A few months ago I was contacted by law enforcement on a matter of national security. It turns out that somebody working on a top-secret weapons project had taken his name, and his entire personal background, from a character in one of my DIAGNOSIS MURDER novels. No joke, friends. This is a true story.
Investigators contacted me, through my publisher, to ask me how I happened to create this character, his backstory, and how I chose his name. I spoke to the investigators and told them quite simply that I made it all up as I went along. I have no idea how I came up with the name, it was just random association. I liked the way it sounded.
They wouldn’t tell me any details in return… except that the guy legally changed his name to the name of my character the same month my book came out and that he apparently identified with aspects of the characters background and motives, adopting them as his own. The guy couldn’t have been very bright…adopting this character’s name is akin to plotting to rob Fort Knox and changing your name to Auric Goldfinger first. And can you imagine what kind of guy would legally change his name to match a bad guy in a DIAGNOSIS MURDER novel??
I did ask the investigators how they made the DIAGNOSIS MURDER connection. I don’t kid myself, I know how obscure my books are in the whole scheme of things. Turned out they ran a Google search on his name as part of their background check and only four listings came up…three of them references to my book. Then they read the book and were surprised how many of the details of this character’s life matched the man on their weapon’s project.
Needless to say, I found the whole thing unsettling. It’s the first time, that I know of, that anything I’ve written has been imitated or recreated in real life. I’ve often wondered since that call how the whole thing turned out.
Who knows, maybe I could get a DIAGNOSIS MURDER novel out of it…