Mom accused in bizzare plot, Jill Easter, wrote book as Ava Bjork

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There’s a bookish twist to one of the strangest crime stories to come out of Southern California this week -- one of the accused, Jill Easter, is the author of a crime novel.

Easter, who lives in Irvine, was arrested Tuesday with her husband Kent Easter; authorities say the two devised a plan to frame a volunteer at their son’s school for drug possession. Our blog L.A. Now explains the bizarre case:


Kent and Jill Easter, both 38-year-old attorneys, were arrested Tuesday on felony charges of conspiracy to procure false arrest, false imprisonment and conspiracy to falsely report a crime, authorities said. Investigators say the couple hatched a plan to frame Kelli Peters -- a well-known Plaza Vista School volunteer who would go on to become the school’s PTA president -- for what the Easters alleged was her ill treatment of their young son at school. Kent Easter is accused of putting drugs in Peters’ unlocked car and falsely reporting to police he saw her drive erratically to the school and stash the drugs in the back seat of her car. Investigators eventually determined the drugs didn’t belong to Peters, and they traced the call and the drugs to Kent Easter, authorities said.

While both Jill and Kent Easter are attorneys, Jill Easter has a second occupation: author. She writes under the name Ava Bjork, which may be adapted from her middle name, Bjorkholm. On her website, she writes that she is a ‘full-time author.’

Ava Bjork is the author of one book, ‘Holding House,’ which was published in 2011 with the copyright belonging to Jill Easter. The book is a novel about a rising star in mixed-martial arts with gambling debts and a plan to strike it rich with a kidnapping. ‘Ever dream about the perfect crime? Sean Howser and his friends have discovered it,’ the book’s promotional materials promise.

So is Bjork’s book any good? Take a look at the first few paragraphs and decide for yourself:

From the air, Sean had thought the arms of the island of Santorini looked like two brown arms cradling a puddle. But now, from a boat about five miles off Santorini’s shoreline, he thought the island looked more like the pictures he’d seen on the internet. Jagged limestone cliffs rose out of the water and softened into rolling hills, topped with iconic blue and white buildings. The entire landscape was covered with white crosses, as though Satan had threatened to make it personal with the citizens of Santorini. Sean took a deep breath, savoring the scent of the ocean air mixed with volcanic sulfur from the island’s active volcano, and decided he was glad Joe had talked him into getting on the boat. It was just a tourist tub making the sunset rounds, but he was enjoying his time onboard. This vacation marked his first time out of California, his first time on a boat, and his last spring break before college graduation. Libby and Joe, his friends and travel partners, came over to stand by him at the railing and Joe pressed a Mythos into Sean’s hand. ‘What’re you doing, writing a travel book?’ Joe asked. ‘You need to start partying. They call this a booze cruise for a reason.’ ‘Bring it on,’ Sean boasted, swallowing half his beer in three practiced gulps. ‘You know I can drink you under the table any day.’

On her website, Ava Bjork promises more books are on the way. She plans to write a YA mystery series set in Hawaii, with the first book titled ‘Strange Fruit’ (perhaps unaware of the phrase’s origin, meaning an African American who has been lynched). She also says she will write a series of poems and promises, ‘My next release will be a non-fiction book tentatively titled ‘An Insider’s Guide to Law Firm Interviews’, a collaborative work written with a partner at a law firm in Orange County, California.’

After her experiences this week, Ava Bjork/Jill Easter might even consider returning to crime fiction.


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-- Carolyn Kellogg

(credit: Orange County district attorney’s office); at right, the cover of her book.