Something sinister stirs in Stockport…
The police find a young woman’s body in the woods the same week a couple discover a crude, handmade doll in Lyme Park. But are the two findings connected… or a strange coincidence?
In a town full of loners and unhappy families, nothing is as it seems…
All Mr Anderson wants is a family. After his elderly mother died, he was almost unbearably lonely. Now it’s time for him to claim his own.
All Jacob wants is for Maggie to love him back. She only has eyes for the Vincent twins – but maybe he can make her see just how much he cares.
And everyone is a suspect. A quietly sinister, utterly chilling new thriller from Susan Gee, the author of Kiss Her Goodbye.
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus -Aria in return for an honest review.
Atmospheric and disturbing this story focuses on dark secrets and terrible deeds. The character-driven story explores the possible murder suspects with surprising results. Told from two male third-person perspectives it balances menace and poignancy well.
Horrific abuse and murder simmer under the surface of an ordinary town. The plot is easy to follow and enhances more complex characterisation.
The ending has realistic twists that resonate.
Questions for Q&A with Susan Gee – Love Me To Death
Love Me To Death explores the darker side of humanity, do you think it’s important to have lighter moments in crime novels? How do you integrate these into your story?
I’m interested in what is underneath and driving that dark character to be the way that they are. In this book, rather than humour to offset that, there are points where you see the more vulnerable side of a dark character and possibly even sympathise with them. There are lighter sides of the novel in this sense, otherwise the character is just relentlessly dark and I don’t think that would work as well.
There are elements of humour too, when we look through the eyes of a character like Mr Anderson, who sees things in a very different way. For example when Noreen is attracted to him, Mr Anderson does not see this at all. He takes her advances in completely the wrong way. I found these interactions humourous, when we witness his distorted views things and misunderstanding of situations. His reactions to the world around him and his vision is comic in a sense, although in other ways this also makes him darker as he doesn’t see things in way that other’s do.
What are the positives of writing crime fiction? Are there any negatives?
The positives are that you get to explore the minds of people that you would never normally interact with. You are going into the darker side of humanity and seeing where it takes you. This is probably a way to make sense of the world. Dark characters are more interesting to me. I like to explore their inner demons and see what makes them tick. The only negatives I can think of are that people often come to a crime novel with certain expectations. It is a very popular market. My novels are less focussed on the techniques used to solve the crime and more on the individual characters and the workings of their mind. This can be a negative in some ways, if the reader is expecting a traditional detective novel, which isn’t what I’m writing.
Do you plan your story in detail before writing? Can you give us an insight into your writing process?
I don’t plan my novels. I have an idea of where I’m going, but I don’t set out the path in stone. This happens organically as I write. I have made novel plans before, but whenever I do it I find the characters often take me in a different direction. I like to explore the character. I usually spend some time with them before I start to write, just thinking about what they’re looking for and what they want. This sets out the journey that they will go on. As I write I may have sub plots in mind, but I find if it is too regimented and planned that I don’t feel the desire to write it.
Do you know how your story will end when you start to write? Have you any insights into the best way of creating a credible yet unexpected ending?
I know where I am heading and I do often have an ending in mind, but the chapter getting towards that can change. I don’t set out to create an unexpected ending as such, but if it is, then that’s good. I think to make the ending credible you need to plant seeds along the way through the novel so that the reader doesn’t feel cheated. You can’t do a big reveal at the end without dropping hints to it along the way. It’s a balance between leading the reader towards the ending without making it obvious earlier on. This is the enjoyable part of the writing process when you can go back through the novel after you’ve finished and hint at the ending. You’re leading the reader towards it without making it too obvious, dropping breadcrumbs along the way.
What are you currently writing?
I have a couple of ideas for new characters that I am starting to flesh out. I’m not sure if these will end up in my next novel or not. I’m just getting to know them and then I’ll see if I want to spend a bit more time with them.
When you are not writing, what sort of books do you read?
I enjoyed Bad Lands by Belinda Bauer, books where you are seeing things from a different perspective. I like the writing style of CJ Tudor and books that focus on the darker side of life. I mostly enjoy books that are dark, although if someone recommends something from a different genre I will read those too. If you’re looking for me in the library though, then don’t head to romance, you’ll usually find me lurking in the crime and literary fiction.
Susan Gee is a crime writer from the North West. She was a finalist in the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and The Daily Mail ‘Write a Best Seller’ Competition. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester University. Love Me to Death is her second novel. Susan lives in Stockport with her husband and two children.