Related to: 'Trust No One'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Mulholland Books

Collecting Cooper

Paul Cleave
Authors:
Paul Cleave
Mulholland Books

The Cleaner

Paul Cleave
Authors:
Paul Cleave

An international bestseller and one of the top-selling novels in New Zealand's history, Paul Cleave's dark thriller is a brilliant, bloody masterpiece.Joe is in control of everything in his simple life-both his day job as a janitor for the police department and his "night work." He isn't bothered by the daily news reports of the Christchurch Carver, who, they say, has murdered seven women. Joe knows, though, that the Carver killed only six. He knows that for a fact, and he's determined to find the copycat. He'll punish him for the one, then frame him for the other six. It's the perfect plan because he already knows he can outwit the police. All he needs now is to take care of all the women who keep getting in his way, including his odd, overprotective mother and Sally, the maintenance worker who sees him as a replacement for her dead brother. Then there's the mysterious Melissa, the only woman to have ever understood him, but whose fantasies of blackmail and torture don't have a place in Joe's investigation.

Mulholland Books

The Killing Hour

Paul Cleave
Authors:
Paul Cleave
Mulholland Books

Blood Men

Paul Cleave
Authors:
Paul Cleave

'Relentlessly gripping, deliciously twisted, and shot through with a vein of humor that's as dark as hell' Mark BillinghamWINNER OF NEW ZEALAND'S PRESTIGIOUS NGAIO MARSH AWARD FOR BEST CRIME NOVEL OF 2011Edward Hunter has it all - a beautiful wife and daughter, a great job, a bright future... and a very dark past.Twenty years ago, a serial killer was caught, convicted, and locked away in the country's most hellish of penitentiaries. That man was Edward's father. Edward has struggled his entire life to put the nightmares of his childhood behind him. But a week before Christmas, violence once again makes an unwelcome appearance into his world. Suddenly he's going to need the help of his father, a man he hasn't seen since he was a boy. Is Edward destined to be just like him, to become a man of blood?A true master of the genre that only comes along once in a generation, Cleave unveils a brutally vivid picture of a killer's mind and of a city of fallen angels captured at the ends of the earth.

Mulholland Books

The Laughterhouse

Paul Cleave
Authors:
Paul Cleave
Mulholland Books

Joe Victim

Paul Cleave
Authors:
Paul Cleave

NOMINATED FOR THE 2014 EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINALSometimes reality can really get in the way of a good story.Joe Middleton's story is this: He doesn't remember killing anyone, so there' s no way a jury can convict him of serial murder. He calls himself Joe Victim, trying, as he awaits trial, to convince the psychiatrists that he wasn't in control of his actions, trusting that the system will save him in the end.But others know Joe as the infamous Christchurch Carver and they want to see him dead. There's Melissa, Joe's accomplice in one of the murders, who plans on shooting him on his way to the courthouse before he gets a chance to start talking. Then there's Raphael, whose daughter was one of the Carver's victims. Though he's tried to move on with life as the leader of a counseling group for grieving family members, he'd like nothing more than to watch Joe pay. Finally there's Carl Schroder, the ex-detective who locked Joe up and is determined to put things right for the case of his career.To extract himself from this epic mess, Joe has come up with a desperate plan involving a television psychic who's looking to get rich by making people believe just about anything. It's a long shot, but it had better work before he becomes the poster boy for a death penalty that may be reinstated in New Zealand, which isn't quite the dramatic ending he is hoping for...

Mulholland Books

Five Minutes Alone

Paul Cleave
Authors:
Paul Cleave

'Breaking Bad reworked by the Coen Brothers.' Kirkus ReviewsCarl Schroder and Theodore Tate, labeled 'The Coma Cops' by the media, are finally getting their lives back into shape. Tate has returned to the police force and is grateful to be back at home with his wife, Bridget. For Schroder, things are neither good nor bad. The bullet lodged in his head from a shooting six months ago hasn't killed him, but - almost as deadly - it's switched off his emotions.When the body of a convicted rapist is found, obliterated by an oncoming train, Tate works the case, trying to determine if this is murder or suicide. The following night, two more rapists go missing. It's hard to investigate when everyone on the police force seems to be rooting for the killer.There's a common plea detectives get from the loved ones of victims: When you find the man who did this, give me five minutes alone with him. And that's exactly what someone is doing. Someone is helping these victims get their five minutes alone. But when innocent people start to die, Tate and Schroder find themselves with different objectives, and soon they're battling something they never would've expected - each other.

Chrissie Manby

Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award. Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can't walk in. You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.

David Swinson

David Swinson is a retired police detective, having served 16 years with the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department. Before joining the DC police Swinson was a record store owner in Seal Beach, California, a punk rock/alternative concert promoter in Long Beach, California, and a music video producer and independent filmmaker in Los Angeles, California. Swinson currently lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, daughter, bull mastiff, and bearded dragon.

