Anastasia Gets Swatted
When you live in New Jersey, you’re never at a loss for plot ideas. We’re a tiny state, but we’re also the most densely populated state in the nation, and many of our residents are up to no good. In A Stitch to Die For, the fifth book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, I incorporated several recent news stories into the plot. One of them is the rash of swatting incidents that have taken place throughout the state over the past few months.
If you’re not familiar with swatting, it’s when someone phones in an anonymous tip to the police that a hostage situation or some other violent crime is in progress at a certain address. The caller identifies himself as either someone hiding in the house or a concerned neighbor who witnessed the break-in.
Swatting began with online gamers who would swat other gamers who were beating them. Search “swatting” on Youtube and you’ll find 34,000 videos. Often the victim of a swatting is online at the time. When the SWAT team burst in with guns drawn, the incident is captured on the victim’s computer camera.
Swatting soon spread to celebrity homes in California. More recently, the perpetrators have targeted schools and the homes of ordinary citizens. Here in New Jersey after a state assemblyman introduced legislation to toughen penalties for swatting, he became the victim of a swatting.
Because the police have no way of knowing if the calls they receive are hoaxes are real situations, they have to take each call seriously. Not only is that a drain on municipality budgets, it’s dangerous. It’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or even killed.
Unfortunately, most culprits are never caught because they use computers to hack into phone lines. The police can’t trace the calls. The perpetrator could be the teenager next door but just as easily be someone hundreds or thousands of miles away. And it doesn’t take a computer genius to learn how to do it. Directions are only a click away on the Internet.
As awful as these incidents are, I knew I just had to have Anastasia and her family fall victim to a swatting.
A Stitch to Die For
Ever since her husband died and left her in debt equal to the gross national product of Uzbekistan, magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack has stumbled across one dead body after another—but always in work-related settings.
When a killer targets the elderly nasty neighbor who lives across the street from her, murder strikes too close to home.
Couple that with a series of unsettling events days before Halloween, and Anastasia begins to wonder if someone is sending her a deadly message.
A Stitch to Die For is available in paperback and as an ebook.
Lois Winston's Bio:
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name.
Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.”
In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.
Visit Lois/Emma at www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com.
Follow everyone on Tsu at www.tsu.co/loiswinston, on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/anasleuth, and onTwitter @anasleuth.
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( I absolutely love this great cover--and take my word for it, these books are terrific.