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.
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.
I will never forget the day that Hemingway died
Nor of how he died on ‘61’s second day of July
I was sixteen years old way back then
And far too much to the universe tuned in
I will never forget the shock that filled me as I cried
Deep inside a wounded creature not knowing why
Not even knowing much about the man I stood
Alone in silence surrounded by living woods
That were more than silent that day he died
To me they were, to me they were and yet
The world still moved and went its passing way
But in my heart, I knew something broke that day
Something strange that day had come and gone its way
The day that Papa died, yes that day on ‘61s second day of July 1/14/17
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.
The battle flag sudden snapped and swung up to fly in the wind
Above the post on the hill that even God had not known about back then
On a hot and sticky day where boys waited amid the baking heat
All seemed to stand still in the sudden roar of quiet to those there that day
Broken by the Sergeant’s sudden shout of “guns up!” that tore the silence apart
Rifles swung up then their muzzles pointed out and down across the clearing
Where men of difference moved so quiet in the sea of grass
Then, with hearts beating hard in all the chests of those there that hour and day
Searing rounds were sent out for the human shearing
A burst returned ripped holes in the flag that flew in the wind
Blood and mud spattered, its fabric so worn and so thin
That flew above boys that day sudden turned into men
It snapped and swung up to fly in the wind
Above the post on the hill that no one, not even God knew about back then.
6/10/13 edited 12/22/2016
This is a book of poetry, a slice of life. It is a reflection of what has been and what will come. If you know of someone who likes to read, likes or even dislikes poetry (some have read this book that do not like poetry and yet they have written me and say write more! because of the way I write) then THIS is the book for you and for your friend. $10 https://authorgordonkuhn.com/
Just opened an e-commerce store. You can find it at Gordon-Kuhn-author or gordonkuhnauthor.com
I know it is confusing. Yes?
Everything I do is confusing. Computers hate me. Wrist watches hate me. Anyway, you can find me on the internet and by my books there, comment on them, write me and tell me what’s happening. AND I look forward to hearing from you.
Best to you, Gordon.
Go to Goodreads.com/giveaway and search out my name and/or the name of the book. The contest is run by Goodreads and not me. They make the winning selection. There are two copies being offered.
This is a true-crime, narrative-nonfiction book. The subject is the criminal acts of Delmer Smith who came to Florida in 2008 to be with the woman who married him sight unseen while he was in Federal Prison for bank robbery. He left her and moved in with a younger woman. Soon after that he returned to his career as a criminal and terrorized two communities before being captured.
He is currently serving a life sentence for a crime committed in Sarasota County and is also on death row for a murder in Manatee County.
Hopefully the link below will take you there but I don’t trust links, computers, watches, cars, dogs with the eyes that are not honest, or people who are overly friendly
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The book is out and can be found at Amazon Prime. It is also online at Barnes & Noble. Price is $15 plus shipping ( in some cases). It is also available thru me at $18 which includes shipping and my signature on the inside of the book.