We all know (don't we) that fact often imitates fiction. I'm curious how many writers here have experience that firsthand.

For myself, I encountered the phenomenon in the form of a 60 Minutes segment on Sunday. I missed the show, as I was on my way back from LCC in Denver, but someone alerted me the following day by email.

The piece described a poor soul, Alton Logan, who has been in prison for the past 26 years for a murder he most assuredly did not commit. Why is he there? Because the real murderer confessed to his own two attorneys more than a quarter century ago--but the attorneys were bound by the attorney-client privilege to remain silent. The attorneys had obtained their client's permission to reveal what they knew once the client died. Which he did only recently.

Mr. Logan's motion for a new trial--based upon this "newly" discovered evidence--was heard by a Chicago court yesterday.

Here's the chilling video interview of Mr. Logan and the two attorneys that aired on 60 Minutes. (If for some reason you can't view it below, you can find it here.

This issue of the use of attorney/client privilege to protect someone guilty of a crime is the foundation for my SILENT COUNSEL, and while the concept is not a new one--it's been around, like, forever--it was rather interesting to see the 60 MInutes segment present it as such an in-your-face real life situation.

So, my question for other writers: Have you come across real life new stories that seem to imitate in stark terms that of which you've written?

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Peter at www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com had a discussion recently not so much on authors making discoveries after the fact but fictional stories being pre-empted before publication by events similar to those in an upcoming book actually occurring. The heading was Crime Fiction and Unfortunate Events.

My contribution concerned creating a major plotline about a deranged environmentalist using a stolen nuclear warhead to trigger a massive landslide, producing a tsunami intended to devastate Tokyo as punishment for the Japanese continuing to hunt whales. I came up with the idea on a 10-hour drive to Melbourne on December 24th 2004. Two days later the whole world was watching the horrific reality of just such a massive tsunami.
Melbourne's now much publicised gangland war began, in earnest, as I was writing my PI novel Thicker Than Water which features two rival Melbourne criminal families going head to head. For the same book I'd spent the day writing my PI, Kit O'Malley, investigating a couple of clubs in Richmond, only to watch the news that night and discover the exact area had been, unusually, raided by the cops looking for drug dealers.
An after the fact example is my latest thriller, Redback, opens with my crack commando team rescuing hostages from a Pacific island resort. Like the real-life hostages just last week captured (and released) by rebels in China, my hostages were in the travel industry.
The number of times this has occurred for me is scary.
When my third book Living On A Prayer, was in the proccess of being printed, a young man commited suicide in much the same way as a young man in the book had. I was mortified but it was too late to change anything.
My books are set in my home town of Houghton Le Spring,thankfully only one person mentioned how very much alike they were.
Unfortunately, it isn't just crime stories this happens with. How many movies in recent years have been held back because they were insensitive and apparently to close to reality of real life events that occurred a week before the movie was being released.

The legal system failed Mr. Logan. Unfortunately it still occurs. Juries and evidence, as well as biased police officers, are imperfect and therefore, there is room for error. The two attorneys had no choice but to keep quiet. However, if the evidence and the witnesses told the truth Mr. Logan should not have been convicted, even despite the attorneys not speaking. Fortunately in the world of crime and murder, we now have DNA and other forensic tests (which were not so precise in the 80's) to cut down on the injustice of the legal system's failures.

I just had lunch with a friend who had trouble selling her thriller before 911 because the agents and editors said, "It's too over the top, it could never happen," and then after 911, they said, "Not original, you just took this straight out of the news."

Ken, your example troubles me for another reason. In your book, Silent Counsel, nobody was wrongfully convicted of the crime. In real life, I'm shocked that the attorneys didn't speak up, not to reveal the name but to prevent the miscarriage of justice. What would have happened to them if they had invoked attorney/client privilege but sworn that Mr. Alton was not the guilty party?
Has happened to me several times. I was starting to get spooked about it, but I see now that it's a fairly common phenomenon.


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