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For Book: Man in Shark With Bullet in Head
Old 05-19-2019, 05:42 PM   #1
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For Book: Man in Shark With Bullet in Head

I'm plotting out the sequel to Conclusive Evidence. I didn't want to write another legal thriller, but CE is selling pretty well.

I'm wondering whether this is feasible.

Fisherman catch a great white shark. When they pull it up with a crane at the dock to weigh it, it regurgitates a human leg (this part has happened in real life).

The police open the stomach and find more body parts. A man's head is in there, and the skull has a bullet hole in it. The bullet is found inside the skull, and it is matched to the gun from which it was fired.

Any problems with that?
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:37 PM   #2
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I can think of several:

1. How'd the police find the gun? They'd probably have to know who the victim is, and then develop a suspect, and then find the weapon. Lots of time for the murderer to get rid of the weapon. But then criminals are often dumb.

2. Human stomachs have acid in them that help digest food. I would think sharks do too. That acid may, if the timeframe is long enough, dissolve enough of the bullet to make matching impossible.

3. Great whites generally don't eat people.

4. Great whites generally don't eat dead things...I think.

5. Fishermen generally don't catch great whites...I think they're a protected species.

6. If someone is shot in the head, the bullet rarely remains in the skull...I think.

So highly implausible from my point of view, but hey, if the book is good I'll suspend disbelief.
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
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it regurgitates a human leg (this part has happened in real life).
A well known case in Sydney:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shark_Arm_case
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:40 PM   #4
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Many details on this case are stranger than fiction!
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:18 PM   #5
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Good points. I will have to deal with those.

The case I found involved a tiger shark. The grisly photos are here.

The police find the gun in an unrelated search. They have a reason to compare the ballistics toolmarks. It doesn't seem that a database exists (as for DNA or fingerprints).

Ah, yes. Turns out Great Whites are protected. Maybe I'll have the Coast Guard kill a GW that is suspected in an attack on a surfer, and, surprise, there's a different body in there. That's even more fun.

Bullets can end up in the brain, and sometimes no one knows how they got there!

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Old 05-19-2019, 09:56 PM   #6
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It sounds plausible to me if he was eaten soon/. Right after he got shot while still bleeding and moving
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Old 05-20-2019, 12:28 AM   #7
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It's fiction... it just has to be close.

BTW, I enjoyed Conclusive Evidence.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:42 AM   #8
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If the soft tissue hasn't been dissolved yet, it could work. I know that soft tissue like muscle can kind of close up behind a bullet, so it looks like a bloody belly button. (I was an EMT.) The brain probably does the same, although muscle is contained by fascia...hm. It sounds feasible enough that, if buried in the brain, the bullet would survive much longer than the soft tissue.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:56 AM   #9
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Or this (from last year):
The body of a Florida woman who went missing on Friday was found just hours after some of her remains were discovered inside an alligator, officials said on Saturday.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/09/u...tor-woman.html
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Food for thought as well as for the shark
Old 05-20-2019, 09:25 AM   #10
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Food for thought as well as for the shark

How to turn valid objections in Plot Thickeners:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
2. Human stomachs have acid in them that help digest food. I would think sharks do too. That acid may, if the timeframe is long enough, dissolve enough of the bullet to make matching impossible.
Agreed. Since sharks don't have molars to chew their food, they rely on a corrosive acid bath in their stomachs to digest it. If the bullet is a jacketed hollow-point (a typical handgun anti-personnel round), the copper jacket where the identifying barrel imprints would be may dissolve quickly even while the lead core could survive in acids for a while.

However, if the bullet passed through some obstacle - perhaps a tinted window - before hitting its victim, it could have tiny bits of non-dissolving glass embedded in the bullet which forensic study could find and link to the murder.

Quote:
3. Great whites generally don't eat people.
True. We don't taste all that good; GWS prefer pinnipeds for their higher fat content. However, I've watched enough episodes of Shark Week to be convinced that they'll gobble up anything under the right circumstances. In a competition, a carnivore may wolf the food to preempt its consumption by rivals.

So, if the murderer chummed the water on purpose to attract the body-disposal crew before dumping the corpse, the first shark on the scene might reflexively chow down on whatever's there.

Also, does it have to be a Great White? Tiger sharks are well known for eating ANYTHING; it doesn't even need to be edible.

Quote:
4. Great whites generally don't eat dead things...I think.
Yes, but... Plenty of predators will double as scavengers from time to time.
Again from Shark Week, I watched an episode depicting a GWS feeding frenzy on a bloated whale carcass. The sharks clearly were exhibiting scavenging behavior because, according to the narrator, the whale was well into smelly decay. The sharks gorged themselves into a food coma; it was like Thanksgiving at my house.

Quote:
5. Fishermen generally don't catch great whites...I think they're a protected species.
Could a shark be snagged in a net as accidental bycatch? Suppose they unpurse the net and all the tuna and cod slide out but there's a terminally injured monster so enmeshed they can't get it free safely?

Quote:
6. If someone is shot in the head, the bullet rarely remains in the skull...I think.
Correct. At close range, most bullets probably go right through.

However, one of the features of jacketed hollow point bullets is that their expansion helps to keep the round from overpenetrating. Also, if the bullet had been slowed by distance/obstacles it might stay inside the headbone. Or maybe it was a special load with a low-mass projectile for minimal recoil because the murderer is a small female; everybody knows they are more deadly than the male! (That's not meant as pejorative. It's another reason to be respectful of everybody at all times.)

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Al, I'm impressed with how quickly you can create these stories. It's taking me forever to write my own. Good luck!
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:35 AM   #11
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However, one of the features of jacketed hollow point bullets is that their expansion helps to keep the round from overpenetrating. Also, if the bullet had been slowed by distance/obstacles it might stay inside the headbone. Or maybe it was a special load with a low-mass projectile for minimal recoil
Or a special light load designed to be subsonic and used with a suppressor (silencer).
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BANG turns into -pfff-
Old 05-20-2019, 09:48 AM   #12
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BANG turns into -pfff-

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Or a special light load designed to be subsonic and used with a suppressor (silencer).
Good upgrade!

(Although I still like the idea of the murderer being the least likely suspect because it's a frail grandmother or a shy, churchgoing, teenaged girl who nobody thought capable of violence.)
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:35 AM   #13
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(Although I still like the idea of the murderer being the least likely suspect because it's a frail grandmother or a shy, churchgoing, teenaged girl who nobody thought capable of violence.)
Ah, you have the writer's brain. The murderer is young and frail, and no one will suspect her, especially the lawyer (Garrett Goodlove) who she hires to defend her.

She first presents as a poor girl living in a moldy trailer, but it's all a lie. Her name: Aksana Ivanova.

Here's the casting:



Check out Hyman Katz who is a one-hundred-year-old lawyer who GG will consult with. I based him on this guy.
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:39 AM   #14
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The murderer is young and frail, and no one will suspect her, especially the lawyer (Garrett Goodlove) who she hires to defend her..
If no one suspects her then why would she need a defense lawyer?
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:43 AM   #15
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If no one suspects her then why would she need a defense lawyer?
Read the book to find out!
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:56 AM   #16
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I'm plotting out the sequel to Conclusive Evidence. I didn't want to write another legal thriller, but CE is selling pretty well.
Wait, your real name is Vladimir Nabokov? - Wow, who knew !
https://www.amazon.com/Conclusive-Ev.../dp/B000GOSE7G

Just kidding Al, congratulations on the novel and goodluck on the sequel.
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Old 05-20-2019, 11:55 AM   #17
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Al, I'm impressed with how quickly you can create these stories. It's taking me forever to write my own.
My June 1 newsletter will be entitled "The Powerful Drug That Makes Me Write Gooder!"

Sign up here.

Good luck to you. It's fun but hard, huh?
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Old 05-20-2019, 12:56 PM   #18
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^^ Done!
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:01 AM   #19
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Some more questions (and these kinds of unknowns are what make writing a legal thriller hard for me):

The police get the gun from a search of Aksana's car. It's had the serial number removed, and they also find a silencer.

1. Would they routinely do a test firing in that situation?

The illegal-weapons charge is dismissed because the search of her car was illegal. Then, a week later, they process the bullet in the head of shark man, and find it's a match.

2. Would they then arrest Aksana? They know the evidence related to the gun would be inadmissible, so I'm guessing no. But they would start taking a hard look at her, and arrest her if they get more evidence.

Sound reasonable?
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:41 AM   #20
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they also find a silencer.
I have very little firearms experience, but I believe the purists will tell you it's a suppressor rather than a silencer.
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