What the Assassin Already Knows. The Authors Collection


Travis Bickle lurks just a few rows from where the President is shaking hands with the crowd.

Twenty yards away, Squeaky Fromme waits with the patience of a tortoise.

John Hinckley is an adolescent who observes every movement.

A select detail of Secret Service Agents execute their duties to perfection.

The President works the crowd and departs the airport unharmed in his limousine, “The Beast.”



From her hotel room on the forty-second floor, Claudia Barry lowered her binoculars, smiled, and thought to herself, I could have choreographed that entire scene.

Her confidence in doing so comes from the fact that she was the first person to earn a (fictitious) masters degree in group dynamics from LSU (or anywhere else for that matter.)

The study of a system of behaviors and psychological processes which occur within a social group, or between social groups and individuals within and/or outside of either, is group dynamics. An in-depth understanding of these interactions coupled with knowledge of the subject individual will assist observers in predicting the subject’s movements and response to the movement of others. Such facts as the subject’s personality profile and handedness are key elements to anticipate reactions as well. (How many U.S. Presidents were left-handed?)

Ms. Barry earned an undergraduate degree in sociology with a minor in psychology from the University of Arkansas. She learned to shoot from her grandfather who was a retired motorcycle repairman (a subtle reference to Zen) and had enjoyed watching the movement of animals in the woods. She attended numerous church services, political cocktail parties, and trials to study the way humans moved in response to others. She took private dance lessons and applied what she learned while moving through crowded subway stations and common areas. Mardis Gras parades were a favorite for personal challenges.

How close can I get to the mayor?

Can I shake hands with the grand marshall on the parade route?

She interviewed street performers and scrutinized every move they made, especially as they interacted with the impromptu audiences.

To add legitimacy to her project and to mask her unconscionable motive, she titled her thesis paper, Security in Space: The dynamics and challenges of providing personal security in high risk environments.

Claudia Barry used what she learned and became one of the most successful professional assassins in history. She’s The Tourist Killer. Be careful where you go on vacation.

And the next time you attend a reception for the Pope, think twice before you turn away from that guy holding the tray full of champagne flutes. Do you turn to your left or right? Will you be in the line of fire? Don’t worry, Claudia already knows which way you’ll turn.

Please click the book cover to read more about FCEtier and his novels.


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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Great insight into the mind of a character, Chip. None of us know what the character knows, and often neither does the writer. One of the greatest moments in writing is when the character reveals a secret.

  • Darlene Jones


  • Just for the record, seven of the last 14 U.S. Presidents have been left handed.

  • Cindy Amrhein

    I love how in-depth you thought about your character’s background. As writers we don’t necessarily need to say it all in the story itself but WE better darn well know it in order to write a believable, well rounded character. Excellent, Chip, as always.

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