Author and former Carthage Evening Press intern Norman Brewer has released what he calls a “cautionary tale” in his first book, called Blending In: A Tale of Homegrown Terrorism.

A pair of self-radicalized terrorists attack an outdoor news conference in Washington, D.C., resulting in deaths and injuries to dozens, including high-ranking government officials.
These terrorists are different from most — they have a well-thought-out escape plan — they're not looking to go out in a blaze of glory after one big strike. They want to hit America again.
That's the story being told by a former Carthage Evening Press intern, retired newspaper reporter and retired official with the federal Transportation Security Agency.
Author Norman Brewer has released what he calls a “cautionary tale” in his first book, called Blending In: A Tale of Homegrown Terrorism.
“Yes, I've used that phrase in promoting it, cautionary tale,” Brewer said in an interview with The Carthage Press. “One question I was asked a few months ago was whether it was realistic and I think the answer is yes, both from a terrorism standpoint and from a law enforcement standpoint.”
He finished the book after about two years of writing in early 2017. The book is available to borrow at the Carthage Public Library and for sale online at Barnes & Nobel Booksellers and

Carthage background
Brewer has a long family connection in Carthage, although he only lived here for a few months in the 1960s.
In his author's biography, Brewer said he moved with his family to the Carthage area from north-central Kansas after graduating from Belleville High School in 1961. He was an intern at the Carthage Evening Press in the summer of 1962 while attending Fort Hays (Kan.) State University.
His parents, Archie and Irene Brewer, were long-time farmers northeast of Carthage on County Road 100. Archie celebrated his 98th birthday on Sept. 12, 2017. Irene died in 2015. Archie still lives at Maple Lane Farms, which includes a popular fishing lake.  
Archie Brewer still lives in a stately limestone home built by Col. William Phelps, the same man who built Carthage's famous Phelps House.
The property was known as the Phelps Country House.
Brewer worked for The Des Moines Register and Tribune, and for Gannett News Service in Washington, D.C.
He was also Director of Employee Communications at the Transportation Security Administration in the U. S. Department of Homeland Security.
Brewer said he visits Carthage several times a year, assisting with the management of the farm, and has  relatives living in the area, including a sister, Vallie Cook of Joplin, and a brother, Mark Brewer of rural Carthage.

Brewer lays out a synopsis of the book in his description.
“Stickman and Maple are homegrown terrorists, hell-bent on bringing down the U.S. Government,” the description says. “Well-trained and ruthless, they strike in none other than the nation’s capital. The Secretary of State is among dozens killed. The country reels. Wanted as Public Enemy No. 1, the terrorists flee to rural Pennsylvania. They rent a house from an elderly couple, he with Alzheimer’s, and blend in like dull woodwork.
“Influenced by radical jihadists, Stickman and Maple draw on those ties for arms and foot soldiers, then fix their murderous sights on “soft” targets, including an iconic shopping mall. Hundreds die. Americans’ sense of security is shattered by the worst attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11, the worst homegrown terrorism ever. Other extremists launch copycat attacks. Fear and anti-Muslim sentiment grip the nation. Stickman and Maple eye yet another horrific assault, with one loose end to first tie up, the elderly couple.”

Something to do
After a couple of years of retirement, Brewer said he found himself looking for something to do, something in line with his writing background and experience.
“At some point after one of the big attacks, I forget which one it was, one of those incidents of domestic terrorism, it struck me that so many of the people who carried out these attacks really aren't very well prepared,” Brewer said. “They're often social misfits, they don't think about their escape plans. So conversely, I asked what would happen if you had a couple of relatively smart terrorists who were well trained and did not want to go down the road of martyrdom and who wanted to not only wreak destruction but wanted to live to carry out more destruction.”
Brewer said he started writing in 2015. He didn't have a real outline.
“I had a beginning, a rough middle and a rougher ending, and I would write, trying to connect those dots,” Brewer said. “Then when I encountered a problem with where is this story is going, I would just wait it out until something clicked, whether it be in the middle of the night or over coffee or whatever. Then I'd write and maybe I'd have a few ideas of other points or dots to drop in and I'd fill out the outline that way. It just wrote itself over a period of time.”

Cautionary tale
Brewer said he wanted his story to be realistic and to challenge people to think about what would happen if a terrorist or multiple terrorists planned out their attacks, and planned to survive.
“I hope it is a cautionary tale that we need to be vigilant in our efforts to combat terrorism without letting that concern infringe on our privacy,” Brewer said. “The one thing that comes to mind about terrorists is that they're driven more by either hatred of the United States or unhappiness in their personal situation or disgruntlement in their fellow employees, something like that, and at some point they go over the edge. One exception is the Las Vegas shooter, he had a plan. We don't know what his motive was even yet, but he had a plan.”
Brewer said recent attacks, such as the nightclub attack in Orlando and the attack in Las Vegas, told him the attacks he was imagining in his book were realistic as far as the possible number of people killed or hurt.
“I like to set a bar of things being plausible than being realistic,” Brewer said. “If you're not expecting too much in terms of realism, then you're not disappointed if the author takes you on a tangent. I think it's basically realistic.”