As a new author and an "old" doctor, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to all of you (established authors, fellow physicians, dedicated social service folks & more) who have offered support to my goal of becoming an established author - but even more importantly thank you for your support as it relates to getting the message out that the disease of addiction is an equal opportunity disease, that it has no socioeconomic boundaries! I hope that by creating a medical murder mystery/legal thriller readers will be enthralled and educated, but without the encumbrance of heavy scientific jargon.
Unfortunately, Amazon does not allow you to read a chapter to get to know Shawn Marks, so here are some snippets of that egotistical yet likable Boston big shot lawyer who can juggle an array of female companions without taking his eye off the legal challenges of his work . . . and now may I present to you Attorney Shawn Marks . . .
The brass name plaque next to the door of Attorney Shawn Marks’s grand office was the polar opposite of Rob Hanston’s faded sign. The big city lawyer looked the Bangor attorney straight in the eye with a “you have my full attention” look while Hanston relayed the details of Jimmy’s case. Occasionally Marks glanced Adam in an attempt to convey his empathy for a father in an unenviable predicament. But Marks was really thinking about the splendor of summer and fall on Mount Desert Island and the borrowing of a sailboat from an indebted client to provide some additional enjoyment.
At age forty-dreading forty-five like most people dread sixty, Shawn Marks had never been married and had never fathered any children that he knew of. He kept his six-foot frame slim and his heart fit by taking weekday jogs from his waterfront office to the Back Bay. His routine never varied. He left his office promptly at 10:00 a.m., and ran mostly along the Freedom Trail, passing by Paul Revere’s House, the Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre, and then the current State House on Beacon Hill before heading across the Boston Commons and finally across the Public Gardens to the Ritz-Carlton where he met his Harvard law school classmate. From there they always walked to the same quaint coffee bar for their jolts of espresso while standing and chatting at the bar like long lost friends. Then they hit the pavement again for the return jogs to their respective law firms—one in Cambridge near MIT overlooking the Charles River and one on Boston’s waterfront.
Since Marks’s day started at 4:00 a.m., when he woke to his blaring alarm, by the time of his jog he had already put in nearly five hours of rigorous work. A midmorning endorphin rush was a prerequisite to successful completion of his remaining eight hours of work. It is hard to get anything accomplished in less than thirteen hours was his motto. After returning from his jog, he almost always headed directly to the private exercise room within the law firm suite. After a hundred sit-ups and forty push-ups, and a quick shower, he settled back into his desk chair before noon to enjoy a low-fat yogurt drink—always peach flavor—as he disappeared back into his legal world.
Sundays Marks worked from his Swampscott, Massachusetts, home, but Monday thru Friday he took the thirty-minute commuter train ride and five-minute taxi trip to his office. Sometimes he walked to the office from the downtown Boston train station, but it generally made more sense to take a brief taxi ride: at 5:00 a.m. there is not much traffic in Boston. On Saturdays he always drove his 1987 Porsche 911 Cabriolet convertible to work, leaving the house at a luxurious 7:00 a.m. for the exhilarating ride to downtown Boston, arriving at his leather office chair in twenty-five minutes, door to door. The Saturday workday had no intermissions and no jogging escapes, just yogurt and nine nonstop hours of mental grinding. He arrived back home by 5:00 p.m. for one hour of yoga and a long Jacuzzi before a social evening: first to wherever paying clients were treating him to a superb dinner and thereafter, more often than not, he was free to chase one of several women he fancied around the Saturday night dance floor of life.
Marks was a man who left nothing to chance. He never outright lied but rarely did he volunteer information in his relationships with women or in the courtroom—always maneuvering, constantly working to get the upper hand. He was a master of manipulation as was evident from the second one entered his office. The coffee table in front of his office leather couch was adorned with original drawings of Marks at the helm of a sloop at least forty-five feet long, next to photographs of Marks with Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, and of course the obligatory copies of the Harvard Law Review. Not just a couple of copies, but a dozen or more, dating back a decade or so, with each copy carrying an article his legal staff had authored but that always listed Marks’s name first.
Pages 162 – 163
…Marks had not considered a first-date sleepover as an available option and therefore was not prepared for the morning race to the airport. He had felt a paralysis as he looked at Samantha Kotts, the former and never to be referred to again, Ms. Snoot. He had enjoyed lingering in bed next to Samantha, still asleep, lying on her side facing him, soft auburn hair draped gently over her forehead and sheet clinging to her mid back, exposing her youthful velvet skin. It was very difficult leaving Samantha Kotts behind, as he dreamt about spending a morning in bed with this spunky lawyer, especially after a night like the one from which he was recovering. Marks was at peace with his frustration of having to leave; he knew he had laid more groundwork than ever anticipated. After a peck on her cheek and with coffee in hand, he headed down the steps to the cobblestone sidewalk and into his waiting Porsche. The parking ticket under the passenger windshield wiper served as a reminder that everything good in life comes at a price. He had never wanted to pay the price of a day-to-day monogamous relationship despite the positive benefits. But what Marks felt that morning as he looked at Samantha made him uncomfortable. The $60 parking ticket was a small price to pay compared to the emotional price of a committed relationship. Marks avoided being distracted by his feelings, as he wanted to focus on the euphoria of the moment. He seamlessly slipped back into denial, as he regressed to a prior stage, putting the convertible roof down to celebrate a great evening with the rest of the world. Shawn Marks was thirty again!
Marks had to abruptly shift gears when he became aware that the extra time he had spent next to the sleeping Samantha had left him running later than he first thought. During his unnecessary drive to Swampscott, he called the pilot and delayed departure. Marks did not have a clue that Samantha would soon end up as a factor in an approach-approach conflict, complicating his life further. In psychological terms, an approach-approach conflict occurs when one is presented with two apparently equal and favorable options, but can choose only one. Marks always seemed to be able to balance life’s many options, and by doing so avoided or at least postponed being tormented by the need to make choices, especially those of the approach-approach variety. If anyone could have their cake and eat it too, it was Shawn Marks...
Pages 177- 178
“Hello, James, I am Attorney Shawn Marks and I am here to introduce myself and to let you know that I, along with Attorney Robert Hanston, and with the assistance of your devoted father, plan to defend you and attain an acquittal of the murder charges that have been wrongly placed upon you. However, in order to reach the desired verdict, we must have your complete cooperation. You must not hide any facts from us and protecting yourself or others will put your freedom in jeopardy.”
Then Marks broke with the niceties and leaned forward across the small table and placed his nose about ten inches from Jimmy’s. “Really what I’m saying, Jimmy, is your ass is on the line and where they’ll send you if you’re found guilty won’t be pretty . . . So now that we've cleared up that issue, let’s clear up the issue of your honesty. You cannot lie to us. If you lie to us, you may spend every remaining day of your life in jail. Do you understand?”
Before Jimmy could respond, Attorney Marks reiterated as if questioning a witness in court. “Let me repeat the question. Do you understand that if you lie to us, if you do not tell us the entire truth, we will not be able to appropriately defend you and you will probably end up spending the rest of your life behind bars—cooped up in a jail cell about half the size you’re in now, with a cell mate, a cement floor, no windows, and a toilet in the corner? Is this what you want?”