Death For Cause
In the early 1990s, I traveled back-and-forth to South America several times on business. To entertain myself on the long flights, I started writing a short story on my Apple 140 laptop. My objective was to write a plausible scenario about biological weapons (BW) use for my colleagues in the U.S. Government who didn’t take seriously the threat from BW terrorists. I tried to make the story entertaining, so they’d read it, as well as realistic, using facts from history and accurate scientific data. But the story didn’t stay short; it became this novel.
After self-publishing Death For Cause in 1995, it languished because I didn’t have the interest or know-how to market it. After more than a quarter century on the shelf, I decided to reread it and was surprised at how well the story stood the test of time. But the temporal context was outdated. For example, the characters used phone booths and had no cells, and videos were on tape, not discs. And data points have been surpassed. One sentence said that population was expected to swell to 5.7 billion by 2015. Well as of 2022, it is already just shy of 8 billion. Updating wasn’t necessary, as it could have been left as a period piece. But I thought it would help make the threat of biological terrorism more relevant to today’s audience to make those changes.
More importantly, there was some politically incorrect terminology. For example, I referred to stewardesses rather than flight attendants. Also, I felt that the tempo of the story dragged in places where I tried to be instructive rather than letting the tale convey the message, so a bit of trimming was in order. The upshot is that I thought the novel could be more relevant and readable if I made a few changes, corrected some typos, and issued this second edition. Although some changes were made, the story, characters, and overall structure of the novel remain the same as in the first edition.