Nine Moves Ahead
Three percent of men and one percent of women are estimated to be sociopaths by the American Society of Psychoanalysis Physicians. This data means four and a half million male sociopaths may roam the country. Some are, no doubt, brilliant. Authors of mystery/thrillers often feature the crimes of brilliant sociopaths who like cerebral chess masters pensively plan many moves ahead of law enforcement and private investigators. The pieces on a criminal psychopath’s boards are brilliantly positioned to assure victim submission. They have placed their queen in a critical position to ensure checkmate if one false move is made by law enforcement or the protagonist. The bad guys place the equivalent of a rook in position to influence a forensic outcome. A knight is positioned to encourage criminals to act aggressively to pursue their own evil self-interests. Even their ponds are equally well-positioned.
Brilliant criminals think as much as nine moves ahead. The best law enforcement can do if they keep playing their opponents game is hope for a stalemate. Or maybe not.
Mystery/thrillers almost always have protagonists that out-maneuver criminals at their own game. For every brilliant psychopath/sociopath there is an even more clever crime solver who thinks ten moves ahead, uses the latest technology, and institutes a paradigm change in the way this life-threatening game is played.
It’s good over evil.
Jed O’Dea is the author of mystery/thrillers.