Don Mann

Don Mann has been associated with the Navy SEALS for the last thirty years, as a platoon member, assault team member, boat crew leader, or advanced training officer. Up until 1998 he was on active duty with SEAL Team 6. Visit his website at www.usfrogmann.com.

Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly is the author of The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind and Broadchurch: The Novel, inspired by the mega-hit TV series. In 2013, The Poison Tree became a major ITV drama and was a Richard & Judy Summer Read in 2011. Born in London in 1976, she lives in north London with her husband and daughters.www.erinkelly.co.ukwww.twitter.com/mserinkellywww.facebook.com/Erin-Kelly-Author

Graham Hancock

As East Africa correspondent of The Economist in the early eighties Graham Hancock began to write a series of highly acclaimed books on economics, politics and foreign aid. His life took a whole new turn when he became fascinated by rumours that the Ark of the Covenant is real artefact, hidden somewhere in northern Africa. The story of his detective work, tracking it down to its supposed final resting place became the international bestseller The Sign and the Seal (now in production as a feature film.) More bestsellers in the field of 'alternative history' followed, including Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis (the latter co-authored with Robert Bauval) and Heaven's Mirror. In Supernatural he described his experiences journeying to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs amongst tribes people for whom they represent a gateway into supernatural realms. His ideas on exploring new dimensions in consciousness became the subject of his controversial TED talks.Graham Hancock's books have been translated into twenty-seven languages and have sold over nine million copies worldwide. His public lectures and broadcasts, including two major TV series for Channel 4, Quest for the Lost Civilisation, and Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, have further established his reputation as an unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity`s past.

Julie Corbin

Julie Corbin is Scottish and grew up just outside Edinburgh. She has lived in East Sussex for the last twenty-five years and raised her three sons in a village close to the Ashdown Forest. She is trained as a nurse and combines running the medical department in a boarding school with writing novels, short stories and currently a radio play.Her psychological thrillers have been described as 'creepy and gripping' (Closer) and 'remarkably assured... suspenseful narrative' (Daily Mail)She speaks at writing events, book groups and libraries, and runs writing workshops for beginners and more experienced writers.Visit Julie's website at www.juliecorbin.com and follow her on Twitter @Julie_Corbin

Leslie Charteris

Leslie Charteris was born in Singapore and moved to England in 1919. He left Cambridge University early when his first novel was accepted for publication. He wrote novels about the Saint throughout his life, and was one of the 20th century's most prolific and popular authors. He died in 1993.Visit www.lesliecharteris.com for more information.

Marco Vichi

Marco Vichi was born in Florence in 1957. The author of twelve novels and two collections of short stories, he has also edited crime anthologies, written screenplays, music lyrics and for radio, and collaborated on and directed various projects for humanitarian causes.His novel Death in Florence won the Scerbanenco, Rieti, Camaiore and Azzeccagarbugli prizes in Italy. Marco Vichi lives in the Chianti region of Tuscany.You can find out more at www.marcovichi.it.

Matthew Blakstad

Matthew's first career was as a professional child actor. From the age of ten, he had roles in TV dramas, in the films and on stage at theatres including the Royal Court. After graduating from Oxford with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy, he began a career in online communications, consulting for a wide range of clients from the BBC to major banks. Since 2008, he has been in public service, using his communication skills to help the British population understand and manage their money.In 2012 Matthew took the Writing a Novel course at Faber Academy.Sockpuppet is his first novel.

Meg Hutchinson

Meg Hutchinson lived for sixty years in Wednesbury, where her parents and grandparents spent all their lives. Her passion for storytelling reaped dividends, with her novels regularly appearing in bestseller lists. She was the undisputed queen of the clogs and shawls saga. Passionate about history, her meticulous research provided an authentic context to the action-packed narratives set in the Black Country. She died in February 2010.

Paul Cleave

Paul Cleave is an award-winning author who divides his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages and have sold over a million copies. He's won the Ngaio Marsh Award three times, the Saint-Maur book festival's crime novel of the year award, has been shortlisted for the Edgar, the Barry and the Ned Kelly Awards. When he's not at home with the stereo cranked up loud and working on his next novel, he can normally be found on a tennis court, a golf course, or throwing a Frisbee somewhere.

Rosemary Rowe

Rosemary Rowe is extremely active in the crime-writing community, and is a very involved member of the Crime Writers' Association. She has written a series of popular crime novels set in second-century Roman Britain, featuring the Celtic sleuth and mosaic-maker, Libertus,and regularly gives talks and runs crime writing courses, the latest being a Summer School Crime Writing Course.

Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown is the author of numerous New York Times bestselling thrillers. She lives in Arlington, Texas. Visit her website at www.sandrabrown.com and connect with her on Twitter: @SandraBrown_NYT