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Book: CHANCE - A Legal Thriller by Jamie Mason Cohen

categories: Book, Crime, Gambling, Fiction, Mystery, Novel, Addiction, Florida, Sudan, Genocide, Okeechobee, Courtroom Drama, Legal Thriller


Jamie Mason Cohen

Author Jamie Mason Cohenabout this book: Set in the Deep South, Chance Gary is a young, charismatic, successful lawyer with a secret gambling addiction who takes on a near impossible case defending a Sudanese immigrant accused of a revenge murder of a prominent doctor from his homeland. As Chance's gambling problem spirals out of control in shady, dangerous underground clubs and the case takes shocking turns, will the greatest gamble of his legal career save a man's life or destroy his own in the process?

The benefits to the reader are that this is a page turner, legal thriller that you won't want to put down once and it offers underlying fascinating insights into the mind of a compulsive gambler and a genocide survivor.

You won't just be entertained, you will learn something new about why gambling addicts take the risks they do and why it's so difficult for the courageous survivors of genocide to let go their past and move on in their new lives.

This story for the novel began as a short film I wrote and directed in 2002 called Know Chance. I felt so strongly about the important theme on the epidemic of gambling addiction as relevant today as it was then. I turned into a feature script for a TV pilot I developed with my friend and actor on Orange is the New Black, Jimmy Gary Jr. As an English high school teacher I have taught literature for ten years. I challenged myself by taking on the project to do my best to transform the story from one writing form to another. Here are the results.

• How long did it take to write it?
It took me ten months to write the novel.

• How did you come up with the title?
I wanted a one word title - something clean, striking and that represented the multiple layers of the story. CHANCE was it. It also fit the genre- legal thriller. I'm happy with the cover that I chose after posting a contest on 99 designs. It fits the title and gives an instant impression of the complexity and different levels this story works on.

• What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing it was writing the legal scenes and in transforming a script to a novel.

• Did you do research for your book? What did that involve?
I did a lot of research as the gambling scenes were inspired by my father who is a recovering gambling addict and gambling interventionist as well as a former student who is a survivor of the genocide in Sudan. I also made three trips to Okeechobee, Florida with co-author Jimmy Gary Jr. to get a feel for the tone, settitng and voices where' I decided to set the story.

• Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that all moving, meaningful, impactful stories are personal to the author yet have a universal message. Some say write what you know, others they write about what you are passionate about. I learned authentic storytelling combines both. I also learned to empathize more with my father's lifelong struggle with the sickness of gambling addiction by sitting down with him for hours and hours to better understand the mind of a man with a gambling problem.

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