MetroFocus: July 15, 2021

Have you ever asked yourself “How did I end up here?” “What experiences and circumstances have led to where I am right now?” Bob McKinnon believes these are the most important questions we can ask ourselves and the mere act of reflection will lead to a better society for us all. Bob is host of the Attribution With Bob McKinnon podcast which is distributed by PBS Chasing The Dream, director of the non-profit Moving Up Media and author of the new book “Three Little Engines” which is a modern retelling of the beloved childhood classic “The Little Engine That Could.” Tonight he joins us as part of our Chasing The Dream initiative to explore the concepts of social mobility and inequality in a manner with which young children can identify.

After spending decades covering some of the most important criminal cases in the country, legal journalist Wendy Whitman has decided to use her experience, and vast knowledge of past murder trails, to write her debut novel. The book, a crime thriller, titled Premonition, is loosely based on Whitman’s own life and informed by trails Whitman covered that she feels did not get the media attention they deserved at the time. Wendy Whitman joins us to discuss her new book and give her take on some problematic aspects of the criminal justice system.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE JPB FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME.

I'M JACK FORD.

SO HAVE YOU EVER ASKED YOURSELF JUST HOW DID I GET HERE?

WHAT ARE THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND EXPERIENCES THAT HAVE LED TO WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW.

OUR NEXT GUEST BELIEVES THAT ASKING YOURSELVES THOSE QUESTIONS ARE SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS WE CAN DO AND THAT THE MERE ACT OF REFLECTING ON THOSE QUESTIONS WILL LEAD TO A BETTER SOCIETY FOR ALL OF US.

THE DIRECTOR OF THE NONPROFIT MOVING UP MEDIA LAB AND HOST OF A PODCAST WHICH IS DISTRIBUTED BY PBS CHASING THE DREAM.

HIS LATEST BOOK IS A MODERN RETELLING OF A BELOVED CLASSIC, THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD.

IT EXPLAINS INEQUALITY IN A WAY THAT CHILDREN CAN UNDERSTAND.

IT IS PART OF OUR CHASING THE DREAM OF POVERTY AND EQUAL JUSTICE IN AMERICA.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

THANKS, JACK.

I WANT TO SHOW THE BOOK TO FOLKS.

IT IS A MARVELOUS WORK.

THE COLORS AND IMAGES ADD TO THE MESSAGE YOU ARE GIVING HERE.

SO AS I MENTIONED, IT IS A MODERN RETELLING OR RETAKE ON THAT CLASSIC 'THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD.'

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO DO THAT.

AS YOU MENTIONED IN YOUR INTRODUCTION I HAVE BEEN ASKING HOW DID I END UP HERE ALL OF MY LIFE, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY.

ALONG THAT JOURNEY I WAS INTRODUCED TO FASCINATING RESEARCH FROM COLUMBIA, UNIVERSITY.

IF YOU HAVE EVER GONE OUT FOR A RUN, YOU ARE MORE AWARE OF THE WIND BLOWING IN YOUR FACE THAN AT YOUR BACK.

I HAD MET HIM THROUGH A MUTUAL CONNECTION AND HE FORWARDED ME AN ARTICLE THAT WAS WRITTEN ABOUT HIS WORK BY A NEW YORKER.

AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE SHE ASKS WHAT HE DOES IN HIS OWN LIFE TO REFLECT RESEARCH.

HE RESPONDS I DON'T READ 'THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD' TO MY KIDS.

I HAVE ALWAYS HATED THAT BOOK.

SOME ENGINES CAN'T AND IT'S NOT FAIR.

I THOUGHT THAT SOUNDED A LITTLE HARSH.

I HAD READ IT AND LOVED IT AND HAD A COPY FOR MY KIDS.

I SAW A LITTLE BIT WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT WHEN I REREAD IT.

SO I WANTED TO TELL A STORY THAT WAS LESS ABOUT I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN, BUT WAS MORE ABOUT I THINK WE CAN, I THINK WE CAN, BELIEVING IN EACH OTHER.

THIS IS SO WONDERFUL.

I MENTIONED TO YOU THAT WE HAD OUR 15-MONTH-OLD LITTLE GRANDSON THIS WEEKEND.

WE READ IT TO HIM.

AT HIS AGE HE'S LOVING THE COLORS AND TEXTURES.

WE HAVE OUR 6 AND 3-YEAR-OLD GRANDSONS COMING THIS WEEKEND AND WE WANT TO READ IT TO HIM.

HOW DID YOU CHANGE THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD INTO THREE LITTLE ENGINES.

IT'S A PREQUEL OR ORIGIN STORY.

NOW IT'S THEIR LAST DAY OF ENGINE SCHOOL AND THEY HAVE TO GET OVER THE MOUNTAIN.

YOU SEE FROM THE BEAUTIFUL ILLUSTRATIONS HOW DIFFERENT THEIR TRACKS ARE.

YOU ARE ABLE TO SEE THIS MIGHT BE DIFFERENT FROM THE ORIGINAL.

THE LITTLE BLUE ENGINE GOES ABOUT HER JOURNEY AND HAS STRUGGLES, I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN AND MAKES IT OVER.

BUT THE OTHER TWO ENGINES HAVE STRUGGLES.

BUT WHAT IS IN THEIR WAY IT MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO GET OVER THE MOUNTAIN.

AT FIRST HER REACTION IS WHY DID THEY STOP?

DID THEY QUIT.

HER TEACHER OLD RUSTY ENGINE ASKS QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW HER JOURNEY WAS AND HOW IT MIGHT BE DIFFERENT FROM HER FRIEND.

THERE IS A WONDERFUL MOMENT WHERE IT SAYS AFTER ASKING THESE QUESTIONS SHE SITS QUIETLY AND REFLECTS AND REALIZES THAT HER JOURNEY WAS DIFFERENT FROM HER FRIENDS AND THEN ASKS IS THERE ANYTHING WE CAN DO TO HELP AND THEN SAYS I THINK WE CAN, I THINK WE CAN, GOING BACK UP THE MOUNTAIN TO HELP.

YOU ARE NOT TRYING TO DIMINISH THE POSITIVE THINKING AND HARD WORK.

I AM IN NO WAY TRYING TO DO THAT.

IN THE BOOK IS SAYS WE WORK HARD AND RECOGNIZE IT AND IT SHOULD BE CELEBRATED.

IT IS MORE THIS NOTION OF WE SHOULD ALL HAVE JOURNEYS.

WE SHOULD SEE HOW OUR JOURNEY IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS.

IT IS HONORING THE CLASSIC AND THE IDEA OF 'I THINK I CAN' AND ADDING A LAYER TO IT.

THAT'S A GOOD WAY TO LOOK AT IT.

IT'S ADDING TO IT, NOT LOOKING TO DIMINISH FROM IT.

WHEN YOU PUT TOGETHER SOMETHING LIKE THIS, HOW MUCH DO YOU DRAW FROM YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES IN ORDER TO PUT DOWN IN THESE BEAUTIFUL IMAGES AND MESSAGES WHAT YOU WANT PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND?

ALL OF THIS WORK IS IN MY OWN EXPERIENCE.

I GREW UP IN A TOWN OUTSIDE BOSTON CALLED CHELSEA WHICH IS THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE ORIGINAL 'RATION TO RICHES' AUTHOR.

THEN WE MOVED TO RURAL PENNSYLVANIA AND LIVED IN TRAILER PARKS YOU HAVE MOST OF MY LIFE MY MOM WAS A SINGLE MOTHER.

I HAVE HAD SUCCESS ON A LOT OF LEVELS.

AND I KNOW PEOPLE WHO I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH WHO HAVE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT OUTCOMES.

