Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page


In crime on November 29, 2011 at 10:05 am
David A. Gibb is a part-time private investigator and a freelance writer. When Russell William struck, “virtually in my own backyard”,  David felt it his duty to dig into it. Camouflaged Killer, his first book, was born.
NB This interview, due to its length, is split into two. Look for the first part in the previous column.

I noticed some character similarities between Colonel Williams and another notorious
serial killer who went undetected for years, ie BTK.

Yes, both Colonel Russell Williams and Dennis Rader (“The BTK Killer”) were sexual sadists with

similarly camouflaged double lives. Both lived exemplary lives in public, and hid their wickedness from
the world. The communities surrounding both of these men were shocked and devastated to learn
that such an evil had managed to hide among them. Without going into the great detail provided in
Camouflaged Killer, many such sexual sadists conduct their crimes in very similar manners – despite
their behaviors being rather difficult to control or predict. The sexual sadist is known as the “Great White
Shark” of sexual offenders for very good reason. A woman will be lucky to escape with her life should she
ever be selected by one. However, Williams and Rader were unlike many other sexual sadists in at least
one respect: they both took post-mortem photographs of their victims.
What do you make of the fact that he tried to frame someone else? To my knowledge, it
isn’t something that happens often. Serial killers do tend to want to get caught for either
fame or conscious issues.
Colonel Williams had a very narcissistic personality. He enjoyed the police and media attention, but did
so from the privacy of his own home, while maintaining his anonymity. He didn’t think he’d ever get
caught, and thought he was smarter – and better – than everyone else. Of course, he had a lot at stake: a
great career, high status, unblemished reputation, a loving wife, good friends, an executive home in the
nation’s capital, and a BMW in the driveway. He wasn’t stupid. He knew that if he was caught he’d lose
everything. And he had the intelligence to realize that he’d have to deflect attention if it managed to get
that close to him. After all, it wasn’t just him who would suffer – it was his wife, and the Canadian military

establishment as well. So, in my opinion, he did what any smart, deceiving sexual predator would do:
he arranged for a disposable fall guy. Problem for him was that his own narcissism turned out to be his
Achilles Heel in the end.
You say on your site that as children we were all told by our parents and teachers to respect
those in authority. To admire them and to seek them out in times of trouble. And, most
importantly, to always place our trust in them.” With the offset of violence in some major
UK cities, some spoke of the lack of respect towards authorities. People have become more
bold and feel the need to question everything and everyone and as this case shows it is a
good idea to always question and take nothing or no one at face value. How do you feel
about that?
I think this case has been a huge wake-up call for all of us. And I don’t mean to suggest that this is any sort
of a systemic problem within the military, or anything like that. Just as with the problems of sex offenders
within churches and organized religions, I don’t believe that they create these predators, but rather that
they are drawn to careers that will enable them to yield power and authority, and cloak themselves in the
respect and trust offered to their positions or uniforms.
The fact remains that we can never be certain of who are neighbors really are. We should never assume
that because they come from a “good family” or have a “respectable job” that they are inherently “good”
people. Most among us think that we’re able to pick out bad guys from a distance – we’ve been
brainwashed at a young age to believe they all have long, greasy hair, pock-marked faces, and crooked
rotting teeth. But don’t fool yourself, they could be hiding behind the eyes of the community’s most
respected faces – like Colonel Russell Williams.
Camouflaged Killer features “expert analyses”. what made you think of adding such a
feature and why? Why was it taken out of the Irish and UK version?
That part of the book was what prompted me to write it in the first place. I felt that it mitigated the
graphic details involved by providing an educational payoff, whereby the reader could play armchair
detective while reading through the book, come to his or her own conclusions, and then compare them
to the expert analyses later provided. All too often true crime books just tell the story, without offering
any psychological insight into the killer, or simply allowing the readers to draw their own conclusions. I
wanted to lift it up a notch.
As to why it was omitted from the Irish and U.K. edition (sold as, Evil in Plain Sight, by Y Books), I
can only say that it was a decision made by the publisher in consideration of the marketplace that they
represent. That was something outside of my control.
Camouflaged Killer has been recommended as a text book at the Santa Barbara School of
Justice Studies. How do you feel about that?
I have received countless emails from people across North America and beyond praising Camouflaged
Killer, and I’m flattered and encouraged by each and every one of them. But to learn that a doctor/
professor has touted my book as recommended reading at a highly-respected California institution
was especially appreciated. The fact that he told me that my revelations backed up a lot of what he was
teaching his students in his Study of Murder class, shows that we both must be on the right track!
On your site you give advice on how to deal with a sexual predator like Williams. What
prompt you to add such a page?
I wanted as much good to come from this book as possible. Sure, people read true crime out of morbid
curiosity – that’s human nature. We all like to peek behind the mask of sanity and see what lurks in the
shadows. But many also hope to learn lessons from the tragedies of others, and I hope to shed some light
through the revelations made in Camouflaged Killer. While the safety tips didn’t make it into the final cut
of the book, I remained steadfast in providing them on the book’s website at least. If these tips can save
the life of even just one woman, it’ll certainly be worth much more to me than any fame or fortune could
ever bring.
I’ve also set up an “Ask the Expert” page on the website, which is run by my friend, Chris Roberts, a
personal protection specialist with SAFE International. He’s available there to answer any sort of personal
safety questions, free of charge.
Are you currently working on any project?
After spending a very morbid year creeping around and exploring the mind of a sexual sadist and serial
killer, I’ve decided to take some time out from true crime writing. I’m sure I’ll return to writing about
crime – whether it’s real-life stuff or fiction – but for now I’ve decided to focus my energy on a more upbeat
Currently I’m working on a comedy screenplay. While Camouflaged Killer has already been optioned for

