SUMMER SERIES SPECIAL – NEW BOOK RELEASE

My New International Thriller

Available for Pre-Order (Click Here)

Official Release Date – May 31, 2017

IMPERFECT MURDER

(A Jon Masters Novel – Book 2)

Jon Masters learns that trusted friend and mentor, Dan Whitmore, has died. Although the police have ruled the death a suicide, Dan’s wife, Sheila, believes her husband was murdered and pleads with Jon to help her prove it.

Despite conflicting evidence and an uncooperative police detective, the case is reopened as a murder investigation. Retracing the last hours of Dan’s life, Jon uncovers information to indicate his friend was not only murdered but possibly implicated in distributing pharmaceuticals which could put millions of lives at risk.

Was Dan a willing accomplice or an innocent victim? The answer surprises even Jon. As he races to identify Dan’s killer, a two-fold conspiracy to undermine the world’s drug delivery system as well as to destabilize international politics unfolds.

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~ SUMMER SERIES SPECIAL SALE ~

 Imperfect Murder is Book 2 in the Jon Masters Series.

Lethal Medicine (Book 1) was released in 2016 and is available FREE with any pre-order purchase of Book 2.

 1) Pre-Order Imperfect Murder as an eBook by May 31st

2) Email the receipt to: lethalmedicine.coupon@gmail.com

3) Receive a FREE coupon for the Lethal Medicine eBook

**Specifics** Order Imperfect Murder as an eBook on or before May 31, 2017 and attach/scan the receipt to an email and send to lethalmedicine.coupon@gmail.com. You will receive a return email with a coupon code for a FREE eBook download of Lethal Medicine (Book 1 of the Jon Masters Series) within 15 days.

**NOTE:** Lethal Medicine is the prequel to Imperfect Murder and it might be best to read them in order (but it’s not entirely necessary).

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PAPERBACK VERSION of Imperfect Murder

Available on Amazon  –>  STARTING May 31, 2017

Posted in A Jon Masters Novel, A New Novel By James J. Murray, A Thriller Novel, About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, About Murder, Blog Writers, Blogging, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Imperfect Murder The Novel, James J. Murray Blog, New Blog, New Book Is Published, New Book Release, New Thriller | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Malaria Vaccine Breakthrough!

It has been estimated that half of the modern world’s population is at risk for malaria—either by infection in one’s homeland or through travel to areas prominent with the mosquito-borne disease. In 2015, there were 212 million cases. Of those, over half a million deaths resulted, and seventy percent involved children less than five years old.

Although malaria is a dreaded disease of the present-day world, it has been around and recognized since ancient times. References to it date back to Mesopotamia. In 270 BC, the Chinese Medical Book (called New Chin) addressed the disease.

Through worldwide educational efforts, advances in preventative medications and improvements in mosquito control, there has been a sixty percent decrease in malaria deaths worldwide over this and the last century—and an almost thirty percent decrease in mortality since 2010.

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that one of several malaria vaccines in development has made it through the crucial phases of testing and is now ready for advanced field testing in humans. Past Phase 3 trials in Sub-Saharan Africa decreased the mortality rate by fifty percent in 11,000 vaccinated children.

Starting in 2018, this specific malaria vaccine will be administered to over 120,000 children between the ages of five and seventeen months living in three African nations: Kenya, Ghana and Malawi.

Although the goal of the World Health Organization is to eliminate malaria by 2040 and this vaccine brings that potential achievement one step closer to fruition, there are still challenges to be addressed if this disease is to be fully eliminated in the coming decades. These include adequate access to the vaccine in many parts of the world where clean water and travel to clinics remain the primary barriers, particularly since the vaccine requires multiple doses (boosters) to effectively prevent the disease onset.

Much work still needs to be done to eliminate this disease that affects so many of the world’s population, especially children, but there is renewed hope for a vaccine to eradicate the world of malaria.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, Blog Writers, Blogging, Children and Deadly Malaria, Developing Vaccines, James J. Murray Blog, Malaria is a Parasitic Infection, Malaria Vaccine Saves Lives, New Blog, New Developments in Vaccine Therapy, New Drug Discoveries, New Drug Manufacturing Methods, New Drug Research, New Malaria Vaccine, New Vaccine Discoveries, Pharmacy/Pharmaceuticals, Prescription For Murder Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

DEA Lowers the BOOM on Kratom!

