> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Guest Post/Dead- Why Write Crime? by Leigh Russell
Monday, January 20, 2014

Guest Post/Dead- Why Write Crime? by Leigh Russell

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from the author,via Partners in Crime Tours, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

I'll be sharing my review of Dead End by Leigh, in just a bit, but first a great post by her!

dead end cover

Whenever people ask me why I write murder stories, I'm never quite sure how to respond. 

It happens quite often. So as Bless Their Hearts Mom have generously invited me to write a guest

post on a topic of my choice, I've decided to tackle this question head on. 

What inspires me to create murder stories? 

The more I think about it, the less probable it seems. Imagine the person who is least likely to make up stories about people being viciously killed. You might think of someone who is upset by true crime, squeamish about blood and pain, who values tolerance, love, compassion and understanding above anything else. Well, that's me... and yet my crime stories have been described as 'taking the reader into the darkest recesses of the human psyche' by Barry Forshaw, the UK's leading expert on crime fiction.

If I'm honest, I can't tell you how a peace loving, law abiding, apparently normal woman like myself 
enters the minds of vicious killers. But I can perhaps explain why. It all seems to come down to my interest in people. Killers are people who behave in the most extreme way. Exploring the motivation for their evil acts fascinates me. This interest led The Times of London to describe my work as 'psychologically acute', and Crime Squad to write that 'Russell’s strength as a writer is her ability to portray believable characters'.

My books contain a range of characters, from the vulnerable to the vicious, as well as considering the frustrations and triumph of working on a murder investigation team. Driven by a passion for justice, my detective, Geraldine Steel, feels a sense of responsibility to the dead as well as the living. As each of my books centres on her murder investigations, I explore the experience of characters placed in extreme circumstances, whether they are committing murder or targeted by killers. But there is more to my books than the story of these key characters. When we lose someone we care about, life is never the same again. To lose someone in an an unexpected and violent way must be horrific.Writers in the genre sometimes overlook the effect of their fictitious murders on other characters in the book, those who knew and loved the victims. In my books I always try to pay respect to characters who are bereaved. As Gwen Adshead, consultant forensic psychotherapist at Broadmoor (the UK's high security psychiatric hospital) said, 'When you kill somebody you change the universe.' Geraldine's sergeant, Ian Peterson, says, 'The act of murder signified so much more than one terrible death; it triggered worlds of unseen suffering.' My detectives are aware of the effect of murder on the people left behind to grieve. Perhaps this is why Peter James said I write with 'a deeply human voice'.

So perhaps it isn't surprising that I write about murders, even though I am upset by true crime, squeamish about blood and pain, and value tolerance, love, compassion and understanding above anything else.


  1. I so much enjoy these author insights. Thanks for inviting the author to visit with you and for sharing her post with us.

  2. Thanks for sharing this insight about crime writers. It's changed my mind about them.


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