Genesis of ‘Eyes of the Predator’

Cover 042513 Reduced Some have asked where the idea for “Eyes of the Predator” came from. It is, admittedly, a dark story. After reading it, some have queried my wife as to whether she sleeps with one eye open, lying inches away from the brain that envisioned such a dark story.

So here’s the scoop. Like most of my stories, ‘Predator’ spent some years in the boiling and simmering process inside my head, before I began putting actual words on a computer screen. (no I don’t use pen and paper, pencils and tablets, or typewriters. I am actually able to keyboard quite proficiently for an old guy, thank you)

I was 14 years old and living in Atlanta in 1965. The City was rocked by the abduction and presumed murder of a young newlywed at Lenox Square a large shopping center that is now a huge upscale mall in the Buckhead area. Although her body was never found, her bloodstained car was. The incident was covered repeatedly in the media for months.

You have to understand that Atlanta 1965 was a different world from the sprawling metropolis of today.

In some parts of the city, mothers still left their babies in strollers outside stores while they went in and shopped. It did not occur to anyone that someone would harm a child, or for that matter a young newlywed walking across a parking lot.

The airport (called then simply Atlanta Airport not the ponderous Hartsfield – Jackson International Airport) was not international. To fly overseas you had to first fly somewhere else.

The Atlanta Braves would not come to the city from Milwaukee until 1966. There was no NFL Atlanta Falcons.

The tallest building downtown was One Park Tower, also called 34 Peachtree Street. It stood a dazzling thirty-two stories tall. Today, it is the 24th tallest building in Atlanta. As of this writing the tallest is the Bank of America Plaza at 1,023 feet (three times the height of the old One Park Tower building), and no doubt taller buildings are currently on the drawing boards.

As young teenagers without a driver’s license, we rode the bus downtown, went on dates and walked around the city, completely at ease and without parents worrying about our safety. I would not be so free and easy about that today.

In short, Atlanta was then still, somewhat, a quiet, backwater city, and the disappearance of the young woman made a deep impression on the mind of a lot of people, including me. The idea that people could just disappear permanently was deeply disconcerting.

In those days, no one had ever heard of Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy. I remember that even in school (Yes, believe it or not I was young enough to be in high school) teachers and students were in shock that such an occurrence could happen in 1965. We talked about it, it was in the news for months. When a new lead would be announced, the media coverage would increase again for weeks. The city was truly traumatized, and Atlanta joined the ranks of other big cities…with big city crime.

In the seventies and eighties I was policing in the Atlanta area, DeKalb County to be exact. Periodically, someone, almost always a young woman would disappear from some parking lot. The end was never good for them. I met some very bad people, almost always men and witnessed the ongoing patterns of abuse responding to domestic violence calls. I became aware in a very real way that some people live lives of terror and fear right under our noses.

I also became aware of the fact that there are human predators in the world. Like other predators, they seek weakness and vulnerability in their victims and the opportunity to exercise their will. I also learned that for many, if not most, the driving motivation behind their terrible acts is power, the ability to inflict pain on others. Sex for many of these predators is secondary and another way of controlling and inflicting pain.

I realize that “Eyes of the Predator: The Pickham County Murders” may be a bit intense for some readers. I apologize for this. It tells a story, that, while not a true story, is intended to be realistic and “true to life”. By that I mean the story is not based on any single case or event. It is a composite sketch of predators and their victims.

An additional parallel plot in the book is the parental abuse of the main female character. Again, this plotline is not based on any true story. It is intended to paint a realistic picture of abuse and the desperation that drives some young people to do desperate things and to seek escape from their personal hell.

In any event, I realize the story is somewhat dark. Truth be known, I found writing some of the passages to be deeply disturbing but as the characters acted out on my computer screen, they took on their own lives and acted for themselves. I simply recorded the action as I saw it.

I hope you enjoy the story. In the end, that is all that it is. If there are lessons to be learned, maybe we can all learn them.

Comments

  1. I think all of these – in fact, everything you’ve written – would make great movies.

    • Well, that’s very kind Arielle. Me too…know any good movie producers who might be interested? I’ll cut you in. 🙂
      Actually, haven’t had much luck in that direction. If it happens it happens, if not…I write. It’s what I do and it works for me. But thanks for the thought.

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