I KNOW THEY DID NOT WORK LESS HARD THAN I DID IN THEIR JOBS AND CAREERS.

IT'S CURIOUS TO KNOW WHAT IS DRIVING THESE DIFFERENT OUTCOMES.

THE TWO THINGS THAT WERE FASCINATING TO ME IS THERE IS AN INCREASING BODY OF WHAT HELPS KIDS MOVE UP, LIKE A PARTICULAR PARENT WHO BUFFERS YOU AROUND FROM THE DIFFICULT THINGS YOU MAY EXPERIENCE.

BUT THERE IS ALSO THE PSYCHOLOGY OF WHAT WE THINK ABOUT HOW WE END UP IN LIFE.

I WAS RAISED BY A SINGLE MOTHER.

FOUR CHILDREN.

I WAS FORTUNATE TO HAVE TEACHERS AND COACHES IN MY LIFE THAT PROVIDED GUIDANCE, THE ABILITY TO WORK HARD, HELP YOU GET AROUND OBSTACLES THERE.

GOT ME TO COLLEGE.

I LOOK BACK ON ALL OF THESE THINGS.

I SEE SOME FRIENDS OF MINE THAT DIDN'T GET THAT.

AND MAY WELL NOT HAVE GOTTEN TO WHERE THEY WANTED TO BE IN THEIR LIVES.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO REFLECT ON THOSE NOTIONS OF SOCIAL MOBILITY AND EXPERIENCES THAT HAVE HELPED US GET WHERE WE ARE.

I THINK THERE ARE A COUPLE OF REASONS.

IF WE DON'T WE HAVE A TENDENCY TO PREJUDGE.

WE JUDGE OUR OWN SUCCESS, OUTCOMES OF OTHERS AND MAY DO SO HARSHLY AT TIMES.

RESEARCH WILL TELL YOU WHEN YOU REFLECT ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE AND REALIZE THERE MAY BE OTHER FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY THAT YOU MAY BE MORE GRATEFUL, APPRECIATIVE AND MORE SUPPORTIVE OF OTHERS WHO MAY BE HAVING STRUGGLES YOU DID OR DIDN'T EXPERIENCE.

I KNOW OVER THE COURSE OF THE LAST TEN YEARS THERE HAS BEEN IMPORTANCE PAID TO EMPATHY IN OUR CULTURE.

WE WANT TO PUT OURSELVES IN THE SHOES OF OTHER PEOPLE.

BUT I WORK AROUND AT BUGS WHICH IS TRYING TO UNDERSTAND HOW YOU ARE WEARING YOUR SHOES IN THE FIRST PLACE.

IT IS A PRECURSOR TO EMPATHY AND SUPPORTING OTHERS AND LEADS TO A HAPPIER AND MORE GRATEFUL LIFE TO THOSE WHO DO IT.

YOU HAVE DONE ALL SORTS OF THINGS, LOOKING INTO SOCIAL ISSUES.

NOW YOU ARE DOING CHILDREN BOOKS.

CONTRARY TO WHAT YSOME MAY THIN, CHILDREN'S BOOK DOESN'T MEAN YOU ARE DUMG DOWN.

HOW DO YOU PUT TOGETHER A CHILDREN'S BOOK AND THEN MARRYING IT WITH THE IMAGES THAT ARE SO IMPORTANT.

I READ THE BOOK AND TRIED TO UNDERSTAND THE CHARACTERS AND WHAT THAT LOOKED LIKE.

I STILL HAVE IT.

I HAVE A JOURNAL IN MY BEDSIDE AND I PULLED IT OUT AND WROTE THE ORIGINAL DRAFT OF THE BOOK.

I HAVE THREE YOUNG CHILDREN SO I READ IT TO THEM AND SAID YOU ARE THE EXPERTS HERE.

THAT COULD BE A REAL TOUGH AUDIENCE.

THE TOUGHEST AUDIENCE.

THEY WERE REALLY SUPPORTIVE.

