General Fiction

By John Darrin

Publisher : Kunati Books

ABOUT John Darrin

John Darrin
John Darrin is a consultant on nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness. His experience in the nuclear industry has taken him all over the world, from China to Finland, from Central America to Canada, and includes dismantling obsolete nuclear reactors, the safe treatment and disposa More...



A multi-millionaire entrepreneur with a bent for murder, and a talent for creating bizarre and aptly-named killing machines, implements his latest business plan: interactive pay-per-view executions, live on the Internet.

First a ruthless drug dealer is torn to pieces by the "Rehabinator." A pedophile is dispatched by controlled lightning from the liquid-Taser "Pediphryer." And a crime boss is electrocuted with the "Lesso-lator", all with a click of the killer's F10 button. And then another and another...

It's all live on the Internet, and the paying public lines up for the chance to "pull the trigger." A crackpot scientist who's almost as mad as the genius behind the killings holds the key to bursting his bubble. A free-lance writer and a rogue FBI computer geek must use it to unlock the secret of his identity and stop the killings before they become the next prime-time  broadcast.

Screenshot: a techno-thriller with a provocative premise.

First novel depicts frightening but feasible real-life scenario by Brooke Kenny | Staff Writer - The Gazette The idea behind John Darrin's techno-thriller "Screenshot" is voyeuristic, haunting — and not that far-fetched. In the novel, courtesy of an extremely wealthy and disturbed entrepreneur, individuals pay to participate in interactive online assassinations of criminals. A writer and a rogue FBI computer geek are dragged into the events and themselves become targets. Darrin attributes the idea to a real story his son Josh told him about a Texas rancher who set up a remote-controlled rifle and a video camera and sold time on the Internet to people who wanted to shoot wildlife that passed by. Participants could activate the rifle from their computer. In an age of increasingly interactive entertainment, Darrin fears we are moving in the direction of the audience in his novel. "…This kind of spectacle has always had its fans," Darrin says. "You look at what professional wrestling has evolved to, and even that is not enough. Now we get ultimate warrior-type contests where there are no rules. Someone has to give up or be knocked unconscious, or worse. The Internet, with its anonymity and access, makes this even easier." Darrin, who moved to Montgomery County at age 13, has lived in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac and Rockville. For now, though, his home is the 36-foot travel trailer he drives through the country. After Darrin's wife Anne died of a rare neurological disease in late 2007, he gave away all their possessions and bought the trailer, a truck to tow it and a motorcycle. He hit the open road in May 2008, and has been all over the U.S. on what he calls his "Go Places / Meet People / Do Things Tour." "I knew if I stayed in our home after she died, I would hibernate, doing my consulting work from my home office and leave only to get groceries." Darrin says. "And eventually I'd become the Unabomber or something." Darrin wrote the book during his wife's illness, but considers fiction writing entertainment rather than a form of therapy. He describes the stories he creates as movies in his head. "The way I write is that I create an exciting scenario, populate it with interesting people, and report what happens," he says. "I am often surprised by the directions the story takes, or the actions and feelings of my characters." The author is pleased at the realism of his characters, events and technology. "My hero is no hero. He's just a good man who perseveres in the face of some pretty difficult situations that he gets pulled into," he says. A sequel to "Screenshot" called "The Rocket's Red Glare," about coordinated simultaneous dirty bomb attacks, is in the works. He is also writing a non-fiction book, with five short biographies of people he has known, and ghostwriting on another project. In the fall, Darrin plans to get married and live in Frederick. Currently employed as a consultant on response preparedness for nuclear and radiological emergencies, eventually he hopes his writing will pay the bills. "Screenshot" is available for purchase at major online booksellers and by visiting

"... a satisfying debut thriller ..." that "... keeps readers on the edge of their seats." Booklist