"In America you don't feel what you do. You are in the eye of a hurricane that you create. Pain and suffering and injustice all over the world, and all you see is blue skies."
--From Innocent Blood
When Innocent Blood came out in 1997, it may have been too prescient: the story of an American-born mujahedin who brings apocalyptic terror back home to the U.S.A. The sequel, The Sleeper, was published by Simon and Schuster in September 2004.
Audio from NPR: "Talk of the Nation" looks at Innocent Blood and terrorism threats to come -- in August 1997.
"Vividly authentic. . . .Mr. Dickey's first novel moves like lightning through a sophisticated plot
and lands with a direct hit in the gut."|
--The Dallas Morning News
"Dickey writes about war with authority."
--Los Angeles Times
"A narrative that asks what it means to be an American, alone and rootless, at the end of this, the American Century."
-- The New York Times Book Review
"Powerful, lethal, downright breathtaking in its range, Innocent Blood is the best novel I can imagine about America right now--and about the cost of forgetting how we got here."
-- Joan Didion
Amazon.com asks authors to write what they think of their own work. This was published on the Web in 1997:
From the Author: Forebodings
This book scares the hell out of me, and I wrote it. Innocent Blood was always meant to be a warning about the very real dangers, very close at hand, that threaten America.
But each day as I see more of its predictions coming true, I grow more concerned.
I started work on Innocent Blood in early 1994 after doing months of intense investigative
work on the World Trade Center bombing. There would be more terrorism in America, I thought.
It would come to the heartland. And because so much counter-terrorist thinking was based on racist
stereotypes, a blond, blue-eyed "all-American" killer would be almost invisible to the system. So I
set the beginning of the novel in Kansas, in a town not far from the Oklahoma border, and I created
a profile of a young man trained to kill by the U.S. Army -- a Ranger, a Gulf War veteran -- who
feels a void in himself that he cannot admit. Then he comes to believe an act of terror can help
him fill it. I had written half the book in April 1995 when I got a call from Newsweek's New York
headquarters telling me the Federal Building in Oklahoma City had been blown up. I didn't change
the story to adapt to events. I didn't need to. If Timothy McVeigh and Kurt Kurtovic have a lot in
common, it's not a strange coincidence. There are so many people like them in the world,
individuals with terrible intent answerable only to their own ideas of God and justice.
Terrorism was once the work of organizations, most of which had links to governments and
intelligence services that could be held accountable, at least indirectly. Today it's anybody's game, nothing is ruled out, and awesome killing powercomes easily to hand. Devastating explosions can be concocted from fertilizer; crude biological and chemical weapons may be conjured almost as easily as making home-brewed beer. The greatest danger to our peace and security is not the would-be hi-tech terrorist intent on fabricating a nuclear device. It's the man or woman with just enough skills to get the job done. McVeigh. Kurtovic. The
only long-term defense we have, I believe, is to try to understand the minds behind the terror.