THEN I WAS FORTUNATE TO GET CONNECTED, LUCK IN FORTUNE, IN OUR TOWN WITH A WELL RESPECTED ILLUSTRATOR BY THE NAME OF ED YOUNG.

HE THOUGHT THERE WAS SOMETHING IN IT.

THEN I HAD TO GO THROUGH THE PROCESS -- SOME PEOPLE SAID YOU MAY HAVE INTELLECTUAL RIGHTS ISSUES.

SO I CALLED PENGUIN.

CHILDREN'S PUBLISHING IS NOTORIOUSLY DIFFICULT TO GET INTO.

I SENT AN E-MAIL.

MONTHS WENT BY.

SENT ANOTHER E-MAIL.

THEY SAID SEND US YOUR MANUSCRIPT AND WE WILL CHECK IT OUT.

MONTHS WENT BY AND FINALLY GOT ON THE PHONE WITH SOMEBODY.

AND I THOUGHT THEY WERE GOING TO TELL ME I COULDN'T DO IT OR MAKE IT MORE OR LESS LIKE THE ORIGINAL.

THEY SAID THE 90th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ORIGINAL IS COMING AROUND AND WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR A MORE RELEVANT ISSUE.

THE EDITORS, WHEN I STARTED THE ORIGINAL DRAFT, IT WAS THEY ARE GOING OVER THIS MOUNTAIN, WHY ARE THEY GOING OVER THE MOUNTAIN.

THERE WAS THAT GRADUATION PROCESS.

BUT TAKING TOPICS FROM SOCIAL SCIENCE AND DRILLING IT DOWN INTO SOMETHING WAS CHOICEFUL IN MAKING SURE WE WERE ALLOWING HER CHOICES RATHER THAN TELLING HER WHAT TO THINK.

SO IT WAS A FOUR-YEAR JOURNEY OVER THIS MOUNTAIN WITH ITS OWN TWISTS AND TURNS.

WITH YOUR OWN OBSTACLES.

AS I MENTIONED BEFORE, I HAD A CHANCE WITH MY SON, HIS SON, HIS 15-MONTH OLD, AND THIS WEEKEND WE HAVE OUR 3 AND 6-YEAR-OLD GRANDSONS COMING.

I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO WHAT THEIR REACTIONS WILL BE TO SITTING DOWN AND READING THIS ALL WITH THEM.

AS I MENTIONED BEFORE IT'S CALLED 'THREE LITTLE ENGINES.'

IT'S A MODERN AND IMPORTANT RETELLING OF THE CLASSIC 'THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD.'

AND HOW FORTUITOUS THAT YOU CAME UP WITH THE IDEA.

IT'S A GREAT BOOK FOR ANYBODY TO READ, EVEN ADULTS.

BOB, THANKS FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US.

BE WELL.

THANKS FOREHAVING ME ON, JACK.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

WENDY HAS SPENT SEVERAL DECADES COVERING CRIME STORIES AND TRIALS IN THIS COUNTRY.

NOW SHE BRINGS ALL OF THOSE SKILLS AND OBSERVATIONS AND EXPERIENCES TO HER DEBUT CRIME THRILLER.

THE NOVEL IS CALLED 'PREMONITION.'

IT IS A PAGE TURNING TAUT THRILLER FOCUSING NOT JUST ON THE STORY, BUT SOME ASPECTS OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

WENDY IS A GOOD FRIEND AND FORMER LEAGUE.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

PLEASURE TO SEE YOU, AS ALWAYS.

PLEASURE SO SEE YOU TOO, JACK.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE STORY.

IT IS ONE OF THOSE PAGE TURNING THRILLERS.

GIVE US A SENSE OF WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT.

IT IS BASED ON MYSELF WHICH I THINK IS A COMMON THING FOR PROBABLY MOST ANY AUTHOR.

ORIGINALLY I PLANNED TO WRITE A NONFICTION BOOK.

