Monday, April 18, 2011
People We Think We Know
I have a book out called Death of a Young Lieutenant. About an art thief who, in the opening days of World War One, is asked by his commanding officer to prove the innocence of junior officer accused of murder. Two problems instantly arise. One, there's a war going on. You may not know this, but in the first two and a half weeks of World War One it looked as if the armies of the Kaiser was going to consume all of France in one mighty gulp of military appetite. How the war eventually evolved into stalemate through trench warfare wasn't very apparent in the opening days of the conflict.
The second problem is Jake Reynolds, the officer asked to become a sleuth, is an art thief. Perhaps the wrong person to ask to prove someone's innocence since he is, by definition, a felon himself.
And this is the blog's main theme today; the people we think we know. This novel--the entire series I want to write--came into being because of someone I thought I knew. Knew all my life. Saw him on a daily basis. Liked the guy, enjoyed being in his company. And never thought for one minute the man was anything else other than what he appeared to be.
But the old boy was hiding secrets from those that knew him. Big secrets.
He'd been in World War II. Had combat citation ribbons that would run down his chest if he put his old uniform on. Medals, for heroism, from two different countries. And lots of medals at that. Did absolutely fantastic things in the war--things writers like Robert Ludlum or Ian Fleming would have made fortunes writing about. In short; the man was an honest-to-god, GEN-U-INE . . . HERO.
And nobody knew. Nobody knew.
So I have to wonder; how many more of those like my old friend are out there? When . . or if . . . are we going to hear their stories? And they don't have to be heroes. They could be monsters. Geunine, horrible, nightmarish monsters who--for some reason or another--have straightened up and are honest abiding citizens. For now.
The Jake Reynolds series is dedicated to these people. The heores and monsters of the world who keep their secrets well hidden. All the way to their deaths.