film, and I will be acting as a consulting producer on the project, I’m also penning a script for a movie that
will make people laugh out loud. I figure that it’s just as important to make people laugh as it is to make
them think. And it’s quite possibly a lot more fun too!
What are your future plans?
I plan to keep on writing – wherever my heart and my instincts take me. Hopefully within the next couple
of years I’ll have a true crime murder film and a comedy movie hitting the big screens. After that, who
knows? But I guarantee whatever it is, you’ll want to read it when I’m done!
Thanks for inviting me for this interview. If there’s anything that you or any of your readers would like to
ask you can reach me at Best wishes to all of you!
Next week our interviewee is Marilyn Z. Tomlins a born South African who lives in Paris. A ‘stubborn’
investigator, Marilyn is currently researching into Princess Diana’s death. Her latest book is Die In Paris,
a true story about Marcel Petiot, a doctor who disembowelled and dismembered his victims. Don’t miss it!


In Camouflaged, David, David A. Gibb, Gibb, interview, Killer, The Camouflaged Killer on November 29, 2011 at 10:04 am
David A. Gibb is a part-time private investigator and a freelance writer. When Russell William struck, “virtually in my own backyard”,  David felt it his duty to dig into it. Camouflaged Killer, his first book, was born.
NB This interview, due to its length, is split into two. Look for the second part in the next column.
Would you like to start by telling us a bit about yourself?

