It’s Wednesday and time for another Crime Cafe guest post. This week, I have Denise Wallace, a fellow WildBlue Press author, who’s written a most unusual true crime story. Her post will give you a taste of what the book is like.
Denise is giving away a short story called “Fallen Hope” to all contestants who suggest a name for her new true crime blog. All entries should be sent to Denise at this email.
In any case and without further ado, here’s Denise! 🙂
Daddy’s Little Secret
I peered out of the car window at the yellow guest house in Delray Beach that had been relentlessly faded by the beating Florida sun. Its architectural style was Mission Revival, which was minimally ornamented with a built-up, flat roof and a rough textured stucco exterior. The design matched the main house on the property that was four times the size of this sparsely constructed unit. It had been the home of my father only a month before, but he no longer lived there. I was merely pointing out his former residence to Venetucci and Boland, the two detectives that had been assigned to investigate my father’s murder. They had brought me along in the back of their police car in our quest to find his killer.
I stared at the half-wall, which shrouded the cement porch, discreetly hiding it from the alley. Memories came flooding back to me. I could see the filthy, lost faces of young vagrants I had stumbled over on the way to my father’s front door. Their eyes had looked frightened, yet empty. Dark patches of dirt had covered their faces and matted hair, but they had been past the caring stage. I knew they were probably alcoholics, drug addicts, or both. My father had had a long history of picking up strays from The Program — Alcoholic’s Anonymous — or its sister program, Narcotics Anonymous. He would sponsor them and take them to a meeting, sometimes offering them a meal afterward. Once he fed them, however, they “kept coming around like cats” he would complain to me.
The upstairs neighbor was now complaining, as well. He said he thought my father had been into some kind of charity work because he was always feeding the homeless. The neighbor had begun locking his doors and windows in the sweltering Florida heat because he feared the loss of his property — or worse. He had been relieved when my father had finally moved and the unseemly characters had stopped coming around.
Where to now? the detectives wanted to know. I quickly thought of the next closest place to look for clues and led them across the tracks and over a few blocks to a halfway house for recovering addicts called The Bridge. Since it was close to the guest house where my father had lived, he had sometimes taken me on a detour there. He would peer curiously into the open doorway of the small, dirty white structure that the detectives and I were staring at now. We could see a lone folding chair in the shadows.
Venetucci opened the car door and stepped out in search of some sign of life. He found none. His partner, Boland, grabbed a poster, a hammer, and a nail from the trunk. I watched through the rear window as he tacked up a black and white poster of my father’s face. Below were the words: Do you know who killed this man? A ten-thousand-dollar reward was being promised to the provider of any information leading to the conviction of the killer.
“How many of those are you going to put up?” I asked, startled to see my father’s face in this way.
“Just that one,” Boland told me. “Word will get out around town.”
Denise Wallace is an American author and screenwriter. Her debut true crime book, Daddy’s Little Secret, is about the murder of her father, Wesley Wallace in Palm Beach, Florida. In an attempt to understand the tragedy and cope with her feelings of grief, Denise completed the Professional Program in Screenwriting at the University of Los Angeles. Once there, she also took additional film classes, such as How to Write a Thriller, The Art of Pitching, Television Writing, and The Fundamentals of Comedy. Denise simultaneously attended the ImprovOlympic on Hollywood Boulevard, where she also studied television writing. The IO theater is considered to be the premier venue for long-form improvisational performances by talent such as the cast members of Saturday Night Live.
Meanwhile, she read a slew of true crime books by legendary authors such as Ann Rule and Aphrodite Jones. Eventually she sat down and wrote Daddy’s Little Secret in an advanced novel writing class at UCLA under the tutelage of the esteemed novelist, Dan Fante. Dan sadly passed away later that year. Denise is currently working on a screenplay based on the story of her father’s murder, which has garnered interest from television networks. A second book called Faces of Connie Rider about a kidnapping in Mexico is also in the works.
Denise is an APF 2010 California State Powerlift Champion and an APF 2009 Golden State Powerlift Champion.
She grew up in South Florida and currently lives in Los Angeles, California, where she finds the picture cars needed for films and television shows.
Denise is responsible for obtaining all vehicles associated with a production, including big trucks, trailers for the makeup, hair, lighting, camera, and wardrobe departments, dressing room trailers, honey wagons, personal trailers for the director, stars, picture cars, and all rental cars for cast and crew.