Is it ever OK to commit a crime? If so, who or what determines the line and when it's crossed?
The gray area around this question has been debated since humans figured out the concept of morality. Or, rather, when they identified why they felt sad while sitting atop a mountain of pillaged loot. That's most of human history right there.
It's also a lot of crime fiction. Crime is rarely a dive into the fight between the clearly good and the clearly evil. That's what makes it so interesting. I like it when the bad guys have good intentions, and the good guys have bad attitudes. The consequences are so much more intriguing than "book 'em, Dan-o."
I suppose that's why I found the short story e-book, Insurance,by Chantal Boudreau so appealing. The protagonist (or is it antagonist?), Norm, runs a one-man mechanic shop. A toxic mix of alcohol abuse, strained family relations and a bad economy are running his life - and business - into the ground.
That changes when a customer suggests Norm "create" some customers. This entails Norm sabotaging vehicles in the area, hoping the owners will stop by for a fix. After all, more money means less stress. That means less drinking, which leads to a better family life.
Is it moral to go this route? That's the question author Boudreau asks readers to answer. It's easy for me to say I would choose the moral high ground. I live a comfortable life with my wife in our house. We don't worry about going hungry or buying what we need. But what if that wasn't the case? What if I was like Norm, desperate for something - anything - good to happen?
Boudreau makes her point clear with the ending she wrote. I won't spoil it, but I was satisfied with her answer.
What about you? Give Insurance a read for yourself, available here on Amazon for 99 centsand all other major e-book retailers. After you're done, share what you'd do in Norm's situation. Is crime ever OK?
Don't forget: Until Jan. 22, 2012, you can get this e-book for free during the Trestle Press BOGO sale. Click here for details.