I’m an author who enjoys digging for the truth, since I know how people have such a need and craving to
understand human nature and the world around us. I’ve been digging for some form of my truth my entire
life. Prior to wearing the hat of an author, I was a private investigator for twenty-five years (something
I continue to do part-time). During the past two-and-a-half decades, I’ve found over 4,400 missing
people, worked undercover in many challenging environments (including a religious cult and a satanic
organization), investigated many serious and complex crimes, provided protection to the rich and famous,
and testified as an expert witness. I also taught Law & Security courses at community colleges prior to
becoming a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines in 2006. Camouflaged Killer is my first book,
and it seemed very logical that it be in the true crime genre. So when this serial killer and sexual predator
struck, virtually in my own backyard, I knew that I had to answer my calling and write about the case.
People wanted the facts and the explanations, and I was just the person to dig for them.
What did you write about as a freelancer?
Thankfully, my success as an investigator had allowed me the financial stability to pursue writing about
things that I enjoy. My passions. So I chose very diverse topics, whatever seemed to strike my fancy.
Travel pieces were at the top of my list, as well as entertainment and aviation-based articles – although I
also wrote about general news, sports, politics, and some opinion pieces. My biggest regret comes from
having never published an article that remains very close to my heart. I had traveled across the U.S.
meeting and interviewing cast and crew from The Rockford Files television show of the 1970s – that had
originally inspired me to enter the crazy private investigation field at a young age. Although I spoke with
many of the show’s original players, I couldn’t find an editor willing to publish the retrospective piece
without the participation of the show’s lead actor, James Garner. And, if you’ll pardon the pun, I wasn’t
able to garner an interview with him. So that unfinished project is unfortunately destined to remain as
elusive – and as precious to me – as a leprechaun’s pot of gold.
Who is Colonel Russell Williams, and what can you tell us about him?
Colonel Russell Williams was a star of the Canadian air force. He commanded the country’s largest
and busiest air force base in Trenton, Ontario (a stone’s throw across Lake Ontario from Rochester,
New York), where he was responsible for thousands of troops. He had presided over Canada’s secretive
forward operating base in Afghanistan (Camp Mirage) for six months, personally piloted prime ministers,
dignitaries, and royalty (including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip), saluted the caskets of soldiers
killed in battle in Afghanistan upon their return to Canadian soil, and had been in control of President
Obama’s flight plans for the G20 Summit in Toronto in 2010. By all measures, he was one of the most
trusted and respected officers in our military, and likely destined to become our chief of defense staff.
Nobody, including his wife of almost twenty years, realized that he led a double life, however. He began

a crime spree that lasted just over two years at the age of 44, by committing 86 break-ins, during which

he stole women’s underwear and remained in the homes for up to three hours or longer posing for self-
portraits while wearing the lingerie. A short time later he escalated, by stalking, raping, and eventually
killing women in the surrounding community – including one of his own military staffers. He broke into
their homes, tied the women up, and subjected them to hours of torment and sexual humiliation. And yet
all the while his respected position within the community made him virtually invisible to the authorities.
Williams even tried to frame a next-door neighbor for the crimes, and was once almost interrupted by a
prying police officer as he lurked in a victim’s backyard readying to attack.
After finally being captured, Williams tried to commit suicide in jail, but failed in his attempt. He is now
serving 25 years – a life sentence – in the segregation ward of one of Canada’s most undesirable prisons,
Kingston Penitentiary.
It’s truly a case of real life being more bizarre and unbelievable than fiction.
Going by your site, it seems you met the colonel even before you decided to write
Camouflaged Killer. Why?
Occasionally, while working as a private investigator, I have been asked to serve legal documents on
people – quite often in cases where the people are difficult to find, or living in some sort of extreme
condition. In this case, I was hired by a law firm to serve court papers on Colonel Russell Williams,
who was being held in segregation at a local jail. When I came face-to-face with Colonel Williams, and
stood just a couple feet in front of him, I had shivers run down my spine. And not for the reasons you
might think. It was actually the opposite. I felt no sense of evil, no risk or danger. I felt as though I was
standing in the presence of a regular Joe. And I’ve seen evil before…up close. Trust me. But my instincts
– a combination of good senses, experience, and training – have always kept me safe. This time, however,
they betrayed me. And THAT is what sent the shivers down my back.
That experience is what prompted me to dig into the case of Russell Williams further – to understand how
such an individual was able to deceive not only the unsuspecting public, but also those who are trained to
detect such con men. I mean this guy had pulled the wool over prime ministers, the minister of defense,
our chief of defense staff, police and military brass, even the Queen of England for goodness sakes! So in
the course of doing this research, and speaking to some of the world’s leading experts in criminal profiling
and forensic psychiatrists, I realized that I was getting the answers that everybody else wanted to know as
well. And so the idea of Camouflaged Killer was born.
…continues in the next column….


In crime on November 27, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Go to The Vertigo Shot page for a great review and a sample of the story on Morgen Baiely’s podcast.

Don’t miss the chance to listen to some great writing and be “swept along with the story.”


In crime on November 22, 2011 at 9:16 pm
The great Argentinian writer granted LaeLand an interview soon after a radio interview on Litopia. He is touring the UK with his new book Needle in a Haystack, his second published in English.
I wanted to keep the essence of the interviewee to give the reader a sense of what Ernesto Mallo is all about, so without further ado, here is the interview in all its humour and Latin flavour.
First off, how did you become a writer?
As a boy a was a very bad student because I only paid attention to academic subjects that interested me. My conduct was awful too. I was always labelled as the rotten apple for I also encouraged my friends to get involved in my transgressions. So the school director kept calling my mother with complaints about me. One day they sent a note asking her to go for an interview with the director. She came to me and asked: What have you done now? I could not remember any wrongdoing in which I had being caught. It turn out that he wanted to congratulate her for some writing of mine on some patriotic festivity, and asked her permission to read my text in the celebration. That way I discovered the one thing I was good at. So I kept on doing it.
Did you know immediately you could have made money off your writing? If not, when did you realize your writing was good enough?
Well, I was not thinking about that at that moment, but my father rewarded me with a couple of bucks which I invested in a book: Robinson Crusoe. That was the first money I earned for my work. So I kept on doing it. Anyway money is not an issue for me. I live a very austere life, I am not a consumer, I write most of the time, and writing is the cheapest of the arts. With a pencil and a pad you can write the Divine Comedy. And with the new technologies you can carry your complete works in a pen-drive and read it or print it anywhere.

You had written five books in Spanish before Bitter Lemon Press offered you the chance to publish in English and then they only published two, Sweet Money and Needle In A Haystack. What do you think is the element, if any, that stirred the English market’s curiosity in your books?
Don’t really know, but I think that there is something special between Argentina and the UK. Soccer rivals, the English invasions to the colonial Buenos Aires, the rail-roads built by the English, the stupid and desperate military Junta war over the Falkland/Malvinas Islands among other things. It’s a passionate love-hate relationship. And passion, I think, is the main raw material of literature. A friend of mine who lived in London for a long while once told me that I write in Spanish, but I think in English. My translator also remarked something like that. Somehow I feel that the bond English and Argentinians resembles that of turbulent lovers.

This year you were the finalist at the CWA Dagger Awards with your latest novel, Needle In A Haystack. What does an award mean to you and your writing work?
There’s this beautiful sentence from the film “The Swimming Pool” by François Ozon. Charlotte Rampling asks her editor Who is that man? Oh, replies the editor, he is the winner of the National Book Award (or something like that). Then she goes: Awards are like hemorrhoids, any asshole can have one. Writers should not succumb to the temptation of believing that are good because they were awarded. The important thing is that there’s no award that can actually help you to write your next work. One is as good a writer as his next novel. Awards are only important if they grant you enough money to write the next novel.

Your website introduction is very personal, very emotional, like you wanted to make sure the reader knew you were wearing your heart on your sleeve when you wrote it. Is it always that personal with you?
Always. I’m quite personal I say what I think, and I express what I feel, in writing and in everyday life. It saves a lot of arguments and a lot of time. When I sense that my sincerity can get me into trouble I simply walk away.

You’re currently on a UK tour for your latest book, A Needle In A Haystack. How is it going?
I had very good reviews for both “Needle In a Haystack” and “Sweet Money”, and I receive lots of mails from readers who praise my work, and remarks on Facebook and Twitter. I don’t check sales reports, I leave that to my agent. François von Hurter, my wonderful English editor seems happy, so I think they must be doing well. Tell you when the check arrives.

What did you learn from it so far you definitely going to do/not do on your next UK tour?
I never plan what I will do or say. I don’t even think about that. I trust my intuition. What certainly I will not do is go eat to a restaurant that’s near Victoria Station again.

Is there anything else you wish to discuss?
I dream to write a novel in English, but I feel I don’t have the scent of the language. My dream is to spend a year or two in London (a city I love) to do it. But to achieve that maybe I will have to win a lot of awards, sell a great deal of copies or find me a sponsor. You know any, by chance?

Correction: Ernesto says, “I’m not currently touring in UK. In fact I just came back from a tour in Spain.”

Ernest Mallo website:

Next week author interview will be with David A. Gibb, a true crime writer, on tour with Camouflaged Killer, the story of a military man who turns into a sadistic rapist.


In crime on November 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm



In A, Berkley, books, crime, David, Gibb, Penguin, The Camouflaged Killer on November 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm


Published by Berkley Books (U.S.)
and Penguin Canada.

Release Date: October 4, 2011.


Camouflaged Killer to become recommended reading for students of School of Justice Studies in Santa Barbara, California


In 1950s, book, books, crime, crime story, murder, mystery, New Zealand, reader, real-life, teen, true, true crime, violence, writer on November 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Peter Graham new book is out. It is called, So Brilliantly Clever.

It is a true crime story that took place in 1950s New Zealand.

One of the teen perpetrators went on to become an acclaimed crime writer and a documentary was made about her life after the memorable event.

The comment made about the announcement of the book is what attracted my attention though and what made me write this post.

This is what the comment by Fred says, “Does all this attention to a long ago crime really serve any worthwhile purpose or is this just another example of exploitation for monetary gain?”

The key words here for me are: “serve any worthwhile purpose”.

It made me wonder about the general purpose of a book on true crime. What is it really for?

To inform the public? To make them more knowledgeable about the criminal mind? To dispel some misconceptions? To bring to light some new evidence or obscure facts about the perpetrator(s) or the victim(s)?

I cannot answer this question because I am not a true crime writer and don’t know anyone personally who is.

If you do or you are one, I would be happy to know your thoughts about this. Drop us a line.

The reason I used to read true crime books it was to discover more about the criminal mind and get to know more about the facts of a crime and the perpetrators, but I am a voracious reader of anything to do with criminal psychology. However, I have never read anything by a simple true crime writer.

All my true crime books had been written by criminologists and I have to say that aside from some comments to attract the middle-class readership, I have learnt a  pretty good deal, but never enough or a lot about a particular perpetrator.

Books, like any other art form, are subject to marketing, therefore they have to cater for a particular readership.

As I have often said in these pages, true crime writers, in my opinion, suck up to the middle-class who can’t cope with the idea of a human being committing such a serious crime and feel the need to keep a safe distance between themselves and the criminal in the ludicrous attempt to keep up the notion that only a certain type of person or group can act so savagely.

Now, the next question that this little paragraph brings to light is this, why is it that true crime writers’ goal is to please the middle-class?

Where do true crime writers come from?

I believe they come from all sorts of background, from police investigators to private detectives, from investigative journalists to criminologists. So how come their goal seems to be so similar?

This is the question I will try to answer in another post.

Crime Watch: So Brilliantly Clever: New Zealand author takes a detailed look at a decades-old crime.


In A, author, best-selling, book, books, Britain, Bronte, convention, crime, crime, cutlure, financial gain, fragile, remake, world on November 13, 2011 at 9:42 am
A new remake of the Bronte sisters’ work. Why?
Why remake a film made already over twenty times from the same book when, every day, new and exciting stories are published?
Is it because no one like the Bronte sisters’ work inspire scriptwriters and directors?
Is it because producers, scriptwriters and directors don’t want to take any chances, but rather bet on something they know has raked in decent money and interest over the years?
Millions of books since the Bronte sisters’ work have been published. Some of them depicting their era and current events with deadly accuracy and in that way talking to millions of readers through their characters’ hardships and joys and yet, no director, producer or scriptwriter has ever thought of turning that compelling story into a film. Why is that?
I am not convinced that it all comes down to the Bronte sisters’ ability to grab people’s imagination or describe the turmoil and heartbreaks of a generation.
I believe it is more an inability on the producers, directors and scriptwriters’ part to break free from the past and the certainty and explore new territories with characters who are not tried and tested, who are difficult and controversial sure to raise uncomfortable questions and issues. Better is to stay on the old path with stories that yes, deal with uneasy issues, but in a so gentle way as not to upset the spectators’ fragile world.
The Brontë sisters are always our contemporaries – Telegraph.


In act, case, crime, fascination, fiction, heinous, issue, justice, Lawrence, reader, society, There, There's, writing on November 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm
There’s a fascination with the genre, and of course a fascination with exploring events that take place in what we call the real world,” Lawrence said.
“Crime writing is a reflection on current society and the crime and justice issues concerning the public. And it can become an opportunity to enter landscapes and places both exotic and desolate.”
The Ned Kelly award is at the door once again and this article about the prestigious competition makes me wonder about the distinction between fascination with true crime and fascination with crime fiction from the criminnal’s point of view.
Is there a fundamental difference between the two genres and if so, what is it?
The first one that springs to my mind is the distinction between vernaculars.
In many true crime books I have read, especially from a criminologist point of view, the author spares no punches.
It is clear from the start where the writer stands and the reader knows that there is no pity for the criminal.
Words like scumbag and society’s trash frequently occur when describing the person responsible for a major heinous crime.
In fiction crime on the other hand, sometimes, if not always, the roles are reversed.
In crime fiction books by Jim Thompson, James E. Cain, Deborah Moggach we find the criminal as the major character telling us his/her lifestory and that doesn’t always sit comfortably with the reader.
Why is that? Well, it takes nerves to want to identify with a criminal and most of us aren’t comfortable with that.
Better is to think of them as monsters just like most newspapers and media wants us to believe, who never stood a chance to be “respectable” citizens.
The true crime writer plays along with that.
Yes, they go out to discover the truth, but they are very careful to put their own disgust for the criminal and his/her heinous acts in the story.
A crime writer is very careful to do the opposite.
In a crime fiction story, the reader doesn’t always know (s)he will find a sense of justice at the end of it.
Sometimes, the criminal wins and the reader is left with that sense of defeat that it is so common in real life and that is exactly what puts most readers off. That sense of injustice.
There is where the difference between true crime and crime fiction rests.
True crime readers want to know that there is justice at the end of a crime. Crime fiction readers know that is not always the case.


In author, book, bookstore, choice, cover, crime, fiction, genre, issue, journey, long, manager, minutes, place, popularity, skin, style, title, urban, You on November 4, 2011 at 11:05 am
You have a few minutes off or you are in for a long journey and you pick up a book.
It has the cover you like, the title that appeals, the story that takes you places.
You think you make your own choice, but the bookstore manager has done it for you.How? By placing certain books at the front of  the store, giving them relevance and appeal and by segregating others in the back.

Why? That’s my million dollar questions. Maybe you do have the answer or an opinion about it, but I have yet to figure out the absolute undisputed reason for it.

I guess the first that comes to mind is the popularity of an author, the genre they write and their style.

The second one is the sort of main character they choose to portray. Is it the type that grabs the “average” reader’s imagination? Or the one that everyone is happy to hate?

The third point has probably a lot to do with the author’s choice to tackle some issues over others.

As a crime fiction writer, the one that raises loads of uncomfortable questions and forces the reader to confront her most ingrained prejudices and ultimately her worst fear the market is hard to break. It is available, but it isn’t for everyone.

And I guess that is the main and only reason for an author’s success, aside from luck of course. Her/his choice of genre and the issues they are comfortable to raise in their stories.

All this brings us to the article that got me to think and write about bookstore managers and their choice of authors, genre, stories.

The article in question is  Is ‘urban fiction’ defined by its subject – or the skin colour of its author? | Books | The Guardian and deals with the skin issue that black authors seem keen on bringing to prominence.

I don’t agree with it.

Books get relegated to the back benches for a variety of reasons and some have already been highlighted above.

Many years ago, I remember reading a great story by Sandra Scoppettone. It was a detective story with a lot of soul. And a lesbian MC.

That was enough to get the library to relegated it to a pile in a cardboard box and give it away for .10p.

So as much as I would like to identify with the urban fiction writers, I can’t say their plight is convincing enough.

Authors become famous for a variety of reasons and genre and characters grab the public’s attention for just as different reasons. To make it a race issue is just another way for the black author to call attention to their skin color.

James Patterson and co. sell millions because their characters and storylines sit comfortably with the general public, not because of the skin color of the author.