If you have read my new book, Suicide Squeeze, you could not help but be taken aback by the eerie similarity between the events in the novel and the attacks that took place at yesterday’s Boston Marathon.
Readers all over the country contacted me to commiserate. Many wanted to assure me that even if the attacks were some bizarre copy-cat event, I was not to blame. One such reader is a Joe Brown of Issaquah, WA.
Dear Mr. Bennett,
I recently read your book, Suicide Squeeze, and really enjoyed it. Of course, when the events took place in Boston yesterday I thought of your book, and even though the attack differed I could see the parallel and hoped it wasn’t a diversion like the one you concocted in your book. I heard the police cancelled all other sporting events yesterday, which was good. Anyway, I found a blog you posted on in which you referred to eerie similarities, and where you wondered whether you had inspired anything. I’m no expert, but I think you are not at all to blame. You might recall a Nelson DeMille book, I think Lion’s Game, which as I recall had a plot point similar to what happened on 9/11, as well as a Tom Clancy book involving a jet crashing into the US Capitol. I don’t think either of those guys were to blame or inspired anyone either.
My two bits.
Here is my response:
Hi Joe (let’s get on a first name basis), Thanks for your kind message, and thank you for reading Suicide Squeeze. May I put you on my mailing list to let you know when the next Mercury Mercer adventure is available? I was sickened by yesterday’s attack. In the fictional account (Suicide Squeeze), the terrorists were motivated by greed. I can understand that. The acts yesterday were apparently motivated by sheer hatred, which I do not understand. Even the school shootings in Connecticut and Colorado and elsewhere, the killer(s) were apparently motivated by achieving a form of nihilistic notoriety. Sick, but understandable. These cowards, on the other hand, have taken great care to avoid being caught. Evil is alive in this world, Joe.
I have read and enjoyed both books you referenced. You’re right, Clancy and DeMille bear NO responsibility for the actions of others. I have come to the same conclusion regarding yesterday’s attack. For one thing, I think it’s highly unlikely these hateful individuals read lighthearted fiction by a still-obscure indie author.
Thanks again for your two bits.
PS Are you a writer, too, Joe? You know a lot about books and you apparently hang out a bit at Writers’ Cafe.
Thanks for your response. I’ve been through some terror-related heartbreak over the past seven months–my cousin Chris Stevens was the U.S. Ambassador to Libya–so I can kind of relate to what all these people and families go through in situations like yesterday’s. I can’t understand what motivates people, I really can’t.
I am a lawyer, and thus am a professional writer, but I’ve not written any books. I’d like to. I found that blog from a Google search I ran to see if anyone else had made that connection (albeit tenuous!) between your book and yesterday. I saw what you had written, and felt compelled to try to help set you at ease.
My turn. I wrote:
You’re a good man, Joe-
Sorry about your cousin. As an interested outsider, it seems to me the State Department and the Administration really screwed the pooch on that one, but no one has been held accountable. From what I read, Ambassador Stevens was a good man, too.
Joe replied with this fascinating story:
Chris was a heck of a good guy. His mother is my first cousin, although he and I were about the same age. I don’t really have any insights on what happened, except to speculate that the only reason we stayed in Benghazi after the Brits and the Red Cross decided it was too dangerous and pulled out was because our pulling out would have been inconsistent with the “narrative”, which would have been inconvenient in an election year. I also suspect there were some ongoing covert operations there which made having a consulate handy. On the other hand, Chris for 20 years had knowingly been putting himself in pretty dangerous situations with his various postings throughout the Middle East, and he knew the risks full well (and we’ve seen he was pointing out those risks to higher-ups), but chose to be there anyway. And, I blame the jihadists for his and those other three guys’ deaths.
Update: At the time Joe and I had that exchange, the suspects had not been identified. Now, the FBI and police have formed a dragnet seeking to capture the second suspect. From what I understand, the perpetrators of this atrocity have become radicalized – another clash between Islam and the Western world. Just like the violence which killed Joe’s cousin, Ambassador Stevens.