A debut crime thriller that is making interesting noises in the literary scene has been published by Harper Collins by the Irish writer, Alex Barclay. I tracked down Alex and asked her exactly what Shots' readers were likely to expect from this disturbing novel ? Ali Karim
From the Pen of Alex Barclay
A missing child, a mother on the edge, two NYPD detectives, a skittish killer, an explosive end to a police pursuit: this was all I knew about Darkhouse when I sat down to write the first words. It turned out to be the prologue, the setting scene for a story I knew had to twist and turn its way to its conclusion. The bones of the story had come to me from nowhere; I wrote it down to release it. So I started, thinking not about writing a book, but about writing a scene.
As a first-time writer taking a chance, I just threw myself into it, focusing on the story I wanted to tell. I was more conscious of keeping myself entertained than potential future readers, of which, for all I knew, there could be none. So I went with my gut or my heart or wherever it is that emotion gnaws at you and hollows you out. I went for a killer with a past that is kept present and a hero with a red dot trained on his family.
From there, the story grew, new characters showed up and I realised I had stumbled onto something all-consuming; head-wreckingly so, at times. What came along with all this was the impulse to flee. I lived in Dublin, but I couldn’t seem to write there – not enough foliage and clean air. So I headed off for most of the ten months to a writers’ retreat in Cork and to various rented holiday homes around Ireland. It did the trick. It also freaked me out at times … when I was alone in the dark with my imagination and background noise that included car backfires. It was the one nasty side-effect of plunging into the depths of human depravity. A former whole-heartedly trusting human being, I’m now slightly more aware of potential freaks. I don’t talk to men, for example, whose glasses are a particular shape (brown plastic/metal, they keep showing up in mug shots/court room sketches; you know the ones).
Shots would like to thank Fiona MacIntosh of HarperCollins for organizing this article.
More information about Darkhouse is available from:-