Tag: murder

murder

How do you celebrate All Hallows' Evening?

While there seems to be general consensus that the observance of Halloween dates back to Celtic harvest festivals, there is some debate about its exact origins. A quick glance at Wikipedia is enough to overwhelm all but the heartiest of researching souls. Since I’m neither a speaker of Gaelic nor a historian, I’ll leave the details to the experts. Instead, it seems fitting to mark the day with a discussion about what I love most about the holiday.  As someone who writes about murder on an almost daily base, I’m embarrassed to admit that I avoid horror movies and books because they scare me too much. And, yet, every year on October 31st I’m drawn to the spookiest bits of the day. No cute or sexy costumes for me. I like it creepy. One year, when my kids were small, my husband literally blocked me from leaving the apartment to take our then second-grade daughter and pre-k son to the school Halloween party until I made my face less scary. He was afraid I would make the younger kids cry. (I was a ghost that year and had spent a good bit of time with makeup so that I looked like I’d been dead for a few decades). Another […]

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Guns, Germs and Lead Pipes

I kill imaginary people for a living. Like John Cusack’s hitman in Grosse Pointe Blank, I’m not quite sure why I do it. Maybe my psychological profile fits a certain “moral flexibility.” I hate doing it with a gun, though.  That’s not to say I haven’t used firearms in my fiction. Guns are efficient, particularly in novels where characters often hit their targets. Readers know what to expect when I mention the gleaming slide of a semi-automatic or a sleek, sloping trigger. And, as American police officers have handguns as part of the uniform, chances favor death by bullet for bad guys (real or invented). My problem with guns in fiction is that they are used all-too-often in the mystery and thriller genres and they deliver death a little impersonally for a psychological suspense book. Shooting someone from five feet away lacks the immediacy that I think readers want when they’ve been inside characters’ heads trying to unravel their thought processes.  I’ve drowned people. There is a certain metaphorical satisfaction to this method of dispensing with marked characters. Sinking beneath the water evokes a burial. The character slips beneath the surface and disappears, the layers of water like fresh shovels of dirt. It also has literary roots (Ophelia in Hamlet, […]

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Be Careful What You Say; You Might End Up in My Novel

 I struggled to come up with an idea for a blog post today. I mean I had nothing. Nothing struck me as new or blogworthy. I didn’t feel I had anything to say about anything, at least nothing that hadn’t been said countless times already. No new spins, no new twists. Until I decided to get dinner and went out for a sandwich.My town boasts a lovely cheese market. They sell more varieties of cheese than I imagined possible. Cheese made from milk produced by every animal except yak, I think. Cheese from more countries than you can find on Google Earth. Plain cheese and cheese with add-ins ranging from berries to nuts to nettles to bourbon. Pure cheese nirvana. The market also sells deli meats, salads, pastries, beverages, and heat-and-eat meals. And sandwiches. Which is why I was there. As I waited for my panino (which I just learned is the singular of panini) to come off the grill, a man approached the counter with a tub of grated parmesan cheese. The cashier rang up the cheese and asked the man if he wanted anything else. “No,” the man said. He swiped his card to pay for his cheese […]

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