of guilt for what he did to them.
This is a man who is an enigma to many—perhaps even to himself. In his wake will be both terror and love as well as questions—questions that no one will ever be able to fully answer.

The newborn entered the world as all children do, coated in a wet blanket of blood and body fluids from his mother, which left his small wrinkled body coated in a shining slime that needed to be hurriedly washed off. But first, so his mother could touch him, the doctor laid him up high on her stomach. The newborn wriggled about and let go a torrent of crying while the doctor clamped and cut the umbilical cord. Then, nurses carefully lifted him and took him over to a table and water to clean him up.
He was quite a sight, all slick and slimy from the birth, his lungs sucking in huge gulps of air to expel in great rips of crying in protest for having been taken from a warm place and thrust into cool air beneath blinding lights, assaulted by monstrous noises, and unknown things touching him while his arms and legs swatted here and there and at everyone around him as he let his anger be known. Soon, they brought him back to Velma, wrapped tightly in a soft blue blanket and laid him down so she could hold him close. It was only a short while later that Velma and the baby were transported to her room where she could spend more time examining and loving on her baby. And then a small flood of waiting relatives and friends arrived to greet her and the newborn.
Exhausted, he had closed his eyes and drifted into a deep sleep ignoring the trip down the hall on the stretcher to where they lifted he and his mother onto her hospital bed. It was much later that he felt someone tugging on his blanket and holding his tiny hands.
He opened his eyes to the harsh glare of ceiling lights and a cloud of faces peering down at him all with smiles beaming well wishes. But he didn’t understand all that and he didn’t understand why they were holding his hands and marveling at how strong he was. “What a grip,” someone said. “Just look at how he holds on.” Little could the friends and relatives surrounding him then imagine that those tiny hands would grow and one day beat, sexually assault, drag, and even kill women not much older than his own mother was then.
Then he was surrounded in safety and comfort by his parents, brothers, sisters, other family members, and a handful of family friends. They most assuredly were like others when addressing a new born for the first time. They would have remarked at how tiny his fingers and toes were in comparison to theirs. Perhaps they marveled about how strong the tiny hands were as his fingers curled about theirs and tightened, never suspecting that those fingers one day would be suspected of curling around a baseball bat and beating a woman to death in Sarasota, Florida.
They would have laughed as they tried to get his attention by making odd sounds and tickling him. And he, like all newborns, probably just yawned and looked this way and that, not focusing on any one person or thing. They would have wondered about his future. They surely laughed and were excited about his prospects and, like many parents and well-wishers do, probably even imagined him becoming some famous and wealthy person, maybe even the President of the United States. However, it was not to be. A bad seed is hard to recognize when so tiny. He would become famous, in a sense, as he terrorized parts of Sarasota and Manatee Counties because of the brutality of his crimes.
It is doubtful that anyone present in Delmer Smith’s life then would have dared to predict, or could have imagined, that thirty-eight years later this then tiny bundle of life would be under arrest and accused of being a violent serial rapist, home invader, burglar, murderer, and suspected drug trafficker. All they would have seen before them then, wrapped in a soft blue hospital blanket, was a baby reaching up, sleepy eyed, with curling fingers and toes, stretching, a wonder of life.
No one could have anticipated his troubled youth or his struggle with education. This child would repeat the second grade, and then the third, the fourth, and the fifth. At age fourteen, and in the fifth grade, he was surrounded by nine and ten year olds. Then, suddenly, he was promoted to the ninth grade skipping all the years between, and placed into a special needs class. Testing would determine his verbal IQ to be seventy, one point above “retarded.”
Not one of his then admirers saw the monster he would become. However, as he grew older, there were several neighborhood events, referred to anonymously by those who knew him as a child, which surfaced in and before his teenage years, that were indicative of a troubled future. No one then recognized his lack of impulse control that would plague him. It would not be identified until he was much older and then on trial for his life.
Nevertheless, Delmer Smith has another side to him that was noted by Michele Quinones. It was also discussed in open court during the presentencing stage of his murder trial when the defense introduced two of his family members who, as young girls, had their lives significantly influenced by his interactions with them over the years.

 

 

Predator: Do You Know How to Fly? 08.30.17 1A


When I began to write this book, I wanted to understand what went on in the mind of such a criminal as Delmer Smith. There are several first rate books on the issue. One I came across was written by Dr. Samenow  who developed a test to reveal the depth of a persons level of being a sociopath. Delmer Smith is a first class model of a sociopath. He feels nothing where his victims are concerned.

