Thursday, August 2, 2018

William Manchee Presents Deadly Dining...

Chopin's Nocturne is the theme song for the Stan Turner Mystery Series - Cool!

..."This is Nikki Lane at Emilio's Italian Restaurant in Dallas where four patrons apparently have become violently sick from food eaten at the popular north Dallas restaurant. Police and ambulances are on the scene where witnesses say four customers eating a variety of entrees all got sick at about the same time. Three of the four customers have been rushed to Medical City Hospital and the fourth is being loaded into an ambulance as we speak.
"Now if you have a young child watching you will probably want them to leave the room before we show this video taken by a customer at a nearby table. It's quite graphic."
The restaurant's interior appears where a man at a table is holding his throat and coughing uncontrollably. Then the woman across from him turns pale and starts to throw up. The man next to her stands up, grabs his throat and then collapses to the ground. The final woman at the table screams and then begins to convulse. Two waiters come over to try to help but there is little they can do. The woman's convulsions finally stop and her head falls forward onto the table, her eyes wide-open. There are screams and general panic then as people flee the restaurant. Sirens can be heard in the background and then the video ends.
"Well, that image will probably keep many of us awake tonight. We apologize for showing it but it's our commitment to bring you the latest news no matter how unsettling it might be," Nikki Lane said. She hesitated, listening to something being said to her in her earpiece. "We just got word that two of the victims were DOA at Medical City Hospital. No word on the other two victims. The police on the scene have advised us that many customers at Emilio's Italian Restaurant fled the scene shortly after the fur victims got sick. Police are requesting that anyone who ate at the restaurant tonight go to the local emergency room to be checked out. No one knows right now what caused these terrible reactions, so it's imperative that anyone who ate at the restaurant see a doctor immediately.
"To summarize: two people have died tonight while eating at Emilio's Italian Restaurant and two others have been admitted to Medical City Hospital in Dallas. We'll keep you updated as new information is learned about this terrible tragedy. This is Nikki Lane for Channel 4 News."
"Oh, my God!" Rebekah said. "We've eaten at that restaurant haven't we?"
Stan nodded, Yes, we have. I did some estate planning for Emilio Bellucci and his wife. I took you to lunch there about a year ago. He's a really nice guy and everybody loves his restaurant."

Deadly Dining:
A Stan Turner Mystery

By William Manchee

This is the 11th in the series and I must say that I was impressed by the quality of the book. Although my first reading of this author. I enjoyed the novel immensely. When we read legal fiction, most of the time we are learning about a major case. However, Manchee takes readers into his legal office, where he works with two additional lawyers as well as their administrative assistant.  And with three lawyers, you get three cases! Wow!

The setting is wonderful as most of the time we are in the office, as cases are discussed, planned for, and individuals are interviewed. Stan has Paula as a partner, and a new associate, who proves herself as she takes on her first live trial... I loved each of the characters and how they worked to help each other even though one individual was responsible...But, really, when they decided on an intervention for Stan...LOL...I knew exactly what they were going to find... Not so, with the legal cases...

Paula thought about the victims.
She needed information on them
in case one of them was a target
of the killer. A smart murderer
might kill several people so it
would be difficult to determine a
motive for the crime.
The major case is related to four individuals in Emilio's Italian Restaurant becoming sick and then three of them dying...It was determined that rat poison had been placed in the Parmesan cheese which each of the individuals had accepted to be added by the waiter... Of course, the waiter was accused! Although Stan had worked for Emilio before, he turned the case over to Paula who was the only lawyer with criminal defense experience. Emilio had agreed to pay the legal fees for Ricardo, not believing his long-time employee was guilty.

A compelling case was being built up for a local mobster and this men. They were known and already under investigation by the FBI so everybody hoped that the murders would be the final action they needed to finally put them in jail.

