Graffiti upsets most people. But Las Vegas writer Howard Jenkins was shocked at how far many ordinary people go in their hatred for vandalism.
"I was amazed at the often violent outbursts from non-violent citizens at the sight of graffiti," Jenkins writes on his website howardjenkins.com. "What if one of these graffiti haters was a sociopath?"
That premise is explored in "Tag! You're Hit," a novel about a serial killer targeting graffiti vandals and the police detectives hunting for him.
Jenkins packed his account with authentic details gained as a crime prevention volunteer for the Metropolitan Police Department and graduate of the city of Las Vegas' Citizens Police Academy. He found a gold mine of information in Detective Scott Black's graffiti crimes class. Black went on to write the foreword for "Tag! You're Hit." He describes the fury directed at graffiti.
"Graffiti is symptomatic of greater evils," Black writes. "It is a warning of what we fear the most: victimization. This is why in movies, television programs, video games, and music videos the backdrop for a high crime area, a place-out-of-control, is always covered in graffiti. It is synonymous with urban decay, rampant crime, and anarchy."
Jenkins said he is grateful for Black's "support, critical suggestions, corrections and positive feedback."
Excerpt from "Tag! You're Hit"
The powerful .330 Dakota Magnum's telescopic site located two young men, one carrying a spray can, the other seemed to be holding a length of rope, creeping around the fencing on the bridge. The crosshairs found the spray can-holding target as he started to work his defacing deed. Tightening his finger, Morgan squeezed off a round and saw his target disappear from view. We don't need your stinkin' graffiti, he muttered to himself. Goodbye scum. And as the other offender scrambled behind the bridge column, he added, Don't come back.