Experiment in Murder

By Francine Brokaw on Suite101.com

With shades of The Manchurian Candidate hanging over the entire story, Experiment in Murder takes on the subject of hypnosis and creating unknowing murderers. The story begins with the murder of a Washington, D.C. psychiatrist. Mackenzie Smith is called on to defend a patient who is being considered as a suspect in the murder.


What Mackenzie and readers quickly discover is a rogue CIA program in which psychiatrists have been searching for specific traits among patients that make them highly susceptible to hypnosis and to undertaking the task of murder. This is right out of the classic movie The Manchurian Candidate. As a matter of fact, there are many similarities between that story and this book. Mind control to get people to assassinate political leaders is the foundation of both of these stories.

Too Close to Real Life

The book involves a Middle Eastern man who is being hypnotized and conditioned to assassinate a presidential candidate. They prey on his hatred of Israel and the candidateís support of that country. This is very similar to the situation of Sirhan Sirhan and Robert Kennedy in 1968. And, in the novel they make the man write down his feelings about Israel and the candidate. Creepily enough, what they make him write down is very similar to some of the writings by Sirhan in his diary.

And, the accused assassin of Senator Robert Kennedy is now protesting his incarceration because he is saying he was under mind control and doesnít remember any of that fateful night in 1968. This chillingly parallels the story in the novel.

Also, there are aspects of the JFK assassination woven through this book. All in all, it made me somewhat uneasy reading this novel. I continually drew parallels between the actual incidents and characters and those in the novel. And, while reading the book I could see the actors in the movie The Manchurian Candidate playing out the scenes.


At times the writing was mired with facts I felt were not necessary, but on the whole it was an easy book to read. This is just one of Trumanís Capital Crimes novels. If you like Margaret Trumanís novels, you will most likely enjoy this one as well. By including the ins-and-outs of Washington politics, this weaves together an intriguing story that will leave readers thinking and wondering about some of Americaís most recent assassinations.

Selected Works

For anyone who aspires to a writer's career, this book is a must-read.
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