The ghost-writer of a new memoir about a deceased war correspondent has said the book, which details the journalist’s role in a gang rape and a murder, is not a work of fiction.
Speaking on The Irish Times Off Topic podcast, the writer Louis La Roc (not his real name) denied the book was a novel pretending to be a memoir.
Numb: Diary of a War Correspondent, published this month by Liberties Press, purports to tell the story of well known journalist Alan Buckby (not his real name) who led a double life as a sadomasochistic rapist and killer.
According to La Roc, Buckby died in an accident last year, after which his wife, “Kay”, discovered his sexually explicit and violent diaries and asked La Roc to turn them into a book.
Among other crimes, Buckby describes participating in the loyalist mutilation and murder of a Catholic in 1981; arranging and participating in the gang rape of an Iraqi woman in 2014; and capturing and repeatedly sexually abusing a young Bosnian woman in Sarajevo in 1994 until she took her own life.
The book features incidents such as gang rape, torture, necrophilia, elder abuse and autoerotic asphyxiation.
During the podcast, La Roc rejected the suggestion that Numb is a novel, pretending to be a memoir. “All this information happened,” he said. “This is true.”
As part of the promotion for the book, La Roc has been interviewed this week on The John Murray Show on RTÉ Radio 1 and by Seán Moncrieff on Newstalk.
La Roc told Off Topic that he didn’t contact anyone mentioned in the book to corroborate details but verified all the information on Google, and that all the information is currently with MI5 and the Metropolitan Police in London.
Much of the material is hard to verify. But there are no obituaries for world-renowned fifty something year old war correspondents who died last year.
There is no trace in the Sutton Index (an record of deaths during the Troubles) of any murder resembling the one in which Buckby claims to have participated in Northern Ireland in May 1981.
Furthermore, in the narrative Buckby claims his interest in Northern Ireland was triggered by hearing Gerry Adams’s voice overdubbed by actors in 1980. It was pointed out to him that this practice didn’t begin until 1988.
La Roc puts these discrepancies down to the need to obfuscate identities in the book. He says he employed “a cinematic jump cut technique”, that he composited different events and needed to be “loose with the timeline.”
“So shoot me,” he says. “So I throw in a sentence about a voice box that happened in 1988 to a scenario in 1981.”
He agreed that the book resembles a work of “torture porn.” “I would agree with you totally on that,” he added.
When asked ask why he felt the story needed to be told, he replied: “I don’t particularly feel it needs to be told. I’m a ghost writer who gets paid for a job.”
When it was suggested that Numb is a novel, he answered: “It certainly has the content from [a novel]. I’ll agree with you there. It’s not exactly enjoyable. It’s a heavy read.” Nonetheless he repeatedly insisted the story was true.
When contacted by The Irish Times, Liberties Press confirmed that they had not verified the material themselves, or seen Alan Buckby’s notes and diaries. . “We trusted Louis,” the company said in response to questions.