A good deal of this book is set in a state hospital for the criminally insane. I spent some time in a state hospital for the criminally insane – doing research, not as a patient. The deal was I was allowed entry if I agreed to lecture on writing to a group of inmates. This particular assemblage of men, deemed too dangerous and disturbed to be housed in the California prison system, began every group session by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the Star Spangled Banner to guitar accompaniment. The day I showed up, the guy who usually played the guitar was absent because he’d beat up a psychiatrist and was relegated to solitary confinement. So I played the guitar. Talk about a gig. Later, I lectured to several dozen psychotic murderers. A very appreciative audience. Faye kept phoning me, wanting to know when I was coming home. Readers tell me this is one of my scariest.

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