Tag Archives: Legal thriller novels

Internet Jihadism

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When I began writing my latest novel, Paladine,  it was supposed to a be my attempt to write a “normal” assassination thriller.  An ex-Special Forces commando goes into business as a mercenary.  His targets: terrorists.  However, when I got into the research I was shocked.  I knew there had to be radicalized jihadists living in the United States because the FBI has arrested many of them in sting operations.[1] [2] However, there is evidence, readily available from Internet sources, that Sheik Mubarak Ali Jilani, a sheik from Pakistan, a suspected terrorist which the U.S. government alleges is the founder of the terrorist organization, Jamaat ul-Fuqra[3], is also the founder of  Muslims of America, Inc.[4] which allegedly has established jihad training compounds in the States which are classified by law enforcement as “classically structured terrorist cells.” [5]  A storage locker maintained by the group in Colorado Springs was raided by local police in 1989, who found a cache of firearms, grenades, plastic explosives and target practice silhouettes labeled “Zionist Pig” and “FBI Anti-Terrorist Squad.”[6][7][8][9]

Claims have been made by the anti-Islamic group, Christian Action Network[10] that the MOA trains men and women to be jihadists and to take action upon Gilani’s order.[11]  Reports by the Anti-Defamation League indicate that the group’s emails and web sites have featured writings by anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers and advocate jihadist violence.[12]

The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was established in 2004 to serve as the primary organization in collecting and analyzing all intelligence pertaining to terrorism possessed or acquired by the U.S. government.[13]  However, according to a 2011 Congressional Report, it is powerless to do any of its own enforcement and, instead, must rely on other government agencies. The report provides: “Arguably most important, however, is the capability of ensuring that analysts are integrated into the counterterrorism effort, that operational planning is shared with analytical offices so that particular reactions or threats can be anticipated and assessed. The most important “wall” may not be the one that existed between law enforcement and intelligence agencies prior to 2001, but the one that often persists between analysts and operators. The latter may lack the time and opportunity to integrate analytical efforts into their ongoing work, but if the country is aiming for a “zero defects” approach to terrorism, close attention to intelligence is a prerequisite. Some experienced observers maintain that “zero defects” is unrealizable, some failures are inevitable and argue that it is more responsible to minimize failures and limit their effects. The use of intelligence by policymakers and military commanders is in largest measure the responsibility of the Executive Branch, but some observers argue that the quality of analysis may be enhanced when analytical efforts are regularly reviewed by congressional committees and hearings are conducted to ensure that they are properly prepared and fully used.”[14]

President Obama held a briefing with his national security team at the NCTC in December 2015[15] but it was largely symbolic, resulting in no change in policy.  As an example of enforcement’s shortcomings, the terrorists in that case were on both watch lists – TIDE and TSDB – but were cleared as potential threats by the bureau – twice.  After they were cleared, they went on to commit one of the most horrific terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

There is a growing threat from the so-called “lone-wolf” attacks, such as we have seen in Nice and other parts of Europe, but there are also jihadists recruiters for the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Nusra using social media to connect with potential jihadists for financing and soldiering.[16]

What is most alarming is that most of the recruits are young people; many of them teenagers.[17]  While recruiting used to be face-to-face, many recruits to ISIS and other terrorist organizations come from social media, where the terrorist organizations all have Twitter and Facebook pages.  The teenagers are exposed to the terrorist propaganda, and by the time they make contact to sign up, they have already been radicalized.

Current economic and social conditions are putting more than usual pressures on young people.  The virtual reality of the Internet creates an escape from real life that can be more destructive than drugs.  When suicidal tendencies turn into homicidal tendencies, it is easy to see how more lone-wolf terrorist attacks like the Bastille Day attack in Nice on July 14th could occur, not only abroad, but on U.S. soil.

While enforcement is a problem that must be addressed on a national level by connecting up law enforcement with the latest data on suspected terrorists, the radicalization of young people is a local problem that must be solved within families, schools and peer groups.  Perhaps religious leaders of traditional Islam can do more to reach out to these young people, using the binary, technical language of their generation.

[1] Pfeiffer, Alex, 31 Suspected ISIS Terrorists Have Been Arrested in the U.S. In the Past Year, The Daily Caller, August 6, 2016

[2] Goldman, Adam, The Islamic State’s suspected inroads into America, The Washington Post, August 8, 2016

[3] Bocuher, Richard, Daily Press Briefing, United States Dept. of State, March 27, 2002

[4] Mauro, Ryan, Muslims of the Americas (MOA), The Clarion Project, February 12, 2013

[5] Brown, Carol, Muslims of America training compounds, American Thinker, September 20, 2015

[6] Hossenball, Mark, Another Holy War, Waged on American Soil, Newsweek, February 28, 1994

[7] Mauro, Ryan, Muslims of the Americas (MOA), The Clarion Project, February 12, 2013

[8] Brown, Carol, Muslims of America training compounds, American Thinker, September 20, 2015

[9] The Blaze, For the Record, Sleeper Cells Inside Our Nation?, Febraury 19, 2014

[10] Is There a Muslim Terrorist Training Camp Near You?, The Conservative Papers, May 7, 2013

[11] Brown, Carol, Muslims of America training compounds, American Thinker, September 20, 2015

[12] Muslims of the Americas: In Their Own Words, Anti -Defamation League, http://archive.adl.org/extremism/moa/

[13] NCTC website: https://www.nctc.gov/index.html

[14] Best, Richard A., The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) Responsibilities and Potential Congressional Concerns, December 19, 2011, Congressional Research Service

[15] White House, Office of Press Secretary, Statement by the President After Briefing at National Counterterrorism Center, December 17, 2015

[16] Bardin, Jeff, What it’s like to be recruited by ISIS online, May 22, 2015, Business Insider

[17] Geiger, Gloria, This is How ISIS Uses Social Media to Recruit American Teens, November 20, 2015, Teen Vogue

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an up-and-coming author in the legal thriller and courtroom drama genre, has been described by critics as “One of our strongest thriller writers on the scene and the fact that he draws his stories from the contemporary philosophical landscape is very much to his credit.” He is the author of the “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”, the fifth installment of which, Killer.com, won best legal thriller in the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Awards, and the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series”.

Said Eade of the comparisons, “Readers compare me in style to John Grisham and, there are some similarities, because John also likes to craft a story around real topics and we are both lawyers. However, all of my novels are rooted in reality, not fantasy. I use fictional characters and situations to express factual and conceptual issues. Some use the term ‘faction’ to describe this style, and it is present in all my fictional works.”

Eade has written twelve novels, which are now in the process of being translated into six languages. He is known to keep in touch with his readers, and offers a free Kindle book to all those who sign up at his web site, www.kennetheade.com.

Email: info@kennetheade.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KennethGEadeBestsellingauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KennethEade1

New York, New York – WEBWIRE – Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Author Kenneth Eade, whom critics hail as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene” announced today the launch of the newest legal thriller in his “Brent Marks Legal Thrillers” faction series, “Decree of Finality.”   The novel is about a lawyer who reluctantly takes on a divorce case only to find it turn into a murder mystery.  takes a Freedom of Information case for a journalist.  “I usually pick an important subject to wrap a story around.  This time, I thought that the subject would be a little lighter, but I was very surprised when I did a little Internet research to find just how common spousal murder was,” said Eade.

The book, which is already #3 on Amazon’s Hot New Release List for Legal Thriller Books, has received strong initial positive reactions from readers posting reviews:

“The characters are well written and real.”

“Decree of Finality is a brilliantly crafted work of suspense, juxtaspositioning the dark side of man against the decency that still exists in the hearts of some men, like Brent Marks, who still believes in and lives that goodness and decency. This may be Mr. Eade’s finest work yet!”

“Another masterpiece from the author that kept me on the edge of the seat till the end.”

“A very current and relevant story. In today’s world where money seems to buy anything and mean everything, divorce can be a huge threat.”

“Decree of Finality” is the latest outing of Kenneth Eade, who has been hailed by critics as “one of the strongest thriller writers on the scene.”  It goes on sale in bookstores May 17, 2016.  For more information on his political and legal thrillers, including “Decree of Finality,” visit: http://kennetheade.com



‘Killer.com’ wins Beverly Hills Book Awards

Killer.com’, the fifth installment in the Brent Marks Legal thriller series by author Kenneth G. Eade has won the 4th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards as best legal thriller.  At its core, ‘Killer.com’ is an examination of the ’Dark Web’ of the Internet.
‘Killer.com’ – A Brent Marks Legal Thriller

‘Killer.com’ – A Brent Marks Legal Thriller



“When I wrote my seventh novel, I sought to write an action-packed thriller but without the clichés and tropes readers often find in other books of the genre,” says Eade. “I thought of how people abuse the Internet, and how it has enabled cyber bullies to hide behind phony names, making it easier to hurt people anonymously.  This gave me the idea of doing a story about hiring a killer anonymously online.  Little did I know that the ’Dark Web’ had many such sites”

Searing, exhilarating and topical, ‘Killer.com’ puts a new spin on the abuse of the Internet.

Murder is a mouse click away in the fifth installment of the #1 bestsellling Legal Thriller Series.

A mob of anonymous cyber stalkers torments lawyer Brent Marks with defamatory posts on the Internet in this latest installment of the legal thriller series.  When Marks sues to enjoin their libelous publication, the stalkers hide behind the immunity of the Communications Decency Act. Then a mysterious anonymous killer for hire strikes, and Brent finds himself on the wrong side of the law.

Killer.com is available in English, Italian, Portuguese and is currently being translated into French and Spanish.

Since its release, the book has received notable acclaim from critics and readers alike.

“Those who enjoy Grisham and other legal studies and who appreciate more than a dose of reality in their fiction reads will find Killer.com to be one of Eade’s most powerful works yet, providing a scenario firmly grounded in real possibilities and powerfully enhanced by a questionable, surprise outcome in an exquisitely well-done, complex thriller!”– Midwest Book Review

“Leave it to Kenneth to shine the light on the possibilities that lurk on the Internet and all the while giving us another thrilling ride with his superb prose. Highly Recommended.”- Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame and Top 100 Reviewer

“A high-speed storyline full of twists and turns upon a stark background of reality as lawyers might really experience it. Kenneth Eade is one of the up and coming legal thriller writers of this generation. Read him and enjoy him, but don’t expect much sleep!” — John Ellsworth, Author, Thaddeus Murfee Legal Thriller Series

About the author

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an up-and-coming author in the legal thriller and courtroom drama genre, has been described by critics as “One of our strongest thriller writers on the scene and the fact that he draws his stories from the contemporary philosophical landscape is very much to his credit.” He is often compared to John Grisham, whom many regard as the master of the legal thriller.

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I Still Have a Dream


“I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream – one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed , ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.  I have a dream.”

On this day we celebrate the life and legacy of our most famous civil rights leader, who launched the American Civil Rights Movement with these words; words which were said 52 years ago on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

While we have made much progress toward eliminating racism in our country over those 52 years, have we really achieved Dr. King’s dream?  Sadly, we have taken a giant step backwards in the past 40 years, by sitting on our civil rights and allowing the government to erode the Constitutional guarantees that were supposed to protect them.  Instead of a nation of the people, governed by the people, we have become, as President Carter said, a nation whose government is controlled by an elite oligarchy.  A nation where money can buy our elected representatives and the rich control the course of our collective destiny.

The American Dream, once thought to be achievable by hard work and persistence, that dream which has been a beacon of hope to many throughout the world, is, sadly, out of the reach of many in the United States, as the elimination of the middle class continues.  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer in our modern America.  And as our civil rights are eroded by over-zealous executives, seeking to promote the economic causes of the elites who put them into power, the consequences of putting “bombs in the air” above foreign skies and “boots on the ground” with a militarized police force at home are the lives and liberty of many innocent victims, which results in an  “us against them” mentality which has turned our brothers into enemies.

For a nation which once burned the torch of liberty so brightly that it could be seen around the world, we now have a government which can suspend the civil rights of its citizens; a government which justifies the  surveillance of its own citizenry, and the torture of any person accused of being an “enemy of the people.” Martin Luther King would be ashamed of the reverse progress we have made toward achieving his dream.  On this day, let us remember what that dream is, and spread the word to our children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors that this dream is still achievable.  Vote for Dr. King’s dream in the next presidential, Congressional and Senatorial elections.  Send the incumbents – all of them – out of office.  We must take the profit out of politics and the power out of the hands of the elites.  That is our responsibility.  If we fail to do this, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Kenneth Eade is an author, hailed by many as “one of the strongest thriller writers on the scene.” www.kennetheade.com


Defamation on the Internet: What can be done about it?

The Internet has outgrown the common law of defamation, and new regulations to protect the Internet, free speech and the freedom to speak anonymously have been abused by cyber-bullies and cyber-stalkers, who have used this new medium to dispense their bullying in a greater distribution among more people.  In my legal thriller novel, “Killer.com,” I thought it may be interesting to examine the possibility of an Internet bully or cyber mob hiring a hit man anonymously through the Internet.  I thought that this would be a unique idea, but, upon delving into the macabre world of the Dark Net, I realized that it was not.  Most of the sites where I found for murder-for-hire were probably scams or were set up by law enforcement to catch would-be conspirators, but the concept is definitely not an original one.


“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”  We all know that line, and many of us have used it in retort to a vicious verbal attack.  But the truth is that words can hurt you, especially when they are broadcast online to thousands or even millions of people.  We’ve also all heard the old adage “Don’t believe everything you hear,” but the fact is that many people do believe everything they hear and, whether they do or not, have a tendency to repeat it; especially if it’s scandalous.

The advent of the Internet has had a profound impact on the manner in which ideas and information are exchanged in the 21st century.  It has leveled the publisher’s playing field, putting newspapers, magazines and bookstores out of business, and enabled any average person with access to a computer the potential to reach a broad audience on whatever subject that person may choose.

However, unlike a newspaper or magazine, authors of Internet “articles” are not restrained by ethical guidelines or legal principles.  While the notion of free speech may be an honorable one, the first amendment’s sanction is by no means absolute.  Just as the second amendment’s right to bear arms does not give a person the right to shoot somebody, the first amendment’s protection of free speech does not apply to all speech.  Defamatory speech is specifically not protected.

There are many examples of the power of the Internet in today’s cyber-world that have had a profound effect on the real world.  Middle Eastern governments have been toppled using the Internet as a weapon of social change.  Whistleblowers can now “blow their whistle” to a larger audience, but, as we can see in the cases of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, the power of the Internet is no match for power of the United States government, whose boundaries of enforcement go beyond any geopolitical border and can even force down the airplane of a government official of another sovereign state if it suspects you are harboring a treasonous criminal.

In the days before the Internet, bullies, people jealous of your success, competitors in the workplace, or competing businesses were still out there; but their attacks were short-lived and soon forgotten.  The Internet gives them the power to permanently destroy any reputation that is associated with any name that can be “googled,” and the results will outlast your lifetime.  Questions like “Mom, was grandpa really a bad man?” may become commonplace in this cyber-age.

Technology has moved faster than the law with regard to the Internet.  The Internet gives the defamer the power to destroy a hard-earned reputation with a few clicks of a mouse, with far-reaching effects, to an unlimited audience.  The Google algorithm prioritizes the “most popular” searches on the first page of search results.

Let’s face it: people love scandals.  Many a top news story has been made, especially in the United States, from a scandal.  Remember Monica Lewinsky, for example?  People, in general, love bad news; which is why the news is so full of it.  Bad news is a “headline” and everything else is just a “feature.”  What this means to the Google algorithm is that the more scandalous the gossip is, the better position that gossip will achieve in Google’s results, and the longer it will stay there.

Gossip which used to go by “word of mouth” would never have been published by any respectable newspaper or magazine.  Now any blogger can be a “reporter” – even an investigative reporter – without any journalistic skill, responsibility or conscience.  And the gossip that they spread about you can ruin your credit, cost you a job opportunity, or lose you clients.

The Internet Age has changed the rules for bullying.  With the growing phenomenon of cyber-socializing on the Internet, and the fact that school-age children and teenagers have computers, iPads, and cell phones – all with Internet access – bullies can reach a broader audience with their humiliation and hate speech, do it instantaneously, and the defamation assumes a permanent place in cyberspace.  This is known as cyber-bullying, and it has reached such epidemic proportions that it has been cited as the cause of many teenage suicides.

Megan Meier was the victim, in 2006, of an elaborate cyber-bullying scheme that is fairly common.  As retribution for allegedly gossiping about her daughter, a neighbor’s mother and her bullying friends set up a fake My Space account purporting to be that of a 16-year-old boy.  They sent messages to Megan and chatted with her, and Megan fell in love with the imaginary boy.  Then came the last act:  the imaginary boy sent messages “breaking up” with Megan, shared her messages to “him” all over the Internet, humiliating her, and then sent a message saying, “You are a bad person and everybody hates you.  Have a shitty rest of your life.  The world would be a better place without you.”  Megan then killed herself.

Cyber-bullies spread lies and rumors about their victims, often anonymously, including pretending to be their friends (much like Russ and Gary did with me) in order to obtain personal information and photographs which they manipulate and post on blogs and websites.  Bullying is also done by email and text messaging.

In the days before the Internet, bullies, people jealous of your success, competitors in the workplace, or competing businesses were still out there; but their attacks were short-lived and soon forgotten.  The Internet gives them the power to permanently destroy any reputation that is associated with any name that can be “googled,” and the results will outlast your lifetime.  Questions like “Mom, was grandpa really a bad man?” may become commonplace in this cyber age.

But cyber-bullies do not stop when they leave school.  They become cyber-stalkers.  The problem with cyber-stalkers is that they have more power when they are cloaked in anonymity, as well as less responsibility.  If a cyber-stalker acts anonymously, it is harder to identify him and bring him to justice.  Anonymous free speech has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60 (1960).  Of course, that was over 50 years ago, when there was no Internet; but it’s still a good law.

So, as a result, you have cyber-bullies using modern technology to torture their victims to the point of despair and even suicide, and they have a constitutional right to say whatever they want, anonymously.  Threats of violence, harassment of former romantic partners, and posing as the victim and posting private matters and photographs on the Internet is very common.

A cyber-stalker will go to any length to try to cause you pain and ruin your reputation.   As the name implies, they will virtually “stalk” you on the Internet, to no end.  In the real world, this behavior would possibly be criminal and you could seek a restraining order against it.  But in the online world, there is literally nothing to protect you, and the cyber-stalker will often hide behind a mask of anonymity to prey on his or her victims.

Groups of cyber-stalkers will even organize together on Internet chat boards and help each other to harass a stalker’s victim, publishing altered photographs, threats, and personal information.  These “cyber mobs” find validation in each other’s support, lose their sense of personal responsibility for their actions, and become even more aggressive when they believe they are supported and respected by the others in the mob.  It gives them a false “authority” which they capitalize on by spending their time doing online “research” on their victims, which they see as a kind of “detective work.”

The law of defamation varies from state to state, but essentially, in the common law, defamation is a false statement, published to another party, that causes injury to a person.  If it is an oral statement, it is slander, and if it is a written statement, it is libel.

If you are a public figure, you have to prove the additional element of malice, which is a “knowing or reckless disregard for the truth.”  Public figures such as celebrities (and especially elected officials) are pretty much fair game.  If they weren’t, Jay Leno would be in a lot of trouble.

Defamation is, in most jurisdictions, a civil wrong, or a tort, but there are many countries, including Russia and China, where defamation is a crime.

In California, the defamation law is essentially a codification of the common law.  It is either libel or written defamation, slander or oral defamation.  It is essentially a false statement, made to another person which causes harm to that person’s property, business, profession or occupation.

Libel is “a false and unprivileged publication by writing, printing, picture, effigy, or other fixed representation to the eye, which exposes a person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy, or which causes him to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure him in his occupation.”  California Civil Code section 45.

“Slander is a false and unprivileged communication, orally uttered, and also communications by radio or any mechanical or other means which: 1) charges a person with crime or having been indicted, convicted, punished for crime; 2) imputes in him the present existence of an infectious, contagious, or loathsome disease; 3) tends directly to injure him in respect to his office, profession, trade or business, that has a natural tendency to lessen its profits; or 4) imputes to him impotence or a want of chastity; 5) which, by natural consequence, causes actual damage.”  California Civil Code section 46.

California, like many other jurisdictions, also has defamation per se, where damages are assumed if the false statement accuses the victim of a crime of moral turpitude, a loathsome disease (such as a sexually transmitted disease), or accuses a married person of not being chaste.

Pretty clear, isn’t it?  Okay, so someone has published an untrue statement about you on the Internet, which has caused real damage to your reputation.  Remember the Franciscan Monk?  Attack!!!  Ready, fire, aim!!!  Wait a minute – not so fast.  As my criminal law professor said the first day of class, “In the first semester, I’m going to teach you how to put the criminals away; but in the second semester, I’m going to teach you how to get them off.” There are defenses to defamation that you have to be aware of, such as privilege, truth, and opinion.

Truth is an absolute defense to defamation.   So, if your cyber-bully can prove that what he is saying about you is true, there is nothing you can do about it.  There are also certain cases where you are protected from whatever you may say about a person.  These are cases of privilege, and you generally have a privilege to say anything you want, no matter how outrageous or harmful it may be, in a judicial, legislative, or administrative proceeding.

If a statement by your cyber-bully is an opinion about you, this is a defense to libel.  For example, if he said: “I think Joe Blow is a jerk,” and he knows something about you from which he can formulate that opinion, the statement is probably not actionable.  Likewise, if it is a “fair comment” or an expression of your opinion about a matter in the public interest, like Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, for example (I purposely chose the most ridiculous example), the statement is probably not actionable.

Okay, your cyber-bully or mob has published statements about you on the Internet, you’re not a public figure, the statements are false, they accuse you of a vicious crime or loathsome disease, and it has completely ruined your reputation and your business.  So what?  Even if it is libel or slander per se, you still have to prove damages.  You may say, “But of course my business has been damaged.  It’s ruined.  My reputation is my business.”  Fair enough, but it’s very hard to prove that you have lost a customer or client whom you don’t even know about.  In a defamation case, you have to bring evidence of the damages you suffered in order to recover anything significant.

Prosecuting a legal case is expensive, time-consuming, and it’s very difficult to be a litigant.  The discovery process can be humiliating and can feel like an invasion of your privacy.  Plus, you have to prove you had a good reputation to begin with.  All of this takes evidence, which means that you have to locate witnesses who will testify about your good reputation before the defamation and witnesses who will testify that you had a bad reputation after, because of the defamation.  It’s not as easy as you think.  And that cyber-bully, the one who has all the time to post nasty things about you all over the Internet: remember him?  He probably doesn’t have all that time on his hands because he’s rich and happily retired, getting bored counting his money, and just decided to trash you every day on the Internet.  He probably has all that time on his hands because he is a loser with nothing else to do.  How could he possibly pay you any damages, even if you’re awarded them?  These are all very important things you need to consider before you go out and hire F. Lee Bailey or Alan Dershowitz.

47 USC section 223, known as the anti-cyber-stalking law,  prohibits the interstate or foreign communication of “obscene communications” with the intent to abuse, threaten or harass any person, and “indecent” communications to persons under the age of 18.  But don’t expect the FBI to take on your cyber-harassment case anytime soon.  They are too busy going after people who may have downloaded or watched any type of under-age pornography (another despicable activity).

The federal law probably could be of some use if a member of a cyber-mob is posting personal information that could place you in potential danger.  For example, if he or she posts your home address or telephone number, or your place of work, or information about where you may be and when, and implies or incites violence, this is a crime: and if you call it to the attention of the administrators of the website or blog where this is occurring, it is likely that the information will be removed.  Likewise, if your social security number or private information is posted that could aid in the commission of identity theft against you, this is likely to be taken down if you complain.

Several states, such as Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire and New York, have included cyber-harassment in their anti-harassment statutes, and Alaska, California, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wyoming have defined communications made in cyberspace to be included in their anti-stalking laws.  Texas has enacted a cyber-stalking law that is similar to the federal statute.

But unless it’s a statement that incites violence, then no matter how untrue and no matter how cruel, don’t expect any Internet provider or even the mighty Google to do anything about it.  Unless you can prove it’s a copyright violation, there is absolutely nothing that they will do about it, and they have the full backing of the United States government to do absolutely nothing.