The herb kratom, from the leaves of the tropical tree Mitragyna speciosa which grows in parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, has been used for centuries in folk medicine as a psychoactive drug to improve mood and relieve pain.

Kratom has been in the news as a relatively new street drug and has been linked to hospitalizations and multiple deaths from its use. Therefore, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is rushing to criminalize this substance by attempting to make it a Schedule 1 drug (as is heroin, LSD, cocaine, and other illegal drugs). There are also state agencies addressing the issue.

Kratom supporters—and even some drug policy experts—argue, however, that the DEA is acting too hastily to lump kratom into the opiod epidemic that this and other nations around the world are experiencing. They argue that the reported injuries and deaths from kratom abuse involve only individuals who test positive for multiple abused substances or who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions.

To date, the only significant side effects of consuming too much kratom are nausea and vomiting.

Scientists have provided preliminary evidence that kratom could become a promising prescription drug to treat chronic pain, depression, anxiety and opioid addiction. Certain members of the scientific community are siding with kratom proponents who are petitioning the DEA to allow additional time for further study of this ancient substance before outlawing the drug altogether.

Research has demonstrated that kratom provides both stimulant and sedative effects, depending on the dose given. The tree from which kratom is extracted is in the Rubiaceae family, the same family as Coffea—the genius of flowering plants that produce coffee beans.

These research results indicate that the two main alkaloid substances in kratom (mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitagynine) create a combination of CNS stimulation and depressant effects by binding to monoaminergic and opioid receptors in the brain.

Although most opioids have only pain relieving and sedative effects, low to moderate doses of kratom create a mild stimulant effect, and a larger dose relieves pain without the sedative side effects of opioids.

Current thinking is that when an opioid drug binds to a receptor site in the brain, it triggers a number of different responses in a cell in a sort of protein cascade effect. One response is pain relief, while another triggers the negative side effects of respiratory depression and even comatose sedation—both of which are responsible for many opioid deaths.

Kratom, on the other hand, stimulates the painkilling response, but it doesn’t have much effect on the proteins that cause the sedative and depressant side effects. Thus, this ancient herb has potential as an opioid-like painkiller without the risky side effects. It could even be used to relieve opiate addiction. Unfortunately, it is this same attribute that also makes it a popular street drug.

Ironically, the United States government has mandated (through additional regulations) that doctors prescribe fewer opiates to prevent increased drug abuse, but the DEA is rushing to ban kratom, an herbal alternative that could possibly help in that fight.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, A New Drug Abuse Threat, A New Street Drug, About Ancient Forgotten Cures, About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, Alternatives to Opiate Painkillers, Ancient Curing Potions, Blog About Poisons in Fiction Writing, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Botanical Murder Weapons, Botanicals That Kill, Current Research on Kratom, Deaths From Kratom, Designer Drug Deaths, Designer Drugs of The Past, Designer Street Drugs, Designing Murder Plots, Dramatic Murder Weapons, Drug Abuse, Drug Poisoning, Euphoric Party Drugs, Herbal Pain Killers, How To Write A BloodLess Murder Scene, Ideas for Murder Scenes, James J. Murray Blog, Kratom Abuse, Kratom and Its History, Kratom to Relieve Pain, Lethal Botanicals, Medical Potential of Kratom, Murder Mayhem and Medicine, Murder With Party Drugs, New Blog, New Drug Research, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, New Ways to Manufacture Painkillers, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Prescription For Murder Blog, Psychoactive Designer Drugs, Street Drug Abuse Substances, Street Drug Overdosing, Street Drugs From History, Street Drugs of The Past, The Science of Murder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Die!

Last night, I had delicious mashed potatoes as part of my dinner, and it reminded me of a blog that I wrote a couple of years ago about the lethal aspects of the potato.

So, I decided to share that with you once again by rescheduling the blog that was supposed to be published today and to republish my deadly potato blog instead.

The potato plant, a member of the perennial nightshade family, has an interesting secret locked up in its leaves, stems and in those funny looking green spuds. The potato, a starchy tuber from the Solanum tuberosum plant and a dietary staple originating from the Incas of Peru 10,000 years ago, can be deadly if certain parts of the plant are consumed.

This trustworthy food that so often makes it to our tables and restaurant menus has a dark side. The green parts of the plant contain a substance called solanine, a glycoalkaloid poison that is a nerve toxin.

