A Murderous Mind

I had a new book out at the end of November but other things intervened and I didn’t really get a chance to celebrate it, or to blog about it so I’m catching up now.
The book is called A Murderous Mind and is in the Naomi Blake series and it’s likely to be the last Naomi that I write for a little while though more on that in a moment.
People often ask what inspires a piece of writing what gives an author the idea for a particular story and this one was really very, very simple; I wanted to come up with a character that really scared me, that felt invulnerable and somewhat out of control. Someone who did what he did just because he wanted to, no reason no motive and a random selection of victim. Someone who could not easily be identified or caught and that no wind would want to believe was guilty anyway. I also wanted to take a look at the way that offender profiling has developed and changed in the last decade and this seemed like a good opportunity to do it. And so, a murderous mind evolved
I think that most people recognise that in our dangerous or emotionally charged or frightening situation we might resort to violence. That most of us could be pushed over our normal boundaries and in fear, or defence or simple desperation might do things that otherwise would be unnatural for us. More frightening than that is the person who kills without excuse, who does what he does – or what she does – just because they can. Just because they happen to be in the mood for committing a murder.
What if the rest of the time they were perfectly solid reliable citizens? Invisible because of their sheer visibility, because they are in a position of power, a position of strength and authority and a position of trust. Of course we’re familiar with individuals like Harold Shipman, the number of whose victims is still questioned but in cases like that we can begin to see connections. His victims were known to him. Eventually someone was going to make the leap and recognise what he was doing.
But what if there are no connections, no logical steps by which victims can be linked to their killer. What is there seems to be no link between the killer and the victims or between victims? In fact what if, for a very long time, it isn’t even realised that they have been killed by the same person? In real life and in crime fiction we’re used to talking about a modus operandi, we are used to talking about a killer’s signature, the received wisdom is that a pattern will emerge. But what happens when either that pattern is non-existent or is so widely spread that it’s not easily seen?

So those are the questions I asked when writing this book and my murderer developed in response to those questions.
And yes, he did scare me.

As I said this is likely to be the last Naomi for a little while because I’ve started a new series for Seven House. It’s rather different because it isn’t contemporary crime but is set between the two world wars and the events of the first book take place in June 1928. My new hero is a man called Henry Johnston and his Detective Chief Inspector. And there’s a lot of research involved. More of which next time.

a murderous mind cover