Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Terror Travels the Devil's Highway

“Terror Travels the Devil’s Highway”
–the first Maggie Lopez, Border Patrol Agent novel.
Shorty after moving to Tucson in 2000, I learned firsthand what it was like living near the Mexican border. I heard for the first time, the term, “illegal alien.” I perhaps saw them, or at least, the trails they left behind in the desert. Maybe one made up the beds at the resort where I maintained an office. Maybe my wife and I actually hired one, Maggie, to help us organize our new house when we moved in. She was the sister of a national car rental firm employee. It never crossed our minds to ask for papers.
Then came 9/11.
For me, that changed the border issue from one of slowing or stopping illegal immigration of undocumented workers to one of stopping potential terrorists. I fathomed that most people could not tell an Arab from a Mexican, if the Arab lost the beard, kept the mustache, and arrived at the border speaking fluent Spanish.
Now I wonder, what if hundreds, if not thousands arrived in the U.S. alongside the undocumented workers? I also imagined the potential assistance and protection that could be afforded by the drug cartels.
What terror would we face then?
A cry went out after 9-11 concerning border security but little has changed over the past years. More agents have been added, a few more miles of fence constructed but basically, I believe, the border remains wide open.
Armed with my theory and a good laptop, I began this novel for an audience of one—Senator John McCain. I had been warned by a senator’s aide that I would never get a copy into his hands.
I wrote the book anyway.
This novel concerns a fictional plan to spread terror beyond the east coast at the same moment the Islamic fundamentalists were hitting the WTC twin towers, the Pentagon, and the failed, surmised target of the White House.

Charles Redner
August, 2011