This Saturday, I’ll be speaking at the 8th annual Hawaii Book and Music Festival in Honolulu. The Hawaii Book and Music Festival (HBMF) is a two-day event that gives attendees an opportunity to meet local and national authors, enjoy musical performances, and sit in on 28 discussion panels that reflect the diversity of Hawaii’s culture.
HBMF is a unique event that takes place on the grounds of Honolulu Hale (also known as the Frank E. Fasi Civic Grounds). Thanks to the festival’s sponsors, admission is free. In addition to live music and dance, attendees can enjoy local foods, purchase discounted books, and take part in discussions with some of the Islands’ best talents.Best of all, HBMF is a family affair. Keiki enjoy rides and slides (including bounce houses), sing-alongs, arts and crafts, and a wide variety of children’s books. Because of the size and length of the fair, the grounds never become too crowded, so attendees can roam free or park themselves under a shade tree to read a book and relax.
Other authors who will be appearing at the event include ALOHA, LADY BLUE author Charley Memminger, Big Island writer Tom Peek, local favorite Chris McKinney, and Hawaii music connoisseur John Berger. Musical acts include the Royal Hawaiian Band, the Carmen Haugen Quartet, and Starr Kalahiki.
This will be my third time presenting at the event, and with each passing year the festival gets better and better. I can be found on Saturday, May 18, at 11 a.m. in the Authors Pavilion where I’ll be discussing writing, publishing, the Kevin Corvelli legal mystery series, as well as my forthcoming international thriller, GOOD AS GONE. After my talk, at around noon, I’ll be heading over to the Barnes & Noble tent, where I’ll be signing copies of my latest release, LAST LAWYER STANDING.
For more information, visit http://www.hawaiibookandmusicfestival.org/ or feel free to ask questions in the Comments section below.
Mahalo, and I hope to see you there.
My doctor called it Cyberchondria. And when I first heard the word I began trembling in fear, wondering what had caused this awful new five-syllable condition. Was it the excessive drinking? The unrelenting drug use? And was there a cure? More drugs, perhaps? Some surgery that could be performed with lasers smuggled back to 2013 from the future?
“I’ll be right back,” the doctor said. “To explain.”
But there was no time to wait for an explanation. So I did what I always do. I pulled out my BlackBerry and opened the browser. Carefully typed the word Cyberchondria. My fingers ached and I was suddenly sure I was afflicted with carpel tunnel or early-onset arthritis. Either way, as a writer, I was doomed. There was no other way to put it.
As I fought back the fear, I clicked on the first link I saw. Good ol’ Wikipedia. I’d been expecting the Mayo Clinic or WebMd, but what the hell… The Wiki entry was undoubtedly stolen from one of those sites anyway. So, slowly I read the entry:
Cybercondria is the unfounded escalation of concerns about common symptomology based on review of search results and literature online.
What’s this nonsense? I thought. Is the good doctor writing me off as a 21st Century hypochondriac?
I thought back. Sure, I may have overreacted a tiny bit when I first heard a pulsing sound in my left ear six years ago. I’d researched the symptom online then promptly self-diagnosed the condition as pulsatile tinnitus. But wait, pulsatile tinnitus, I quickly learned, wasn’t just a condition – it was a symptom in and of itself. What could cause me to hear my own damn heart drumming in my ear? I searched WebMD and found the possibilities:
Head and neck tumors!
For six weeks I prepared myself for death, before someone finally convinced me to see a doctor. Turns out, I had had a sinus infection (or maybe just an allergy), and it had caused a slight blockage in my Eustachian tube (some zany part of the human ear). It was easily curable with steroids.
So all these things – the muscle pull I was sure was appendicitis, the freckle I was certain was cancerous melanoma – were nothing more than my writer’s imagination running away with me? Nonsense! I refused to accept it.
I went home and declared to anyone who would listen that I was in search of a new doctor.
“What for?” my wife asked.
“I’ve been peeing a lot lately.”
She placed her hands on her hips and rolled her eyes. “That’s because you drink 3 full 6-packs of 16 oz. Fiji water every single day!”
That was true. But I still wasn’t buying it. I logged back on and went straight to Wikipedia. Read the rest of the description of Cyberchondria.
Cyberchondria is a growing concern among many healthcare practitioners as patients can now research any and all symptoms of a rare disease, illness or condition, and manifest a state of medical anxiety.
All right, I thought. Maybe I do have a touch of Cyberchondria.
It made me feel a little better.
Until I realized, Jesus, if I’ve been running around with this Cyberchondria for the past decade and didn’t even know it, then what the hell else do I have???
It was back to WebMD for me.
For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to post something happy. Something about love or lust that would make readers smile. I considered lists of romantic comedies or romance novels, maybe a comment on the works of Nicholas Sparks (or E.L. James). But sitting here in my office, staring at the blank page on my desktop, I realized I just didn’t have it in me today. Today I feel lonely and uncertain. I’m not thinking about roses or boxes of chocolates; I’m thinking only of hard drink and things I probably shouldn’t mention unless I’m in the mood for an intervention. It’s one of those days that I’m sure many writers face, but few talk about. One of those days in which every word you type sounds all wrong.
Given the countless number of blogs maintained by writers, from aspiring authors to mega-bestsellers, you’d think you’d know writers today better than you did a couple decades ago. You see us post our daily word counts on Facebook, our clever new titles on Twitter. We blog about signing contracts, post pictures of our cover art and kids, usually in that order. Whenever we appear at an event to promote our books, we pose for pictures, always with a bright smile.
On social media, we want people to “like” us, both literally and figuratively. So we discuss our beloved pets and favorite charities. Post memes of darling kitty cats who struggle with the English language. I admit, I’m someone who’ll scroll through my News Feed on Facebook for half a morning, hoping to find something that will light a spark and get me to pull up my present work-in-progress. But as I do that, I begin to wonder, When the hell did writers as a group become so happy?
The only conclusion I could come to is that some of us are faking it. Hell, we fictionalize for a living so why not create a persona for ourselves that readers will adore? If we smile it seems as though we’re selling more books. If we talk cheerfully about our work-in-progress most people assume we’re under contract. If we constantly post pictures of our jacket art we must be confident that readers will love what’s inside.
As I grew up reading stories by authors like John Fante, I envisioned the writer in an intensely romantic way. But it had nothing to do with book sales and contracts and publishing parties. Nothing at all to do with money or celebrity. The writer, for me, was a romantic figure largely because of his sadness and his struggle. His intolerance for working a nine-to-five job. His willingness to suffer for his art. His ability to create in the face of desperation.
Even some of the most successful writers of the past struggled with addiction and darkness. For some, it’s a large part of what made them writers. Successful or not, writing is a lonely profession. (Less so, I suppose, if you hire someone to write your books for you, but not many of us do.) In the beginning, it’s a world full of uncertainty. You live contract to contract, knowing that a bad review in one of the major trades can set you back years. Knowing that in today’s industry, you’re essentially on your own.
But that reality doesn’t make the rounds on Twitter, and it probably shouldn’t. Appearances, after all, are everything in this business. So, as sad as it sounds, if you really want to read something genuine about the life of your favorite writer, skip our Facebook and Pinterest accounts, and wait for the biographies and letters that may (or may not) be released once we’re gone. At least they’ll be honest.
This month I asked Facebook fans and Twitter followers if they had any questions about writing, publishing, guns, ganja, gay marriage, torture, or comprehensive immigration reform… All right, just about writing and publishing. Here are a few of the questions I received, and my valiant attempts at providing answers.
Has there been any character that you can relate to on a personal level or a character that you disliked intensely?
I try to distance myself as much as possible from Kevin Corvelli, since most readers identify him as an anti-hero. I hear a lot of, “Kevin’s such a (insert derogatory term here), yet I find myself rooting for him so intensely.” But the truth is, I relate to Kevin Corvelli on a personal level in a way that I’ll probably never relate to another character I create. Many first-time authors write something semi-autobiographical, and I was no exception. I experienced the culture shock that Kevin experienced when I moved to Hawaii. I had many of the same misgivings when I was practicing criminal law, and I certainly met many of the same obstacles with my clients.
There have also been a couple characters that I intensely disliked, and that probably comes through on the page. For instance, I detested Erin Simms’s mother in Night on Fire. And a number of the corrupt cops in Last Lawyer Standing.
As you write about a particular characters’ emotional-makeup, have you ever drawn upon anyone you know or read about?
