The side-effects of being a mystery writer
I write mystery novels. This is a fairly new occupation. I published the first book in the Lexy Cooper mystery series in November, the second is now in the process of being edited by the fabulous Marti McKenna and will be available in June, and I’m writing number three right now. (Okay, I’m procrastinating writing number three by blogging, but whatever.)
When I’m not actually writing I re-fill the creativity coffers by reading mysteries, watching movies and TV shows about murder, and researching everything from cyber-stalking legislation to poisonous mushrooms.
And this has had some unforeseen side effects.
I wouldn’t say I’m paranoid, exactly, but I often question the motives of the people in my life. Sure, Mom says she’s working in her garden, but what’s she REALLY doing? Getting rid of evidence? My friend and her son skipped soccer practice last weekend. Did they know something I didn’t know? Was something bad going to happen at soccer? That white sedan with Michigan plates has parked next to my car in the lot six out of seven days this week. Is he following me? Okay, maybe I’m a little paranoid.
I just CAN’T drive past a wooded ravine without thinking “There’s a good place to dump a body.” However, this does pre-date my mystery writing. I live in the Pacific Northwest which is not only damp and lush with ground cover it was also the stomping ground of notorious body-dumpers Ted Bundy and The Green River Killer. But now, I note the potential body dump with an extra interest. My mysteries are set on the East Side of Lake Washington, so if there’s a great place to stash a corpse along, say, Redmond Way, I may put a body there in book #4.
Forensic evidence is everywhere. Hair, fibers, fingerprints. Just looking around my desk I think: You could get DNA from my Diet Coke can or the hairs stuck in that comb. My prints are all over the keyboard, the pens…everything! Yesterday I saw a guy throw something away in a gas station garbage can. He didn’t look particularly dodgy, but I thought. “Dude, your prints are all OVER that.” It’s a good thing I don’t have some sort of germ phobia or I’d be freaked out all the time.
I’m going to specify in my last will and testament that my surviving loved ones clear my browser history. Sprinkled in between my bookmarked macaroni and cheese recipes and swimming lesson schedules are pages devoted to poisonous plants, the care and feeding of a Glock 26, mental disorders, and investigative techniques for determining time of death. I don’t know for sure how closely the government is monitoring mostly law-abiding citizens, but if some red-flag pops up at the FBI or my local sheriff’s department when someone Googles “faking an alibi” “creating a false identity” or “how long does the human body take to dissolve in acid” then I am surely fucked.