Babylon Rising, Chapter 41, Part 1

This horrible plan and the resulting investigation are fascinating to me, so we are moving right along!

We begin with a reminder that Talon is evil:

Talon preferred being close in, looking at his victims face-to-face.  It was neater, riskier, and always more memorable to look at their fear just before he slashed them.  Of course, he also derived extreme pleasure from the deadly precision of the falcons he had trained for so many years.

Gee, we would never know that Talon was evil unless we were told here, in Chapter forty-freakin’-one.  We certainly had no clues, other than the murders of Farley the window-washer, Arthur the Impliedly Gay son of Shane Barrington, Chuck the dumb ex-con, and now the church bombing.

Good thing we were told.

Also, it seems odd that Talon likes both to be face-to-face with his victims, and killing from a distance with his falcons.  You would think it would be one or the other.  I figure that LaHaye and Dinallo really liked both ideas, and put them into the same character, when it would have made more sense to paint Talon as someone who likes to kill at a distance with his falcons, but will kill up close when he has to.

Anyway, this is all secondary to the fact that Talon is ruminating over all this while standing in the parking lot of the church he just bombed.

TALON, YOU ARE THE STUPIDEST CRIMINAL MASTERMIND EVER!

So, with the local police, emergency workers, and oh yeah, the FBI hanging around, Talon decides to stand around in the parking lot, gazing admiringly at the carnage he has wrought.  He’s not a church member, not a local that people would recognize from the neighborhood, and the only people who would recognize him (Laura and Shari) know him as the suspicious guy who’s been hanging around with a troublemaking ex-con.

More on the explosives and the Really Stupid Plan: There was enough force in that backpack to bring down half the building, and it had been packed into a plastic sheet that looked like a laminated pocket protector.  There were also other explosive materials packed in the bags he and Chuck had planted around the basement, but it would not take the FBI long to determine that those were just window dressing.

Well, if you knew they would be quickly determined to be fakes, why did you even put them there, you idiot??

Once he had killed Chuck in the basement, he had packed the C-10 explosives into the backpack, since he hadn’t wanted Chuck walking around with it, then put the wired backpack back on Chuck and left him in the basement.

What?  So Chuck’s only job was to wear the backpack after he was dead?  Chuck was not an evangelical and had nothing to do with this church.  HOW DOES THIS DISCREDIT EVANGELICALS?

And sheesh, why even include Chuck in the stupid plan, since it’s obvious you could have done everything yourself?

Talon had checked to make sure that Chuck had left Paul Wallach far from the explosion so that he would survive.

WHAT?  How could you possibly know that an unconscious guy, on the same floor as an explosion that would “bring down half the building,” would survive?  How??  And why would you care if he survives or not?  Again, he has nothing to do with this church and isn’t even a Christian!

But wait, there’s more:

Making it look like the accidental explosion of a basement bomb factory run by evangelical Christian extremists would not hold up for long under the scrutiny of the FBI. 

Hey, genius, maybe it would if you didn’t involve so many non-Christians in your plan.  Just sayin’.  You get a “D” for effort, Talon.

Talon comforts himself with the thought that, “By the time the FBI saw that the bomb factory ‘evidence’ was just window dressing, the media would have moved.  In its wake would be a time of noise and confusion, and people would recall mainly a bunch of crazy evangelicals to be afraid of.”

You wouldn’t have this cold comfort if you had put just a bit of effort into making it look like the work of evangelicals, not out-of-town non-Christians, Talon.

Then Talon remembers something.

He left his keys behind.

I am not making this up.

Talon left his keys in Chuck’s jacket.  Which is still on Chuck’s body.  Which is now, presumably, lying mangled in the basement, unless investigators and emergency personnel have removed it already.

So he has to go back down into the basement to retrieve his keys.

Worst.  Criminal.  Mastermind.  Ever.

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Posted on June 6, 2010, in Babylon Rising, Books. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. One of the classic ways to catch arsonists is to photograph the onlookers. Spot the same face at several fires, and chances are that’s your guy.

