What’s your tipping point?

‘What the detective story is about is not murder but the restoration of order.’ –P. D. James

I couldn’t put it better myself.

People often ask me: ‘How can you write about such violence? Doesn’t it depress you?’ The short answer, of course, is no! In fact I quite like it, being the damaged little soul that I am (insert smiley face here). But the long answer to that question is this: my books are not about the violence, the rape, the blood and guts or the forensic wizardry. My books are about the restoration of order and the carrying out of justice.

And justice is a fundamental principle at the core of all people, regardless of race, religion or personal conviction.

I think that with our court systems the way they are; the lawyers, the appeals and the loopholes, that many people feel like there’s no such thing as justice anymore. Particularly when you see murderers and rapists getting less time in prison than those perpetrating crimes such as copyright infringement.

And with the popularity of anti-heroes like Lisbeth Salander and Dexter, it’s clear that the reading/watching public don’t mind a bit of an ‘eye for an eye’ at all. In fact, they love it.

My books are about the tipping point that exists in all people. I think it was Angelina Jolie that once said; “If someone comes into my home and tries to hurt my kids, I’ve got no problem shooting them.” Hear, hear fellow tigress mommy! I couldn’t agree more! And yet some people I talk to don’t recognise there’s a killer hidden inside and it just takes the right set of circumstances to bring it out.

So my books explore this. What is the hidden tipping point in some people? Obviously it’s going to be different depending on the person; but, how far can you be pushed before the switch inside your head flicks? If you’re me, then being cut off in traffic will do it (mofos are lucky I’m not allowed to mount an uzi on the hood of my car).

But if you are hideously wronged, what would you do to get proper justice? What might you be capable of doing that you never before imagined?

And, once that switch is flicked, is there any coming back?

My main character, Berg, struggles against her dark side and has a deep and desperate need for justice. She has done terrible things to get it. So is she a criminal? Or a dealer of black and white justice in a world that only sees shades of grey? And does she get to make that call?

I’ll leave you with those questions, kiddies. Sleep tight.

One thought on “What’s your tipping point?

  1. […] I love a morally ambiguous character who works on the right side of justice, and I’ve loved Dexter and his dark passenger since I first read Jeff Lindsay’s Darkly Dreaming Dexter many years ago. As I’m touring around promoting my own morally ambiguous character, Berg, in my crime fiction novel The Enemy Inside, I often try to explain to my readers why people love a ‘good’ serial killer. To me, the answer is simple: I think many people feel that justice, true justice, has been lost in a modern justice system that seems to be increasingly dedicated to setting the guilty free. I think many people feel, as do Berg and Dexter, that ‘some people just need killing’. I love exploring this in my books, there is a wealth of characterization to be discovered in the fine line between justice and vigilantism and what tips a seemingly normal person over to the ‘dark side’. I talk more about this here. […]

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