Solanine is a bitter crystalline poison that is part of the potato plant’s natural defense against insects and predators. Any green parts of the plant (its leaves and stem) are naturally high in glycoalkaloids and should not be consumed.

Potato poisoning is rare, but it does happen when people think the plant is as safe as the potato itself and attempt to make a tasty tea from potato leaves. Death normally comes from a lethal coma after a period of weakness and confusion.

The initial symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, dilated pupils and vision changes, delirium and hallucinations, and finally loss of feeling leading to paralysis and death. The solanine toxin interferes with the body’s ability to use a particular chemical that facilitates impulse transmissions between cells.

Even the potato itself can be deadly if allowed to turn green. The green hue on those spuds is actually chlorophyll, but evidence of chlorophyll also indicates the presence of high concentrations of solanine toxin. The majority of deaths by potato in the US in the last fifty years have been from drinking potato leaf tea or eating green potatoes.

Although all potatoes contain a small amount of solanine, it’s estimated that a normal-sized person would have to eat about five pounds of potatoes at one sitting to experience any neurological symptoms. A much lesser amount of green potatoes consumed at one time would produce extreme neurological symptoms and possibly death.

Green potatoes occur as a result of exposure of the tuber to light (especially fluorescent lights) and warm temperatures. The best storage conditions for the potato include placing them in a dark place with a temperature between 50 to 65 degrees F. A root cellar is a perfect storage place for the potato but a cool, dark pantry and storing them in a brown paper bag works well also.

Having an occasional green potato chip is not harmful, but it’s best to discard potatoes that have green eyes, sprouts or greenish skins rather than attempting to cut around the greenish parts. The neurotoxin in the green areas may transfer to cooking utensils and the final food product may be contaminated.

So if someone suggests green French fries on St. Patrick’s Day, think twice before deciding that the green hue is merely from food coloring and go for the French fried onion rings instead.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, About James J. Murray, About Murder, Acute Poisons, All About Murder, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Botanical Murder Weapons, Deadly Plant Poisons, Deadly Poisons Discussed, Deadly Potatoes, Death By Potato, Deciding How to Kill Off a Character in a Novel, Dramatic Murder Weapons, Food Source Poisons, Foods That Kill, Foods Used For Murder, Green Potatoes, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Interesting Murder Weapons, James J. Murray Blog, Killing Off Characters in Your Novel, Killing With Poisonous Plants, Lethal Botanicals, Murder Mayhem and Medicine, Murder Weapons Discussed, Murder With Food, Neurotoxin Poisons, Neurotoxins, Neurotoxins and Murder, New Blog, Paralytic Nerve Toxins, Plant Poisons, Plants That Kill, Plants Used For Murder, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Poison Potatoes, Poisons and Murder, Potatoes and Neurotoxin, Prescription For Murder Blog, Solanine Poison, The Science of Murder, Tools for Murder, Unique Murder Plots, Unique Murder Weapons | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Clean Your Windows – Clear Out Your Enemies!

A couple of years ago there was considerable news coverage of an unusual attempted murder case. A South Carolina college student allegedly tried to kill her roommates by spraying their food with a window cleaning product.

The student was caught on videotape and arrested for unlawful and malicious tampering with a drug product or human food, a class C felony that can carry up to a twenty-year prison sentence if convicted.

Even though I have some knowledge about lethal chemicals and an active imagination regarding how to use them for murder, news broadcasts constantly amaze me by reporting even more imaginative kill methods.

Since I’ve been blogging about the dangers of household chemicals over the last two weeks, I thought that this might be an interesting follow-up subject to focus on this week.

Although window cleaning fluids can be quite lethal, it turns out that a considerable amount must be ingested or inhaled within a short period of time for them to be deadly. Certainly, a person would become sick and possibly need medical care with lesser amounts, but literature indicates that about fourteen ounces ingested or inhaled in a short period could be fatal.

Window cleaners often contain ammonia, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and/or methanol, and these toxic substances produce a variety of symptoms. When the product is inhaled, the most common and expected symptom is mucous membrane irritation (specifically noted as a burning sensation in the nose, throat and airways).

When ingested, the symptoms include burning of the lips, tongue and throat. The gastrointestinal symptoms from oral intake include severe abdominal pain, vomiting and blood in the stool. The skin and underlying tissue die and simply disintegrate.

