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May 4 @ 6:00 pm

Ed Rucker reads from his debut The Inevitable Witness

Los Angeles, CA —The Inevitable Witness is the first in a new series of legal thrillers that are smart, funny, and authentic by one of the most lionized defense attorneys in Los Angeles, Ed Rucker.

Meet defense attorney Bobby Earl, who bears a remarkable resemblance to the author, although Rucker claims that his main character is an amalgam of the characteristics of many defense lawyers he has known, who is thrust into a politically-charged, near indefensible murder case involving the most talented safe cracker in the business, Sydney Seabrooke. More than coincidence led this esteemed criminal craftsman, known in the trade as “The Professor,” to a Chinese restaurant that contained an impenetrable 1950s Schwab safe with a Sargent and Greenleaf combination lock. Seconds away from the last tumbler falling into place, Seabrooke is interrupted by gunshots. Officer Terrance Michael Horgan, who inexplicably had a key to the Looh Fung Restaurant and had an interest in the same safe, lay bleeding to death in the next room.

Earl realizes that his client is a criminal but not a killer, which takes him into a world of drug trafficking, corrupt cops, corrupt lawyers, corrupt politicians, and, in almost every case, judges with political ambitions. All the elements of the most high profile TV trials are present including a young, attractive prosecutor, an older greyed prosecutor with a closet full of the same grey suits, an annoying gaggle of media types led by an obnoxious TV personality nicknamed “The Thumb,” and a lowdown, dirty jailhouse snitch.

 

Ed Rucker has been a criminal defense lawyer his entire career. He has represented over 200 defendants, including John Orr, a Glendale Fire Department arson investigator who was reputed to be the greatest serial arsonist in American history, a trial memorialized in Fire Lover, by Joseph Wambaugh; Laurianne Sconce, the matriarch of the family-owned Lamb Funeral Home, who was charged with having secretly harvested body parts from the deceased over several years, a trial that was the subject of the book Ashes, by James Joseph; Eddie Nash, a prominent nightclub owner, who was charged in a death penalty case, and who was portrayed in the film, Boogie Nights; and William Harris, a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, who was involved in the kidnapping of Patty Hearst.

Start: May 4 @ 6:00 pm
End: May 4 @ 7:30 pm

May 16 @ 6:00 pm

Peter Van Buren reads from his new book Hooper’s War

A historical novel with strong contemporary resonance, Hooper’s War is set in WWII Japan. Protagonist Lieutenant Nate Hooper is a composite of too many men and women who have experienced the horror of war; he isn’t sure he’ll survive, and if he does make it home, he isn’t sure he can survive the peace. He’s done a terrible thing, and struggles to resolve the mistake he made alongside a Japanese soldier, and a Japanese woman who failed to save both men. At stake? Their souls.

Van Buren writes about the experiences of those who have lived through wartimes with insight and empathy. He is a 24-year veteran of the State Department, and in researching this book came to know a number of veterans through an anonymous group and, under the same conditions, spoke more intimately with men and women he lived alongside during a year he was in Iraq as an embed which is chronicled in his first book We Meant Well.  Fluent in Japanese, Van Buren also interviewed elderly Japanese citizens who lived through WWII as civilians. He found that a lot of their pain festers not just out of what they saw and did, but the realization that what they saw and did really didn’t matter in the bigger picture. It should’ve had a justification. Some explained they came to think of moral injury like taking apart a jigsaw puzzle. They thought and thought and while they couldn’t say exactly when, at some point they couldn’t see the whole picture anymore.  

Start: May 16 @ 6:00 pm
End: May 16 @ 7:30 pm

May 23 @ 6:00 pm

Benjamin Taylor reads from his new book The Hue and the Cry At Our House

After John F. Kennedy’s speech in front of the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth on November 22, 1963, he was greeted by, among others, an 11-year-old Benjamin Taylor and his mother waiting to shake his hand. Only a few hours later, Taylor’s teacher called the class in from recess and, through tears, told them of the president’s assassination. From there Taylor traces a path through the next twelve months, recalling the tumult as he saw everything he had once considered stable begin to grow more complex. Looking back on the love and tension within his family, the childhood friendships that lasted and those that didn’t, his memories of summer camp and family trips, he reflects upon the outsized impact our larger American story had on his own.

Start: May 23 @ 6:00 pm
End: May 23 @ 7:30 pm
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