TRUST ME Countdown

by Jeff Abbott on July 17, 2009

TRUST ME hits stores in the US and Canada next Thursday. I thought I’d use the days between here and then to talk a bit about the book and how I went about writing it.

TRUST ME is about a young psychology grad student, Luke Dantry, who is trying to profile extremists who frequent online chat rooms and forums, and trying to identify which of them might move to violence based on their reactions to items and information that he posts to their discussion groups. Anyone who’s watched crime films or read a crime novel in the past ten years has heard of profilers, who use forensic evidence to create a psychological portrait of a killer. My thought was how do you create a profile of a terrorist or an extremist who decides to move from words to violence? How do you find and stop the next Timothy McVeigh before he decides to build a truck bomb? And that was the germ of the idea to start the book.
I don’t think of TRUST ME as a novel about terrorism. I think of it as a novel about one young man’s battle to get his life back when he’s unexpectedly drawn into a very dark underworld. There is a difference: this is not a novel about a professional fighting organized terror cells. Luke is not Jack Bauer or Mitch Rapp; this is a (hopefully) fresh take on the topic. It’s about a scared young man who finds his courage and manages to out-think a very dangerous informal network of people–who may have nothing in common but their desire to tear down society and create chaos, and to share information on how to do so. I found inspiration for Luke in the heroes of the classic paranoid thrillers of the 70s: Marathon Man, Three Days of the Condor, and The Parallax View–all films where an innocent suddenly tumbles into a dangerous world that lurks right below the calm veneer of society. One key difference is that the heroes in those films faced conspiracies that were authoritarian, driven by government. What Luke faces is something even more frightening: a conspiracy bubbling up from the underbelly of society, from its darkest reaches, connected by hate, and much harder to fight and to kill.
And because it’s one of my novels, family plays a crucial role. I’ll talk more about Luke’s character in an upcoming entry, but just as in PANIC, much of the drama derives from secrets kept in the family. I often try to give my heroes two mysteries to solve: one of the world, and one of their own heart. Luke will have to deal with long-buried secrets that have shaped his life, decided his choices–all without his knowledge.
Next up: how I researched TRUST ME. Prepare to have your jaw drop open.

    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    Kristan July 17, 2009 at 9:53 am

    My jaw is prepared!
    TRUST ME sounds very interesting. Perhaps because I used to want to work for the FBI in taking down internet pedophiles…

    tony hirst July 17, 2009 at 9:58 am

    sounds a brilliant premise for a story..intrigued how you researched it!!

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