The Communications Decency Act of 1996 (“CDA”) was enacted by Congress before the beginning of the “dot-com bubble” with the intention of regulating pornography on the Internet.  In 1996 there was no Google, no Facebook, and no Twitter.  Cyberspace consisted almost entirely of pornography, which makes the Act already outdated by the technology it was intended to control.  Ironically, the anti-pornography portions of the Act were stricken by the U.S. Supreme Court in Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844 (1997), as a suppression of freedom of speech.  The most notable portion of the Act  that was left was section 230, which gives Internet Service providers (ISPs) immunity against any criminal action or federal intellectual property civil action with respect to any content that is posted on their site.

Even though it is limited to federal criminal and intellectual property law, the landmark decision of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal of Zeran v. America Online, Inc., 129 Fed. 3d 327 (4th Cir. 1997) held that section 230 gave ISPs immunity from all civil liability with respect to content published on their sites whether or not that content was altered by the ISP.

The Zeran case was an obvious case of cyber-harassment.  In Zeran, a mob of cyber-bullies advertised T shirts and other items glorifying the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building by Timothy McVeigh (such as “Visit Oklahoma…It’s a BLAST!”)  and posted Plaintiff Kenneth Zeran’s home telephone number on the message.  Zeran requested AOL to remove the content, which it initially did, but later it refused to remove additional, similar postings.  Zeran received a barrage of threatening telephone calls and the threats of violence resulted in his home being placed under protective surveillance.  While other courts around the country have rejected CDA immunity in cases where the ISPs contributed content, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the Zeran case, so the result you may get in any particular case is determined by where your cause of action arose and, thus, what court you brought your lawsuit in.

On February 12, 2013, President Obama signed Executive Order 13636, calling for the development of a Cyber Security Framework to protect systems and assets vital to the United States which could have an impact on security or national public health and safety.  Some legal authorities have postulated that this may extend to publicly-held companies, and that it may be a sign of cyber security regulations aimed at identity theft, viruses or malware, and potential “advertising injury” which could include copyright infringement and defamation.  See Insurance Cybersecurity Regulations – What Insurance Coverage Do You Need? http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/insurance-cybersecurity-regulations-wh-35583/.

Now that we have determined that it is highly unlikely to succeed against an ISP for the defamatory content that appears on a particular site or sites, there is another hurdle to overcome.  If you are in a state such as California, any lawsuit that is determined to censor or intimidate your cyber-bullies can be summarily dismissed, and you can be assessed with the cyber-bully’s attorney fees and costs of suit.

They are called ‘strategic lawsuits against public participation’ (“SLAPP” suits), and 28 states have enacted legislation outlawing them, in different incarnations.  They are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Washington.

The intentions behind the anti-SLAPP statutes are noble ones.  The primary objective behind a SLAPP suit is to intimidate people who petition the government with grievances.  Florida has the most restrictive anti-SLAPP law.  It is limited to suits brought by the government in response to the right to peacefully assemble, instruct representatives, and redress grievances before governmental agencies, and also applies to homeowners with their homeowner’s association.

California has the most strict anti-SLAPP statute.  It applies to any action “arising from any act of that person in furtherance of the person’s right of petition or free speech” in connection with a “public issue.”  (California Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16.)   This is defined in the statute as any written or oral statement made before legislative, executive, judicial or other proceeding, any written or oral statement made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive or judicial body, any written or oral statement or writing made in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest, or any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.

‘In connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest’ has been interpreted by some California appellate courts to mean any issue that applies to any person who, by their “accomplishments or mode of living”, create a bona-fide attention to their activities.” Hilton v Hallmark Cards, 599 F.3d 894 (9th Cir 2010), quoting Montana v. San Jose Mercury News, Inc., 40 Cal. Rptr. 2d 639 (1995).  This leads anti-SLAPP attorneys to argue that the public decides what a public issue is and, in this case, the “public” is your cyber-mob, because it’s something that they are all talking about.  As my ex-mother in law used to say, “Only famous people are talked about.”

Under the California statute, your cyber-stalker can make a motion to dismiss your case in its initial stages before you have the right to discovery to even find out who your defendants are (in the case of unknown defendants, who you may sue as “John Does”).   This motion stays all discovery, and shifts the burden to the Plaintiff to provide evidence that proves a probability that he or she will prevail on the claim.  This is almost impossible to do without discovery, making it a fait accompli.  The winning of the motion signals the dismissal of the case, and you are assessed with your opponent’s attorney’s fees and court costs.

For as long as you have been living, people have been judging you and sizing you up in almost every social capacity you have been involved in.  This used to be done in person.  A person would meet you, ask you questions, and get a feeling for what you were all about.  In this virtual world, however, many relationships are made online.  Before eyes meet, people have already exchange electronic resumes on some dating site or on Facebook.   According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the percentage of married couples in the United States who met online is a staggering 35%.           And, in a business or professional context, people used to go to a doctor or lawyer based on a personal recommendation.  In this cyber world, they are more likely to let a Google algorithm do the recommending for them.

Google’s search engine is the most popular in the United States, with a market share of over 65%, and is one of the most popular search engines in the world, operating in many different languages.  When most people in the United States look for a business or service, they are most likely to do it using the Google search engine.

The Google algorithm is a mathematical program that searches out key words on over 150 million Internet web sites and assigns a rank to each web page on which the key words appear.  It is so widely used that the word “google” has also become a verb in American pop culture.  “Google it” is a common answer you may hear to a question that requires research.  And when people are trying to decide whether to use your services or patronize your business or hire you as an employee, they are likely going to “google” your name and use the information they read about you to make a decision.

Is that a sound way to make a decision?  Probably not.  Just because something is printed about you on a website, or even ten or 100 websites, doesn’t mean that it is true.  But it is what they are going to look at in making their decision, so you have to face it.

The power to speak anonymously, once used as a political tool, can now be used by virtually anyone.  An email account, Facebook account, or Twitter account can be set up for any fictitious person.  Anonymous people chatting on Internet chat rooms or bulletin boards can be difficult, if not impossible, to trace, and the sites themselves that post libelous material have the immunity to do so thanks to the CDA.  Gossip is becoming the equivalent of news.  What used to be written on the bathroom wall about a teenage girl’s reputation can now be broadcast to thousands, and the record of it stays in cyberspace forever.  The same teenage girl, when she becomes a mother, can look forward to her daughter reading, in explicit detail, how much of a slut she was when she was a teenager or, even worse, watching pornographic videos or pictures (possibly even manipulated) that may have been taken by a scorned lover or ex-husband.

