Elliott Light

Goodreads Author


Born
The United States
Website

Genre

Member Since
March 2017


I am a retired patent attorney living in Florida with my wife Sonya. I spent most of my life in the Washington, D.C. area. I grew up in McLean, Virginia before the beltway was constructed. Some of my classmates in grade school lived on nearby farms. ​McLean had a small town feel to it. Gossip spread without the Internet. Party lines were common. Secrets were hard to keep.

The Shep Harrington SmallTown® Mystery series began with the publication of ​Lonesome Song in 2002. Before writing Lonesome Song, I was intent on writing action-spy stories. In 1990, I read "The Last Poorhouse In Virginia; An Era's End at the Place Where No One Was Meant to Stay," a story article written by Jim Naughton and published in the Washington Post. The story chroni
...more

Elliott Light is currently not accepting new questions.

Popular Answered Questions

Elliott Light The Target Letter

The abyss. Freedom versus imprisonment. A man of high moral character or a felon, deprived of the right to vote, the ability to pract…more
The Target Letter

The abyss. Freedom versus imprisonment. A man of high moral character or a felon, deprived of the right to vote, the ability to practice law, a man permanently labeled a criminal.

The target letter arrived from the Justice Department while I was on vacation. I didn’t know what a target letter was, but I quickly learned that it was a ticket into the dark side of the legal system.

I had been assigned as the lead attorney on a project I didn’t want and was not suited for. The details would cure insomnia, but the gist of the task was to capture large amounts of money that would otherwise have to be reimbursed to the government. I was introduced to the project by the CFO with the following instruction: “If you value your job, you will get all the effing money.”

The company wanted the money. The government wanted the money. To make things worse, the media was chasing contractor fraud and cost overruns. A powerful Congressman wanted someone to be punished, preferably a lawyer.

The rules that govern government contractors are a byzantine maze of FARS and DARS and other brain numbing acronyms. This is the turf of experts. I did the only thing I could. I asked those in the company who knew the regulations how the DoD handled disputes over money. I found a way to keep a small amount of the money, but warned that keeping all the money was not possible. And then I took a new job and left the company.

A leaked memo, a newspaper column, and the witch hunt began.
With the target letter in hand, I hired an attorney. We discussed the prospect of a 75 year prison term, but that a plea bargain would probably reduce that to 5 years, with time off for good behavior. If indicted, I had a 95% chance of being convicted.

Before getting to fictionalizing this experience, I need to add a few more details. First, the company experts I spoke with either denied having conversations with me about the project or denied giving me advice. To add a little intrigue (this sounds like fiction but isn’t) the attorney assigned to prosecute the fraud allegations allegedly had been censored a number of times for falsifying evidence.

I used elements of this experience in the Shep Harrington SmallTown® Mystery series. Shep, my protagonist, went to prison for a crime he didn’t commit, but was released three years later. (You can read more about Shep in my blog entry of March1, 2017.)

The various plot lines almost jump out at you –
• Why is a trusting, somewhat naïve attorney chosen over more skilled lawyers?
• Why does the company agree to cooperate with the government in prosecuting the attorney? Is he being sacrificed to avoid a deeper investigation into its financial practices?
• What compels all of the attorney’s colleagues to betray him?
• Does the prosecutor play fair?
• Does the attorney strike back?
• Will a colleague come forward with information, only to die mysteriously?

The target letter changed my life. It opened my eyes to a justice system that does not always seek the truth. Once trust is lost, it is very difficult to recapture.
(less)
Elliott Light Writer's block (or white page syndrome, AKA WPS) is a broad term, covering a number of maladies (like sinusitis or frozen shoulder). When the cursor b…moreWriter's block (or white page syndrome, AKA WPS) is a broad term, covering a number of maladies (like sinusitis or frozen shoulder). When the cursor blinks in anticipation of words that are never coming, it's time to have an honest chat with myself. Most of the time, the reason for the blockage is my failure to accept that I'm forcing something - either the characters are rebelling or the situation is contrived or the plot has just collapsed on itself. My solution is to step away, pet the cat, take a breath and wait for the right moment to close my eyes and see the story visually - like a movie. Sometimes the collapse of the plot is permanent, a house of cards that just wasn't meant to be. Writing can be brutal. Most of the time, a character will say something to redirect the narrative and put it back on the right track.(less)
Average rating: 4.04 · 46 ratings · 21 reviews · 4 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Gene Police: A Shep Har...

3.79 avg rating — 24 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
Lonesome Song

4.36 avg rating — 14 ratings — published 2002 — 4 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Chain Thinking: A Shep Harr...

4.29 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 2003 — 4 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Throwaways

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 1 rating
Rate this book
Clear rating

* Note: these are all the books on Goodreads for this author. To add more, click here.

Lonesome Song Chain Thinking: A Shep Harr... The Gene Police: A Shep Har...
(3 books)
by
4.04 avg rating — 45 ratings

Upcoming Events

No scheduled events. Add an event.

Elliott’s Recent Updates

Elliott Light rated a book it was amazing
American Dialogue by Joseph J. Ellis
Rate this book
Clear rating
The Gene Police by Elliott  Light
"
“The brutal murder of Jennifer Rice. The evidence: DNA found at the scene, DNA that belongs to a man long thought dead, and a shadowy fifty-year old photograph of a woman holding a baby taken at a near-by farm.

Shep Harrington is drawn into this legal
" Read more of this review »
The Gene Police by Elliott  Light
"Really enjoyed reading The Gene Police and my favorite character Shep Harrington. Without giving too much away here. The information Elliot Light shared was very interesting as I was pulled in more with each page. Things most of us don’t think about." Read more of this review »
Elliott Light entered a giveaway
Essential Modern Physics Study Guide Workbook by Chris McMullen
Rate this book
Clear rating
Elliott Light wants to read
The Gene Police by Elliott  Light
Rate this book
Clear rating
" Thanks. I missed the fine print. Reading the policy is like watching a ping pong match. It says x then -x.

Goodreads (Amazon) has also made giveaways
...more "
Elliott Light rated a book it was amazing
Hitler's American Model by James Q. Whitman
Rate this book
Clear rating
On the surface, this book is a legal argument, a lawyer's brief intended to convince the reader that American race laws influenced the writing of the Nazi race laws. Some may find the argument unconvincing but that's not really important. What is imp ...more
Hitler's American Model by James Q. Whitman
Rate this book
Clear rating
Elliott Light is now following Kerrie's reviews
" If you like giveaways --

Mark June 26 on your calendar. On that day, the giveaway for Chain Thinking (https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh...) ends a
...more "
More of Elliott's books…

Topics Mentioning This Author

topics posts views last activity  
Cozy Mysteries : This topic has been closed to new comments. Mystery ABC's, Round 2 12174 1054 Mar 21, 2016 12:30PM  
220 Goodreads Librarians Group — 114873 members — last activity 15 minutes ago
A place where all Goodreads members can work together to improve the Goodreads book catalog. Non-librarians are welcome to join the group as well, to ...more
19126 The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group — 21879 members — last activity 1 hour, 12 min ago
October 2020 Group Reads - The Night Manager by John le Carré and L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy _ _ _ _ _ “It was a dark and stormy night. Lightn ...more
29 Mystery Lovers! — 1771 members — last activity Oct 21, 2020 04:24PM
Rain-on-the-windowpanes, chains-in-the-attic, figures struggling on the moor...this group is for fans of mystery! Find a book series, chat over s ...more



No comments have been added yet.