With either a lethal oral or inhaled dose, additional symptoms of low blood pressure develop and the central nervous system begins to shut down. This is exhibited by insomnia, irritability, an inability to think and focus, as well as dizziness and walking difficulties. Eventually, the victim collapses and becomes comatose.

Medical support for an accidental overdose of a window cleaning product includes immediate medical care. It’s important NOT to make the person throw up if the chemical is swallowed. A better recommendation is to give the victim water or milk to dilute and neutralize the chemical, but do not give these supportive fluids if the person is vomiting or not completely alert.

With inhalation of large amounts of window cleaner, it’s important to move the victim to fresh air after calling for emergency help.

In researching the lethal effects of window cleaners, I discovered that there are also many beneficial uses for this household product aside from cleaning windows. The most significant include using it for pest control—one spray on ants is lethal. Another useful suggestion is to use window cleaning products to remove ketchup, red wine and tomato sauce stains from clothes. The recommendation is to spray the spot, let it set for 15 minutes and then wash the clothing.

As a murder mystery writer, I’m constantly looking for exotic, lethal chemicals to use in my next storyline. My next plot idea might simply come about by venturing out to the garage and scanning the cleaning product shelves.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, A How To Blog on Murder Weapons, About James J. Murray, About Murder, Acute Poisons, All About Murder, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Chemical Poisons, Chemicals Used For Murder, Dangerous Household Chemical Cleaners, Deadly Household Cleaners, Deadly Poisons Discussed, Deciding How to Kill Off a Character in a Novel, Designing Murder Plots, Dramatic Murder Weapons, Household Chemicals Used For Murder, How to Choose a Murder Weapon for a Plot Idea, How To Write A BloodLess Murder Scene, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Interesting Murder Weapons, James J. Murray Blog, Lethal Chemical Poisons, Lethal Chemicals in Murder Mysteries, Lethal Substances Used For Murder, Methods of Murder, Murder With Chemical Cleaners, New Blog, New Methods of Murder, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Poisoning With Household Cleaning Products, Poisons and Murder, Prescription For Murder Blog, The Science of Murder, Tools for Murder, Unique Murder Plots, Unique Murder Weapons, Ways to Murder, Windex and Murder, Window Cleaner Poisoning, Window Cleaning Murder, Writing Death Scenes, Writing Dramatic Murder Scenes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Deadly Truth About Household Cleaners

In last week’s blog, I discussed carpet and upholstery cleaners as potential lethal poisons. This week I’d like to discuss the dangers of other household cleaning products and their potential to cause harm.

Air Fresheners: Most of these products work by coating your nasal passages with an oily film or a nerve-deadening agent to interfere with your ability to smell odors. The common chemicals in air fresheners include formaldehyde and phenol. Both can trigger allergic reactions in small doses that might exhibit as a rash that looks like hives. If accidentally ingested, however, these chemicals can cause convulsions, circulatory collapse, coma and even death.

Furniture Polish: These products are highly flammable because of their oil content and often contain phenol and nitrobenzene—both of which are extremely toxic chemicals that can easily be absorbed through the skin. Nitrobenzene, depending on the amount inhaled or absorbed via skin tissue, can cause fatigue, headaches and dizziness. And in larger doses, a person may experience decreased respiration, blurred vision and eventually slip into a coma. A telltale sign of a nitrobenzene overdose is a bluish-gray tint to the skin.

Oven Cleaners: These household products contain lye (sodium hydroxide) this chemical is the substance of choice to dissolve roadkill that gets dumped into landfills. Lye is certainly not selective and would not mind dissolving YOU—either from the outside or the inside, depending on how you encounter it.

Antibacterial Cleaners: These products often contain the chemical triclosan. I’ve blogged about the dangers of overusing this household item before and their contribution to the development of drug-resistant bacteria. Triclosan, however, has also been linked to liver damage because of its ability to be absorbed through the skin. The chemical also reduces muscle contractions—studies in animals indicate a 25% reduction in cardiac function and an average 18% decrease in grip strength.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, ordinary household cleaners can have dramatic lethal effects if used improperly or without caution. Accidental overdoses happen more often than one might think.

