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.
The poet speaks in voices unheard
Their words are spread upon a page unread
within the confusion of mind speak
the poet’s pen travels on, and on, and on
and where from does the lighted darkness come
where from does the need arise
to shake the hand of God, I suppose
and yet no one shall ever know.
What haunted inquiries doth possess
The soul of a single man
What creatures known but by him
Shall raise their faces from the darkness
From the vault kept locked within
Where memories persist to crawl
And slither then upon the walls
Where with a sublime poison touch the soul from within
To cradle him and bath him in memories of his sins
Cannot the treasure once spoken of so profound
See past the surface marred with scratches
Caused by the fight for life and light within
The casket of memories held tightly unexposed
Nails seeking a spot so soft to break into the day
And yet, my friend, darkness looms ahead
Darkness seeks the firm foundations grown so weak
Where only memories of evil purpose takes to peak
On a mountain never climbed and waiting
Waiting for the final curtain to descend
Upon the poet whose voice is silent from within. 02/02/17
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.
And so as evening fell fully away from the day and
Those watching went their separate way
Speaking not of evil left there cloaked in dark wings
And left behind small Aleen to sit high upon the hill
The rocky hill that overlooked the city of LLandia
Where the mission keeper sat and looked past them as they left
Brooding about the mission sent him on
And snarled at those who turned to look back at him
For what was their want? Could they have found a better one.
His dark fangs revealed his mood and waited for the taste of blood.
That would run from throats slit by fingernail and dragon tail of wingspan spread
He would wait till fully dark and then mount his quest and deliver the blows
While the silly younger ones left behind who groveled at their teachers feet
Waited for a tasty treat and yet
And yet he recalled Anlock the Strong who spoke to him so long before
Long before the mission clear was in his mind and vision spell
There he had lain away so many days and nights until it became so very clear
That death, dear death would somehow come once again near
And as told when Anloch’s face was close, so close he could hear
The breathing from the lungs deep behind the lacquered armored hide
“Kill them swifty, little one. Surprise those of your kind larger than you.
Surprise them at your strength and keep in mind,
There will come a day when you will have to kill them too.” 1/12/2017
Angels or demons cast their nets
Wide caught those with memories
Memories of rights and wrongs, I think
Those with recall so sharp and clear
Memories of thoughts themselves cursed
Cursed as were the moments in time brought forth
Forth brought the issues as played out in life complex
Angels or demons, I know not which crawl through my mind
And pull me from the present to the past intense
Visions not wished to replay
But seen there on the big screen
Unable to stop them from their haunting. 1/10/17
So it happened that Eric fell asleep for what appeared to be only a few minutes, but the reality was it was hours and days and months that had passed in a twinkling when Eric finally yawned and sat up in what was now a pollution of rotted hay for he had been left there as the others were unable to wake him. But then there was a shuffling noise in the far in of his den and out popped the faces of two who were his own age, except you had to consider he was actually over a hundred at the time, but not physically. Physically he was only 3 or was it 4. I’m not sure, maybe 5. Yes, let’s say he was 5 and be done with it except…..well….plus a hundred.
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.