Own career fodder for GJ lawyer’s ‘Justice Denied,’ first of five-book deal
Carroll Multz didn’t have to look far for inspiration for his first novel, “Justice Denied.” He had only to reflect on his own storied career.
Multz, a retired Grand Junction trial attorney, has been a district attorney and adjunct professor, and was one of the drafters of the Colorado Criminal Code. In 1992, he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to chair the Upper Colorado River Commission.
His successful defense of Roberta Young, who was charged with shooting and killing her husband after enduring a decade of brutal abuse, brought “battered woman syndrome” into national awareness.
In 1969, he argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
But not all of Multz’s endeavors had the same gravitas.
After meeting the sister of teen idol Troy Donahue at a social event in Flagstaff, Ariz., a young Multz was hired to be a stunt horse rider for “A Distant Trumpet,” the 1964 Western that Donahue was filming in the Painted Desert nearby.
That one brief flirtation with Hollywood aside, the Montana-born Multz made a 40-year career in the courtroom. And now those courtroom “war stories” and expanded classroom lessons fill the pages of novels.
“Justice Denied” is the first of five suspenseful legal novels Multz has been contracted to write for Tate Publishing & Enterprises, a Christian-based imprint in which authors invest in publication.
The transition from attorney and teacher to author was a seamless one, Multz said, describing his fiction as “textbooks, disguised as novels.”
“I’m really interested in training judges, lawyers, law students and my students,” said Multz, who teaches business law and media law at Mesa State College. “I get a lot of satisfaction out of doing that. Originally, I started out, I guess, feeling a duty, a payback, for some very gifted professors I had.”
Multz also has authored or co-authored eight nonfiction books and technical manuals and published several articles in legal journals.
“Justice Denied” is set in Steamboat Springs, a town Multz knows well from his two terms as district attorney for the 14th Judicial District, which covers Grand, Moffat and Routt counties. The plot revolves around the frame-up of upright bank official Jamie Cooper, charged with embezzling $30,000, as told from the viewpoint of his son, Max.
In “Justice Denied,” good vs. evil is a theme, and characters seek guidance through prayer, but otherwise the Christian influence is not overt, and the plot compares to other legal dramas in which fate can be flipped by a convincing argument or piece of circumstantial evidence.
Ultimately, justice is an attainable goal, Multz said, but the legal road there is filled with twists and turns, and not everyone gets timely or full justice.
That “championing the cause of the underdog, of the innocent,” is what compelled Multz through his legal career and now provides plot complications.
“I’ve always had a feeling that I needed to turn windmills right side up, and I was offended by injustice,” Multz said.
Multz’s second novel, “It’s You Who I see,” is expected to be released in mid-2011.