Writing the stories that matter to me

The Nazi doctors were the best. They had been practicing the science of mind control for centuries.

My Ambrose Lincoln books are pure genre novels: thrillers, mysteries, and now I find out that I am writing historical fiction because the stories are set against the dark, foreboding backdrop of World War II.

Should that make a difference?

It could.

In my case, it doesn’t.

I am writing about things that matter to me.

I was a child during World War II but remember vividly the reports from the front that came each night on radio. In the far recesses of my mind, I can still hear the voices of Walter Winchell and Edward R. Murrow and H. V. Kaltenborn.

My father worked at a bomb plant, and I can still see him sitting on the porch and talking to the men who worked with him, the ones who put the bombs together and then wrote sarcastic notes to Hitler, usually laced with profanity, on the sides of them.

The war happened a long time ago. But the war and the raw, explosive emotion of men dying for a country mattered to me then. They still do.

Not long ago, I was watching a late night documentary either on the History Channel or the Military Channel – I don’t remember which – and the story dealt with those strange and disturbing mind control experiments during the 1930s and 1940s.

The Nazi doctors were the best. They had been practicing the science of mind control for centuries.

Some of the human guinea pigs died along the way.

Some survived.

None would ever be the same again.

By the 1930s, our own doctors and psychologists were working in places no one knew about doing things that would have frightened, sickened, and appalled the world if anyone had found it. But as one of the doctors said, the enemy threat was more important than a person’s constitutional rights.

In the name of science and the military, these doctors were learning how to break down a person’s mind, then rebuild it, using hypnotism, behavioral, and biological drugs, sensory deprivation, electroshocks, electroconvulsive therapy, and brain electrode implants.

They were creating multiple personalities. One part of the brain belonged to a good, honest, decent human being. The other part triggered an unsuspecting assassin or courier sent behind enemy lines. The government controlled the brain. The subject never knew what was happening to him – or her.

It was the stuff of science fiction.

It was real.

I created a protagonist for Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of LiesNight Side of Dark, and Place of Skulls whose mind had been erased by electrodes placed on the brain, whose mind was again erased after each mission.

Eliminate the memories, and a government could eliminate fear. Ambrose Lincoln lives in a make-believe world. Nothing is ever as it seems to be.

He simply does the job he is asked to do and never asks any questions because he has no questions to ask.

He is little more than a number.

And one day, he – like his mind – will be erased with no traces of ever having walked this earth.

I write about the reality and cruelty of mind control for one reason.

The novel is a thriller.

A World War is raging.

And it matters to me. It matters a great deal.

Please click HERE to find Secrets of the Dead on Amazon.

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