I ALWAYS THOUGHT I HAD A BOOK IN ME FROM COURT TV AND NANCY GRACE SHOW.

ONE NIGHT IS DAWNED ON ME TO HIGHLIGHT 20 CASES THAT I NEVER FELT GOT ENOUGH MEDIA ATTENTION.

IT WAS A CATHARTIC CULMINATION OF MY CAREER.

WHEN I DECIDED TO MAKE IT FICTION, I STARTED THINKING I WAS WRITING ABOUT ME AND MY EXPERIENCES AND THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS, BUT I WAS ABLE TO INCORPORATE EVERYTHING IN AN INTERESTING TIME THRILLER.

IT JUST LITERALLY FLOWED OUT OF ME.

I FELT LIKE SOMEONE ELSE WAS GIVING ME THE WORDS EVERYDAY.

I JUST COULDN'T STOP WRITING.

I THINK WITH PASSION THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS.

IT WAS A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE TO ME.

I HAD THE OPPOSITE OF WRITER'S BLOCK.

I JUST KEPT WRITING AND WRITING FOR THE FIRST DRAFT AND YOU KNOW ALL OF THE EDITING THAT GOES INTO IT AFTER THAT.

YOU TALK ABOUT THERE ARE ELEMENTS OF YOU AND THE WORK YOU DID IN THIS.

HOW DID YOU THEN, BECAUSE THIS IS A ROLLER COASTER RIDE FOR HER.

HOW DID YOU THEN SEPARATE YOU AND SAY THIS IS NOT WENDY ANYMORE.

NOW I HAVE TO TAKE HER OFF INTO A DIFFERENT AND FRIGHTENING DIRECTION.

WITHOUT GIVING AWAY THE ENDING, SHE ENDS UP -- THERE ARE A LOT OF TWISTS AND TURNS AND HER PARANOIA GROWS, AND I THINK THE TAG LINE IS IF YOU ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION, YOUR PARANOIA IS LOW.

WHEN YOU SEE THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE MURDERED AND HOW HORRIFIC IT IS AND MOST OF THE TIME IT IS RANDOM.

THAT'S WHAT BECOMES SCARY TO PEOPLE.

FOR MYSELF, I THINK OUR ETHNICITIES ARE NOT THE SAME.

OUR PHYSICAL DESCRIPTIONS ARE NOT THE SAME, SO I THINK THOSE ARE TWO OF THE MAIN WAYS I DISTINGUISHED US.

YOU MENTIONED SOMETHING I FOUND VERY INTERESTING.

GOING BACK TO YOUR EXPERIENCE, COVERING ALL OF THESE CASES OVER THE YEARS.

YOU TALK ABOUT HOW THERE ARE ELEMENTS OF SO MANY OF THESE CASES IN THIS STORY.

WHY DID YOU WANT TO DO THAT?

I AM SORRY, ELEMENTS OF WHAT?

YOU TALK ABOUT ELEMENTS OF OTHER CRIMES, OTHER MURDERS, THINGS YOU COVERED.

WHY AND HOW DO YOU WEAVE THOSE IN AS A FICTION WRITER AS OPPOSED TO A LEGAL JOURNALIST.

I THINK SO WHEN SHE CAN'T SLEEP SHE THINKS OF TRIAL AND THINGS THAT FREAK HER OUT.

IF YOU REMEMBER GARY CHRISTIAN WHEN WE DID ONE OF THE DAUGHTER'S TRIALS, I FELT IT DIDN'T GET THE MEDIA ATTENTION IT DESERVED.

THE TRIAL TURNED INTO A DISASTER.

AND THE WICHITA CASE OF THE CARR BROTHERS.

I FELT THOSE GOT CHEATED IN THE MEDIA SO I PUT THEM IN THE BOOK.

THERE ARE 18 OTHER CASES I HAVE WAYS OF REFERENCING.

DANNY ROMAN'S VICTIM MURDERED, THE GAINESVILLE STUDENT.

THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT HER EX PRESIDENTIAL.

SHE HAD THE MOST HORRIFIC DEATH.

THAT PICTURE HAUNTED ME.

ALL OF THOSE DIFFERENT THOUGHTS I WAS ABLE TO PUT IN THE BOOK THROUGH CARRIE'S THOUGHTS.

IT WORKED WELL FOR ME.

YOU TALK ABOUT SO MANY OF THE OUTSTANDING LEGAL JOURNALISTS YOU WORKED WITH DURING THE COURSE OF YOUR CAREER AND YOU SAY, BY THE WAY, YOU ARE NOT IN THIS BOOK, BUT YOU MIGHT SEE SOME ELEMENTS OF SOME OF THE PEOPLE.

HOW DID YOU HANDLE THAT?

DID YOU SAY AT SOME POINT HOW DID YOU HANDLE THAT?

I WANT TO TAKE THIS PART OF THIS PERSON AND WEAVE THAT INTO MY BOOK OR IS IT SOMETHING THAT FLOWS BECAUSE OF YOUR PRIOR EXPERIENCE?

I THINK IT FLOWS.

THERE WERE MANY PEOPLE I WORKED WITH.

JUST LIKE I BASED THE WHOLE BOOK ON MY THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES, THOSE PEOPLE WERE PART OF MY THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES.

THOSE WERE COMPOSITES.

PEOPLE MAY SEE THEMSELVES, BUT THEY ARE COMPOSITES AND SOMETIMES THE SITUATION I AM REFERENCING ARE REAL PEOPLE BUT THEY AREN'T IN REAL LIFE.

THIS IS MY FIRST NOVEL, BUT IT WAS A NEAT EXPERIENCE FOR ME BECAUSE I REALIZE HOW YOU CONTINUOUSLY DRAW FROM YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE AND THOUGHTS, BUT YOU SORT OF MORPH THEM INTO FICTION.

AS A JOURNALIST YOU ARE BOUND BY FACTS WHEN YOU DO YOUR WRITING AND PRODUCING AND REPORTING.

THIS IS FACT, FICTION.

DID YOU FIND IT PARTICULARLY -- EITHER EASIER TO WRITE FICTION THAN IT IS TO WRITE LEGAL JOURNALISM OR DID YOU FIND IT MORE DIFFICULT BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT BOUND BY THE FACTS AND YOU HAD TO CREATE FACTS WHEN YOU WERE DOING IT?

HOW WAS THAT EXPERIENCE?

I THINK THE PART THAT MAKES WRITING FICTION EASIER IS YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO ALL OF THE RESEARCH.

BECAUSE I DID INCORPORATE 22 CASES, I MADE SURE I WAS DOING THEM ACCURATELY.

SAY I PICKED THE TENNESSEE CASE OF SHANNON CHRISTIAN AND DID THE WHOLE BOOK ON THAT, THERE WERE A MILLION WITNESSES.

IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO DIFFICULT TO DO THAT.

I CHECKED TO MAKE SURE THE WORKS WERE ACCURATE, SNIPPETS OF LONG LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

FICTION, YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE FACTUALLY ACCURATE, I DID HAVE PIECES OF REAL CASES SO I HAD TO BE ACCURATE.

BUT THERE ARE 20 CASES WOVEN THROUGHOUT THE BOOK.

THESE WERE INTERESTING TIDBITS OF CASES THAT PEOPLE NEVER KNEW ABOUT A CASE EVEN IF THE CASE WAS WELL-KNOWN.

THAT'S ONE OF THE GREAT ELEMENTS OF THIS BOOK.

YOU KNOW IT IS FICTION, A NOVEL, BUT YOU FIND YOURSELF BEING DRAWN IN TO THESE CASES FROM THE PAST.

I FOUND IN MY NOVELS, AS OPPOSED TO US AS JOURNALISTS, WE ARE RECOUNTING THE FACTS AND DECISIONS, YOU MIGHT GET TO A SECTION AND SAY THIS JUST ISN'T WORKING AND YOU SAY I WILL JUST CHANGE IT.