Prior to writing One Man’s Paradise, I’d been closely following the Natalee Holloway story in the news. Like most people, I was sickened by the ineptitude of the police in Aruba, as well as the sensational coverage the incident received here in the States. I wanted to write a “what if” scenario set in Hawaii, one in which the body of the victim was found but everything wasn’t as it seemed. I think many of my own emotional reactions come through on the page, especially when discussing the cable news correspondent Gretchen Hurst.
How has your experience as a defense attorney impacted upon the development of the characters, both protagonist and ‘villains’?
As a defense attorney, in some criminal cases, you really get to know your clients. Some you like, many you dislike. The character of Turi Ahina (who appears in all three books) is based on a client that I truly liked. As a lawyer, you really get the opportunity to know and understand other lawyers, especially in a big city. Milt Cashman (aka Not Guilty Milty) is based on a well-known New York City lawyer who I got to know, but so is his opposite number, Jake Harper. So, as in any profession, there’s the good and the bad and the ugly. Probably more ugly in the legal profession than most.
Have any of the opening lines in your novels come to you first as the starting point of the story? Or do you write the story first and then work your way backward to the writing of the opening lines in the novel?
Many friends and readers have asked me about the first line of Night on Fire: “I’m about to get laid.” The idea behind Night on Fire and that line in particular came to me within the same few minutes. I was sitting at a beach resort near my house (waiting for the bar to open), when I started jotting notes for my second book. I saw Kevin standing at the beach bar across the way, chatting up some woman who may have been a tourist, and it looked like he’d been at it awhile, and that’s the first line that popped in my head, so I went with it. I knew things could only go downhill for Kevin from there.
How long did it take you to write your first novel?
It took me three months to write my first novel, One Man’s Paradise. I had just moved from Hoboken, New Jersey to Waikiki, so there were plenty of new experiences to write about. Michael Connelly said in a recent interview that his best books were written in record time because that means the writing is going well and you’re immersed in the story, and I completely agree. If a book is taking me too long to write, it’s because I’m not falling in love with the characters or I’m not interested in what happens next, and when that’s the case, I abandon the project. Three months, full-time, from concept to final polish, is about my average.
It took several years of practicing criminal law in New York City for me to realize I never really wanted to be a lawyer—I wanted to be a protagonist in a legal thriller.
I grew up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, reading the novels of John Grisham, Scott Turow, and John Lescroart. I second-seated Steve Martini’s main character, defense lawyer Paul Madriani, during every criminal trial. I walked the mean streets of Philly with William Lashner’s sea-breeze-drinking attorney Victor Carl. There was a hostile witness behind every courtroom door, a man with a gun around every corner. And that, I decided, was the life I wanted to live. Seven years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans later, and I was a criminal defense attorney.
But wait. The legal world turned out to be a little different in Manhattan than it was in Scott Turow’s Kindle County. I opened an office downtown and hung my own shingle just like Victor Carl and Paul Madriani. Yet not a single six-foot blonde supermodel stepped through my door to tell me she was wrongly charged with murder. No, in fact, my clients were 98% male and they seemed kind of rough around the edges, not like the unjustly accused Yale graduate student you’d find in a paperback at LaGuardia.
And the judges, well, they were not amused by the antics you might find in a good John Grisham story. The prosecutors, the witnesses, the jurors—none of these characters were quirky at all. In fact, many of them were downright mean, and for some reason, no one was killing them off at the end of a particularly grueling case.
All right, so maybe using crime fiction wasn’t the best way to choose a career. My mistake. The question now was, how do I rectify it? After thoroughly searching the classifieds in newspapers and legal journals, I realized there wasn’t a big call for “lawyer protagonists.” Which gave me no choice but to create my own.
Enter Kevin Corvelli, a brash young criminal defense attorney who looked and sounded a lot like me. In the fall of 2005, Kevin and I simultaneously packed our bags and moved from New York to Hawaii. Kevin continued to practice criminal law, while I began to write about him. He was an interesting guy: smart, talented, handsome, and incredibly brave. This was as close as I’d ever come to being a protagonist in a legal thriller, and I was more than satisfied.
Kevin Corvelli first appeared in my debut novel One Man’s Paradise (Minotaur 2010), which was nominated for the Shamus Award for Best First Novel and won the 2009 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. In Paradise, Corvelli—fresh off the plane in Honolulu—jumps into the case of an ex-law student charged with killing his gorgeous girlfriend on Oahu’s world-famous Waikiki Beach.
Living vicariously through Kevin Corvelli, I soon realized, was just what I needed. I retired from the law and kept my eyes on Kevin, who showed up again in 2011′s Night on Fire. In Night, Kevin defends a beautiful but troubled young bride charged with slaying her groom on their wedding night—and in doing so, setting fire to a popular Hawaiian beach resort and killing an additional twelve people.
In 2012, Kevin Corvelli defended the Governor of Hawaii in a federal investigation into the death of the governor’s pregnant Russian mistress in Last Lawyer Standing.
These are the kinds of cases a lawyer—or lawyer protagonist—can really sink his teeth into. Maybe all that student loan debt I incurred wasn’t a complete waste after all.
A few years ago, I left the practice of law because I found the profession too stressful. I left the dark streets of New York for the bright sands of Hawaii, intent on taking life easy. I was determined, as many are, to make a career of my favorite hobby – writing.
But what to write? Well, I realized it was the novels of authors like John Grisham, Scott Turow, and Steve Martini that led me to law school in the first place. I’d studied law, practiced for several years in New York City, read and dissected every legal thriller I ever came across, and loved the genre, so the choice seemed clear. So from my 23rd floor lanai overlooking Waikiki Beach, I set out to write my first legal thriller, which would become my debut novel, ONE MAN’S PARADISE (Minotaur, April 2010).
That’s when I first realized writing a courtroom drama wasn’t nearly as easy as Grisham makes it seem. This time I wasn’t just preparing a defense; I was preparing a prosecution, too. And not only that – I was also deciding which objections would be sustained, which would be overruled. In other words, in addition to playing District Attorney and Defense Lawyer, I was playing Judge, too. But I couldn’t do any of that before taking the first step – planning a near perfect crime. Near perfect, because I had to leave clues for the police and my investigators to find. Yes, I was playing Criminal, too.
As difficult as it is preparing a case for trial, it’s even more daunting having to argue both sides of a case. Any lawyer will tell you that they’d much rather go up against a talented adversary than an inept one. See, having a talented adversary, you can better predict their moves. Getting pit against a dullard, well, who knows what’s going to happen? And who knows what a jury will do? The twelve men and women seated in the box just might feel sorry for your foe. And if you do too good a job beating up on your sympathetic adversary, the jury just might turn on you. And your client.
As the writer of a legal thriller, you must set the tone of the trial. There is no sitting back and simply reacting to what the other side does. You are the other side. At a glance, this might seem beneficial. But once you’ve thought it through, you’ll undoubtedly recognize the dilemma. See, lawyers don’t like to lose. Not even in fiction.
So once you’ve developed these characters you care for – this down-on-his-luck-defense lawyer, this overly-ambitious yet well-meaning prosecutor – you want them both to succeed. It pains you when they screw up. But three-quarters into the novel you realize, one of these guys fighting tooth-and-nail for what they believe in ultimately has to lose.
One of your guys (or girls) has to take one for the team, has to throw the fight. And that’s not easy for any lawyer, let alone a fictitious one that is a proud product of your mind, to do. But the reader wants an outcome. A mistrial just won’t do. Justice must be served, but don’t be fooled. Justice is not the goal of any attorney I’ve ever come up against. In the law, it’s not how you play the game, but whether you win or lose.
That’s not to mention all the work that needs to be done. Each of your lawyers must act as a respectable attorney would. Each side must prepare a case, draft and defend motions, read legal precedents, comfort his client or aid a victim’s grieving family. Each side must eventually step into that fictitious courtroom, confident of a win but prepared to lose. Whether the reader will “hear” opening statements in part or in their entirety, it doesn’t matter; opening statements must be prepared. Witness lists must be exchanged and each witness subjected to direct and cross examination. And remember, as a writer of legal thrillers, you must play the role of each witness, too. You must know your motivations, must know when to lie and when to tell the truth. It can be a dizzying experience.
