Murder in the posh town of Palm Beach is the rarest of occasions. The one that happened in January 1976 stands out for several reasons.
The victim is shotgunned at 10:15 p.m. through a window of the home where he lived with his wife and their six children. He’d been having an affair with a stripper at a joint across the ocean inlet. He was a prominent citizen set to become a member of the town council.
An anonymous phone call leads to the arrest of a karate expert despised by police for his brawling, thuggish behavior. The cops soon drop him as a suspect. But a politically ambitious prosecutor sees his opportunity, and gets him convicted on the basis of testimony by the hoodlum’s jail inmates. He is sent to Florida’s Wild West of prisons at Raiford, where a stabbing a day and a killing a week are the “mean” average. While there, his loving wife contracts a usually fatal disease.
While working for a luxury lifestyle magazine, I learned that a former colleague at the Palm Beach Post had discovered shocking information about who was behind the murder that never got in the paper because sources couldn’t be revealed. Some years later, I inadvertently came across the chief source, and we began collaborating on a factual book. But he was afraid to provide certain names, and I abandoned the project, writing a novel instead.
MURDER IN PALM BEACH: The Homicide That Never Died is a novel that closely follows the trajectory of a real murder and, in the guise of fiction, begs for a reopening of the case. It is a tale of redemption wrapped in a mystery, and softened by a moving love story.
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