McCollum finds another controversy to novelize
The first thing you read as you open Thomas McCollum’s new book is his unflinching dedication: “In respectful memory of Nicole Brown Simpson (To a long-time friend who never served me msg. How I wish you were here to tell your story).”
By the time you finish the book, you get the point. In Palmer Lake, Thomas C. McCollum III envisions a cryogenics foundation located in Minnesota’s icy north, where the author grew up. When the wealthy foundation president is found dead, police say suicide, but others call it murder. The dead guy, frozen of course, is brought back to life in a grand climactic scene. Warmed up enough to talk, he states clearly, unequivocally, who did him in.
Now the Nicole connection starts to make sense. McCollum doesn’t mince words when asked to explain the dedication, although he still plays the storyteller.
“In 1994,” he begins, “my very closest friend was accused of murdering his wife.” He goes on to make it clear that, in his eyes, his golfing buddy OJ turned from good guy to liar through those heavily publicized trial months. “I saw the autopsy records, the photographs,” says McCollum. “I don’t just think he did it. I know he did it.”
In fact, McCollum testified as a friend and a medical specialist against Simpson in the civil trial. “Imagine if Nicole had been suspended and in 20 years she was able to come back and point the finger.
When another friend died— in what was called a suicide but clearly, McCollum says, was a murder-— the author started imagining a mystery novel along similar lines. Add in the possibility of cryogenics— freezing a just-dead body and suspending it in liquid nitrogen until science can find revival techniques-— and there’s his new book.
Last time this sometime Charlottesville resident made waves was 1996, when he was promoting Tainted Blood, his first novel in which he dramatized his passionate belief that there is no AIDS epidemic, just evil intentions compounded by government ineptitude and corporate greed.
Tainted Blood shot to #5 on the bestseller list, helped in part by his appearance on the Today show, bringing glory to Shoji Books, a tiny Charlottesville-based book publishing company owned and operated by Mayapriya Long.
McCollum and Long are hoping for equal success with Palmer Lake, just out in hardcover. Again McCollum is waging a provocative campaign, this time on behalf of cryogenics.
“It’s just another phase of medicine,” says McCollum, who completed three years of med school at UCLA and made two fortunes in the medical industry, first with diagnostic chemical reagents, then with balloon angioplasty technology.
McCollum, 63, may not be designing to make a fortune in the cryogenics industry, but he has invested. He has a deluxe suspension space reserved at The Cryonics Institute in Clinton, Michigan— best body-freeze deal on the planet, he says.Read more on: Thomas McCollum