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Daily Journal
     September 9, 2022      #43-252 KDJ

Yurgine to present Tuesday at Kankakee Public

Phil Angelo For the Journal

KANKAKEE — Kankakee resident, lawyer and Daily Journal columnist Joe Yurgine will be the featured speaker at an upcoming meeting of the Friends of the Kankakee Library.

The presentation will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday on the fourth floor of the Kankakee Public Library, located at the corner of Schuyler Avenue and Court Street in downtown Kankakee. The event is open to the public and admission is free.

Yurgine has been a Journal columnist for more than a decade. In recent years, he has authored a pro/con debate in current events topics with Ken Johnston.

He will address a variety of topics from his past experience. A former FBI counterespionage agent, he will insight into Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a product of the Russian KGB intelligence network.

Yurgine also will cover the publication process of his three books, offer insights on getting published and pass on some tips for better writing.

“My hope is to give the audience some takeaways that will stick,” he said.

Putin is in the news these days as a result of the war in Ukraine, which Russia started with an invasion six months ago.

Yurgine says Putin is "a brutal dictator," heading a system that is "very authoritarian."

“He is not a good person,” Yurgine said. “The system doesn’t function fairly and the life of the person is pointless.”

"That’s the reason why oligarchs park their money in foreign countries," he said, nothing that, sometimes in Russia, people die under mysterious circumstances.

Yurgine believes Putin has bitten off more than he can chew with this war, and that it may not end will for Russia.

“Russia is a not a rich country,” he explained. “They have guns and oil. Other than that, they are poor.”

The Kankakee resident spent five years as an FBI agent in New York City, essentially keeping tabs on Russian spy operations. That experience plays into his views on Putin, as well as providing background for his books.

Yurgine has authored a series of three espionage books, “Deuce,” “Spychaser” and “Femme Fatale.” All are fiction based on reality and set in the New York City of the 1960s.

“That’s part of the appeal,” Yurgine said.

The books can be read as stand-alone works, though the main character and some of the subordinate ones reoccur in the trilogy.

Yurgine will offer some publishing advice for those who have a manuscript and want to see it get into print. Amazon now publishes two-thirds of all e-books and half of all the traditional print books.

Presently “semi-retired,” he handles a few ongoing cases. He came to Kankakee County because of location, liking its small-town feel while being less than an hour from Chicago.

“It’s worked out great for me,” he said of his career and time here. “I have really enjoyed working with the lawyers and judges of Kankakee County.”

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