Jim Williams of Bordentown has recently published “Beyond Hate.” The story involves an American man who witnesses the murder of a Muslim woman on an international dating site, embarks on a self-initiated mission to bring her justice, and becomes embroiled with al-qaeda and an American-born jihadist.
The Brooklyn-born Williams, a computer programmer for hospitals and medical centers and later a bar owner, says his story is based on the “what if?” principle and then used his experience as a world traveler and volunteer court mediator.
“My principal character, Paul Asoph, aka ‘Snake,’ is not a good guy and I hope you didn’t like him,” Williams says in a statement. “I have to admit, while he’s crazy and a serial killer, he’s also interesting and complex. My original thought was to kill him off at the end of the book. I just couldn’t do it.”
Here is a selection from “Beyond Hate”:
I came to the conclusion that Asian women would be my best bet. I did a lot of Googling and discovered if you believe all you read on Google, that an Asian lady’s culture and their personalities were kind of a throwback to the women of my earlier times. …
I focused on the Philippines. English was pretty much spoken all over the county, the Philippines had both a great history and an excellent current relationship with the USA, and from what I learned the women there were great. Our money was good too….
I joined a few Filipino dating websites. There’s a 12-hour time difference there so our day is their night time. I’d go online after I closed my bar and got home usually about 3 or 4 p.m. in the Philippines. There were always plenty of women online, all eager to chat. Almost all spoke English or/ could write it so I had no problem communication. I’m old but not stupid and could usually spot a phony. I must admit I fell for the ‘my kids are starving’ scam a few times and wired a little money through Western Union. I was beginning to think that was a mistake until I met Jenny.
She was the right age and beautiful too. She was mix of Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino . . . long black hair and a drop-dead figure. Jenny spoke perfect English and was intelligent and engaging in our conversations. She had been married years before, had two grown kids, not living with her, and her marriage had been legally annulled. She never asked for money or help of any sort. From what she told me, she had her owned businesses and property so I figured she had a few bucks. I was interested.
“Hi, Jenny. How are you doing today? You’re looking great as usual.”
“Hello my dear. How was your day? You look very tired. Did you work hard today?”
“Honey, I always look tired about this time of today. Yes. I did work hard. I know you don’t drink, but thank God Americans do. It was a good night at my bar. Nice crowd. Not too many drunks. Oh, did I tell you I like drinks?” I laughed.
Jenny was a Muslim, didn’t drink, but she wasn’t a practicing Muslim. About five percent of the Philippines is Muslim and her province of Mindanao is where most of them lived. She had already told me a little about her upbringing and it sounded difficult. Her people were poor farmers. Her uncle and his family had been slaughtered by the Japs and her father was captured and forced to work for them for three years. I had grown up poor but from what she told me, nowhere near as destitute as her family.
“Have you ever visited Asia, Jack?” she asked.
I used Jack as my name on all the websites I visited. I was pretty sure her name wasn’t Jenny either.
“No . . . Only Europe. Mostly when I was in the army,” I lied. I had served in Vietnam, never wanted to talk about it. “I think I’d like to go though. Maybe you’ll invite me sometime. Show me around.”
“I would enjoy showing you around my city. Perhaps you’ll plan a visit.”
Our relationship was still at the ‘getting to know’ stage, no commitments or promises at this point. We then talked about places we had been, hers being much more interesting than mine. She had traveled to Dubai, been to Hong Kong, the Arab Emirates, Thailand, Singapore, and spent a great deal of time in Saudi Arabia.
I was curious. “Why so much travel, Jenny? Business, work?”
“It was mostly work related. I was a partner in an auto parts dealership and I needed to travel a lot.”
That much travel for “auto parts” seemed strange to me, but I didn’t want to be nosy.
“Wow . . . impressive . . . Any memorable experiences along the way?”
“Oh, sure Jack. What do think a single woman traveling alone, doing business, especially in a Muslim country? There were many experiences.”
I waited for her to elaborate but after a long pause, I could tell she wasn’t going to and I didn’t ask.
We chatted on . . . her kids, her house, the weather. Talking about all the usual crap two people think the other was interested in. Ordinary life stuff. But I enjoyed talking and listening to her. She was in the middle of telling me what she was planning to cook for dinner when a strange look, maybe fear showed on her face. I heard a noise and suddenly two guys, one tall Italian or Arab looking and a short Filipino teenager, appeared behind her on my computer screen. She had stood and turned to face them when they came into the room. She said something to them that I couldn’t make out. They were on her quickly and the shorter of the two punched her in the face, knocking her to the floor and out of my sight. The bigger one then reached and pulled her up by her long black hair and began hitting her, hard; I could see her blood now. They were cursing in her language which I didn’t understand.
“Stop! Stop hitting her!” I screamed.
Jenny had been using a headset and they couldn’t hear me and my telling them to stop wouldn’t have made any difference. The tall guy had a knife at her throat and with a quick, powerful motion, cut it straight across. Her blood spurted, some of it hitting the computer screen. Jenny was dead. There was no doubt in my mind. He had killed her and I saw it happen. As he wiped the bloody knife on her blouse, he noticed my screen image for the first time. He came close . . . looking directly at me … black dead eyes. We stared at each other for what seemed to me forever but probably note really more than few seconds. He tried the headset and screamed into the microphone, “Fuck you!’ before the screen went black.
Beyond Hate by Jim Williams, 302 pages, $20, Dorrance Publishing.