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Blaze Her Own Trail

Dorothy Place Author Interview

Dorothy M. Place Author Interview

The Heart to Kill is an edge of your seat crime novel following Sarah, a high-flying law student, who returns home to help an old friend prove her innocence. What was the inspiration for this thrilling case Sarah takes on?

The inspiration for the novel was Euripides play, Medea, where Medea murders her two sons in revenge for her husband, Jason’s abandonment.

The lawyers Sarah must work with have a ‘boys club’ mentality. Did you see Sarah breaking into this group or did you want her to blaze her own trail?

In my mind, Sarah was confused by what happened. She believed she excelled in everything she did and didn’t quite comprehend how she could be treated in the way she was. While she wanted to become “part of the group,” in the end she was forced to blaze her own trail.

This is a suspenseful crime story that gets the details just right. What research did you undertake to ensure the law was portrayed accurately?

Part of my background contributed to this novel. I served as an expert witness on change of venue trials, interviewed California judges and attorneys who were serving or had served on the Family Bar for a Ford Foundation grant to study the impact of the (California) 1970 Family Law Act, set up reading learning centers in 32 California State Prisons to teach prisoners to read, read trial transcripts for preliminary hearings,read the South Carolina law on murders, and had three attorneys advise me on several issues.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be published?

Sarah comes back. She is now in New York City living with her Aunt Beccah and working as a paralegal for a law firm specializing in labor issues. She finds a book with an inscription “To Yetta,” picture of a woman, and a receipt for services to be rendered to the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. The story, The Search for Yetta, and her current legal work on a class action suit defending female janitorial workers in New York against wage abuse, finds Sarah discovering, not only who her Great Aunt was, but that the current abuses among low-wage earners today closely parallel her Great Aunt’s experiences. Publication? Keep your fingers crossed.

Author Link: Website

Savvy law student Sarah Wasser returns to her apartment to find two telephone messages:  She has not been chosen for a coveted summer internship, and her best friend from high school has just murdered her two children.  Unwilling to admit the internship failure to family and friends, the quick thinking Sarah secures a position on JoBeth’s defense team and returns to her sleepy hometown in South Carolina.

But Sarah is not well-prepared for working in a community rife with duplicity and betrayal, and her efforts are met with the benevolent amusement of the senior law partner, the resentment of the trial attorney, the rush to judgement by the folks of Eight Mile Junction, and discovery of her father’s role in the degradation of JoBeth.

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The Heart to Kill

5 Stars

Sarah Wesser, a high achiever in the middle of her law degree, decides to return home for the summer after two life-changing phone calls. One phone call is a rejection from an internship and the other is the terrible news the children of her high school friend JoBeth have been kidnapped. Sarah returns to her hometown of Eight Mile Junction to be involved in a law case that will shock the county. Between trying to please her father who is determined to mould Sarah into an image of perfection and working with lawyers to save the fate of JoBeth, Sarah learns that the people and life she left behind may not be what it seems.

The Heart to Kill, written by Dorothy Place, is an edge of your seat crime novel based around Sarah, a high-flying law student, who returns to her hometown of Eight Mile Junction- a place where red clay is born under your nails and will stain your hands, no matter how far or wide you travel. The reader will be kept on their toes as Sarah dives in to assist lawyers who are trying to save her friend JoBeth from the wrath of small town mentality.

An emotive story line will leave the reader feeling mixed emotions of empathy and horror whilst determining whether JoBeth is innocent or guilty of such a horrific crime. At times, you feel as though you are part of the jury as the story delves into the intricate details that have lead to the terrible tragedy involving the two children.

JoBeth seemingly had it all. Married within months of leaving high school, to her sweetheart Phillip, she soon follows the small town trend by having two beautiful children. However, this soon falls apart and JoBeth is left divorced, lonely and obsessed with chasing a Cinderella fantasy. When Sarah returns home, she discovers there is more to JoBeth then the sweet, lovable high school girl she left behind. JoBeth appears as a broken shadow of herself which leaves the reader to wonder- what events impacted JoBeth severely enough to break her soul?

Meet the lawyers- a group of men who are banding together to try and save the fate of JoBeth.

The lawyers are built around a “boys club” mentality, meeting for golf and chortling with the DA before heading to the courtrooms. Suave but mysterious, one of the lawyers is Al Westfall whom is a private man that many find difficult to read or engage with. He can appear callous and cold however catches the eye of someone you would least expect.

Meanwhile, Sam Wesser, (Sarah’s father) is a powerful, dominant character who controls the family in the same way a conductor controls an orchestra. Desperate to seek his approval, Sarah and her mother bend and heed to his every demand. His methods of parenting and his relationship with his wife teeter on the edge of emotional abuse and leave the reader feeling empathetic to Sarah’s desire to rebel.

I would recommend The Heart to Kill to anyone who enjoys a court/crime style novel. My only qualm was that I wished the novel was longer!

Pages: 200 | ISBN: 162288129X

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