Writing MS-13 as villain

When I first started writing Hell Spawn, I figured that I wasn’t using any controversial bad guys when I threw in MS-13 as a throwaway character. I had heard of them back when I was taking a course on Organized Crime in 2003, and I then tripped over them in Vince Flynn’s Consent to Kill.

I mean, these were bad guys that were one step away from being on a terrorist watch list, and they were a street gang that owned rocket propelled grenades. They had freaking military training. Their motto was “rape, control, kill.” These are wonderful, made to order minions for an action-adventure film — you know, one of the faceless thugs that Ahhhnuld mowed down in droves.

And MS-13 …. was basically going to be a random encounter. There would be no follow up from them. At all. They were one random encounter in the outline.

During my writing, I felt I needed another random encounter. The one in the outline was several chapters away, and there’s been a ton of exposition in this book. Hey, let’s have a small little encounter on the street…

Hey, maybe that little encounter leads to the big encounter in a few chapters! That would be solid.

And, suddenly, MS-13 became a running subthreat and mini-boss in Hell Spawn. Dang. That spiraled.

Anyway, a month after I finished the book, MS-13 had murdered several people not rock-throwing distance away from me, I though, “Hey, I’m ahead of the curve by a little.” More often than not, someone does something that mirrors my books far too close for my comfort. If MS-13 were an emerging threat in real life, maybe they would be in the media by the time Hell Spawn released in September. That would be really, really lucky.

I finished writing Hell Spawn in November of 2017.

The state of the union in January 2018 featured MS-13, and Trump even had the parents of some of their victims at the State of the Union…..

So maybe they would make national headlines a little sooner than I thought.

But hey, they were already there. And they’re MS-13. They’ve been bad guys for 15 years. Even CSI: Miami had their own, thinly veiled knockoff of MS-13.

Apparently, they’re slightly more controversial than that now.

But they’ve become surprisingly large in the story thread. They’re no where near main bad guy status, but boy, do they provide good shootouts.

And just wait until you see what they do in Death CultHeh heh heh.

Death Cult‘s official release is next week, so you might want to pre-order it now.

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