I was one of the Baby Boomers who lived through periodic catastrophe drills where the alarm bell ricocheted through a cinder block school house, and a deep, authoritarian voice boomed from a loud speaker.  “This is an attack.  I repeat, this is an attack.  Get under your desk immediately.”  As ludicrous as it may seem in today’s age the truth back then was the government didn’t fully comprehend the lethal effects of radiation.  They put soldiers in trenches at the Test Site in Nevada a few miles from ground zero and followed a cloud trails from atomic bomb blasts across the United States . . . testing the amount of radiation spreading across the entire country.

images (2)download


Radiation caused cancers were proven by the people living in St. George, Utah known as the “Down Winders”.  But it took an unprecedented legal battle to force compensation from the government for those effected because no one was ever warned of the dangers of radiation.  Atom has amassed a historical archive of still images and film footage to document the progression of a true weapon of mass destruction.  I’ve included several links for film footage taken between 1946 and 1955 because one picture is worth a thousand rants.


The Teapot Dome video is only 3:31 long, but it shows the village of houses constructed from different building materials to test how each would hold up under an atomic bomb shock wave.  Houses and mannequins simulating people were disintegrated in seconds.  These images may be familiar because film footage of the shock wave was devastating and has been used in hundreds of documentaries.

Atomic Bomb Destruction 3Atomic Bomb Destruction 2Atomic Bomb Destruction 1Atomic Bomb Destruction 4


It occurred to me there are not many still alive who dived under school desks when the ominous voice warned us of our fate if we did not seek shelter under desks.  While younger generations are certainly aware nuclear holocausts can happen, like Chernobyl and Fukushima, they didn’t grow up with pictures of radiation burn victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  I asked my Gen-X son if he remembered seeing pictures of Hiroshima burn victims and what effect those images had on him.  He responded these burn victims didn’t upset him any more than pictures of the fire-bombing victims in Dresden, Germany.  Both were equally horrific to him.  My brother then offered the difference between Dresden and Hiroshima was radiation.  Radioactive fallout killed Japanese who were miles away from Ground Zero and the land was ruined for decades because radioactive half-life can exist for centuries.

radiation effects animals 1radioactive elephant's foot

radiation effects chernoybl 1

Radiation damage to the intestinal tract lining will cause nausea, bloody vomiting and diarrhea. This occurs when the victim’s exposure is 200 rems or more. The radiation will begin to destroy the cells in the body that divide rapidly.  Basically, your body organs begin to melt.  It is an excruciatingly painful way to die.

Black and white images of people disfigured by horrific burns or the shadow of a man whose ashes were fused into the concrete steps where he fell as a 6,000-degree bomb flash incinerated him were indelibly impressed into my memory.  Recently, government film footage was declassified and converted to HD.  Links are attached.  By today’s standards it’s grainy but the footage is original.

Everyone in the United States needs to come to a visceral emotional acceptance of Robert Oppenheimer’s reaction to the first test of the atom bomb . . . “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Robert Oppenheimer


 I was a child of the Cold War and absorbed the fear imprinted on a young and impressionable mind.  Then I moved to Las Vegas about the time atomic bombs at the Test Site were being detonated.  I lived in a two-story house and remember the house shaking and swaying as the 928 underground bombs exploded at the Test Site 90 miles from where I lived.

Radioactive wasteYucca Mountain entrance doors 475 344

Nevada Test Site above ground atomic bomb detonation
black & white, ground level, 30 miles from ground zero, fully formed mushroom cloud.

Because I spent most of my adult life in Nevada, when an editor at Avon Books asked me to write a mystery because that was the most popular genre for his publishing house, it wasn’t a far stretch to incorporate Area 51, the Nevada Test Site, and the travesty of Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Site.  As enormous amounts of information became available on the Internet about these formerly “forbidden” subjects, I soon realized the story woven in Glitter was more realistic than I realized when writing this book.  It is fiction, but many of the characters were drawn from real life.

Desert Rock, Marines positioned in front of an Atomic Bomb Blast

Desert Rock Troop Movements HD

Target Nevada

Documentary on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Nuclear Attacks