This may excite the murder mystery writer and give interesting ideas for murder plots. But, for the “ordinary” individual, I hope this blog will cause you to use such products with renewed vigilance.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, A How To Blog on Murder Weapons, About James J. Murray, About Murder, Accidental Poisoning With Air Fresheners, Accidental Poisoning With Household Cleaners, Acute Poisons, All About Murder, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Chemical Poisons, Chemicals Used For Murder, Choosing How a Character Should Die in a Story, Contact Poisons, Dangerous Cleaning Supplies, Dangerous Household Chemical Cleaners, Dangers, Dangers of Antibacterial Soaps, Deadly Poisons Discussed, Deciding How to Kill Off a Character in a Novel, Designing Murder Plots, Dramatic Murder Weapons, FDA Concerns About Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, Furniture Polish Poisoning, How To Write A BloodLess Murder Scene, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Interesting Murder Weapons, James J. Murray Blog, Lethal Chemical Poisons, Lethal Chemicals in Murder Mysteries, Lethal Poisons, Methods of Murder, Murder With Chemical Cleaners, New Blog, New Methods of Murder, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Poisoning With Cleaning Products, Poisoning With Household Cleaning Products, Poisons and Murder, Prescription For Murder Blog, The Science of Murder, Tools of Murder, Toxic Air Fresheners, Toxic Oven Cleaners, Unique Murder Plots, Unique Murder Weapons, Ways to Murder, Writing Dramatic Murder Scenes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Clean, But Deadly Household

A subtitle for this blog might be, “The Deadly Truth About Household Cleansers.”

The other day my wife was using a bottle of carpet cleaner and asked me if the product was poisonous if ingested. I’ve long ago stopped questioning my wife’s motives with such questions. I know she’s simply acting as my research assistant and giving me more ideas for interesting blogs—at least I hope that’s what her motivation is with such questions!

As it turns out, carpet and upholstery cleansers can be deadly concoctions. They usually contain toxic substances like perchlorethylene or ammonium hydroxide. See here and here for recent articles on accidental poisonings with household cleaners.

Short-term exposure to perchlorethylene via deep inhalation can lead to wheezing that can progress to a severe buildup of fluid in the lungs—think in terms of a person drowning in their own fluids. Less severe symptoms include shortness of breath, dizziness, sleepiness, nausea and vomiting, and severe irritation and swelling of the respiratory tract.

The symptoms of ingestion of carpet and upholstery cleaners include mouth and throat irritation, swelling of that same mucosae, nausea and vomiting, and a moderate to severe drop in blood pressure—think collapsing on the floor.

Many other similar household cleaners and detergents contains variations of chlorine and these cause similar reactions. Larger doses can lead to convulsions and death. Exposure to skin can create burn-like lesions. Splashing such cleaning agents into the eyes initially causes blurred vision and burning that can progress to vision loss if not treated soon after exposure.

The best treatment for cleaning agents in the eye is to flush the eye with running water for at least 15 minutes and seek medical attention as soon as possible after that.

Two extremely toxic substances are hypochlorite and formaldehyde. These are often found specifically in mold and mildew cleaners, such as bleaching agents. Both chemicals are lethal when ingested. Concentrated fumes of sodium hypochlorite are particularly toxic and can lead to severe fluid buildup in the lungs.

The treatment for ingestion of these household chemicals includes one important, initial recommendation—DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING, unless instructed to by a medical professional. Emesis rich in the lethal chemical can cause further tissue damage on the way up just as it did on the way down.

The usual medical treatments for such poisonings include specific life support medications, activated charcoal, and the use of intravenous fluids and oxygen.

So even ordinary household cleaners can have dramatic lethal effects if used creatively in your murder plot.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, A How To Blog on Murder Weapons, About James J. Murray, About Murder, Acute Poisons, All About Murder, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Chemical Poisons, Chemicals Used For Murder, Daly Household, Dangerous Cleaning Supplies, Dangers of Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners, Deadly Household Cleaners, Deciding How to Kill Off a Character in a Novel, Designing Murder Plots, Dramatic Murder Weapons, How to Choose a Murder Weapon for a Plot Idea, How To Write A BloodLess Murder Scene, How Women Murder, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Interesting Murder Weapons, James J. Murray Blog, Killing Off Characters in Writing, Lethal Chemical Poisons, Methods of Murder, Murder Mayhem and Medicine, Murder Weapons Discussed, Murder With Chemical Cleaners, New Blog, New Methods of Murder, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Prescription For Murder Blog, The Science of Murder, The Writings of James J. Murray, Tools for Murder, Unique Murder Plots, Unique Murder Weapons, Ways to Murder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment