“Dismembering the human body in five steps” is one of many terms I use when researching books I’m writing. One day I can see this getting me into trouble.
While “the amount of blood in a human body” won’t send up any red flags, I know I landed on some government entity’s radar when I tried to find out “location for black market cheap plutonium.” Yeps, these types of searches will have the Men in Suits knocking at my door.
To be fair, I go to Wikipedia for most information. It doesn’t have to be completely accurate; it only needs to be believable. I’m not about to cross the line into the dark abyss of internet anarchists. I don’t want to be labeled as a threat to national security. And I don’t want to be responsible for the recipe for a homemade disaster.
Writing mysteries and thrillers, especially spy and terrorist thrillers, involves getting down in the trenches. A few of the places I’ve found information have been, in the words of one of my kids, “sketchy.” When I hit those dives in the dark corners of the Internet, I get my stuff then quickly and quietly run away.
While Dexter makes dismembering a human body look easy, that’s not actually the case. It can be done, quickly and efficiently, but a human body is not exactly like a chicken. I won’t go into detail; suffice to say, the three steps in the title refer to a chainsaw and a big old mess.
“Robbing Fort Knox” won’t win me any medals. Neither will “at what temperature do eyeballs freeze solid.” I doubt “fastest acting poison” and “lethal amount of absinthe” will get me in trouble, as long as no one around keels over.
My ISP probably wonders about me.
I know so many authors who write about the intimate details of military operations, coups and terrorist attacks. I have to wonder if they also look over their shoulders when they research material for their books.
How about you? When you look for answers on the Internet, does a small part of you keep waiting for the authorities to bang on your door as you type away?
When you read a book, do you ever wonder where the writer found his technical material? Ever wonder if the author might know some of this stuff firsthand? Scary 😉
Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch