When Lois Duncan wrote the teen suspense novel "Don't Look Behind You," she modeled the young heroine after her daughter.
One month after the book was published, her daughter was slain in circumstances resembling those faced by her fictional character."I think it's the most bizarre thing," Duncan said.
Her daughter, Kaitlyn Arquette, was shot twice in the head while driving downtown in 1989. The 18-year-old honors student died the follwing day.
Investigators said it didn't appear the killers specifically targeted Arquette. But Duncan said the facts of the case and information she has uncovered reveal remarkable similarities between fact and fiction.
In the novel, April, the young, gutsy heroine, is chased by a hitman in a Camaro and forced into hiding with her family after receiving death threats from an interstate drug ring.
In Arquette's case, police reports show she was chased by gunmen - in a Camaro, according to one witness - before being shot.
Duncan said her family received death threats from the relatives of two men indicted in the case six months after Arquette's slaying. Charges against the men later were dropped for lack of evidence.
One of those men went by the nickname "Vamp," police reports show. The hitman in Duncan's novel was named Mike Vamp.
Finally, an artist's sketch of a man described by a psychic in the Arquette slaying resembled a portrait of Mike Vamp on the jacket of the novel's British edition.
Duncan, frustrated by the police investigation, began her own probe. She hired a private investigator, did her own legwork and contacted three psychics with extensive police experience.
She contends information she gathered and impressions of the psychics, all working independently, prove the slaying was a contract hit.
She said Arquette may have been killed because, through her Vietnamese boyfriend, she either knew about or was involved in car insurance scams run by Asian gangs in Orange County, Calif.
She believes the killers might have been hired by a Vietnamese gang.
Duncan said police ignored the evidence she uncovered and have refused to talk with her for more than two years.
Police said they conducted a thorough investigation.
District Attorney Robert Schwartz said an investigation into the alleged insurance scams failed to turn up any connection to Arquette's death.