Never Give Me Peace
by Sarah Hilary
It’s Saturday afternoon in Bath, one of the UK’s most beautiful cities, honey-coloured home of Jane Austen—and I’m writing about vigilantes, violent assaults and dead bodies.
‘How do you do it?’ I’m asked. And, ‘How do you switch off when it’s done?’
Do I wander to the park to admire the flowerbeds, chat to the man dressed as a Regency Buck outside the Austen museum, sample the fresh scones in one of Bath’s famous tearooms?
I’ll tell you a secret. I never really switch off.
I don’t like switching off. I’m always inventing friends and enemies, sending my detectives into battle against their demons, delving into the best and worst of human nature. I love white noise, and black noise, and the twinging heat of a new idea taking shape in my head.
I love monsters.
Of course I pop out for a coffee, or a martini at the Canary Gin Bar once in a while. I watch TV, and films. I go for long walks. But I’m happiest when I’m writing and besides—there’s always that niggling fear I might lose my touch, that my monsters might desert me.
Patricia Highsmith, one of my favourite writers, said something wonderful along these lines, toasting all her ‘… devils, lusts, passions, greeds, envies, loves, hates, strange desires, enemies ghostly and real, the army of memories, with which I battle—may they never give me peace.’
A crime writer’s best friends are her worst enemies, and mine go everywhere with me. All the time I was writing Quieter Than Killing I had a terrified, trapped young boy in my head (and my heart). My detectives, Marnie and Noah, have taken up permanent residence there; a whole back lobe of my brain is their major incident room. Like Highsmith, I wish in earnest for my worst fears and best hopes — and all the strange, restless curiosity that is a writer’s blessing and curse — to stay with me, unsettle me, keep my fingers itching always for pen and paper.
So if you happen to spy me in Bath, enjoying a piano recital at The Pump Room or side-stepping the queue for the Thermae Spa, wave hello to me and my monsters. We might even wave back.
Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her debut, SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015 and was a World Book Night selection for 2016. The Observer’s Book of the Month (“superbly disturbing”) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. NO OTHER DARKNESS, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US. Her DI Marnie Rome series continued with TASTES LIKE FEAR and her fourth book, QUIETER THAN KILLING, is out now.
About the Book:
It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it’s personal.
Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.
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