Perfect Silence (DI Callanach Crime Thriller, Book 4)
Published by Avon
Available in ebook, paperback and audio book (23 August 2018)
My thanks to Sabah from Avon for providing a copy of the book to review and for the tour invitation. I was hoping to have been able to add a review to this post but as bookbloggers everywhere will know, books and life don’t always co-operate! For my turn on the tour today, I have to say thank you to Helen for a very interesting and thought provoking guest post.
| About the Book |
When silence falls, who will hear their cries?
The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.
DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.
After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?
This Year’s Hot Topic – Depicting Violence Against Women in Novels
by Helen Fields
As Perfect Silence comes out, I’m grasping the nettle. 2018 has seen an outcry against portraying violence against women in books, in fact an award has been offered to an entry who can produce a thriller/mystery/crime novel novel with no women characterised as victims at all. My latest book isn’t going to win that award. The victims in the main story line are all female, young and are largely vulnerable, so I should approach this argument from the clear standpoint that writing about violence against women is acceptable.
Except it’s not that simple. The issue for me is broader, and it is this: Is it ever acceptable to utilise violence in creative art? I include victims who are men, women, children, the elderly, animals – I’m not sure why women get singled out. As a former criminal and family lawyer, I dealt with victims of all ages and both genders, from all classes. To me, violence is violence, irrespective of the victim. It shatters lives, destroys relationships and leaves lasting shadows over those lucky enough to survive.
So why write about it? For me, the answer is because it is real. Violence exists in different forms all around us. This is a case of art imitating life, not the other way around. Suppose we did stop all creative uses of violence – you’d have to include television programmes, films, and internet media, not just books. So what then? Do we not risk pushing the issues underground? Don’t we just live in a clinical world where violence still happens but we’re almost sanitising it?
If nothing else, this important debate has made me think about my own writing. First of all, I accept as an author that I need to take responsibility for the violence I include in my books. I hope that I’m careful in my writing to portray the victims of crime in many different ways. Women who are the subject of violence can be resilient, resourceful, brave, tough, clever. They are not just vulnerable. They represent all the various aspects of all our personalities. They adapt to attempt to reduce the harm done to themselves. Should violence be gratuitous? No, never. It has to have context. It needs to be plot based, and rooted within the necessary story. It shouldn’t be glorified. The victims I write about, and they are not all obvious – sometimes it’s a female being verbally abused by a work colleague, or a woman being harassed on the internet – are very real to me. I don’t write in a vacuum, in fact I find writing all violence extremely disturbing and sometimes upsetting.
The final question I’ve asked myself is, does my writing risk encouraging violence? To me that’s reasonably straight forward. My experience has always been that those capable of violence don’t need books or any other media to encourage them. It’s about impulse control and conscience, empathy and morality. Books don’t change or destroy those things.
My conclusion is that I will continue to write the same subject matter, but that doesn’t make the debate an irrelevant one. We all have to think carefully about what we write and how we write. Personally, I am all too aware of how badly victims suffer in the real world. It’s not something I take lightly.
Avon have some of the most superb marketing ideas for their blogger packs. My book arrived accompanied by some little dolls with a promise from Avon that these Guatemalan Worry dolls will protect me from my nightmares! I’m hoping! 🙂
| Author Bio |
Helen can be found on Twitter @Helen_Fields for up to date news and information. A former barrister, Helen now writes a Scottish set crime series – D.I.Callanach and D.I. Ava Turner. Her debut novel Perfect Remains and the second in the series Perfect Prey are Amazon best sellers. Her next book ‘Perfect Death’ is due out on 25 January 2018. She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, and lives with her husband and three children.