Playing Dead. A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud, by Elizabeth Greenwood
Strangled by debts? Cops are after you? or is it your ex-wife stalking you and demanding for more money? Either be one or the other, here’s your way out: faking your death could be the solution to your problems.
When I first got a copy* of Playing Dead by Elizabeth Greenwood, I thought of a joke. I’ve heard of people faking dead like a new form of escapology, but I didn’t think it could be “a thing” even now in the 21st century.
Moved by innocent curiosity I asked my best friend in the world wide web -aka Google– about “fake your own death“, and what I found was hilarious. 15,800,000 results after, I had to admit that yes, faking death is still on.
Believe it or not, Wikihow also made a page of “precious” advices called “How to fake your own death” -11 steps (with pictures!) Because, according to the famous online community- “sometimes in life you may need to fake your own death to escape“.
Only a week ago an in-depth investigation by The National ENQUIRER revealed that Patrick McDermott -Olivia Newton-John’s ex-lover who disappeared during a 2005 fishing trip off the California coast- is believed to have faked his death to avoid money woes. McDermott was found living the high life working on luxury yachts south of the border under the protection of some rich Mexican family!
But in the 21st century -when every move is monitored by credit cards, smartphones and socials network of any kind -how could be possible to disappear? If proving wrong is impossible -because dead are not coming back, right?- than what lesson could we learn from those who had been caught?
What happens to the people you left behind? What would be lost? And who are the people who’re supposed to “kill” you?
Playing Dead is an empathetic investigation into a universal human fantasy and the men and women desperate enough to give up their lives and their families to start again.
*An ARC was kindly sent to me by via NetGalley by Simon & Schuster.