By JEFF CLEMETSON | Mission Times Courier
No one wants to get sick with COVID-19. No one wants to get a loved one sick either. But what if someone did? That is the premise of a new book titled “Novel Coronavirus” by Allied Gardens author Kyle G. Roesler.
The book is a modern twist of a whodunnit about a young man who still lives at home with his father. When the pandemic begins, the son comes up with a convenient murder plan to rid himself of his overbearing father, who has pre-existing medical conditions by purposely infecting himself with the virus “assuming he would survive and dad wouldn’t,” Roesler said.
To soften the murderer’s persona in the story, Roesler made Kevin, the son, someone who has a slight degree of mental illness. “He isn’t looking at the world with the same moral compass as the rest of humanity is,” Roesler explained.
Roesler came up with the idea for his book while washing his hands as prescribed by health officials after an evening walk with his wife.
“While I was doing that this particular evening, it sort of occurred to me, ‘What if I forgot sometime?’ It would be so easy to touch something else first and if I was carrying COVID on my fingertips, I could infect the people I’m living with. And that thought quickly changed to, ‘What if someone wanted to do that?’ It seemed like an easy way to try and infect someone else and try to get away with a murder in a way most people wouldn’t see as murder,” he said.
Roesler then outlined the story, began writing, and five weeks later had finished his book. He felt compelled to finish “Novel Coronavirus” quickly because he said it was an obvious story for writers to write and he wanted his to be one of the first. The self-published book is now available on Amazon and other bookstore websites.
Besides the mystery of how Kevin’s murder plan is eventually found out, the book also features scenes of people hoarding toilet paper, zoom cocktail parties, zoom funerals, characters who are high school seniors and disappointed they are missing normal graduation events.
“The main thing I was trying to do, in addition to wrapping it around this whodunnit, was to capture just what it felt like to be in quarantine,” Roesler said. “Trying to capture all those different experiences that are unique to 2020 and put them all in one place in this book so that hopefully in the future it will be a good resource for people to go back and go, ‘Oh, that’s what it was like,’ or remember that’s what it was like living through 2020.”
While Roesler hopes the book will be a good historical reference, does he worry about it being used as a contemporary guide for would-be murderers?
“I’ve thought about it, but I look at it the opposite way around,” he said. “By putting the book out there, it’s more sort of warning people in law enforcement that this is a possibility. Keep this in mind as people are dying because you can’t necessarily assume that every infection is just a complete accident.”
That might be difficult for law enforcement, according Roesler’s own research he conducted while writing his book. “I don’t think there is any way to tell the difference between an intentional infection and an accidental infection,” he said.
“Novel Coronavirus” is Roesler’s sixth self-published book. The retired aerospace engineer moved to Allied Gardens a couple years ago from the Bay Area and is now a dedicated writer. Besides “Novel Coronavirus,” Roesler is also publishing a trilogy — first book titled “Act Globally” — in 2020.
“It’s my first reach into science fiction, although it isn’t about aliens or space battles or anything,” he said, adding that the story is about a company that makes self-replicating machines that are used by an eccentric billionaire to create a mountain outside of Las Vegas that is bigger than Mt. Everest.
“Novel Coronavirus” and all other titles by Roesler are available on most ebook platforms. For “Novel Coronavirus,” 50% of all proceeds from the book will be donated to charities — 25% to Feeding America and 25% to the World Health Organization.
— Reach editor Jeff Clemetson at firstname.lastname@example.org.