Ken Malovos has been practicing law in Sacramento for more than forty years. He spent twelve years with the Public Defender’s Office and twenty-five years as a business litigator. He now serves full-time as a mediator and arbitrator. Fatal Reunion is his second novel. His first novel, Contempt of Court, won first prize in the legal genre of the Mystery & Mayhem Book Writing Competition sponsored by Chanticleer Book Reviews. He and his wife, Michele, live in Sacramento.
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About the Book:
Jason Robinson attends his 20th high school reunion where he connects with his old girlfriend. The next day she is dead and he is charged with her murder. He asks attorney Mike Zorich to represent him. Mike feels that the case against Jason is weak, even though Jason has given inconsistent statements and some emails emerge that give him a motive to commit murder.
Meanwhile, Mike is trying to cope with his own problem with alcohol. After his friends confront him, he enters rehabilitation and then begins his own investigation into what really happened at the reunion, exposing dirty secrets that leave families and lives ruined with their disclosure.
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Thanks for this interview, Ken. Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?
I am a lawyer and have been practicing law for forty plus years. Some time ago, I stopped seeing clients and now serve as a mediator and arbitrator, attempting to resolve cases before they go to court. This is only part-time, as my real love is writing. One day I decided to finally write the novel I imagined and that led to a lot of reading about writing, attending writing seminars and online courses. Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird, was one of the best, on writing. It took five years to write my first book, Contempt of Court, which I published in 2013, and another two years for Fatal Reunion.
When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?
My wife and I are foodies, so we are always eager to try new restaurants. We also love attending live theater, both in Sacramento and San Francisco. The best times are when we combine both, a good play followed by a good meal. I work out a lot, jogging or walking or weight-lifting, as the spirit moves. I read a lot, especially legal mysteries and thrillers, but all kinds of fiction and history. I have the most fun with my four grandchildren, playing games and swimming and going on hikes.
Congratulations on your new book! Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?
The phone rang at the suburban home of attorney Mike Zorich around one thirty
on a Sunday afternoon in October. Mike put down the crossword
puzzle and hit the mute button on his remote. He could still watch the San
Francisco 49er football game as the players ran around silently on the screen.
He wondered who would be calling him at this hour.
“Mr. Zorich, how are you? This is Detective Tom Kirkland, Sacramento
“Detective Kirkland, it’s been some time since we spoke.”
“I understand you spent last night talking to the reunion party at the
“I did, but how would you know that?”
“I have one of the alums here at the station and he told me all about it. In
fact, he would like to talk to you. His name is Jason Robinson. We have him
on an open homicide investigation. Okay?”
“Yeah, sure. Put him on.”
There was a pause and a couple of clicks on the other end of the line.
“Mr. Zorich, I need some help. Can you help me? My name is Jason
Robinson. I was at the reunion dinner last night. They have me down here
and they say that I am a suspect in a murder. But I didn’t do it. Can you come
down here and get me out of here? I don’t have a lot of money but I will pay
you. I promise. I heard you speak last night at our reunion dinner. You have
to help me.”
Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing? Can you tell us about your journey?
I think my journey is something in between the two. It is hard work, no question. Very hard work. At the same time, it is fun, especially on those days when I start at ten and, all of a sudden, it is four or five. I cannot believe how time flies. But those days are not often. For most days, it is hard work, trying to figure out where to go next. The publishing part has been relatively smooth with CreateSpace.
The whole process of writing has been so exciting. It’s like learning about a new world that exists inside the current world. I love everything about it. I especially love reading about the way famous writers have hones their craft and the suggestions they have for other writers.
If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?
A married woman has been murdered and a lawyer is asked to represent her old boyfriend in the trial, where the evidence is weak and the boyfriend is sure to go free.
What makes your book stand out from the rest?
I don’t think I am that presumptuous to think my book does stand out from the rest. I do like to explore the motivations for people who end up doing very strange things, completely out of character. For example, women are not normally thought of as murderers. Or, you wouldn’t think that people who have a lot to lose would do stupid things and risk it all. But this kind of stuff happens. In my first book, Contempt of Court, I focus on a female judge and what could motivate her to do strange things.
If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?
Great question. Halloween, probably. That’s a good time to buy a mystery and to curl up on a sofa late at night. Halloween is eerie and the nights at that time of year are dark and long. I would hope that my book would be a good source of enjoyment for someone on a long, wintry night.
Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?
Yes, this book is the second of a series, featuring trial lawyer, Mike Zorich. It has been fun to follow his adventures, most of which are based on events that I have experienced or have heard about from others. What motivates anyone who has experienced a very personal loss? How does a trial lawyer deal with failure? How does someone deal with alcohol?
What’s next for you?
Next is the third book in the series, featuring the same protagonist, as he tries to figure out yet another mystery in his life. I am working out some of his issues now.