 

The Criminal Mind

Doctor Samenow in his book, Inside the Criminal Mind, exhorts us to remember that “… we must begin with the clear understanding that the criminal chooses crime. He chooses his associates, his way of life, the kinds of crime he commits. He rejects society long before society rejects him; he is victimizer, not victim. The criminal values people to the extent that they can be manipulated; he believes he is entitled to whatever he desires; he does not justify his actions to himself.”

The book is available at authorgordonkuhn.com; Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com

Blog: Thoughts of a Poet in the Rain.

More to come!


 

Good morning, afternoon, or evening depending on where you are. But happy to see you stopped by, put a cup of coffee down, and sat down so we could talk about some serious things.  The first is that I am almost finished with the second true crime book about a serial killer in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.  It is called Predator: The Man Who Didn’t Exist, Nightmare on Terra Ceia……and some call it The Lady in a Pink Top.  

In any case it is about the murder of a doctor’s wife on Terra Ceia Island just off Palmetto, Florida. It is the sister book to the one titled Do You Know How To Fly.

Sales are good! I invite you to http://www.authorgordonkuhn.com or go to Amazon and make a purchase. You can also get the book on Kindle.

Now, one last thing. I am looking for a reliable literary agent. If you know of one please write me at GKUHNWRITES@AOL.COM

Dinner With Diane Brinker


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.

ONLINE BOOKCLUB REVIEW


Official Review: Predator; The Man Who Didn’t Exist; Do You Know How To Fly?

Post Number:#1 by klbradley » Yesterday, 16:21

http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelves/iframe-add-to-wtr.php?id=123113[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Predator; The Man Who Didn’t Exist; Do You Know How to Fly?” by Gordon L Kuhn.]

Book Cover


3 out of 4 stars


Review by klbradley


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Predator; The Man Who Didn’t Exist; Do You Know How to Fly? is Gordon Kahn’s non-fiction novel that takes a look at the disastrous turmoil that one man caused to several innocent people in Manatee County and Sarasota, Florida. The author pieces together the information regarding the attacks, and follows with an extraordinary account of the trial that followed Delmer Smith’s arrest. Predator; The Man Who Didn’t Exist; Do You Know How to Fly? is a true crime story that depicts how one violent man’s actions could cause disaster for many others, and eventually lead him to death row. 

Delmer Smith was born in Detroit in 1971. His introduction into the life of a criminal was started at an early age, and by age fourteen, he was introduced to a juvenile jail cell for a rape conviction at a car wash. His eighteen months behind bars seemed to have little effect on him, as not long after he was released, he went forward with burglaries, bank robberies, and other violent crimes. Smith appeared to live a normal life to his close friends and family, but his violent assaults and robberies carried on throughout Florida starting in 2009, which is where a majority of this story takes place. 

In this riveting story, author Gordon Kahn interviews some of Smith’s victims, relating back the horrific experiences they had to endure. The story seems to come to life when it is told from a first-hand experience, so this was an excellent attribution by the author. The court proceedings were easy to follow, with the author giving an excellent recount of details, like explaining what is happening when the attorneys pause, or the looks that are being given by the jury members. I was exceptionally pleased to see that the author included vocabulary clarification page at the end of the book, and cross-referenced the usage to specific sentences. This allowed me to follow along with ease, despite having to refer to the back of the book. 

The writing style seemed to flow with ease, with only a few minor hiccups in the structure. My complaint with Predator; The Man Who Didn’t Exist; Do You Know How to Fly? comes from the repetition that came along with the story. I can tell the author repeated some sections for clarity, and so that they would be easily remembered, but it seemed that the same points of evidence came in to play five to six times each. There was also a bit of jumping around with the time log, especially once the violent attacks started to become frequent. Some of the background information seemed unnecessary to the story, especially the introductory pages regarding Delmer Smith’s birth. 

My boss currently owns two homes in Florida, one in Bradenton and one in Sarasota. As I avidly watch the news, I was surprised to find that I did not recall hearing of these attacks. I was curious with how closely this story followed along with the news articles, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the information in the story follows along well with the news articles. There was a mention of another book that continues with this story, and I am looking forward to the release of it as well.

This book has earned a 3 out of 4 star rating from me. The plot moved forward smoothly, but the numerous repetition seemed to make me feel as though I had accidentally lost my place in the book and read the same paragraph numerous times. I can understand the thought behind it, as a way to give clarity and serve as a reminder, but it became an issue with the numerous mentions. This book comes as an excellent recommendation from me for readers who enjoy true crime novels. Because the story depicts fairly recent events, it may be hard for some to read, given the violent nature and attacks that are detailed.

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Predator; The Man Who Didn’t Exist; Do You Know How to Fly? 
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

 

KIRKUS REVIEW OF DO YOU KNOW HOW TO FLY?


KIRKUS REVIEW

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.

Book Two of Predator Coming Soon


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.