Book #2: “BAD DEEDS”


Winner, Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance
“BOOK OF THE YEAR 2014”

BAD DEEDS, the first sequel in the Dylan Hunter thriller series, picks up right where HUNTER left off.

At his cabin in the Allegheny National Forest, Dylan Hunter and Annie Woods have taken a month off to heal the wounds — physical and emotional — from their ordeal at the hands of twisted psychopath Adrian Wulfe.

Annie, in particular, has been struggling with the aftershocks of witnessing the man she loves nearly die at her feet. She is frightened by the prospect that Dylan seems to seek or attract violent confrontations wherever he goes. She can’t accept the prospect of such a life with him.

So, to build a future together, Dylan promises Annie that he’ll abandon his violent ways.

But ideological zealots and Washington’s political elites have conspired to terrorize and plunder the hard-working locals. These victims have no protector against the bad deeds of the powerful and privileged.

Except for one man. A man as ruthless and violent as they. A man committed to absolute justice.

Because Dylan Hunter cannot walk away — not even if it costs him the woman he loves . . .

The Challenge

Writing BAD DEEDS was a personal challenge on several levels. After HUNTER, expectations — readers’ and my own — were high for the sequel. I felt that pressure every day as I wrote it.

The plot structure of this novel was exceptionally challenging. BAD DEEDS had to plausibly transition Dylan Hunter from where things left off in HUNTER, into an ongoing vigilante-justice series. After all, Dylan — now free from police pursuit, hugely wealthy, and with an amazing girlfriend — could simply ride off happily into the sunset. He would be crazy not to — right?

But you see, Dylan Hunter just can’t walk away from the spectacle of an injustice against someone he cares about. And I built on that fact of his character to establish the central personal conflict in BAD DEEDS. This book gives readers some intriguing insights into why and how Dylan’s passionate commitment to justice was first formed and nurtured.

The plot also had to set in motion his future course. I did that by the “framing” device of the book’s Prologue and Epilogue. The Prologue connects the current story to seeds I planted in HUNTER; the Epilogue connects it to the future stories.

Yet another challenge was establishing the specific setting and plotline of this novel.

CLFA_BOTY_2014_WINNER ver 1My chief aim and responsibility as a thriller author is, first and foremost, to entertain readers with a captivating story, filled with colorful characters, headlong action, nail-biting suspense, mystery, intrigue, and romance.  That is challenging enough.

But I also write thrillers for thinking people. Yes, the Dylan Hunter stories can be appreciated just as thrillers. But my own background and interests are in the realm of ideas; so my stories address serious themes, even while they entertain.

In picking the setting and story theme for BAD DEEDS, I once again turned to my roots as a nonfiction journalist.

The Background

HUNTER arose from my years investigating and writing about the injustices within our so-called “justice system.” BAD DEEDS arises from my years investigating and writing about the environmentalist philosophy and movement.

BAD DEEDS dramatizes disturbing but little-known facts about environmentalism that I’ve learned from first-hand investigative reporting and years of study. For example, I wrote articles for Reader’s Digest that exposed the national panic — deliberately instigated by a major environmentalist organization — over its fraudulent claims about “cancer-causing chemicals” on apples (“The Great Apple Scare,” October 1990). I also reported on “global warming” early on, challenging the calculated campaign of hysteria  about the subject (“What Is the Truth About Global Warming?”, February 1990).

In these and later investigations, I interviewed officials from environmental groups, scientists at a host of government agencies, the then-administrator of the EPA, and scores of experts (and victims) involved in the controversies. I also read many scientific papers and books. I devoted a full year of research for a planned nonfiction book on the mythological roots of environmentalism. And, for years, I maintained a website, “ecoNOT.com,” reporting critically about the environmentalist movement.

This isn’t the place to present an exhaustive bibliography. For those who might be surprised by some of the matters raised in BAD DEEDS, I’ll just borrow the words of Dave Barry: “Folks, I am not making this up!” If you’re interested, a few samples from my past nonfiction writings on this topic can be found here, here, and here. (You may also find interesting this piece from the New York Times, published six weeks after the release of BAD DEEDS. It’s a case of “life imitating art.”)

Whether you agree with the views expressed in this novel or not, my primary obligation as a thriller writer is to give you an exciting rollercoaster ride. Three years have passed between the publication of HUNTER and the release of BAD DEEDS. I hope you think it is worth the wait.

If you do, I also hope that you’ll share your opinion with others — especially by posting a few lines as a “customer review” on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Your reader ratings are hugely important to the success of a book. They helped propel HUNTER to the top of the bestseller charts. I hope BAD DEEDS inspires a similar reader response.

In any case, thank you for spending time in Dylan Hunter’s world. And I look forward to meeting you there again in his next adventure.

Meanwhile, you can listen to the opening chapter of the BAD DEEDS audiobook here: