Dire Means - a thriller by Geoffrey Neil



Author warning:

I know you're afraid. I don't blame you. Let's be honest, Dire Means could overwhelm you. Suppose the plot is too intense, you slam the book shut halfway through and flee your favorite reading chair for emergency psychological help? The book's price would have set you back more than an ice cream sundae, right? Relax. This needn't happen. Use Amazon's Look Inside feature to read a more-than-generous sample. Skim through some reviews (ignoring any that are less than 5-stars). If this doesn't make your purchase feel safe enough then just go splurge on the sundae instead. I won't be mad. I won't even know ... unless we meet some fine day and you get all fidgety when I ask what your favorite scene was.



Can terror breed love? What if a ruthless vigilante ended homelessness in one of America's most affluent, coveted beach-side cities in a matter of days? In Dire Means this phenomenon occurs in an unforgettable way. The ambitious mission isn't accomplished by any persuasive appeal to public benevolence or by relocating the homeless. The ingenious method aims carefully-targeted fear at the public's apathy toward the impoverished. The bodies of people from all walks of life begin to show up in random places, one per day. Each victim has suffered a common, horrific fate that makes the vigilante's demands clear. Citizens quickly learn that engaging in flagrant public displays of kindness is the only way to feel safe outside their homes.

Mark Denny, a computer technician who does the right thing at the wrong time, is lured and then trapped in the vigilante's scheme to maintain the public's fear-fueled generosity. Matching technological wits is the only way Mark can end the city's terror and save his own life.


More info:

Dire Means was my first novel. I daydreamed about this story for two years before I began typing and finished the manuscript three years later. This book is not a sermon and can be enjoyed by readers whether they have sympathy or criticism for homeless people. The plot satisfies both perspectives. The story idea came to me after I gave money to a homeless man in Los Angeles. The guy's response was memorable. As he accepted the money through my driver's side window he pointed up and said, "An angel just saw you do this." As I drove away, his odd reply got me thinking about the homeless situation in America. I wondered why altruism has never succeeded in completely eliminating homelessness. Brotherly love is encouraged weekly from church pulpits across the nation and nonprofit assistance organizations do their best to chip away at the problem, yet the problem persists and grows. By the time I got home, I had become obsessed with a concept that would become Dire Means. If appeals to public kindness haven't succeeded, what if terror made practicing the Golden Rule the only practical option? Would the reason for kindness matter?

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