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Lori Grande

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  1. Story statement: After the brutal murder of my brother and the subsequent airing of the investigation by The First 48, I must keep my brother’s homicide case alive after the prosecutor drops all charges on the arrested suspect. Antagonist: The driving antagonist is the prosecutor, representing the criminal justice system, who drops all charges on the arrested suspect. This feeds my innate need for justice, constantly challenging her identity and life purpose. A seasoned prosecutor, hippy at heart, more aligned with the objectives of public defender’s office than the state attorney’s office where he would spend his career. Seeing himself as a champion of the underdog, he found himself in support of the arguments of the defense. He is firmly rooted in his convictions and unbending in his ethics, which I continually test and challenge as he allowed himself to bear witness to my suffering and, at times, destruction. Titles: 1. Shadows - A memoir of murder, destruction and the absence of justice. 2. Still I Breathe - A memoir of murder, destruction and the absence of justice. 3. The Absence of Justice - A sister's journey to rebuild her life after unsolved homicide. Comparables: A similar title in this genre is: A Rip in Heaven, by Jeanine Cummins. This story is a true crime memoir told by the family member of the murdered and the sister of the wrongly accused. The author enlightens the reader to the inner-workings of the criminal justice system as the case goes to trial and the aftermath of the trial. The story thoroughly describes how lives change dramatically as a result of the crime and lack of closure, even after a trial. This story mirrors mine in relationship to the victims’ experience with the police, personal transformation from the event, long-term impact and search for closure. Another similar title in this genre is: Shattered, Reclaiming a Life Torn Apart by Violence by Debra Puglisi. Kidnapped and raped by the same man who murdered her husband the author details her profound trauma and her attempt to recover from it. Through the trial of the assailant, the author exposes the treatment of victims in the criminal justice system. This book resonates with mine in its description of the short and long-term ripple effect of violent crime in the journey to rebuild one’s life. Logline: When The First 48's (true-crime reality show) filming of my brother's horrific murder resulted in a botched investigation and all charges dropped on the suspect, I catapulted into a self-destructive path to keep the case alive until my fight became salvaging what remained of my life. Inner Conflict and Secondary Conflict: The primary conflict and core wounds are the traumatic loss of my brother coupled with the exposure of that wound via The First 48's airing of his murder. I avoid grief and defeat by immersing myself in the investigation (placing myself center stage in the legal systems' losing battle) and increasing my desperation and risk taking. When the prosecutor drops all charges on an arrested suspect, secondary conflicts arise by the actions I take to avoid this wound. I penetrate the Miami methamphetamine world for leads and confront witnesses and suspects. I protest the violation of privacy and damage done to the investigation by the presence of The First 48's television crews. Conflicts arise in family relationships as my identity of wife, mother and school teacher morph to include my developing role of investigator. Setting: This memoir originates in the middle of the Miami meth trade in 2005 at the home of a homicide victim. The story traverses between Miami and the idyllic NYC suburb of Nyack, New York, as I pursue information and justice: from behind my computer screen and in meetings around Miami searching for potential witnesses. The classroom where I read stories to children is in stark contrast to my meetings at the Miami State Attorney's Office, City of Miami Police, or visiting an inmate at FCI Miami. Conversations, held out of earshot of others occur in my car before I greet children arriving on the bus, on the playground, or under the canopy of oak trees in my yard. The most revealing setting is that of my mind; exposed, raw and honest, as destructive as it is life-affirming.
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