Dr. David Florence, 88, hasn't let age stop him from continuing to write books about his life, which has been filled with excitement making for interesting stories.
His second book, "The Eleventh Commandment," was released in December 2017, and is the story of a 14-year-old boy who committed a felony and was sent away to reform school. As an adult, he turned his life around, became a worldwide orthopedic surgeon and a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, serving terms in the Vietnam War and with NATO troops in Germany in 1986. Florence wrote the book under his pen name, Dr. David Trucker.
"I've learned a lot and I've done a lot. I think I was able to do all of that because I am incredibly driven and compulsive. My memory for detail is phenomenal, which is why I've been able to write these books accurately after so many years," Florence said. "I put the caveat at the beginning of the book that some of the things in there are true, some of them are fabrications. The reason I put the caveat is because I mention names and children of some of those people are still alive. But I'd say that 90 percent of the book is correct and accurate."
During his 55-year medical career, Florence, who grew up in close association with the Cleveland mafia, cared for mafia families from across the nation as well as many Hollywood celebrities. His first book, "A Touch of the Underworld," describes the development of the Cleveland Syndicate and his father's and his involvement in the process with the mafia.
"The Eleventh Commandment," in contrast, depicts his personal experiences as a practicing physician and how he turned his life around, while also including stories about his involvement with the state police. Florence says he is compulsive and organized, which is why he did so well at reform school and in the military, after he committed a felony at the age of 14. He was at the school for four years and, although he didn't love being there, he loved the discipline the school provided. He said he had a perfect conduct record throughout his time at the school, which was what allowed him to have the felony expunged from his record at the age of 21.
"The first reason was that I didn't want to influence my children's careers. My children are so successful now that anything I might have done in my past couldn't hurt them at this point. My children also didn't know a majority of what the second book covers before they read it," Florence said. "My second reason was that I wanted to be able to renew my medical license for as long as possible without having the state be able to take it away from me for any acts from my past."
One of the stories Florence told was of a man blasting and attempting to spread propaganda outside of his family's home. When his parents reached their wits' end with the constant noise and disruption, Florence's father got word to the union bosses about the disturbance and it was taken care of. According to Florence, the man's van was found burned out, while his body was found bound and gagged floating down the river several days later.
"The thing that really impressed me was that my parents showed absolutely no sorrow for the deadly or violent resolutions that the mafia used to solve a problem. That kind of thing occurred several times. My brain was programmed to see problems solved differently than people use today," Florence said. "That incident was one of the things that precipitated the title of this book. The 11th commandment is very simple: do not feel bad when bad things happen to bad people."
Florence had over 400 notes to help him write "The Eleventh Commandment," and took over six months to write the book.
"I wrote the book because I wanted to reflect back on my life, which includes a lot of things that even I can't believe happened. I tend to go 100 miles an hour, but finally I stopped and looked back," Florence said. "I was a fearless creature and that is not good. Fear is important for survival. It just happens that I had so many miracles occur that even though I was fearless and stupid, I survived."
Florence said he doesn't have any more plans to write more books, but he does have two other projects he is working on which might become something he can talk about in the future.