And then there was the Pakistani couple who had gathered up $250,000 to buy into a store in America...Then the part owner stopped working but still demanded half of the income...Stan suggested several legal options to him, including bankruptcy...but while he was getting things back in order, the owner started to harass him...and burned down the store!

In the meantime, the really incongruous case began, when Jodie Marshall's first trial case was to defend a young ex-MP who had stopped a robbery at a jewelry store and during the struggle, the gun accidentally went off and hit the store owner in his leg... He was suing "the hero" for damages, medical expenses and stress...

One of the things I hadn't thought about in small legal offices, was that the lawyers themselves might have to do the investigations and actually get into dangerous situations... And in all three cases, no matter which one, there was the involved criminal(s) who didn't care about the people they were hurting...only that they wanted what they wanted and aimed to get it! The level of legal expertise for each of these cases was high and the writing of the story was well-done since readers are watching, yet seeing the results of each case during the trials.

I do wish I had the time to go back and start right at the beginning of this legal series. It is different enough, by the setting being in a law office, that, after reading this one, I can just imagine the kind of cases that Stan and his group would potentially handle. Though serious cases, the read was fun, moving from one issue to another, making sure I was remembering which case I was now working on... Fun, yes, but in not one case did I successfully project what the ending would ultimately be.  That's my kind of book! If you are a legal fiction need to check out this series! Highly recommended...


Manchee was born in the small Southern California coastal town of Ventura in the late 40's. Bicycling, hiking, camping, fishing, traveling, baseball and tennis occupied the bulk of his time when he wasn't attending school. He attended Buena High School, graduating with honors in 1965. During this time he became an Eagle Scout, earned the God and Country Award and was a Congressional Intern for Congressman Charles M. Teague.

Determined to become a lawyer and go into politics, Manchee attended UCLA majoring in political science. It was a tumultuous time with the Vietnam War raging and anti-war protestors running rampant on most U.S. campuses. During the California primary elections in 1968, Manchee went to the Ambassador Hotel to see Bobby Kennedy. Although a Republican, he was intrigued by the Kennedy mystique and wanted to see it first hand. Instead, he witnessed the aftermath of Kennedy's assassination, watching Sirhan Sirhan's arrest and seeing Kennedy loaded into an ambulance.
After marrying his high school sweetheart, Janet Mello, in 1969 he moved to San Diego for one year while he attended the University of San Diego School of Law. After a brief duty in the United States Marine Corps which was the inspiration for his novel, Undaunted, he moved to Plano where his wife and two children were staying with his in-laws. He immediately transferred to SMU Law School to complete his legal training.

While in law school he and Janet both worked full time to support their family that had grown by then to six. In his spare time, Manchee was active in the Republican Party becoming Collin County Chairman in 1974-1976. This was the era where the Texas Republican Party was a small but growing minority party. During his tenure, the party elected its first county officials including the Sheriff, a JP and county commissioner. Disillusioned by political backstabbing and opportunism he withdrew from politics in 1976, deciding instead to concentrate on starting his new law practice and raising his children.

After graduating from SMU Law School and receiving his Juris Doctor degree in 1976, Manchee worked for an insurance company for about six months before starting his law practice in Carillon Towers in North Dallas in 1977. His practice started out primarily in estate planning and business but soon bloomed into a general practice catering to the needs of the small business owner. After practicing in North Dallas' Park Central area for 40 years, he moved his offices to Plano, Texas where he now practices consumer law with his son, Jim. 

Manchee's literary career began in 1995 when he started writing as a diversion from his stressful law practice. It wasn't long before he realized writing was his true passion in life. Since then he has written twenty-two books. At first, he wrote mysteries and legal thrillers inspired by some of his own cases, but after writing a dozen or so, he branched out into science fiction as well. He enjoys both genres and plans to continue writing in each. Shortly after moving to Plano, Janet died after a long illness. Manchee has no plans to retire from either practicing law or writing novels, but he does make time to be with his four children and five grandchldren.

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