Update: Patricia Cornwell’s “Predator” & A Personal Note

I’m almost finished with Patricia Cornwell’s latest book, "Predator," and, I know, I know I complained about the work in an earlier post. But after I got through that rough spot the book turned into a real page-turner, a gory page-turner, you just can’t take that stuff seriously. I don’t let the gory stuff penetrate…I must have missed one of her earlier books because her niece, Lucy, and former cop-now "co-worker", Marino, sure have gone through some serious personality changes. Cornwell also has former FBI man Benton bitterly complain about how the effect of the Patriot Act on personal privacy.

Do you remember when President Clinton was defending himself from yet another womanizing charge–I forget her name, she was doing volunteer work, fundraising, her husband had committed suicide because he was bankrupt, and she said she told Clinton and he touched her improperly. Remember? She even went on 60 minutes with her charges.

In the heat of all this embarrassment Clinton said something like: go ask Patricia Cornwell, down in Virginia ask her what people think (of this woman who was bringing charges against the President).

In Cornwell’s new book, one evil character wears a hood, and that could be what put me off.

I remember a frightening incident, the first time such a thing had happened to me, oh, in the early 1980s. I was working for a little over-the-hill newspaper, free-lancing, and I was assigned to do a story on a few bars with character, historic. I took a girlfriend with me. As I recall there was a cowboy bar on Canada Road in Woodside and another on Skyline.

And then around 10 p.m. we headed over Highway 92, back home to the Coastside. I was driving and I intended to drop my friend off at her home in Half Moon Bay when I looked in the rear view mirror and told her: "I think we’re being followed."

I wasn’t sure; I’d never been followed before.

"That car’s still there. I’m not taking you home."

I decided to drive to El Granada; I was looking for police.

My friend said, "Why don’t you go to the ‘quick stop’. There’s a phone there."

The ‘quick stop’, that’s what we called it, was open ’til midnight and all lit up and outside there was a phone booth (an almost extinct species now).

It was dark driving along the road paralleling Highway 1, and nobody else was around, and when I looked in the rearview mirror, the car was still there, not sitting on my bumper, back back a few car-lengths. But now instead of it just being a car and not being able to see anything but the car, there was a frightening change—the man, it must have been a man, had turned the interior light on and had covered his head with a hood!

I don’t remember if I screamed but I knew I was close to the "quick-stop" and the lights and the phone and that gave me confidence. The man in the car behind us must not have known. Had he followed us from one of the bars we visited? He must have!

Seconds later I saw the lights, we were safe (and the car that had followed us vanished back into the darkness). I ran to the phone and called the police and they came right away and they followed my car as I took my friend home and they followed me home and said they would be checking my house all night long. Which the police did, shining a search light on my house every so many minutes.