Stories like this put me in mind of thoughtcrimes and Minority report

The Dorchester County Board of Education and the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office got very interested in the writings of a local Language Arts teacher.

Dr. K.S. Voltaer is better known by some in Dorchester County as Patrick McLaw, or even Patrick Beale. Not only was he a teacher at Mace’s Lane Middle School in Cambridge, but according to Dorchester Sheriff James Phillips, McLaw is also the author of two books: “The Insurrectionist” and its sequel, “Lillith’s Heir.”

Those books are what caught the attention of police and school board officials in Dorchester County. “The Insurrectionist” is about two school shootings set in the future, the largest in the country’s history.

Phillips said McLaw was taken in for an emergency medical evaluation. The sheriff would not disclose where McLaw is now, but he did say that he is not on the Eastern Shore. The same day that McLaw was taken in for an evaluation, police swept Mace’s Lane Middle School for bombs and guns, coming up empty.

People involved in the legal business often turn to writing novels. John Grisham comes to mind.

I look up the Doc and find a Facebook profile for his publisher, Northern Imperial Publishing and a post on their site:

Check out this impressive, anonymous, Google book review:

“With some of the most poignant writing one could encounter, Voltaer joins the ranks of Grisham, Baldacci, and Patterson in his first gripping thriller. This sophisticated plot will leave you on the edge of your seat, turning page by page, yearning for more. In an age where CSI, NCIS, and Criminal Minds have become the centers of our prime time entertainment, “The Insurrectionist” is a relevant story that will be quick to become a contemporary favorite. Voltaer writes with determination, purpose, and yet perfect eloquence, all the while driving at an overarching theme, a deeper point, unveiling the passions and emotions within us all.”

Considering that Voltaer’s work is the only stuff being promoted by this publisher and hasn’t updated since October 2013 when Lilith’s Heir was released, can I bet a cookie that it’s invented to be his own vanity press? Can I bet a cookie this “anonymous” good review came from his own head? The site has only 20 likes as of writing.

John Grisham has nearly 1.5 million likes on his Facebook page.

Maybe the teacher is a little bit left of sane, but maybe he’s just a guy who had ideas for a couple of books and wanted to publish them under a different name rather than use his given one. A lot of quality authors have used pen names, too, when they want to try something different. Nora Roberts and JD Robb are equally liked and are the same person. I don’t read either one, though. JK Rowling wrote A Casual Vacancy under a different name. I haven’t read that, either.

Where am I going with this? In circles, I guess. Did the school and police over-react here? Probably. They actually searched the school for bombs on the off chance that he’d consider making his fictionalized thrillers come true. Maybe he wants to. Or maybe he’s just a 23 year old guy who dreamed of being an author and had an idea for a story. Kudos to him for getting two books written, even if they’re only digital versions that few people know about and would pay for. Maybe he thought he’d strike it lucky like the authors of Wool and The Martian (I wrote about those here) and find online fame get offers of movie rights.

This kind of fame is hardly what he was expecting when he started…

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