The best advice for constructing a legal thriller may well be to outline the entire book before sitting down to write, but I fear a courtroom drama written that way will not ring true. After all, trials are anything but predictable. I’d rather take my shot at a roulette wheel in Vegas than a courtroom in Manhattan any day of the week.
So my advice is to let the trial play itself out on the page. Know which witnesses you are going to call, but give them leeway as to what they will say. Let them surprise you. That way, they will surprise your readers, too.
As for the jury’s final verdict, well, your guess is as good as mine. But do keep mind that juries don’t always get it right. Seldom do juries ever get the whole truth.
In writing your legal thriller, I say, toss away all notions of justice and fair play, and let your two lawyers have at it. Let them passionately argue their respective cases day and night in your mind. Let it get personal. Because, for lawyers, it often does.
And at the conclusion of the hard-fought trial, after the verdict is read, the prosecutor and defense lawyer don’t need to shake hands. In fact, as soon as you type “the end” on your manuscript, immediately begin a new one. And while the fire is still raging, the bad blood still boiling, let the two have at it again. Let them tear each other to pieces.
(This article first appeared on the award-winning blog Murder By 4 on Friday, May 7, 2010).
As both a reader and writer of crime fiction, I have developed some strong opinions about what I like and dislike. One aspect of crime fiction I’ve found I can’t do without is a flawed protagonist. He or she doesn’t necessarily need to be an anti-hero, of course. But when I sit back and open a book, I don’t hope to find a sparkling, stout-hearted day-saver who can do no wrong. I like my protagonists a bit dark, somewhat world-weary. I want to see the cracks in the plaster, the seams in the wallpaper. To put it another way, I want to read about someone human.
We all have our flaws, writers and readers alike. So why shouldn’t our heroes be flawed, too? I admit, it’s sometimes difficult to walk the fine line between creating a flawed protagonist and someone readers will dislike (I may even cross that line on occasion). The hero, no matter how flawed, must still elicit sympathy in the reader. The reader must still want to get behind his cause. But that can be accomplished by a writer, even if his or her hero doesn’t always do the right thing, even if the hero is sometimes unsure about what is right and wrong.
For me, creating a flawed protagonist was easy, because my hero Kevin Corvelli is a lawyer – a criminal defense lawyer, in fact. So right from the get-go readers wonder whether he’s a true believer, a seeker of truth and justice, or just another stuffed shirt who will do anything, represent anyone, for a buck. In my debut novel One Man’s Paradise, Kevin Corvelli takes on the cause of a young man accused of killing his girlfriend on Waikiki Beach. Kevin is seeking redemption for a case he lost back in New York, a mistake that ultimately cost his innocent client Brandon Glenn his life. Right away, we know Kevin is flawed because he admits he screwed up back in Manhattan, that he was too busy playing to the cameras to overturn every stone in order to get to the truth.
Along with his past disgrace in the Big Apple, Kevin exhibits other flaws, some obvious, some not. He drinks too much, has deep-seated commitment issues. He’s somewhat neurotic, and of course, he’s paranoid. Clients have been lying to him his entire career and the result is that he trusts no one, not even his closest friends. As the story – and the series – progresses, Kevin realizes and works on his flaws, but even at the end it’s clear that Kevin Corvelli is only human.
“[A]fter being shot at, stabbed, and nearly beaten to death, I realized physical fitness could prove vital to my survival as a defense attorney.” — LAST LAWYER STANDING (2012) by Douglas Corleone
For the past 15 years, I’ve kept track of every book I’ve read. (Yeah, I know…) But the great thing about it is that I can look back at any given year, point to a book, and tell you exactly where I was living and who I was working with and what time of year it was. Without that list, I’m pretty clueless about my past. With it, I’m a regular Rain Man. Well…
The first half of 2012 has been a terrific surprise in a number of ways, including the number and quality of books I had the opportunity to read. Here are a few of my favorites:
An American Spy by Olen Steinhauer. The Milo Weaver spy trilogy contains three of the most perfect thrillers I’ve ever read. Starting with 2010’s The Tourist, Steinhauer created a world of espionage that’s nearly impossible to leave – both for Milo and the reader. I recommend reading all three books in order, one right after the other. Put together, they make for an epic spy story that could not be achieved in one book alone.