WHICH IS SORT OF A DELAY.

YOU TALK IN YOUR ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS, ABOUT WANTING TO SHINE A LIGHT ON SOME OF THESE PRIOR CASES YOU FELT WERE UNDERSERVED BY THE KBLEED AND TALK ABOUT THE FACT YOU ARE SHINING A LIGHT ON SOME OF THE FAILINGS OF JUSTICE SYSTEM.

YOU HAVE CHRONICLED THE JUSTICE SYSTEM FOR SO LONG.

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

ONE IS BUGBY, THE GREEN RIVER KILLER.

THEY THINK HE COULD HAVE KILLED UP TO 100.

I THINK HE WAS CONVICTED OF 50.

HE BARGAINED OUT OF THE DEATH PENALTY BY REVEALING WHERE SOME OF THE BODIES WERE.

THAT DOESN'T COUNTERACT THE MURDER.

BODY BARGAINING HAS NEVER SAT WELL WITH ME.

WHEN PROSECUTORS SAY WE ARE TAKING THE DEATH PENALTY OFF THE TABLE BECAUSE HE IS GIVING UP THIS INFORMATION.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE REASON FOR DOING THAT?

QUITE HONESTLY I DON'T UNDERSTAND.

I UNDERSTAND WHERE THE DEFENDANT IS COMING FROM.

IF HE TELLS WHERE TEN BODIES ARE.

I DON'T KNOW WHY, WHEN A CASE IS SO OPEN AND SHUT.

HE GAVE LOCATIONS OF BODIES, BUT THEY DID FIND SOME OF THEM AS WELL.

I WOULD SYMPATHIZE WITH THE RELATIVES IF THEY WERE WILLING TO GIVE UP THE DEATH PENALTY TO FIND THEIR LOVED ONES.

BUT IT RUNS ME THE WRONG WAY.

SOMEBODY WHO PLAYS THE SYSTEM AND WINS.

THAT'S WHAT BOTHERS ME IN IT.

YOU MENTIONED THERE WAS A SECOND ELEMENT.

THE HILLSIDE STRANG LERS, THEY GOT THEIR VICTIMS BY POLICE BADGES AND TOLD GIRLS THEY WERE UNDERCOVER COPS.

IF THERE WERE NO SUCH THING AS UNDERCOVER POLICE CARS, NO ONE WOULD HAVE BOUGHT A BADGE THEY COULD PROBABLY GET AT A TOY STORE.

I THINK POLICE CARS SHOULD BE CLEARLY MARKED.

IF ANYONE CAN DRIVE AROUND AND SAY THEY ARE A COP -- THESE GIRLS WERE INNOCENT GIRLS.

THEY PULLED THEM OVER AND SAID IT WAS A TRAFFIC THING.

DID DIFFERENT THINGS FOR EACH ONE.

THOSE MURDERS WERE AWFUL, THE THINGS THEY DID TO THEM.

THAT'S THE KIND OF THING THAT RUBS ME THE WRONG WAY.

I DON'T THINK THERE SHOULD BE UNDERCOVER POLICE CARS.

WENDY, THE BOBBOK IS ENTITLE 'P 'PREMONITION.'

AND IF YOU ARE NOT PARANOID WHEN YOU ARE READING THIS -- AND I CAN TELL YOU YOU WILL BE PARANOID WHEN READING IT.

IT IS A DEBUT NOVEL, BUT IT LOOKS LIKE AN AUTHOR DOING THEM FOREVER BECAUSE IT'S SO WELL DONE.

A GREAT PAGE TURNER.

I AM WRITING THE SEQUEL RIGHT NOW.

PERFECT.

WENDY, ALWAYS A PLEASURE.

STAY WELL.

TALK TO YOU SOON.

THANKS, JACK.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE JPB FOUNDATION.

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