MOUNT VERNON — Dr. Robert Hamill, vice president for finance at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, has published a legal thriller titled “The Scheme.” In the novel, protagonist Mark Holman, who has recently graduated from law school, finds out that something is not right with his new job. Alongside his work troubles, Holman wrestles with the absence of faith in his life, while his wife prays to keep him safe.
Set in Vermont and Long Island, N.Y., the story, along with the setting, hits home for Hamill. Hamill said he is a “Long Islander” and met his wife, Ruth, in Manhattan. Hamill has been an attorney for about 30 years, as well as a professor and an administrator. The idea for his novel came from a familiar place and time in his life.
“I wrote it in the ’90s. We were living in Kentucky and I became hooked on the John & novels and I realized I had a story to tell based on something I had experienced in the ’80s,” said Hamill.
“It was really my first law job and I was in a small law firm. It was a two-man law firm and we were engaging in things that at the time I didn’t know were improper, so that became the centerpiece of the book because I realized I had a story to tell and then I kind of filled in all the characters and the plot lines around that so that was really the genesis for the book,” said Hamill.
Hamill, who has practiced tax law, estates, wills and contract law started out, as did the protagonist, with real estate law.
“Just as it’s described in the book, interest rates had just come down and people were refinancing their homes or selling their homes and cashing them in and there was an explosion in real estate ... there really were law firms that shut down their practices just to focus on real estate,” said Hamill.
“It was a good experience, but after six months I had learned all I wanted to learn about real estate law. The fellow in the book was modeled after me. He was being worked to death; closing loans all day long and that’s what I went through,” said Hamill.
In his own experiences, Hamill said right out of law school he was “sworn in on a Friday, in work on Monday,” and after two to three weeks in the job Hamill discovered something was off.
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