I am a walking crime scene. I have guilt and innocence written all over me. Quite literally in some ways. This morning I noted a giant, deep purple bruise on my hip. It honestly looks like I was bludgeoned despite the fact that I have no idea how it got there.
Add in the bruise on my knee, the other bruise on the other knee, and the wound to my hand from running into a door, and I could easily be mistaken for a victim. Rest assured, however, I am not.
On the other hand, my go-to reading material is a nitty-gritty mystery, complete with burned off fingerprints and purposefully obscured crime scenes. I love the whole investigation process and snapping the puzzle pieces together in the right order to solve who dunnit, with what, and where.
For writing purposes, I’ve been known to deep dive into crazy internet searches that would disturb most people and likely have me on some kind of watch list. This penchant for the dark side may have started with the game of Clue. At the tender age of 8ish, I won without checking off a single box on the score card. Who doesn’t love a game they are good at?
It was all downhill from there. In the fifth grade I fell in love with Mary Higgins Clark. I read Micky Spillane and Agatha Christie with a passion. From there, I started writing my own thrillers with psychological twists. I unraveled human nature and put it back together again. I murdered and pillaged. To this day, I constantly see the opportunity in events around me, and am delighted when a writer can catch me by surprise.
So, you might wonder, am I–reader and writer of all things dark and dangerous–also dark and dangerous? The answer is absolutely not. Nor are your neighbors or fellow congregants who also like the same kind of books or movies.
We seldom are what we read. Nor are we what we write. This is a question asked of authors, as often times, people assume our fiction is based on our own lives. I can assure you that I, like the beloved authors who kill off their favorite characters without blinking, should be presumed innocent.
P.S. If you like a solid mystery without gore, you can try Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious. This young adult novel reads like an Agatha Christie and seamlessly takes you from past to present and back again. I’ve read it twice in a year, and am now making my way through the second in this series.
P.P.S. I like to read other things, too. Sweeter, gentler books that bring out the best in their readers.