The perpetrators of these crimes go unpunished.  Since they are not committing the crimes face to face, the distance and removal from the victim is like an air force pilot who drops a “smart bomb.”

It becomes impersonal, the victim is dehumanized, and morality is altered.  It’s easier to pull the trigger when you can’t see the person you are aiming at or witness the blood and gore as the bullet connects with its target.  The Google algorithm doesn’t care if the search results it returns are true.  It is designed to rank the most popular sites higher.

Your cyber-bully doesn’t have to make up some of the information he chooses to spout about you on the Internet.  He has help: you.  Posting personal information and photographs on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn, or any number of other sites is fodder for cyber-gangs to manipulate and repost that information and photographs in ways that you may not consider to be very flattering.  Just remember: everything you put into cyberspace stays there, so make sure it’s something you want people looking at 10 years from now, before you do it.  It will be there online, easily accessible to all, long after you are dead and gone.  My wife tells me not to talk to people about my personal life, which is good advice.  It’s even better advice, in this virtual world, not to post something personal about yourself on the Internet, no matter where you post it or whom you intend to see it.  It is a little slice of your privacy that you may be giving up forever.

Because rumors can be posted on the Internet and published to millions instantaneously, they have more powerful effects than in the past, where they were spread from mouth to mouth.  Rumors of stock splits, acquisitions, and the like have caused great swings in the stock prices of huge international companies.  When Steve Jobs was alive, false news that he had suffered from a heart attack sent Apple stock down $10 per share. Zynga stock rose 10% in 2013 on rumors of a possible Yahoo buyout.

Nobody checks the accuracy of anything on the Internet.  Even Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, while often a wonderful place to start research, has user-generated content.  It can be contributed by anyone, as long as you follow their guidelines.  Wikipedia is probably a bad example, because at least it has some degree of respectability as far as accuracy goes.  But 90% of what is on the Internet is absolutely unverified and, therefore, unreliable.  Anybody can post to a free Blogger or WordPress blog anything they want.  And because the matter appears in printed form, it is automatically given a degree of respectability.

One of the most fascinating books I ever read was The Believing Brain, by Michael Shermer.  In The Believing Brain, Shermer explains how the brain forms beliefs and then will seek out seemingly-random patterns to reinforce that belief.  The same is true of what people will read about you on the Internet.

The old saying “Throw enough shit on the wall and it will stick” is the principle behind these online beliefs.  Simply put, if they see it in print enough times, they will believe it is true.  That’s quite frightening when statistics show that people doing an Internet search will seldom go beyond the first page of search results.  If the first impression that someone gets of you is what they read on the Internet, that bias is not likely to change after they meet you in person.  That is why it is important to take control over what people are seeing on the first page of Google.

Since the best way to advertise a product or service is word of mouth, and today’s word of mouth has metamorphosed to cyber word of mouth, it makes sense that whatever is being said about you, your business, or your product on the Internet can have a huge impact on your business or job prospects. For further information, see this article that I contributed to as an expert about the impact of reviews on such sites as “Yelp” and “Trip Advisor”: http://www.kentucky.com/welcome_page/?shf=/2014/09/29/3453093_review-website-such-as-yelp-and.html.




It may sound ridiculous, but in the online world you have no right to your name – unless, of course, you buy it.  It reminds me of an old case I learned in law school called Sullivan v. Sullivan.   In the early days of television, Ed Sullivan had the most popular variety show on TV.  I don’t know why.  He talked funny, in a nasal tone (“It’s a really big shoe tonight”).  But if you were anybody (or wanted to be anybody), your agent had to book you on his show.  There was a local television store owned by a man whose name was also Ed Sullivan, and he used his name as the name of the store.  He was sued by Ed Sullivan the TV show host and won, because the court held that Sullivan had the equivalent of a brand of the name “Ed Sullivan.”  As a result, the “nobody” Ed Sullivan lost the right to use his own name in business.

The same is true of the Internet, but in a different way.  Google doesn’t care (the company – not the algorithm – because it doesn’t care about anything) if someone else takes out a Blogger account named after you, or even uses your name.  In my opinion, if that is not identity theft, I would like to know what is; but Google is immune and will do nothing unless you can prove copyright infringement.  It’s impossible for you to prove copyright infringement of your own name.  Likewise, anyone can buy the Internet domain rights to your name.  It may be the most valuable thing you have; but unless you buy it yourself, you don’t own it.

Mr. Cyber-bully is probably busy not just trying to smear your good name, but he has a full schedule of others to bully as well, so he probably won’t shell out the $20 or $30 that it will take to secure your name – but you should.  Secure as many domain names in as many variations of your name as you can.  If your name is John Smith, get Johnsmith.com, johnsmith.net, and johnsmith.org.  Buy domains with variations of your name using your middle name and initial and your nicknames.  When you’re finished getting as many as you can with different combinations of your name, start using dashes in between your first and last name and middle initial.  For example, get the name, John-smith.com and John-J-Smith.com.  Go to a domain registration site that is inexpensive, like www.godaddy.com or www.1and1.com, on which you can also purchase user-friendly packages that can help you design and put your own website online with no extra cost.

The two blog sites which offer free blogs with the most Internet “power” are http://wordpress.com and http://blogger.com (which is also blogspot.com.)  Make sure you get every variation of your name in both of those free blogs.

Deleting yourself from databases is a good idea for anyone to do.  After all, if you want someone to find you or know something about you, you can tell them yourself, right?   You can opt out of the information bases of “people search” sites such as https://pipl.com in the same manner as you did with the directories – just start at their privacy policy button and keep clicking through until you get to their opt-out procedure.  Make sure you opt out of every such site, including: www.123people.com (look in “privacy policy” and “remove information”), http://wink.comwww.spokeo.com, http://zoominfo.com, www.intelius.com, www.llifehacker.com, Yahoo People Search: http://search.yahoo.com//people/email.html, www.ussearch.com, www.acxiom.com, www.zabsearch.com,  and www.peoplefinder.com.  For some removals, you will have to be very specific.  Research the site ahead of time and note the identifying information, such as city and state.  This will be useful when you go to remove your personal information.  It is very time consuming, so take the time it takes to do a thorough removal job.