    OK, the main problem here is that there aren’t any bomb-making bits for the FBI to find fragments of.

    (Would this really be an FBI job anyway? At least I’d expect Homeland Security and maybe ATF to make a play. Not to mention state police…)

    In any case, what the FBI will find is: “one guy was in here with a backpack full of explosives. It went off, and set off some other stuff that was scattered around.”

    At the very best, this is going to be considered an explosives stockpile, not a factory.

    You might expect the keys to be mangled beyond recognition, but it wouldn’t be smart to count on that. Explosions are odd things.

  2. Also, it seems odd that Talon likes both to be face-to-face with his victims, and killing from a distance with his falcons.

    …How does one do homicide-by-falcon anyways? Are they trained to carry anvils to drop on unsuspecting targets?

    Anyways, the obvious answer is to have his falcons carry wireless cameras, so that he can be far away while watching from up close as his falcons kill! That’s just the sort of ludicrously over-complicated scheme that he’d favour, I think.

    What? So Chuck’s only job was to wear the backpack after he was dead? Chuck was not an evangelical and had nothing to do with this church. HOW DOES THIS DISCREDIT EVANGELICALS?

    …I…But…Grug…THE BACKPACK WAS EMPTY?! What?

    Firedrake has my other complaint nailed: Why not, y’know, plant actual explosives manufacturing materials in the basement? If this church is like most others then there’ll be at least one day a week when nothing is going on pretty much all day. So you sneak in, plant your evidence, then blow it up that night or the next day, or whenever people are next in the church. *Bam* instant suspicion thrown on this Evangelical church which clearly has been manufacturing explosives.

    • “Why not, y’know, plant actual explosives manufacturing materials in the basement? If this church is like most others then there’ll be at least one day a week when nothing is going on pretty much all day. So you sneak in, plant your evidence, then blow it up that night or the next day, or whenever people are next in the church. *Bam* instant suspicion thrown on this Evangelical church which clearly has been manufacturing explosives.”

      This is exactly what I thought the plan was SUPPOSED to be. But now we find out it’s all a backpack carried by a nonChristian ex-con. If Talon’s plan was to be sure that suspicion DIDN’T fall on the church itself, he couldn’t have done a much better job.

  3. I commend you for hanging in reading and commenting on this book. I kept on hitting a brick wall when reading it — mostly I think because it intruded on a world I know all too well. I may not know a lot about explosives (although apparently just watching Burn Notice makes me better informed than the authors) but I do know about the world of academia. And Murphy would never have gotten tenure, indeed never would have had his contract renewed, had he behaved in this manner at any real ACCREDITED college. The man doesn’t teach the basic required elements of his course. I experienced a number of narcissistic profs in my time in academia but Murphy far exceeds any of them.

    Re: Murphy’s behaviour and tenure see http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2006/10/10bryan.html for reasons why Indiana Jones would not have gotten tenure.

  4. “paint Talon as someone who likes to kill at a distance with his falcons,”

    I am irresistibly tempted to start making “don’t kill us with falcons” jokes now.

    In all seriousness, WTF @ Talon

    I keep feeling like I’m stepping into a bizarro world of distorted images when I see the things presented in the Babylon Rising book. The convolutedness and sheer bizarrity of Talon’s plots makes me wonder if Dinallo isn’t secretly a huge Rube Goldberg fan.

  5. >>>What? So Chuck’s only job was to wear the backpack after he was dead?

    Well, and maybe also to lift Talon’s luggage *before* he was dead.
    (It’s *so* memorable to look at characters’ fear just before I slashed them…)

    >>>He left his keys behind.

    “Left Behind: The Keys”

    • “Left Behind: The Keys”

      BAHAHAHA!!! Love it!

      Now I want one of the pamphlets in the basement to say, “Will your keys be left behind?!?!?!”

  1. Pingback: Babylon Rising, Chapter 48 « Heathen Critique

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