Murder in the neighborhoodBainbridge author Fredrick Huebner puts the scene of the crime very close to home.Your home.

"Anyone who looks for friends and neighbors in the new Fredrick Huebner mystery set on Bainbridge may be missing the point. For islanders who read the book - or come to Eagle Harbor Books to hear Huebner read July 19 - the Bainbridge setting of Shades of Justice may be the most familiar feature, as compelling as any fictional character.If you're writing about violation, said Huebner, whose book features a double murder, you do want a lovely, serene settings for contrast. "

  • Saturday, July 14, 2001 7:00pm
  • News

“Anyone who looks for friends and neighbors in the new Fredrick Huebner mystery set on Bainbridge may be missing the point. For islanders who read the book – or come to Eagle Harbor Books to hear Huebner read July 19 – the Bainbridge setting of Shades of Justice may be the most familiar feature, as compelling as any fictional character.If you’re writing about violation, said Huebner, whose book features a double murder, you do want a lovely, serene settings for contrast.The Bainbridge of water and woodland makes the loveliest of venues for the most mysterious of murders, when Laura Arcand confesses to a double homicide.It’s an open-and-shut case – or is it?Shades of Justice, Huebner’s fourth novel, marks a departure for the author.This book is told in third person, where the others were in first, and Huebner has created dual protagonists in forensic psychiatrist Will Hatton and criminal defense lawyer Mary Slattery.The characters echo Huebner’s life; he is married to a psychiatrist and is himself an attorney. Major changes in approach may have been inevitable, since Huebner took what he calls a five-year lunch break between Shades of Justice and his previous mystery.I had a daughter I needed to raise, a home I needed to build, Huebner said.Once Huebner had completed the manuscript, the appearance of Shades of Justice was further delayed for 18 months by the illness of his editor at Simon and Schuster. Huebner is determined not to set expectations for the writing part of his life, though. However long it takes to see a book published is how long it takes.Huebner also keeps in mind that how the book ultimately sells is an imponderable.In terms of expectations, it’s such a crapshoot, Huebner said. The publishers think they know, but they don’t.Huebner’s writing career predates the law for him. He started a novel as a senior at Macalester College in Minnesota – he was inspired by the hardboiled detective protagonists of the period from 1920 and 1955, written by Ross MacDonald, Raymond Chandler and Graham Greene.I never did finish that book, Huebner said, and that was a good thing.It wasn’t until 1986, when he was commuting between Seattle and new York, that he began to use flight time to write.He took an extension class at the University of Washington, and discovered that a simple three-ring-binder worked better for organizing ideas and research than software.Other writing aids include a list of psychological states of being. Huebner often writes a scene-by-scene outline, but his object, he emphasizes, is to get to the first draft. Then I do ‘chainsaw gardening,’ he said. While Huebner says that litigation can actually be quite creative, writing satisfies what he calls his reflective side. And, it’s a way of giving something to at least a portion of his readership.If they print 70,000 books and if even half the readers like it, that’s still a lot of people, he said. It’s a way of giving something. It’s the opposite of litigating, he adds, calling himself a recovering litigator. But beautiful Bainbridge, the setting of his latest book – and his life – is making concentration difficult for Huebner, he says. I’m finding it harder and harder to maintain the intensity of focus needed to write, Huebner said, sitting on the terrace with my wife, looking over the flower garden.* * * * *Author Fred Huebner reads from his new work, Shades of Justice at 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Harbor Books. Call 842-5332 for more information. “

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