Monday, August 1, 2022

Hard-Learned Advice that Might Spare You Becoming a Victim of a Crime: Guest Post by Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz: Hard-Learned Advice that Might Spare You Becoming a Victim of a Crime

Having recently celebrated my 223rd birthday, I’m amazed to be busier than ever. I owe a great debt to you, book lovers, without whom I would no doubt have fallen into a life of crime two centuries ago. Instead, I write about (among other things) crime, the people who commit it, the people who suffer it, and the people who deal with it. As a consequence, I’ve never had to engage in scary high-speed chases, endure tedious police interrogations, bide my time through periods of incarceration, sustain bullet wounds, or have my fingerprints burned away with acid by a physician named Dr. X in a warehouse basement in Reno. The only thing I can do for you in return, other than write my stories, is offer some hard-learned advice that might spare you from becoming a victim of crime. 

Here’s the first: If you’re afraid of the current epidemic of follow-home robberies, then for God’s sake, don’t follow violent thieves to their homes.

You might wonder what a 223-year-old writer’s day is like, and even if you don’t wonder, I’m going to tell you. At 5:30 a.m., the sound of my wife extracting a cork from a bottle of cabernet sauvignon induces me to get out of bed. She always manages to hide the bottle so effectively that I can’t find it even if I spend hours searching. I suspect that she hasn’t actually opened a bottle for me, but has become adept at making that sound with her thumb and lips, though I have no proof. Consequently, after my dog takes me for a walk and after a breakfast of ink-black coffee and raw steak that any hardboiled type would appreciate, I might as well write. 

Here's a second tip regarding the wise avoidance of victimhood: If you’re alarmed by the current epidemic of car-jackings, drive a rust-bucket with its bumpers held on by wire and bearing a prominent sticker that says people with ebola are still people. Or roller skate everywhere. There is no skate-jacking crisis.

At noon, I pause in my writing to contemplate lunch. However, at 223 years of age, following the aforementioned black coffee and steak, lunch is a complication that risks a long list of potentially calamitous developments. Therefore, instead of eating, I go on another walk with my dog, confident that she will be able to find the way home and that I won’t spend the afternoon demanding of people at a house in another block what they have done with my wife and our furniture. I can also rest assured that I will not run out of doggy pickup bags, because out of concern about supply-chain problems, I have purchased 50,000 rolls, thirty bags per roll.

Here's a third tip: If you’re averse to owning a gun, one of those clingy dry-cleaner’s bags can serve as an excellent deterrent weapon in the event of an encounter with a burglar. Most burglars will have seen the warning about smothering that is so prominently printed on every such bag, and your threat to employ the lethal plastic in such a fashion and without mercy will 90% of the time cause the intruder to flee. Ten percent of burglars will be illiterate, and in those instances, you will require something more like a gun.

Upon returning home from a second walk with the dog, I once more sit at my computer, highly motivated by my love of the English language, my enchantment with the art of storytelling, my conviction that the meaning of life can best be illuminated in fiction rather than nonfiction, and by the thought that there will be a real bottle of cabernet sauvignon at dinner. At the end of the writing day, after feeding my dog, I attempt to take another walk; however, after a quick potty, she slips out of her collar and, being a senior golden retriever with an enough-already attitude, leaves me with the leash and the suggestion that I walk myself.

As my writing day comes to an end, I always take a moment to meditate on the same subject. I wish that Donald Westlake, John D. MacDonald, Dorothy Sayers, Ross Thomas, Len Deighton, Daphne Du Maurier, Ed McBain (Evan Hunter), Patricia Highsmith, Rex Stout, and so many others could have lived to be 223 years to provide us with even more brilliant entertainment than they did.


About Dean Koontz: 

Dean Koontz is the author of many #1 bestsellers. His books have sold over five hundred million copies in thirty-eight languages, and The Times (of London) has called him a “literary juggler.” He lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirits of their goldens Trixie and Anna.


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