||All About the Author
Tom Bleakley is a lawyer /novelist with a Ph.D. in psychology who writes about law, medicine and the pharmaceutical industry.
Although he is the co-author of a two volume psychiatric textbook (A Teaching Program in Psychiatry, Vols. I and II, Wayne State University Press), his current work combines legal and medical writing in a thriller genre. His first novel, Rx for Mass Murder, depicted the impact of the drug DES widely used in pregnant women in the 1950s on the male offspring of those pregnancies. His latest work, Serenity, is about a drug intended as a sleep aid which causes some users to enter a state of amnesia during which violent acts are committed.
Bleakley is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and the Detroit College of Law and attended the University of Michigan Medical School until his Air Force Reserve unit was activated during the Cuban crisis. He divides his time between homes in Michigan and Florida where he lives with his wife Mary Ellen. He has successfully combined legal, pharmacological and medical fact with fantasy to produce books which are both compelling and fascinating. Bleakley’s thrillers are designed, in part, to keep the reader aware of scientific and legal possibilities of ethical problems when drug companies place profits ahead of safe and useful drugs.
Bleakley developed his initial understanding about the pharmaceutical industry by spending eight years as a special representative for one of the largest companies in America after which he became the Director of Substance Services for the Michigan Department of Corrections until he began his practice of law specializing in cases involving prescription drug injuries.
Bleakley’s profession as a lawyer has provided him with the ideas for his novels. His legal work has been at the cutting edge of law and medicine for more than 35 years. He has handled major litigation against the pharmaceutical industry in more than forty states involving such drugs as thalidomide, DES, Cleocin, Bendectin, Dilantin and Oraflex.. In each novel, he strives to write about the issues at the forefront of current legal, pharmaceutical and medical practice. He says, “The main reason I write is to inform the public about the risks of taking prescription drugs. While my work can be described as fiction, I take great care to present a story line which closely adheres to recent and ongoing events occurring with currently marketed drugs.”
Endorsements and Press Placements
Tom Bleakley of Lakewood Ranch released a legal thriller, Serenity, a fictionalized version of a real case. He writes about an unfaithful husband headed toward an unwanted divorce who takes a drug noted for its effects of causing bizarre behavior and winds up killing his wife. The book asks, “Who is to blame?” Is it the killer or the avaricious drug company making huge profits and trying to hide news of the drug’s terrible effects? A jury decides guilt or innocence — or does it? Serenity was published by Pennsylvania publisher Word Association. The book, ISBN 9781595717986, is available for immediate delivery and may be purchased at www.TomBleakleyBooks.com, www.Amazon.com, and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
C. F. (former newspaper journalist); "Serenity . . . should be used as a framework for major changes in our pharmaceutical industry and it's government oversight. I think it should be on every concerned U.S. citizen's Top 10 reading lists in 2013."
B. H.; "I found the book intriguing and I am wondering if you might be available sometime to talk about it and letting me use that time for an interview that I would use in 'From My Divot'?"
L. L.; "Tom, just finished Serenity…. What a great book. Kept me so interested, I wanted to get home right away from golf today to finish the last few chapters. As you have probably witnessed, many in the Pharmaceutical industry have little regard for safety when it comes to the bottom line. Cant wait to read the next book."
| Interviews and
A super legal thriller….instantly enthralling.” - Dr. John Telford
“An extraordinary legal thriller.” - Noted author and speaker, Dr. Wayne Dyer
Tom Bleakley is author of the recently released legal thriller, Serenity, his second novel and fourth book. He endured four years of rejections from traditional publishers with his first book, Rx for Mass Murder, before taking control and self-publishing with Word Association Press. With Serenity, he decided to self-publish again with Word Association. Tom was asked to answer the following questions.
The events in the book are a fictionalized composite of several experiences I’ve had as a trial lawyer during my nearly forty years of litigating major cases against the pharmaceutical industry.
5. Which famous actor or actress would play your main character in a movie?
My wife, Mary Ellen. She has been listening to me, reading and editing my stories since the beginning. She is ruthless with her comments and red pen, but also encouraging and supportive. She's an avid reader, too, which is why I believed her when she told me my stories deserved to be published.
11. What's your favorite book of all time?
Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathon Swift, because when I read it as a 9th grade student the book changed my life by demonstrating the power of the written word to me for the first time.
12. What are you reading right now?
Jack Higgins The Savage Day, David Baldacci The Innocent and Phillip Margolin, Supreme Justice: A Novel of Suspense. I read a lot of thrillers because that's the genre I write in myself.
13. What are you writing right now?
I continue to write my blog on a nearly daily basis and I am framing the outline for a non–fiction work on the 7th Amendment. I am also jotting ideas down every day for the sequel to Serenity.
14. What's more important: a book's beginning or ending. The ending. If I don't like the ending of a book, I feel dissatisfied and I won't recommend it because I usually feel as if I wasted my time. Of course, the beginning has to hook the reader or nobody will get to the end in the first place!
19. What's the most surprising thing you've learned about being an author?
I read some comments from readers that it is more than just a legal thriller.
22. Did you have a higher purpose than just telling an interesting story?
In the 1990s, our court system took a revolutionary shift away from traditional tort law and made trial judges, most without any scientific training or background, gatekeepers responsible for deciding what kind of scientific evidence and opinions a jury would be permitted to hear. Big business, led by the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, had lobbied and campaigned for years for limitations to be put on the ability of an injured person to obtain redress for injuries caused by products. Scientific evidence was characterized as ‘junk science’ if the opinions being offered in a courtroom by reputable scientists were minority opinions. Most pharmacologists in the country work for the drug industry so it would hardly be surprising that any opinion implicating a drug in causing harm would be in the minority. The events in Serenity occur in this setting where a biased judge, using the prevailing rubric of junk science, tries to control the outcome of a case arising from a man’s killing his wife after taking the drug Serenity.
23. Is junk science the main point of Serenity?
I must apologize because I got sidetracked. No. The main point of Serenity is the demonstration that big drug companies can do what they want to do in developing and marketing their products while the Food and Drug Administration, which is supposed to protect the public, stands idly by. I liken FDA approval of a drug to a teenager getting a license to drive from the state. Neither action is a guarantor of safety.
24. Let’s talk about the FDA. Can you also answer some questions regarding the pitfalls of the FDA approval process, why the process is dangerous, what the public does not know and should know?
The public does not understand that the FDA does not conduct any testing of its own. It is, more or less, obligated to accept the scientific evidence presented by a manufacturer in evaluating the safety of a drug.
The science that is presented to the FDA for drug approval by a drug company is generally not published and considered a proprietary work product by the company. There is both a moral and legal responsibility on the part of a company to tell the FDA the bad as well as the good about a drug. As a trial lawyer representing thousands of people injured by drugs I have been continuously amazed and disheartened by the flagrant violations of these principles over the years. Why this happens is no mystery because the FDA has many key employees cycling back and forth between the Agency and the drug industry and the profit potential in obtaining FDA approval is so great. The FDA has become, in part, a quasi-political entity acting more like a shill for the drug industry than for the benefit of the public. The recent disclosure that the Agency was surreptitiously monitoring some of its own employees who were engaging in whistleblower-type activities underscores this point.