Perfect Killer, the 2005 Thriller from Lewis Perdue

No Fear. No Conscience No Mistakes

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Books 'n Blues In the Mississippi Delta
October 2005

During my junior and senior years at Cornell (the summer of 1971) I took a summer job in Mississippi working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in their fire ant eradication program. At the time, I was still formally majoring in biology at Cornell (with an emphasis on physics) and so found myself in a summer job that could use my organic chemistry and other courses.

That summer, I found a state that had changed greatly in the four years since I had left and this impressed me. So while I drove a beat-up old gray picku-up all around central Mississippi that summer digging up fire ant mounds to see if the Myrex air-scattered, bait pesticide had worked (mostly not) I started making contacts and doing research for an article which was publisher on Jan1, 1973 in The Nation.

The state was optimistic, vibrant, on the move up. And that excited me.  When I wrote this story, the Old South was against the ropes and the New South looked as if it could not be resisted.

the Mississippi I saw in 2002 when I visited to research Perfect Killer  seemed stagnant and retrograde, schools had re-integrated, crack cocaine and murderous gangs infested every part of the state, unemployment was twice the national average.

It seems to to me now that  that instead of the New South, we have a New OLD South. I tried to capture what I saw and that's the heart of the Southern novel inside Perfect Killer.  I see the Sunflower County Freedom Project, Teach for America, and the Mississippi Center for Justice as vital forces to get the state moving again.

The links to the article are below:

Mississippi: Giant Step to Moderation
(self-extracting .exe file. Double-click on it from Windows Explorer, 771K)

Mississippi: Giant Step to Moderation
(.pdf, 4 MB)


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1973 article from The Nation
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