Author Beware: Implausible Killing Methods

I know the difficulty writers face at having to come up with unique and unusual methods of killing off their fictional characters. Hence, the constant hunt for lethal, undetectable poisons.

One popular author came up with the following scenario for his serial killer. I read this detailed scene with great interest but in the end, the implausibility of the scenario kept me up that night. I continually analyzed the scene in my mind and wondered if the author might have posed the question to a medically sound person as to its plausibility.

In short, essentially the killer drilled holes into the victims ankles to drain her blood. This would be death by exsanguination. But then, plugged up the holes with glue. Proceeded to string the victim up. Then pulled off the glue plugs so the victim would hemorrhage to death.

Inventive… yes, absolutely. Haven’t read anything quite like it. Plausible… not really. Here’s why.

In order to bleed to death quickly, a major vessel needs to be disrupted. Preferably an artery. Your heels are not very vascular meaning they are not rich in blood supply. Imagine a cut on your heel and the same cut on your head. Which will bleed more swiftly? There are arteries in your feet. They are located on the top of your feet and near the inner malleolus which is the knobby bone on the inside of your foot. Drilling through the ankle into the heel likely will not catch either of these major arteries.

The other issue. Plugging up the holes. Any time bleeding is stemmed, the blood has a chance to clot. Now, in this novel, the killer was very busy for quite some time hoisting the victim. I think enough time for the victim’s blood to clot. Therefore, when the plugs were removed, I think very little bleeding would have actually occurred.

What scenarios have you found in novels that are implausible? Were they enough to draw you out of the story? Please, keep the author’s name and book title off any comments, otherwise they will be deleted.

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