Friday, March 23, 2012

Journey for Justice: how project angel cracked the Candace Derken case - analysis

An assignment for the Creative Communications; reading Journey for Justice, how project Angel cracked the Candace Derksen case by Mike McIntyre, was a good lesson in journalistic literature; how to structure a non-fiction story, how much detail to include and when to use those details.  McIntyre used a good amount of details, which isn't the easiest thing to do in a non-fiction book, because they have to be accurate. The details helped paint a picture, but didn't drag on unnecessarily, much like I noticed in McIntyre's To The Grave, where some conversations and descriptions dragged on unnecessarily in my opinion, like when the undercover police officer and the suspect talked about American Idol. The style of writing was very similar, same author of course, but something I really enjoyed in To the Grave was the parts detailing the efforts made by police. When they met with the suspect as part of a sting operation, where a cop went undercover and acted as part of a criminal organization which payed big money, but they needed to know they could trust him, in an effort to make him confess his murder. I liked the behind the scenes look at how the police actually cracked the case. I was disappointed that Journey for Justice didn't take the sawn approach, considering the subtitle of the book: how project angel cracked the Candace Derksen case. I guess I was expecting.... To actually find out how the cops cracked the case?? Well, that would've been nice. But now, to what I did like about Journey for Justice. The first part of Journey for Justice was my favorite in the book; I felt for the family, as the tragedy unfolded. I felt almost in their shoes and compelled to turn the next page. It was surreal reading about it taking place, so close to where I've spent a lot of time. Talbot street and MBCI were daily sights in my life back in high school, so i had a nice visual to associate with the story and made it seem more real. However, I found this style and pace didn't hold true for the rest of the book. While the selection of the jury was informative, I just wasn't interested, as the pace really dragged on in this part. And while I feel it's important to include this information in any detailed analysis or report of the trial, it prompted myself to ponder a question: who was McIntyre writing this book for? And quite frankly, even after his presentation to our class, I haven't found an answer. In fact, due to his personal connection to the Derksens and the case, which helped prompt him to write the book, I can only assume two motivations: 1) to tell a tragic story of someone close to him that he's passionate about, and 2) to sell books.  And while he denied the latter, I deemed that to be at least partially untrue, because of course that was a motivating factor; it is for anyone producing a book. As far as what we can take from the book, it's definitely a good blueprint of how to structure a non-fiction novel. Most of the dialogue is believable and I found his descriptions to be better than that in To the Grave.  But some of what I took from McIntyre came from his presentation; did whatever he could to get the story he felt conveyed what he wanted, in regards to the luncheon at the end of the book. He was allow to attend as long as he didn't bring his notebook. He talked to people and made mental nots, and took people's contact information so he could later ask them to repeat what they said while they were there. That's what I took from it; doing what it takes to get the story, being nice to people and understanding them goes a long way to them cooperating with your journalistic goals. 

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