Google will remove social security numbers, credit card numbers, and images of your signature from its search database.  To request removal of this information use this link: https://support.google.com/websearch/troubleshooter/3111061.  If your cyber-bully has abandoned his smear site, or you have succeeded in getting the webmaster of the site to agree to remove it, use this link to remove the cached page from Google’s search results: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals?pli=1.  You should try this for any information appearing about you on the web.

Google will also investigate malware, phishing (trying to obtain your personal information under false pretenses), sites engaging in “suspicious behavior” (whatever that is), inaccurate information, your name on adult content sites, a page violating your copyright or trademark rights, or other legal issues.  To start this process, click here: https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/1114905?rd=1#ts=1115655.

Everything that is on the Internet that you can’t get removed by the foregoing methods will most likely always remain on the Internet – forever.  When I was in the Scouts, we used to love to go to summer camp.  At summer camp, we would sing songs and learn useful crafts (like how to survive in the woods if you get lost) and all kinds of other “cool stuff.”  One of the things that I learned that has application to this subject is about the camp latrine.  In the camp latrine there was a tool that is just about as useful as the Google Removal Tool we discussed in Chapter 7.  That tool was a stick.  If the latrine got “clogged up,” we just used that stick to push “all the other shit down.”  The same concept applies to Google searches.

In online reputation management, the object is to put positive information about yourself on the Internet that will rate with the search engines, like Google, which will have the effect of pushing the negative information down.  Since most people don’t go beyond the first page of search results of Google, and almost nobody goes past the third page, this sounds like a fairly simple task, right?  Wrong!  Remember back in Chapter 1 when I told you that Google puts the “most popular” results on Page One of its search page, and that the most scandalous will always be the most popular?  Your positive information has to be compelling and constantly updated, because Google also rates information by its age (unless, of course, it’s scandalous enough).

You can subscribe to all kinds of professional sites that will do this for you, at a very high cost.  What they will do is create a generic bio about you to post as a profile on one web site (in your own name) and various profile websites on the Internet, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many others, and link those sites to other sites so that Google will find the information to be important enough to feature on its web search results.

Or, you can go to http://brandyourself.com, and for a small annual fee, they will guide you through what sites you need to have a presence on, help you create an online profile, link that profile to dozens of web sites for full exposure, and analyze an unlimited amount of links that you choose to submit.  Brand Yourself will prompt you on how to “boost” your links to have them rate higher in search engine results, and will monitor and send you emails on what links are in the top ten of your Google search page.  Brand Yourself is the stick in the latrine, and I highly recommend it.

You can also put news services and trivia into your personal sites in order to give them more content.  Make sure that they each contain information that is a little different, or you will simply be ignored by Google and the other search robots as potential “spam.”

Being active on social media sites, such as Twitter, will move your Twitter profile to the top of the Google search results.  If you go with Brandyourself.com, their system will prompt you to create social media sites, but unless you use them and supply them with fresh content, they will not do you any good; so be active on the social network sites to increase your positive online presence.

Blogging is a great way to build positive search results on the Internet.  I have found that a blog at http://wordpress.com is picked up relatively quickly by the Google search engine.  It is easy to create a blog, and if you can’t think of anything to write on it, you can scan interesting news stories and repost them to your WordPress blog.  Whenever you post, enter your tags and categories on your post and be sure to include all variations of your name.

If you like to write, you can also build positive results by writing opinion columns or stories in places such as www.ezinearticles.com or www.storify.com.  But if you really have something interesting to say, I have found that the website of www.opednews.com is treated very well by Google, as everything you post there comes out as news.  If you become an author at Op-Ed News, you can also create a profile that receives pretty good treatment by Google.


One more thing…

I hope you have enjoyed this book and I am thankful that you have spent the time to get to this point, which means that you must have received something from reading it. If you believe your friends would enjoy this book, I would be honored if you would post your thoughts and also leave a review on Amazon.


Best regards,

Kenneth Eade




Sign up for paperback discounts, advance sale notifications of this and other books, and free stuff by clicking here: http://bit.do/mailing-list.  I will never spam you.



Legal Thriller ‘Absolute Intolerance’ Launched Today, Raises Issues of Gay Rights

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Legal thriller Absolute Intolerance

‘Absolute Intolerance,’ the 2016 RONE Award finalist in suspense thrillers from author Kenneth G. Eade, whom critics hail as ‘one of the strongest thriller writers on the scene’, was released on Kindle today.  The novel is the eighth fictional outing by Eade, whom critics believe will become “the next John Grisham” in the political and legal thriller genres. “Absolute Intolerance” is the seventh novel in the popular Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series.

Said Eade: “As with all my novels, ‘Absolute Intolerance’ is a story with a higher purpose.  In this case, it is an expose on hate and homophobia.  According to the FBI National Press Office, as of 2010, 19.3% of hate crimes in the United States were motivated by sexual orientation bias.  According to a 2010 Intelligence Report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, LGBT people are far more likely to be the object of a hate crime than any other minority group in America.  I thought it would be interesting to examine two forms of aberrant behavior and find out what happens when homophobia intersects with serial killing.  The series protagonist, attorney Brent Marks, is faced with a moral quandary when he must decide whether or not to defend the religious fanatic accused of murdering his former clients.”

Homophobia turned deadly.

Lawyer Brent Marks advocates for a gay couple’s marriage. After victory, the couple is found in their home brutally murdered, serial killer style. Can Brent bring himself to defend the only suspect in the case? Where ethics and tolerance collide, Brent must solve the murders to form a viable defense.

Murder is a mouse click away in the latest bestselling book in the #1 legal thriller series.

Absolute Intolerance has received notable acclaim from critics:

“Absolute Intolerance is packed with delightful twists and turns, but its real surprise lies in an unexpected conclusion that neatly sums up events without a predictable path being taken. This makes for a gem of a read for courtroom drama and mystery fans used to the clues adding up to one direction. Absolute Intolerance remains thought-provoking from start to finish, and is a winning story fueled by issues of religious and gay civil freedoms alike.”- Midwest Book Review

“Eade is not only a brilliant writer; he also calls attention to the atrocities that surround us, hiding in our own closets”   – Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame, Top 100 and Vine Voice

‘Absolute Intolerance’ is available now: http://amzn.com/B0173A4N0W

Stay connected with Kenneth G. Eade and news about ‘Absolute Intolerance’ through social media:

Kenneth Eade, Author


Reintroducing The Lincoln Lawyer, courtesy of John Grisham?


