Hey all. Gerry Boyle here, in Maine, AKA Patriots country. And it hasn’t been a good couple of weeks.
I’m talking, of course, about Aaron Hernandez, the former Patriots tight end and future of the franchise (well, at least a big piece of it). Hernandez, as you know even if you’re not a Pats fan, is the 23-year-old NFL star who traded his million-dollar house for a cell smaller than one of his walk-in closets. He’s accused of orchestrating the execution of Odin Lloyd, a friend who investigators say got on Hernandez’s bad side. What did that get him? Five point-blank shots from a .45.
Goodbye $40 million contract. Hello Cedar Junction.
I’ve been thinking about Hernandez a lot, and not just because I’m a Patriots supporter. I’ve been thinking about him a lot because, like the others on this page, part of my job is to invent believable criminals and sensible, albeit evil, crimes. And this one makes no sense.
I once was advised to write a mystery novel revolving around professional sports. I didn’t, but if I had, it wouldn’t have been the Aaron Hernandez story. Because this crime, if it’s anything like investigators portray it, is unbelievably dumb. And who wants to read a novel about a dumb crime and a dumber criminal.
Call a guy and say you need to talk to him. Recruit two henchmen from out of state to come along. Pick the guy up at his house in Boston, let him text on the ride so he can tell his sister who he’s with. Drive him all the way to your own house and kill him just down the road. And your attempt at covering your tracks involves smashing your cell phone and destroying the surveillance video for the time in question. But not enough of it to keep cops from seeing you returning to your house with a gun in your hand.
Hernandez defense lawyers are going to earn their money.
So is this sad and sordid story the stuff of a crime novel? I don’t think so, unless there’s a twist or two or three that we haven’t yet seen. Crime novels should be challenging–for the readers, for the investigators, for the writer. A perplexing crime. A clever criminal. A taxing investigation. A solution that defies prediction–until it all becomes clear. Dumb criminals are all around us (read the news) but smart criminals are a rarer breed. And fictional criminals need to be even smarter.
So I’m not clipping Aaron Hernandez stories, or emailing them to my “interesting crimes” box. I’m just reading and shaking my head and asking, “how could I guy be this stupid?” Maybe he isn’t. And maybe that will be the twist.
As a Pats fan, I can still hope.