Defending Jacob by William Landay. There’s nothing like discovering an established author who is new to you. William Landay is the author of two previous critically-acclaimed novels, but many readers just came across his books this year with the release of one of the best legal thrillers in the history of the genre. I received an ARC of Defending Jacob in the bag o’ books they handed out to registrants at Bouchercon in St. Louis last year. When the book was finally released on January 31st of this year, the cover looked familiar, and I went digging. Once I found it, I couldn’t put it down for two days straight.
The Post-American World: Release 2.0 by Fareed Zakaria. It’s an election year, so there is no shortage of books on geopolitics. But The Post-American World sets the bar. In the opening paragraph, Zakaria says, “This is not a book about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everybody else.” And that’s an understatement. Not only does the CNN/Newsweek/TIME journalist discuss in depth the economies and governments of emerging nations such as China, India, Russia, and Brazil, he offers a detailed analysis of how America can remain ahead of the pack.
Since this post can easily go on for another 25 pages, I’ll stop here. But between nonfiction works such as Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden – from 9/11 to Abbottabad and new novels from regular favorites such as Michael Palmer and David Rosenfelt, 2012 has started out as one kick-ass reading year.
I admit I was reluctant to pick up and read Dave Cullen’s COLUMBINE. I thought, what’s there to learn 13 years after the tragedy? Turns out, everything.
I don’t remember where I was on April 20, 1999, when the shooting started at the now-infamous Littleton, Colorado high school. But I do recall much of the media coverage which most of the country then considered fact. I knew that two high school seniors, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, went on a killing spree before committing suicide in the library. For hours the media reported a standoff between the police and the shooters. There wasn’t one. Harris and Klebold fired a few shots out the window but by then they’d lost all interest in killing. They were trying to be killed. Suicide by cop. The cops were unable to oblige, so Eric and Dylan went to the library and took their own lives about 45 minutes into the attack. Three hours later police finally stormed the school and found their bodies.
During that 3-hour delay, at least one teacher bled to death, raising the toll to 13. Until I read Cullen’s book I’d had no idea how badly authorities on the scene screwed things up, or the lengths they had gone to in order to cover their own asses. Eric Harris had been exhibiting homicidal tendencies for years – he even had a blog cataloging his hatred and the people he wanted to kill – but these small town cops apparently had better things to do than to investigate hate rants and death threats brought to them by another student at Columbine. Columbine could have been prevented. Columbine should have been prevented.
But the most surprising things I learned weren’t about Colorado law enforcement; they were about Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold themselves. The media had reported they were outcasts, that they’d been bullied to the breaking point, that they were Goth, maybe gay, that they were part of a gang called the Trench Coat Mafia. Reporters said that Eric and Dylan had been targeting jocks and minorities, that they were carefully selecting who would live and who would die. None of this was true.
Most importantly, aside from having a few things in common, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were nothing alike. After the Columbine shooting, everyone was asking one question: Why? Dave Cullen answers that question in his book, which is based on ten years of research, including “hundreds of interviews, examination of more than 25,000 pages of police evidence, [and] countless hours of video- and audiotape.” Both Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold left behind their own answers to that question in separate journals and a collaborative video known as “The Basement Tapes.”
Each shooter had his own reason. I can’t say in a few hundred words what Dave Cullen says in 400 pages, but here’s the bottom line and one of the most riveting revelations in this book – Eric Harris wanted to kill; Dylan Klebold wanted to die.
Reading COLUMBINE is like putting together a colossal psychological puzzle. For crime writers it’s an invaluable tool for creating deeply troubled characters and overcoming the challenges of crafting a believable criminal relationship. Eric Harris was a homicidal psychopath and an alpha dog. Dylan Klebold was a suicidal loner suffering terrible depression. Together, they became mass murderers.
One other horrifying aspect you’ll learn by reading COLUMBINE is that what Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold actually planned for April 20, 1999 never took place. Things went terribly wrong for them when bombs they’d planted didn’t go off and as a result, most of the students escaped. What you’ll realize as you read this book is that as awful as the Columbine tragedy was, it could have been a whole hell of a lot worse.
If you enjoy reading true crime, COLUMBINE is as important a book as Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD. The fact that it was published 10 years after the tragedy occurred is actually its main selling point. After a decade of incredible research and expert analysis, Dave Cullen gets it right when so many – for so long – had it dead wrong.