If you haven’t read THE BLIND TRUST yet, this post gives away a big component of the story.  Turn back if you want to keep this reveal hidden.

And if you don’t want to keep the ending a surprise, what’s wrong with you?  Are you the type of person who jumps to the back of the book to ensure all the characters ended up okay?

Where’s the fun in that?

Or are you the type who just enjoys spoiling the ending for others—like when we learn that Bruce Willis was the crime lord Keyser Söze at the end of THE SIXTH SENSE?

Sixth Sense

What a mind-blowing moment, right?

You see what I did there? I spoiled an ending of a movie for you and it came out in 1999—more than twenty years ago!  If you haven’t seen it by now, too bad.  Get with the times.

Next time, I ruin a movie for you, I’ll make sure to say spoiler alert.

But THE BLIND TRUST is still fresh and new. Don’t flip to the back of it to learn how it turns out. And don’t read the rest of this post if you haven’t read my book yet.

But if you have it, I truly thank you.  Have you left a review? Just kidding.


There is a real estate ownership structure called “joint tenancy.”

This concept can be found in other asset classes such as businesses and brokerage accounts, but real estate is where it’s most common.  Joint tenancy allows two or more people to own an asset together, with equal rights and obligations.  When one of those folks dies, their interest in the asset will pass to the survivor(s) without having to go through probate which is a legal process involving the court.

Sounds cool, huh?

Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

Why would I want to invest in something that I couldn’t leave to heirs outside the asset?  While I wouldn’t want to do this, though, there was someone else in the world who obviously would.  That’s why this ownership structure was created. There are obviously pros and cons to most things in the investing world, but this isn’t a post to discuss them.

When I first learned about this concept, I wondered what might happen if there was an investment property with a joint tenancy ownership structure and the members started dying as a result of murder?

At first, it seemed an interesting premise, but the cops would look immediately to the other members of the joint tenancy.

It wouldn’t be much of a mystery, would it?

The Usual Suspects

Speaking of mysteries, did you see THE USUAL SUSPECTS?  What a tripping ending that was!  To discover that rambling crook Kevin Spacey kidnapped the little girl that everyone was hunting for throughout the movie.  Man, what a moment!

Spoiler alert.

So back to the idea of members of a joint tenancy dying from murder.  By itself, it wasn’t a good idea, I thought, and put it to the side.


Later I learned about blind trusts.

First, a trust is an agreement that allows a third party (the trustee) to hold and manage assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts are often set up by wealthy families so that assets can be passed down from one generation to the next.

In a blind trust, the beneficiaries have no knowledge of what’s inside the trust, thereby rendering it blind.

Planet of the Apes

Oh man, speaking of no knowledge.  Did you ever see the original PLANET OF THE APES?  Did it blow your mind at the end when you realized that all along Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowell were the same guy with a split personality? Crazy!

Spoiler alert.

There are many reasons to create a blind trust.  One is to avoid a conflict of interest.  A political candidate might do it.  He or she can move their assets into a blind trust and allow a third-party to manage it for them in hopes of removing conflicts of interest.

A parent may also set up a blind trust.  Perhaps the parent wants to take care of a wayward child, but they don’t want them to know what’s inside it. If a child knew which assets were taking care of them, perhaps they would act or live differently.

Not knowing what was inside a trust that was taking care of you is a pretty intriguing idea, isn’t it?

So I started thinking about a story about a family’s blind trust.


Have you ever had Goober Grape Jelly & Peanut Butter stripes?  It’s an amalgamation of two of my favorite things in the world.  As a kid, I absolutely loved it.

Or do you remember those old commercials from Reese’s Peanut Butter cups about the mashing of chocolate and peanut butter together?  As an adult, I still love these.

Anyway, I’m not sure why I’m using so much peanut butter to arrive at this analogy, but sometimes smashing things together is a good idea.

Fight Club

Speaking of smashing things together… did you ever see FIGHT CLUB—the super cool movie with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton?  Man, that ending freaked me out when I discovered that they had been on Earth all along.  Basically, we had destroyed ourselves because of nuclear war and they were in the future.  So cool!

Spoiler alert.

So the idea of smashing things together helped me come up with the central theme to THE BLIND TRUST.

I wondered what if the inside of a family’s blind trust were twisted to resemble the workings of a joint tenancy.  In other words, what if a large family’s blind trust rewarded the last man standing?

That would be a messed-up situation.

And that’s exactly what is needed for a murder mystery.


To get away with this, I figured, I would need a fractured family.  I needed to find something powerful that would split them apart.

Gone Baby Gone

But I’m not going to reveal that because I think you’re reading ahead.  I think you glossed over my warning at the beginning of this post and have found yourself spiraling along toward the ending of GONE BABY GONE only to realize that good guy Morgan Freeman is really dead and talking to this weird, little kid.

That ending totally tripped me out.

Spoiler alert.


My 509 series has featured alternating viewpoints. I figured The Blind Trust shouldn’t be any different.  Therefore, I wanted to introduce a couple new characters.

The Blind Trust

First, I created a county sheriff.  I thought he would be an interesting juxtaposition to the ‘big city’ characters I was already using in Spokane.  Sheriff Tom Jessup was written for that purpose.  I liked him so much that I wrote a short story that featured him and his department exclusively—"Murder by the Roadside." Now that he’s out there patrolling Whitman County, I may go back to Jessup in a future story.

The other character I wanted to introduce was a cop who didn’t worry about so much about the law, but he worried about the outcome.  He’s dirty, not because he steals or does drugs or enriches himself, but because he’s willing to bend whatever rule is needed to protect his city.  That’s Detective Jim Morgan.  He’s angry, opinionated, and damn fun to write. He gets his own story in The Value in Our Lies.

And that’s it.

You made it to the end of this post.  No more spoilers.

Well, unless you didn’t realize that the spoilers above were all rotten.  In a way.  I mixed the movies and their endings up. So if you haven’t seen the movies, you’re still okay.

It’s like you touched a cold stove burner, while the next one was hot.  You dodge a spoiler burner, my friend. Thank your lucky Hollywood Walk of Stars.

Now, if you really want to spoil those movies for yourself, feel free to go back through and figure them out.

But I won’t be an accomplice to your demented behavior!


By the way… I used alternative movie posters to highlight the spoilers. If you get a chance, go check out the artists who were responsible for the work by clicking on the actual posters. They do some super cool stuff!


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