Caught red handed or off scot-free?

I tried really hard to make my characters different from the people on which they were based,  because I really didn’t want to get sued for slander or libel, but apparently I didn’t do a very good job, because numerous people have recognized them.

This was most true of my first book, Murder under the Microscope, which was based on an incident that happened over 30 years ago, when I was the solo pathologist at the Twin Falls Clinic & Hospital. One of the surgeons who had been there at the time recognized who Sally Shore was based on, who Tyler Cabot was based on, and thought it was so cool that I had killed both of them off.

One of the doctors asked me which surgeon had had a coronary bypass, allowing Sally Shore to be his temporary replacement, and was quite disappointed to learn that I just made him up.

A physician on the staff of the hospital in another town recognized George Marshall, the curmudgeonly gastroenterologist of Gnarly Finger fame.

Most of my techs that worked for me back then recognized who Lucille was based on.

My second book, Too Much Blood, was based on a sleazy lawyer that got all the Clinic doctors (except me) and many others involved in a scheme to avoid paying taxes. It worked quite well for five years until Black Monday happened and it all came crashing down. Everybody involved found themselves liable for hundreds of thousands in back taxes, interest, and penalties. This adversely affected the bottom line of the Clinic, which was doctor-owned, for many years thereafter and I really believe it contributed to our necessity to sell out to the county hospital in 2001. Everybody around here knows who that was.

I spoke at Kiwanis last year about my books, and I had a few there to sell if anybody wanted to buy one. One of the members requested the one about Jay Braithwaite Burke using the name of the person on whom he was based.

My third book, Grievous Bodily Harm, was about an administrator whose ambition was to become CEO of a behemoth hospital system and didn’t care whom he had to step on to get there. He was not above blackmail and sexual harassment to get what he wanted. The administrator on whom Marcus Manning was based was a pathological liar and treated employees like s**t. He’s long gone. And strangely enough, nobody has mentioned that they recognized him. I find that hard to believe, but there it is, don’t you know.

My friends and I go out for breakfast on Saturday mornings, and one of the waitresses told me once that I needed to write a book about sexual harassment, and I said, “You haven’t read Grievous Bodily Harm, have you?”

She hadn’t, but I bet she did right after that.

As I’ve said before, my first three books were my way of killing off three of the most threatening people in my life. They were a catharsis. The characters in the other books are totally made up, with the exception of three physicians. No, four. Oh yes, and Rollie Perkins, the coroner, is based on a local mortician who was one of my favorite people. Sadly, he has passed on. The Commander is based on a retired cop who was also one of my favorite people.

I’m always willing to use real names in my books upon request. My ophthalmologist, Robert Welch, MD, asked me to use his name in The Body on the Lido Deck. He was the ship’s doctor, and quite disappointed that I’d made him look like Richie Cunningham instead of George Clooney.

Everybody laughs when they think they recognize somebody. So far, to my knowledge, nobody has been offended.

Nobody, so far, has told me that they recognized themselves.

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Characters Welcome!

Here’s a review from Alexia Boesen who really liked Too Much Blood, except for one thing. Read on.

Author: Jane Bennett Munro Published: 2012 Available: Amazon.com in both paperback & Kindle varieties.Available at Barnes & Noble in paperback & Nook varieties.
Synopsis: Pathologist Toni Day receives a call in the middle of the night informing her that a local attorney by the name of Jay Braithwaite Burke has been found dead in his Mercedes. This attorney was known because of his elaborate hedge fund that he had managed to get the entire hospital to invest in. The only ones who didn’t invest were Toni and her husband Hal.Jay disappeared shortly after it was discovered that his hedge fund was actually a Ponzi scheme.
When Toni discovers that Jay bled to death,she’s ready to rule this as a homicide.Before she can do that,his partner Lance dies in similar circumstances. This is quickly followed by a series of house fires that leave both Jay & Lance’s wives and children homeless.
Toni is already dealing with some personal issues of her own.Her marriage is on the rocks. She fears that the emotional distance that she is experiencing with her husband could lead him to an affair. Her suspicions only grow when she sees him with a young,blond twenty-something woman.
However,concerns about her husband’s faithfulness must be put aside as a mysterious illness begins to threaten the lives of those she knows and loves. Can she solve the mystery in time?
Review: Despite seeing that this book had some not so great reviews, I was elated when I got a copy from the author and the following day I dove head first into the book.Mystery books have always been a favorite of mine so I had high expectations for this book.
My expectations were definitely met.This book was an awesome book. Yes there were some issues mainly surrounding the HIPPA laws that I know are in place to protect the patient. As someone who has spent a ton of time in hospitals,I was expecting to be bothered by the violations of HIPPA but I found myself not even caring. That’s how engaging I found the book.
This book kept me guessing the entire time. I really liked Toni and she seemed to have everything all put together even though her personal life was unraveling. I wish I had a better feeling about Hal but I don’t feel like his character was developed as much as I was hoping.Then there was Bambi who I didn’t like initially but I grew to absolutely adore her. Let’s not forget the awesomeness that was Toni’s mother,Fiona. She was full of spunk that was so similar to Toni.
The finale scene with Ruthie and Toni was pure perfection. My heart was racing as I read the pages.It was so suspenseful that I could barely wait to read the next page and the next one.
I would give this book 4 stars. The only reason it’s not getting a full five stars is that I don’t feel like I got to know all of the supporting characters as well as I wanted to. I think she could have tapped into them a bit more,especially Hal.

 
Posted by at8:00 AM

 
I’ve received other reviews that made the same criticism. I think I made the mistake of assuming that everyone who reads Too Much Blood has already met my characters in Murder Under the Microscope. Not necessarily! Of course I’ve gotten the same comment about Murder Under the Microscope too.
It’s too late for me to make any changes to either of those books. Luckily I got some of those criticisms before finishing my third Toni Day mystery, Grievous Bodily Harm. I did go back and flesh out the characters more in that one.
I’m a beginner here. Every book, every critique, is a learning experience. Thanks, one and all, for your reviews. They’re just going to make me a better author.