Remember The Lincoln Lawyer?  That legal thriller by Michael Connelly which introduced unconventional lawyer Mickey Haller?  He’s back!  And apparently because of John Grisham.

Grisham’s Rogue Lawyer is Sebastian Rudd, who works out of a van instead of an office, has a driver/bodyguard instead of a receptionist, an ex-wife and a kid, a problem with alcohol and with authority and the occasional brush up against the law.  Sound familiar?  Apparently readers think so too.

That is the reason why The Lincoln Lawyer is enjoying a renaissance of sorts; not because the protagonist in Rogue Lawyer admits reading it.  From the release of Rogue Lawyer on October 20, Michael Connelly’s street lawyer tale has shot up the charts, where it now occupies the #1 spot in legal thriller books on Amazon.com, the #2 spot in legal thrillers on Kindle (where it is #31 in the Kindle Store).  Not bad for a book that was released 10 years ago.

As a legal thriller author myself, I have admiration for the work of my fellow authors who write in my genre, and I know there is room for all of us.  Grisham was probably inspired by Connelly’s Lincoln Lawyer and there is nothing wrong with that.  There is room for one more rogue lawyer on the block and there will probably be more.  In fact, Michael Connelly should probably send a thank you note to John Grisham for the boost.

Kenneth Eade http://kennetheade.com is a recovering lawyer and the author of the Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series; a series of 9 legal thrillers which are wrapped around current issues, such as Guantanamo Bay, police brutality, and mortgage fraud.



Legal Thriller ‘Killer.com’ released today

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Rocketing to the top of Amazon’s hot new release list, ‘Killer.com’ by author Kenneth G. Eade has been called “a wild ride” by critics, who believe that Eade is the one who will become “the next John Grisham” in the political and legal thriller genres. In the vein of his wildly popular legal thriller series, Eade delivers another solid and intricately plotted tale. At its core, ‘Killer.com’ is an examination of the ’Dark Web’ of the Internet.

“When I wrote my seventh novel, I sought to write an action-packed thriller but without the clichés and tropes readers often find in other books of the genre,” says Eade. “I thought of how people abuse the Internet, and how it has enabled cyber bullies to hide behind phony names, making it easier to hurt people anonymously.  This gave me the idea of doing a story about hiring a killer anonymously online.  Little did I know that the ’Dark Web’ had many such sites”

Searing, exhilarating and topical, ‘Killer.com’ puts a new spin on the abuse of the Internet.

Murder goes high tech with deadly consequences in the latest book of the #1 bestsellling Legal Thriller Series.

A mob of anonymous cyber stalkers torments lawyer Brent Marks with defamatory posts on the Internet in this latest installment of the legal thriller series.  When Marks sues to enjoin their libelous publication, the stalkers hide behind the immunity of the Communications Decency Act. Then a mysterious anonymous killer for hire arrives, and Brent finds himself on the wrong side of the law.

Since its release, the book has received notable acclaim from critics and readers alike.“Eade is brilliant when it comes to creating complicated, intriguing stories that end in mind-blowing surprises, and some have said that his novels will remind readers of John Grisham, proving that Kenneth Eade deserves to be on the same lists with the world’s greatest thriller authors.”-I Publisher News “Eade, a lawyer by profession, weaves legal dialogue, corruption and international action to create a pacey read with echoes of Grisham, Baldacci and Clancy nipping at his writing heels.”- SPR Review” 

“Eade’s skill with writing dialog is brilliant. His technique for propelling a story forward is second to none. Bind a controversial subject of contemporary reality of tolerance, racism, prejudice and violence in American society (what topic could possibly be more timely?!) and a good old-fashioned thriller and you have Kenneth’s next step into prominence in the public’s eye. Eade is not only a brilliant writer; he also calls attention to the atrocities that surround us, hiding in our own closets. He has carved his niche now shares this collection as a unit. He recommends reading them in the following order: A Patriot’s Act, Predatory Kill, HOA Wire, Unreasonable Force and Killer.com. He has his reasons for the order. But each book is solid and worth to stand alone. Highly Recommended. – Literary Aficionado

Killer.com’ is available now: http://amzn.com/B0117UFSCG

Stay connected with Kenneth G. Eade and news about ‘Predatory Kill’ through social media.


R.I.P.? Is the Legal Thriller Really Dead?

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Is the Legal Thriller really dead?  According to a July 27, 2015 article in Library Journal,  The Journal reports that, at Thrillerfest X in New York City July 7-11, 2015, there was a debate over the question by the “Where Legal Thrillers are Headed” roundtable, a discussion which has been kicked around since July 2013 when Slate Magazine declared the legal thriller, and its close cousin, the courtroom drama, officially killed by Hollywood.  The panel’s answer to the question was a wishy-washy “No, they’re not dead,” but the Journal went on to report that “The inherent drama of the courtroom assures that, even if lawyers aren’t today’s most beloved professionals.”  However, according to the Journal, “The number of agents at Thrillerfest looking specifically for legal thrillers seemed low.”


Author Alafair Burke, in his March 2012 blog post, “Putting the thrill back in the Legal Thriller,” contends that, “Perhaps trying to replicate the success of groundbreaking novels like Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent and John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, publishers had over purchased and over promoted courtroom-centric novels by lawyers who managed to turn the term “legal thriller” into an oxymoron.”

However, given the recent revolution in publishing, where, according to Digital Book World, 50% of all book sales are online sales, legal thriller authors like Paul Levine and Clifford Irving are finding a resurgence of interest of the books on their backlist in electronic sales.  Paul Levine’s Bum Rap is the number two best-selling book in the legal thriller genre, knocked out of first place by To Kill a Mockingbird (#27 in the Kindle Store) after the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman (#3 in the Kindle Store) in July 2015.

My conclusion?  Don’t hold your breath waiting for the demise of the legal thriller.  For some reason, which escapes us lawyer-authors who write them, people are fascinated by the law and its application to life situations.  Perhaps it is the mystery that surrounds a profession whose language appears to be foreign to most people, or human curiosity in general, but the legal thriller should be around for many years to come.

Kenneth Eade is the author of the Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series and the Involuntary Spy Espionage Series.   He offers free books and prizes to those who sign up for his mailing list at: http://kennetheade.com.