88 Killer is the story of a vicious and unrepentant killer who uses hatred to sustain his anger and focus his violence. NYPD Detective, Tom Harper and Police Psychologist, Dr Denise Levene are called upon to hunt this new killer and begin to find disturbing resonances within each of the murders.
88 Killer is about a haunting search for a missing teenager, a thrilling hunt for a ruthless killer, and a mystery about the killer’s background and motivation. This mixture of missing person search, thriller, mystery and police procedural keeps the plot twisting and moving quickly and with, I hope, enough excitement to keep the reader turning the pages…
The idea for a killer carrying out hate crime came from reading more and more news stories in the US and beyond about the resurgence of extreme right wing groups and activities. It seemed that an increasing sense of insecurity and uncertainty in the world opened the door to extremism and hate with devastating consequences.
It was terrifying, but it was also horribly familiar. I was reading about educated young men and college students out on the streets of New York, attacking people they perceived to be a threat or to be different. And people ended up dead because these groups moved from racist words and thoughts to physical attacks.
And while these attacks ended in prosecutions, at the same time, religious organisations could flaunt provocative statements such as ‘God Hates Jews’ and be protected by the NYPD because they claimed to be speaking religious beliefs and were therefore only exerting their right to freedom of speech.
So Brooklyn seemed a dangerous place from a Hate Crime perspective with an increasing sense of uncertainty and economic pressure, intolerance being so blatantly flaunted and open attacks on immigrants. I could imagine these forces operating on the mind of a disturbed individual and triggering their psychosis.
The idea of inheritance also caught my imagination as so many Hate Groups do not go for originality, but trade off a past that they seem to know so little about, using the language and symbols that they somehow equate with power and potency. These groups use Nazi insignia because it is so offensive and because it gets the response they want. It acts like a ready-made organisation and belief system for all their negative thoughts and insecurities.
On a character level, I was interested in the idea of someone who hated themselves and what they were so much, that they identified with the people who hated them and turned their hatred towards others like themselves. It was also interesting to see how such a person could use the history of hate as a mechanism for keeping his anger alive.
88 Killer is the story of how someone who feels hated and victimised can identify with their attackers and join them.
88 Killer is published by Headline