Author Leigh Russell joins us on Book and Brew today to talk about why we’re so interested in violent relationships, and how she uses them in her new book Deadly Alibi.
Crime novels typically follow a certain route. A murder is committed. A detective searches for clues and after several false starts uncovers the truth. But there is a great deal that can be different within those parameters, and every crime novel has its unique twists.
Predictable stories are boring. So as a writer, I am always looking for the unexpected to weave into my plots. Terrible acts can be committed in unexpected places, and in ways no one could have anticipated.
In some ways a murder committed in someone’s own home can seem more disturbing than one perpetrated in an impersonal setting. Home should be a safe place. Although it ultimately makes no difference, it somehow seems to be an invasion of the individual’s right to life and wellbeing on many levels if the murder is committed in the victim’s own home.
The same is true for the characters carrying out the actions. Again, it makes no difference to the victim in the end, but it can seem somehow more disturbing if a character is murdered by someone they trust, someone close to them.
In Deadly Alibi I explore some of the aspects of this issue. Within a family set up where people feel trapped with one another, resentment can erupt into violence. There is always an emotional relationship with a parent or a sibling, whether it is positive or not. We may even have higher expectations of family members than we have of our friends, and so be more likely to feel disappointed by them. How many of us have never fallen out with a family member?
If you disagree with a friend, you can end your relationship. Or one of you might simply move away and you stop seeing each other because it becomes geographically difficult. The same is not always the case with family. Despite starting out with good intentions, love can become twisted into a destructive force.
Some of the characters in Deadly Alibi become trapped in perverse relationships with the very people they should be able to trust the most. Should a parent feel responsible for an adult son or daughter? And how far should anyone feel a sense of responsibility towards a sibling?
Of course in real life, the enmity that can arise within families rarely leads to crimes being committed. But crime fiction looks at what might happen when people behave in extremely vicious ways. The more evil the killer in a crime novel, the more intense the suspense is likely to become for the reader waiting for the killer to be stopped. In Deadly Alibi I have tried to examine some of these issues, while writing a story that is full of suspense, believable and yet unpredictable.
Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell is published by No Exit Press and is available to buy as an ebook.
Visit the other sites on this blog blitz for more from Leigh.