I’ve had a serial killer cut out my characters’ hearts and I’ve drowned others in a plane crash. I had a daughter run over her mother while (spoiler alert) sleep-driving. Others have died in the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust in ways that are historically precise and thus particularly disturbing. Those deaths stay with me.
But I think the murder that haunts me the most is that of the money manager in “The Flight Attendant” — but not because of how or why he’s killed. It’s the idea that Cassie Bowden, a woman who’s among my favorite heroines in my work, fears that she may have cut his throat with glass shards from a bottle of vodka. Cassie is a blackout drunk and a mess, but I always felt her childhood pain. Her story (and her doubts) leave me a little broken inside.
And I like that.
Bohjalian’s next novel, “The Red Lotus,” will be out in March 2020.
I’ve always felt the job of crime fiction is to hold up a mirror to society and show us not just who we are, but who we want to be. In “The Kept Woman,” I write about a sports agent who covers up crimes for his serial rapist client. This isn’t a difficult scenario to imagine in the real world, but since art doesn’t always have to imitate life, I was able to extract vengeance on everyone involved. I had a character slip antifreeze into the agent’s drinks. Ethylene glycol poisoning is extremely slow and lethal — shutting down the victim’s organs one by one, keeping him cognizant until the very end so that he knows that he’s completely helpless. Sort of like being assaulted against your will. That a woman was the one who poisoned him made the revenge extra sweet.
Slaughter’s next novel, “The Last Widow,” will be out in August.
My favorite murder has to be that of Jack in “Behind Closed Doors,” not only because he deserves to die but also because Millie, my favorite character of all time, is at the origin of his murder. Millie has Down syndrome and sees things in a very black-and-white way — Jack is a bad man and bad men deserve to die. She is also very intuitive. She knows that Grace, her sister, is trapped in a terrible situation and quickly realizes that she is the only one who can help her. She looks for a solution and cleverly supplies Grace with the means to give Jack the death he absolutely deserves, making it the perfect murder.
Paris’s next novel, “The Dilemma,” will be out in June 2020.
An Egyptologist friend invited me to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to watch the CT scanning of an Egyptian mummy. As we watched the images appear on the computer screen, I had a chilling thought: What if the scan revealed a surprise? What if, buried deep in the muscle of this 2,000-year-old man, we saw a bullet? That’s what happens in my novel “The Keepsake,” where Dr. Maura Isles discovers that a local museum’s “ancient” Egyptian mummy is actually a modern-day murder victim. I thought I’d come up with a unique idea — until I learned there’d been a real case (in Pakistan) of killers mummifying their murder victim. When it comes to crime, it seems there really is nothing new under the sun.