By JOHN LEAKE
Today I received reports that Dutch pro cycling star Lieuwe Westra (40) and University of Arizona star swimmer, Ty Wells (23) have, in recent days, died suddenly. Judging by media reporting, the cause of their deaths is unknown. The two great athletes—both at the pinnacle of human fitness—apparently just died.
News of their deaths reminded me of a new book that I’ve been meaning to review for the last six weeks. The only reason I’ve hesitated is that this particular book strikes me as one of the most momentous ever written, so strange that it almost defies belief. The story it tells seems like something out of a dystopian science fiction novel, but in fact it falls squarely within the true crime genre.
At its heart is a mystery that now confronts all of mankind. Something out there—some horrible agent that entered the world in 2021—is killing humanity’s fittest. What could it be? What could be causing this “Epidemic of Sudden Deaths,” to quote the subtitle of Edward Dowd’s new book, CAUSE UKNOWN.
As Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. introduced the author in the book’s Forward:
Among the world’s towering financial titans is BlackRock, a company with a bigger economy than every country on Earth except the U.S. and China. They manage $10 trillion in assets. In 2002, BlackRock recruited the brilliant Wall Street careerist, Edward Dowd, and soon promoted him to serve as Managing Director. Turns out BlackRock made a very good bet on Ed Dowd: The Growth Fund he managed started at $2 billion; by the time he left BlackRock it was at $14 billion. His work with BlackRock required a keen ability to understand markets, pick stocks, analyze statistics, and identity trends.
In 2021, Dowd found himself withdrawing from Wall Street to study an entirely new kind of trend: the expanding and tragic epidemic of sudden deaths among healthy young people.
CAUSE UNKNOWN presents the results of Dowd’s investigation. Since I received my copy, I have tried very hard to play the Devil’s Advocate against it, but in the final analysis, the “tragic epidemic of sudden deaths among healthy young people” cannot be a fluke of increased detection and reporting, hyper-vigilance, or confirmation bias. What Mr. Dowd documents is terrifyingly real.
What, Dowd asks, was introduced into our world in 2021, when the epidemic began? Like all good true crime authors, he doesn’t jump to conclusions, but does a terrific job of collating and analyzing the evidence.
Judging by the Afterword by Gavin de Becker—founder of Gavin de Becker Associates—Dowd was assisted by one of the world’s most capable investigators. Mr. de Becker’s 1997 book, Gift of Fear, is widely considered the most insightful ever written on the subject of identifying and assessing mortal dangers.
I won’t spoil the ending by revealing Mr. Dowd’s thesis of what is causing the epidemic of sudden deaths among young people. Regular readers of this Substack won’t be surprised, but they will still be stunned by the book’s meticulous documentation of the global catastrophe, and saddened by its page after page of smiling children and youths who are no longer with their parents, siblings, and friends.
I especially recommend the book to all of the coroners and medical examiners of the world who—for whatever reasons—seem to remain clueless.
Cause Unknown: The Epidemic of Sudden Deaths in 2021 & 2022, (Skyhorse Publishing/Children’s Health Defense) Hardcover – December 13, 2022, by Ed Dowd (Author), Gavin de Becker (Afterword), Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Foreword).