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How my fiction came true.
Perfect Killer was inspired by No More Heroes
by Col. Richard A. Gabriel, (U.S. Army, Ret.) a professor at the U.S.
War College, renowned author, combat psychiatrist and military
The book referred to military efforts over the centuries to
produce the perfect drug to turn warriors into perfect killers. Such a
drug would banish fear, anxiety and the innate human reluctance to kill
other humans. It would also have no side effects, such as the "downer"
that accompanies the use of amphetamines or opiates.
The quest for such a drug accelerated after World War II after the publication of Men Under Fire,
a study by General S.L.A. Marshall revealed that close to 85 percent of
soldiers did not fire their weapons, even when under attack. Training
efforts increased the firing rates to 90+ percent by Vietnam, but
soldiers were shooting to miss.
Clearly, a drug like my "fictional" Xantaeus is the only solution, and that is what I built Perfect Killer
around. Like all my thrillers, this one has a solid superstructure of
fact and science and this seemed like the logical fact-based launch
point for my imagination.
After finishing Perfect Killer, I e-mailed Dr. Gabriel
to see if he'd like to read the book he inspired. He said , "yes" and
about three weeks after I send it to him, he e-mailed me to say that
much of what I had "imagined" was true.
Most importantly, he said that a drug like Xantaeus was
actually tested on troops in the First Gulf War and was responsible for
one of the forms of Gulf War Syndrome.
That is why he wrote an Afterword for Perfect Killer and
why we have taken the unique steps to give the book a number of
structural items found only in non-fiction: an index, bibliography, and
This emphasizes the following question: If THAT central part of
what I had imagined is actually true, WHAT ELSE in Perfect Killer is