Thursday, September 22, 2011

OMN Welcomes Mystery Author Janet Kole

Omnimystery News: Authors on Tour

Omnimystery News is pleased to welcome Janet Kole, whose debut murder mystery is Suggestion of Death (CreateSpace, August 2011 Trade Paperback and ebook editions).

Today Janet tells us why practicing law is … murder!

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I always loved being a lawyer. Until I didn’t anymore. And that’s when I decided to start writing fiction about the experience of working as a lawyer. So much that really happened to me seemed fictional. It was great background material for a novel.

Janet Kole
Photo provided courtesy of
Janet Kole

When I started in the profession, thirty years ago in a large national firm, the practice of law was a genteel affair, with afternoon breaks for tea served in china cups and brought around by a uniformed lady wheeling a tea cart, and evening drinks in a senior partner’s office replete with a well-stocked bar. I loved the clients, and I loved the cases, all interesting and intellectually challenging. I even liked many of my colleagues.

But gradually, over the years, lawyering became less a service industry and much more of a business. Add to that the economic collapse of 2008, and what was merely more of a business evolved into a cutthroat environment that rendered practicing law, at least for me, no longer fun. I left the firm where I had been a partner for years, and retired.

Although being a lawyer had stopped being fun, writing about my experience has been. I started by writing reality books for young lawyers that, with humor, gave advice about learning how to practice law. As these kinds of books go, they were best-sellers. Then I thought—why not let everyone get a sense of what a lawyer’s life is like?

So I wrote Suggestion of Death, published this year. It’s a murder mystery with a lawyer narrator. I added a bit of wish fulfillment to my experiences, having one law partner murder another. The humor is there, because as one of my colleagues said to me years ago, “if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry.”

As I look at my notes over the years, I realize I have material for many novels. And because I enjoy reading mysteries, I intend to include murders in all of my future novels. For some of the more outrageous situations I describe in my writings, be assured: truth is stranger than fiction. These things have happened, although not all to me. While my tenure in law firms has included coping with suicide and murder, no law partners of mine ever murdered other lawyers. They might have wanted to, but really, lawyers kill with words, not weapons.

I hope you’ll check out the fun and read Suggestion of Death. (See purchase options below.) And then please go to my website — — and let me know what you think. And since my narrator is never named and I never let on the narrator’s gender, I’d be very interested to know what you think about the narrator’s sex.


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Janet Kole practiced law for 30 years with both BigLaw law firms and, for five years, her own environmental law boutique. She started writing stories for her family at age 5. As a teenager, she wrote press releases for the local 4H club. She started publishing her work in The Bergen Record in the 1960s, as a feature reporter for the newspaper. She wrote for Ms. magazine, New Times, Penthouse and Harper’s Bazaar before becoming a lawyer. For years she had a column on women and the law in Harper’s Bazaar. Her guides for young lawyers, Chasing Paper and Pleading Your Case, were published by ABA publishing.

She retired as a lawyer in 2010. Her new career as a writer is keeping her busy, which means that she doesn’t get out to play golf as much as she thought she would. She loves her family and boats. She tries to stay warm by spending the winters in Florida. She lives part time in Philadelphia and Maryland.

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Suggestion of Death by Janet Kole Print and/or Kindle Edition

Barnes&Noble NookBook

Indie Bound: Independent Bookstores

About Suggestion of Death:

"Ripped from the headlines," this murder mystery involves pedophile priests, AIDS and "Big Law" lawyers with a unique narrator.

The horrors begin when the narrator sees a peculiar message on the law firm's monitors: "Prepare to die." It is a suggestion that someone will die. And someone does: a much beloved retired partner, David St. Clair, beaten to death in his home. Then the firm's managing partner, Michael Bolden, disappears.

The unnamed narrator, whose gender is also never revealed, is a former prosecutor who has in the past helped the police solve crimes, who starts by investigating former partners, and young lawyers, who have been dismissed from the firm under a cloud.

David St. Clair had been the managing partner when they were fired. One suspect is an abusive lawyer who stole money from the firm. Another is a young lawyer dismissed for raiding client funds to underwrite a gambling habit. The narrator talks to a young man, Matt Moran, who was framed by Michael for sexual harrassment, and then dismissed. The narrator brings into the investigation another partner at the firm, in order to bounce ideas around. Melanie is a chain-smoking, outspoken iconoclast, a good foil for the staid narrator. Both the narrator and Mel think Michael is somehow involved.

Then another firm partner is murdered, this time in the firm's main conference room. Jud Levy's heart has been ripped from his chest, although the cause of death is a single gunshot to the head. Are the murders related? Jud helped Michael ruin the reputation of Matt Moran. Did Matt kill Jud? Anatole, known as Ant, Michael's best friend and a public service lawyer, is brutally beaten outside the firm's offices.

The narrator discovers that there is a connection among David, Michael and Ant. Each in some way has been involved with the Blessed Brothers of Mercy, a teaching order of monks. David has been a big contributor to the BBM, and Michael and Ant had each been part of the order for a period of time. The narrator meets with the head of the order, who reveals that the order has been the site of rampant sexual abuse for many years. Ant was investigating the abuse and the abusers for the diocese. Michael had been abused. He had recently discovered that he had acquired AIDS from his abuser.


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