Insanity Plea: Larry Thompson
Delve into the minds of two men. Both appear to be sane yet they are really not. One was a prominent attorney with a promising career. The other, a prominent forensic psychiatrist focusing on the inner workings the mind trying to find the many reasons why someone would want to kill and become a serial killer. A simple case study would change the lives of many or shall I say end the lives of 50 victims that this killer sets his sights on in order to determine if he can get away with these murders, if the police will figure out who he is and to of course benefit mankind. Rationalizing his motives and describing his reasons this killer hides in plain sight even offering to help out on a case brought to the media.
“Paranoid schizophrenia is one of several types of schizophrenia, a chronic mental illness in which a person loses touch with reality (psychosis). The classic features of paranoid schizophrenia are having delusions and hearing things that aren’t real.” Dan Little was the attorney with a promising career, a new wife and great hope in becoming a trial lawyer. His brother Wyatt was his champion. Ten years young Wyatt Little worshipped the ground his brother walked on until something in his mind snapped. He thought aliens were after him and voices were telling him what to do in his head. Insanity Plea by best selling author Larry Thompson focuses on what happens when someone that is sane becomes mentally ill, the government and medical profession turns shuns them and their lives become more like a vacant space in a homeless shelter or alley. Dan Little snaps. Arrested and diagnosed with Paranoid schizophrenia, he begins taking medication until he stops. The author flashes back to his career in sports allowing readers to get to know him before he snapped. But, things change and in the present he finds himself smack dab in the middle of a murder case where he is the prime suspect. A killer that leaves a body on the beach and man, who encounters it, steals the victim’s diamond bracelet and gets caught.
The author explains the many reasons why lawyers have difficulties defending clients and having them plead insanity. Just what they have to do to prove that they did not know that their conduct was wrong will take Wayne Little and his best friend Duke down many paths, inside mental institutions and aid them in learning through Dan’s doctor just how the government has failed people who are schizophrenic or bi-polar. Taking Duke on a tour of Galveston where he grew up and where the trial will take place he gets more than just an education about the illness but is able to learn from a group of teens more about his brother with the help of his friend.
Added in his Wayne’s neighbor and possible love interest Rita and Claudia Duke’s girlfriend all working together to find a way to clear his name and get the real killer. But, this man is dangerous, smart and has figured out a way to spread out the kills over different places and use different methods of killing his victims. At times you hear his voice and know that he too is more insane than Dan as he thrives on each kill and seems more energized too.
Harry Klein is the District Attorney and his lead prosecutor; Katherine Rasmussen would try the case. Called Capital Kate, heartless and unfeeling she would attend executions just to make sure the convicted person received his/her just reward.
Wayne Little had abandoned his brother Dan, now accused of killer a nurse named Debbie Robinson. Both Wayne and his mother Sarah gave up on Dan years ago and the thought of defending him and trying to save his life required more than just thinking about it but would require a first rate legal team that would work towards that goal. With the help of three good friends and the hope that the judge would be fair, he took on this herculean task.
The author did quite a bit of research into paranoid schizophrenia, bi-polar and expresses his findings in the voice of forensic psychiatrist Fredrick Parke who has been studying why a man turns into a killer for over 30 years. Claiming the person might have a chemical imbalance, or kills because he/she wants to or maybe even rationalizing that there was one less person on this earth and billions left justifying his/her motive to kill. “Paranoid schizophrenia is one of several types of schizophrenia, a chronic mental illness in which a person loses touch with reality (psychosis). The classic features of paranoid schizophrenia are having delusions and hearing things that aren’t real. With paranoid schizophrenia, your ability to think and function in daily life may be better than with other types of schizophrenia. You may not have as many problems with memory, concentration or dulled emotions. Still, paranoid schizophrenia is a serious, lifelong condition that can lead to many complications, including suicidal behavior. With effective treatment, you can manage the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia and work toward leading a happier, healthier life.” (Dictionary .com) Imagine what Dan hears without his medication every day as Satan directs his movements. The FBI is coming after him and he hears voices telling him what to do and where to go.
Gathering witnesses and finding out more about his brother’s state of mind lead Wayne and his team to Dr. Adashek, his psychiatrist for over 15 years and learning that voices are real to patients like Dan. Some like Dan even follow their commands and do what the instruct them to do. Deeming Dan insane the author then goes into the many different definitions that help define how the case will be handled: defining not guilty by reason of insanity and defining what an insanity plea is the author helps clarify the terms for readers and for the jury when the trial finally takes place. Knowing that an insanity defense is the hardest one to win especially in the entire Texas criminal justice system, Wayne, his friend criminal attorney Duke Romack, his girlfriend and brilliant appellate lawyer and Rita Contreras the best computer hacker you could ever find, plus Sarah his mother, team up to take down a killer.
This killer moves around and it takes several other murders with the same MO for the team to realize that Dan just might be innocent and that the murders that have taken place in other states might be related to this one. The killer called the Runner, because of where the murders too place and the link to his being a jogger, makes one final move that sets the team on edge. When Rita is brutally attacked by the killer because he/she suspects that she realizes he is the Runner, things start to change for the defense and a trial you will never forget begins.
Walter Robinson is the victim’s father and money is no object when making sure that Dan is convicted. The author brings to light just how much mental health patients have been tossed aside, not receiving the right help and often placed in mental institutions for 30 days, medicated, evaluated and then thrown back out on the street starting the same vicious cycle over again.
Sarah Little hoped that Wayne would take the case and defend his brother. Wayne is a top lawyer but not in civil cases and not in criminal law. But, Wayne is not deterred, his mother created an office environment for the team and what we learn about the legal system in this novel will help anyone going to law school thinking about going into the profession really understand what it takes to interview jurors, give an opening statement, understand basic definitions and courtroom decorum.
The courtroom battle begins. The sides are drawn but are they even? What about Dan and his mental state? What happens when Dan decides to turn the tables and show the court just what he really looked like when the police discovered him? What about his access to the law library in jail and why was he allowed to be part of the legal team? What about the Judge and the fact that Duke was a major basketball star? Did that help?
A devious prosecuting attorney who would try a case and win regardless of the guilt or innocence of the person accused as long as she gets a guilty verdict. What happens when the witnesses take the stand and then a startling revelation is revealed as the defense team gets piece of information that might just turn the tables in their favor? But, will they get the answers before it is too late? What happens when Rita once again comes face to face with the killer will she remember what happened?
Will the killer be brought to justice before the trial is over or will Dan face the death penalty or become a permanent resident in a Mental Institution? Hear the voice of a deranged killer as he/she explains why the murders were necessary and why they were committed? Hear the voice of someone who believes that might be able to get away with murder because despite their actions they are going to go for an : Insanity Plea!
Insanity Plea: Larry Thompson weaves a story that is so compelling, so realistic and definitely will enlighten readers about paranoid schizophrenia, what happens when someone is diagnosed as being bi-polar, the actions that need to be taken to protect them you might say from themselves. Why won’t the government provide more funding for their care? Why is their so much injustice for the mentally ill? Insanity Plea: learn more about it when you read this outstanding FIVE STAR NOVEL.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer