In WHISKEY SOUR, I explain how to put fish hooks and needles into Halloween candy.
In BLOODY MARY, I explain how to beat a lie detector.
In RUSTY NAIL, I explain how it's possible to break out of prison.
And now, in DIRTY MARTINI, I go into detail about how to poison food products and make explosives.
On one hand, I want the books to be realistic. I write about things that interest me, and I think that these bits of 'forbidden' information make the story more compelling.
On the other hand, I'd be mortified if some psycho used my books as a blueprint for their own sick crimes.
I justify my forays into criminal explanations by rationalizing that:
- The information is already available on the Internet, in books, in movies, etc.
- Sickos are going to commit crimes anyway, no matter what the inspiration.
- It's doubtful disturbed individuals are reading my books when there's a wealth of prurient material already out there to indulge in.
Ridley Pearson's wonderful book HARDFALL was about some terrorists who fly a plane into the White House, years before 9/11. Clancy had a similar concept in one of his books.
Did the terrorists use these books as blueprints? We may never know. But if they did, are the writers to blame?
There was a big lawsuit involving the HOW TO BE A HITMAN book from Paladin Press, when this was found among the items of an actual assassin. Paladin lost, and had to pay big bucks.
With DIRTY MARTINI, I'm considering putting a disclaimer at the back of the book, telling would-be sickos that if they tried some of the things mentioned, it wouldn't work out as I've described.
What do you think? In an age where you can get any type of information on the Internet, are there still some things that shouldn't be written about? Should writers self-censor?