Several months ago, Susan Markowitz contacted me to ask if I'd help her write her memoir. Her only son, Nick, was kidnapped and murdered when he was 15 years old. This was the basis of the movie Alpha Dog, which starred Justin Timberlake, Sharon Stone, and Bruce Willis. After seeing the movie and reading about her story, I knew this could be the most important book I'd ever write.
Susan spent several years in and out of mental hospitals and attempting suicide. As she explained it, each time she told her story in a group, suddenly everyone else realized they didn't have any real problems. Susan's first letter came to me one day after I was in court fighting for custody of my daughter, and I was very down. It was as if God was flicking me in the head and saying, "Here's some perspective for you."
I hate that Susan has to be that perspective. But nine years after losing her son, she is remarkably strong and put together, and ready to do great things.
This week marked the end of the murder trial of Jesse James Hollywood. Jesse was a drug dealer who had a falling out with Nick's half-brother, Ben. He and his cronies snatched Nick for revenge, and held onto him for three days before executing him and buring him in a shallow grave on a hiking trail in California.
After Nick's body was found, Jesse ran off to Brazil. The other kidnappers and murderers were caught and convicted, but Jesse stayed on the run for 5 years before someone turned him in for the reward money. While in Brazil, he fathered a child, believing he could not be extradited if he had a Brazilian-born child.
The trial lasted a month and a half, and it's in the jury's hands right now.
I created a Facebook group to honor Nick and to provide a place for people to show support for his family. I'd love it if you'd join: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=99705960901
We just accepted a book deal from Berkley and will have details soon about when the book should be released. I hope to do it justice, because I think this is a story that might just change a lot of lives.