The Insanity Plea
by Larry Thompson
on Tour May 19 – July 20, 2014
A young nurse is savagely killed during a pre-dawn run on Galveston’s seawall. The murderer slices her running shorts from her body as his trophy and tosses the body over the wall to the rocks below. As dawn breaks, a bedraggled street person, wearing four layers of old, tattered clothes, emerges from the end of the jetty, waving his arms and talking to people only he hears. He trips over the body, checks for a pulse and, instead, finds a diamond bracelet which he puts in his pocket. He hurries across the street, heading for breakfast at the Salvation Army two blocks away, leaving his footprints in blood as he goes.
Wayne Little, former Galveston prosecutor and now Houston trial lawyer, learns that his older brother has been charged with capital murder for the killing. At first he refuses to be dragged back into his brother’s life. Once a brilliant lawyer, Dan’s paranoid schizophrenia had captured his mind, estranging everyone including Wayne. Finally giving in to pleas from his mother, Wayne enlists the help of his best friend, Duke Romack, former NBA star turned criminal lawyer. When Wayne and Duke review the evidence, they conclude that Dan’s chances are slim. They either find the killer or win a plea of insanity since the prosecution’s case is air tight. The former may be a mission impossible since the killer is the most brilliant, devious and cruel fictional murderer since Hannibal Lecter. The chances of winning an insanity plea are equally grim.
It will take the combined skills of the two lawyers along with those of Duke’s girlfriend, Claudia, a brilliant appellate lawyer, and Rita Contreras, Wayne’s next door neighbor and computer hacker extraordinaire, to attempt to unravel the mystery of the serial killer before the clock clicks down to a guilty verdict for Dan.
The Insanity Plea is a spell-binding tale of four amateur sleuths who must find, track and trap a serial killer as they prepare for and defend Wayne brother who is trapped in a mind like that of John Nash, Russell Crowe’s character in A Beautiful Mind.
Combining legal thriller with tracking a serial killer, Thompson once again takes the reader on a helluva ride, right up to the last page and sentence.
Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I draw on both. I find current events to be great sources for story ideas. For example, Dead Peasants, my last novel, came from a short news story in the Houston Chronicle. Then, all of my books, so far, have been legal thrillers. Since I’ve spent most of my life as a trial lawyer, I have a memory bank chock full of characters, scenes, events, etc. that end up in my novels. I have yet to take one of my own trials as a basis for a thriller, but that might come one of these days.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I start from the beginning. I’m a plotter; so, I like to have a fifteen or twenty page outline of the major plot points, characters and climax before I begin writing.
Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I’m a morning writer, partly because I am most creative at that time and also because I am still a full time trial lawyer. So, if nothing is overheating at the office, I write for a couple of hours weekday mornings and four of five hours on weekends.
Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
I have been a civil trial lawyer for thirty-five years and have tried hundreds of cases. I only started writing about ten years ago when my youngest son graduated from college. I that time I figured I would try to write something. Fortunately, I enjoyed the creative process and, more importantly, readers enjoyed what I wrote.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Ken Follett, David Morrell, John Lescroart, David Baldacci
What are you reading now?
Split Second, David Baldacci
Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m always working on a novel. My last before The Insanity Plea was Dead Peasants whose protagonist is Jack Bryant, a pro bono lawyer who works out of his RV on the north side of Fort Worth. Readers have asked for more stories about him. So, I am obliging.
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie
Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
Always computer. I know there are still some writers who sit down with a pen and legal pad. I could never do that, particularly when it comes to revision.
Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Spending the summers in Vail where my wife and I get out of the Texas heat. We hang hang out with my son who lives there, climb mountains, hike trails, go to concerts, play golf and dine at fantastic restaurants.
Spaghetti, a great salad and a fine glass of red wine.
Read an excerpt:
Larry D. Thompson is a veteran trial lawyer and has drawn on decades of experience in the courtroom to produce riveting legal thrillers. After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, Thompson founded the Houston trial firm where he still serves as managing partner. The proud father of three grown children, he lives and works in Texas but spends his summers in Colorado, where he crafts his novels and hikes the mountains surrounding Vail. His greatest inspiration came from Thomas Thompson, his brother, who wrote many best-selling true-crime books and novels.