Lawrence Horn hired James Perry to murder his ex-wife and handicapped son in order to collect a large sum of money. Perry used the book Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors as his blue print for success. The end result was the death of three people. Through great detective work, both Horn and Perry were convicted for these murders. The families of the victims then filed a wrongful death suit against Paladin Press for aiding and abetting a triple murder. Paladin had published Hitman as well as a number of other how-to books, including one that was linked to the Oklahoma bombing. Rodney Smolla, a well- known First Amendment lawyer, became part of the legal team that faced-off against Paladin Press. Smolla details the emotional and intellectual process he went through in deciding to take the case. He openly admits that there were many occasions when he questioned whether he was doing the right thing with the case. Would he set a precedent that would be dangerous to the First Amendment, or was this a clear-cut case?
This book raises many interesting questions pertaining to the First Amendment. Does the law protect all books, including how-to books? Are works that are deliberately written with the intent to do harm protected? This thought-provoking book will cause the reader to ponder such questions.
Reviewed by mf, 3/00. Other reviews by mf.