Longtime Toledo judge pens thriller with a message
The saying goes that a writer must write of what they know, and that’s true for Charles Abood. It was a half century ago when Abood began working as a prosecutor in the Toledo Municipal Court. That job was followed by decades as a judge— sitting on the bench in Toledo Municipal, Lucas County Common Pleas and the Sixth District Appellate Courts. Abood retired from the Court of Appeals and then spent 19 years as a visiting judge. While working in the legal system in Toledo he became very familiar with the issue of human trafficking.
“The question that struck me early on was, who are the victims here?” Abood said. “And it was pretty obvious, in most instances, these young women were victims. Only they weren’t being treated like victims, they were being treated like offenders. And it seemed to me that they had little choice in their life.”
Those experiences stayed with Abood through his transition from being a judge to being a writer, and inspired this, his first novel Anybody’s Daughter. Published in late May, the story tells of newlyweds whose boat is boarded by hijackers who are smuggling contraband aboard their boat— a pair of teenage girls, victims of human trafficking.
“I was thinking about what would be timely and relevant, and might be of some meaning other than just being a thriller story to read. That’s how I started doing an outline of what turned into this story,” he said.
Abood’s life experiences informed the characters of Anybody’s Daughter as well as the setting. As a boater his entire life, Abood has owned a cruising sailboat for 25 years. “I bought my first motorboat with paper route money when I was 12 years old,” he said. “But I’d never been on a sailboat until after I came back to Toledo to go to law school. I met a friend who was a sailor, took me out on a sailboat and I was pretty much hooked.”
Writing has also been a passion of Abood’s for most of his adulthood. Since retiring completely from the bench two years ago, he’s dedicated himself to writing full-time. Anybody’s Daughter is actually the fourth full-length manuscript he’s finished, although it’s the first one to be published.
“To be perfectly honest, the earlier efforts, that I thought were wonderful, really were just horrible,” Abood said with a laugh. “I was not an English major. My whole life, I was always a reader, and I always thought I would like to write stories. Over the years I’ve done everything I could to learn about writing.”
Looking ahead and back
The manuscript preceding Anybody’s Daughter actually serves as a prequel to the story, and Abood said he’s hopeful one day that will also see print. But for now he hopes readers of his first published novel take away more from it than just an entertaining read.
“I think one part of it is, the absolutely devastating damage that is done to the victims [of human trafficking], and the extent of it, and how difficult it is and will be for any victims to recover and live a meaningful life after experiencing the brutality— and not just physical, but psychological— brutality that’s imposed on them.”
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