What if? To a suspense writer, these are the most powerful words in the English language. My job is to imagine a strange situation and ask the question that will make it stranger still. My new book, Stone Mothers, is set a former Victorian mental hospital. I got the idea when a friend who's an urban explorer was in an abandoned asylum and found old patient records. She's a nurse, and knew what to do with this sensitive documents. But I thought: what if they had got into the wrong hands? And my story was born.
I'm best known for He Said/She Said, about a young couple who witness a rape and, after the trial, begin to wonder if they believed the right person. My first novel, The Poison Tree, was a Richard and Judy bestseller and a major ITV drama starring Myanna Buring, Ophelia Lovibond and Matthew Goode. I’ve written four more original psychological thrillers – The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind.
I had read scores of psychological thrillers before I heard the term: the books that inspired me to write my own included Endless Night by Agatha Christie, The Secret History by Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine. My books are atmospheric thrillers, always about people trying to atone for, escape, or uncover a past crime. I’m more interested in what happens before the police arrive – if arrive they ever do - than how murder is solved.
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