Books by Denis Woychuk

NONFICTION
Released: Feb. 15, 1996

Woychuk is an unusually candid New York Citybased lawyer who specializes in work with the criminally insane. He is an advocate for patients' rights at Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, a maximum security hospital for the dangerously mentally ill, men and women who often have a history of violence. Woychuk came to this unusually specialized practice as a result of a desire to use his skills in the courtroom and his dissatisfaction with endless days of paper-chasing in a corporate law firm. Here he relates six cases from his extensive files (over 300 cases) to illustrate various aspects of how the law treats the mentally ill. The clients he represented in these cases range from an infamous murderer who allegedly cooked and ate the heart of his victim to a quiet, gentle Sudanese whose biggest problem was that the psychiatrist who examined him knew even less English than the patient did. Finally, the author offers a lengthy essay on how to change a system that clearly has serious flaws. Woychuk is admirably frank about his tactics, his profession, his shortcomings, and his doubts (``I live with the painful knowledge that I am somehow complicit in the horrible acts some of my clients commit after I . . . help them get released''). Along the way, he offers insights into the workings of a trial lawyer's mind (``Lawyers strive to make the facts fit their theory of the case, not the other way around'') that should have extra resonance for Court TV addicts. Perhaps the book's greatest contribution is to show how little the criminally mentally ill resemble the monsters of serial-killer fiction and film; even the scariest of the clients Woychuk describes began his life as an abused child, the common denominator in almost all such cases. An intelligently written, often riveting collection of ``war stories.'' Read full book review >
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL by Denis Woychuk
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 23, 1991

A pleasantly silly story with a nifty surprise ending: Mimi, a hippo ballerina, and Gustav, a mouse musketeer, fall in love without being able to see each other through the wall that separates them. Trying to get together, Gustav builds an inadequate battering ram while Mimi tries a hot-air balloon that can't take off when she's aboard. Despondent, she leans on the wall, which falls—and neither is disappointed. Howard's lively, decorative illustrations match the text's ebullience. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >