A reader sent me this NPR story about the FBI’s tactical operations team. For those of you who have read Something Missing, you’ll understand when I say that the story is so eerily reminiscent of Martin Railsback, the book’s protagonist, that I’m wondering if I worked for the FBI in a previous life.
When some people go away this summer, they may have no idea that somebody dropped by their house while they were gone. Hundreds of times each year, teams from the Federal Bureau of Investigation slip into houses and office buildings. Armed with a judges warrant, they seek information or plant bugs, and if all goes well, sneak away.
There are about 70 agents on about seven different teams. And these teams spend weeks watching the target to see who goes in, to see if there are any dogs. In the case of dogs, they will show a photograph of the dog to a veterinarian who is on contract. And the veterinarian, based on the weight of the dog and the type of dog, will prescribe just the right amount of tranquilizer and the agents will use a dart gun and shoot the tranquilizer into the dog. And then at the end of the break in...
They each have a specialty. One will just watch to see if anybody is coming once they’re in. One will take photographs of what the premises is like when they go in. If they have to move a chair, lets say, they put a tape where the chair was and then they move it back.
One of the most fun parts of writing Something Missing was the idea that I was inventing a new career. Legal or otherwise, Martin was making a living doing something that I was thought was completely plausible and yet, to my knowledge, never previously attempted.
Apparently the FBI was one step ahead of me.
But perhaps I have found an answer to the hundred of requests for a sequel to Something Missing.
Maybe Martin could bring his talents to the FBI tactical operations team.
As an outside consultant, perhaps, critical of the wasteful nature of their large teams and overly complex methodology.
Or maybe as an FBI double agent, exposing a corrupt tactical operations team by using his own similar but superior tactics against them.
Martin Railsback, the FBI watchdog.
To be perfectly honest, it’s probably not the kind of book that I could write. Thrillers like the books I have just described are probably not in my wheelhouse.
A sequel to Something Missing (undoubtedly titled Something Found) would invariably deal with Martin’s struggle to relinquish his criminal career in order to bring love and family into his life.
But that book has yet to speak to me. It may never speak to me.
But imagining Martin Railsback going to battle with a team of FBI agents is certainly fun to imagine.