So far, I’ve released very little information about my upcoming new Jess Kimball novel, Fatal Game. I like to keep most of the thrills secret until the last minute. But I will tell you this: Fatal Game involves a home invasion.
I do extensive research when writing all of my thrillers to ensure that everything is 100 percent most certainly, without a doubt plausible, even if some artistic license is required as the plot develops. It was during that research that I found this hard-to-believe but true crime story in California where a home invasion plays an important role.
It’s a bizarre case that some have nicknamed the Gone Girl crime, after the thriller/suspense novel by Gillian Flynn and the movie of the same name.
Prosecutors say, in 2015, Matthew Muller — a former marine and a graduate of Harvard Law School — broke into Denise Huskins’ and Aaron Quinn’s home in Vallejo, California.
They say, while threatening them with a stun gun and a water pistol designed to look like a gun, Muller tied the couple up with zipties and drugged them. Police say Muller then put Huskins in the trunk of his car and took her to his family home in South Lake Tahoe. They say he raped her there, while keeping her tied up and blindfolded for two days. Meanwhile, he left Quinn behind, drugged, with goggles and headphones on. When he woke up, a prerecorded message told him he was being watched on camera, and that he shouldn’t call police. A message demanded two payments of $8,500.
The nightmare gets even stranger:
“Prosecutors say Muller used elaborate tactics – including recorded voices and whispers and a blow-up doll dressed in military garb – during the abduction to convince Huskins and Quinn he was part of a kidnap gang.”
The Sacramento Bee
It sounds like a made-up story — so much so that for a while, police didn’t believe it. They thought Huskins and Quinn were performing an elaborate hoax. And the third man who helped them, unidentified, had fled into anonymity.
Police closed in on their suspect four months later thanks to a mistake they say Muller made during another home invasion.
He left behind a cell phone.
That helped them to identify Muller, and connect him to the crimes against Huskins and Quinn. They believe he is also responsible for several other home invasions. His attorney says he suffers from bipolar disorder and psychosis. In March 2017, Muller was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Our hard-working law enforcement professionals, in concert with our justice system, tracked down and convicted Muller.
But in my books, Jess Kimball is the one who keeps going when the system hits a brick wall. She’s relentless, especially after the system gives up.
To read about Jess Kimball and my new thriller Fatal Game, find links to order the book HERE.