William L. Myers Jr. – A Killer’s Alibi – Book Review & Interview
For attorney Mick McFarland, the evidence is damning. And so are the family secrets in this twisty legal thriller from the Amazon Charts bestselling author of A Criminal Defense.
When crime lord Jimmy Nunzio is caught, knife in hand, over the body of his daughter’s lover and his own archenemy, he turns to Mick McFarland to take up his defense. Usually the courtroom puppeteer, McFarland quickly finds himself at the end of Nunzio’s strings. Struggling to find grounds for a not-guilty verdict on behalf of a well-known killer, Mick is hamstrung by Nunzio’s refusal to tell him what really happened.
On the other side of the law, Mick’s wife, Piper, is working to free Darlene Dowd, a young woman sentenced to life in prison for her sexually abusive father’s violent death. But the jury that convicted Darlene heard only part of the truth, and Piper will do anything to reveal the rest and prove Darlene’s innocence.
As Mick finds himself in the middle of a mob war, Piper delves deeper into Darlene’s past. Both will discover dark secrets that link these fathers and daughters–some that protect, some that destroy, and some that can’t stay hidden forever. No matter the risk.
This is top notch for legal thrillers and crime drama. Never a dull moment. The ride begins from the first scene when Philly crime boss Jimmy Nunzio is caught red handed with the dead body of his daughter’s lover. Criminal defense attorney Mick McFarland is never really on his feet on this one. The case blindsides him from the beginning and never lets up. Then there’s Mick’s wife, Piper who investigates an innocence project case to free a young woman from a murder case. Two cases. Two dire situations. A legal thriller laced with tension, an intricate plot, a full cast of characters–But at its core it’s about one thing, family.
*What kind of person is attorney Mick McFarland that made him your protagonist?
In crafting Mick, I set out to build a character who is basically a good guy, who wants right to prevail over wrong, but who, in the pursuit of right, will do whatever is necessary, including things that are wrong. As an attorney, Mick is a thinker, a planner, and very Machiavellian. He enjoys the “game” and excels at it.
*What can you tell us about the kind of case Mick is undertaking?
Mick is in an interesting situation. His client is Philly crime lord Jimmy Nunzio—a man used to calling the shots. A Machiavellian manipulator. A man like Mick himself in many ways. What this means for Mick is that he isn’t the alpha dog as he is with most of his clients, and he finds himself having to dance with Jimmy Nunzio, for control of the case.
*What is your method of creating characters and how do you bring out their flaws?
I create characters by outlining them only in very general terms and then placing them into the story—putting them under stress–and watching how their flaws appear. I remember reading once that stress and conflict reveal character; you only find out core character by putting someone to the test. So, I make sure that my protagonists, and my antagonists, too, are under real threat.
*Tell us about Mick’s wife, Piper.
Piper’s evolution is an interesting one. When I wrote, “A Criminal Defense,” the first book in “The Philadelphia Legal Series,” I started out with the plan simply to make a two-dimensional “wife” character for the main protagonist, Mick. But whenever I wrote Piper into a scene, she asked for more, she told me “I have more to contribute here.” By the end of the book, Piper was a fully-formed character with her own agenda, secrets and fears. In “A Killer’s Alibi,” Piper plays an even more important role—as a driving force behind one of the two main plot lines. She really comes into her own. (And, spoiler alert, in the fourth book, which I’m finishing now (in which Mick is imprisoned on charges or murder), Piper becomes THE driving force in Mick’s defense team.
*Is the innocence project she’s involved with commonplace in law firms today? Would her official position be an investigative attorney?
Most law firms which do innocence project work do so under the auspices of, for example, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Larger law firms do have pro bono practices and some have attorneys devoted solely to pro bono work.
“No man knows the value of innocence and integrity but he who has lost them.” – William Godwin
*What can you tell us about the kind of case Piper is taking?
Piper is leading the charge on behalf of Darlene Dowd, a young woman who was convicted of killing her sexually abusive father fifteen years earlier. Piper learns there is exculpatory evidence the jury never heard and she has to go on a hunting expedition to find the woman who has that evidence. But the woman has secrets of her own, and has been in hiding for years. It takes all of Piper’s will and resourcefulness to win the woman over and see that Darlene gets a fair hearing in court. But nothing is black and white in my books and Piper has to pay a price.
*Now for one of my favorite questions. What is justice?
Justice is like pornography: difficult to define but you know it when you see it. When something happens to a character (good or bad) and it feels right to you, that’s justice. The character, of course, may disagree with you— fictional characters, like real people, believe they are good guys, whether they are or aren’t. Along these lines, a word to the wise: if someday you find yourself standing before St. Peter, the one thing you should never say is I want what’s coming to me.
*What is a jury consultant?
A jury consultant:
A jury consultant is an expert hired by an attorney to help the attorney pick a jury favorable to his side. The jury consultant helps the attorney with questions to ask potential jurors and also helps to create a profile of the type of juror the consultant believes would be most favorable to the attorney’s client. A jury consultant also counsels the attorney on how to present the case, and how to conduct himself or herself in court.
*In Piper’s case, how many appeals are permitted for someone on death row?
The number of appeals:
There are two avenues to appeal a conviction. One is simply a direct appeal of the jury verdict. Here, you’re saying the judge committed errors in allowing prejudicial evidence that should not have been allowed into the record. Or you can argue the judge erroneously disallowed evidence that would have been favorable to the defendant that should have been allowed. Another branch of appeal is done through the Post-Conviction Relief Act, which allows a defendant to petition for a new trial based upon newly-discovered evidence.
William L. Myers, Jr. is the No. 6 best-selling author for Amazon Kindle in 2017 for his debut novel, A Criminal Defense. That was the first in what has become the Philadelphia Legal Series. The third book in that series, A Killers Alibi debuts February 19, 2019.
A Killer’s Alibi has had rave early reviews including New York Times Bestselling author, Bill Lasher—
“William Myers’ riveting new novel is not just a crackerjack legal thriller, it is a wrenching portrayal of a whole range of farther-daughter relations, showing how they can damage, how they can nourish, how they go dangerously off track. A story not to be missed.”
Born in 1958 into a blue-collar family, Mr. Myers inherited a work-ethic that propelled him through college and into the Ivy League at The University of Pennsylvania School of Law. From there, Mr. Myers started his legal career in a Philadelphia-based mega defense firm. After ten years defending corporate America, he realized his heart wasn’t in it. So, with his career on the fast track to success–he gave it all up and started his own firm. It was time to start fighting for the common guy.
That was twenty-five years ago and since then, he has focused on representing railroad employees and other honest, hard-working people who have been injured by others. He has represented thousands of clients in his tenure and has become a highly-regarded litigation attorney up and down the Eastern Seaboard.