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Books by Minette Walters
Since 1992, Minette Walters has been captivating readers and critics alike with her psychological novels that explore the dark heart beating below a calm surface. Her unique ability to bring crime 'uncomfortably close to home' has earned her the title 'Queen of British crime fiction', and her novels have been published in 35 different languages. Her flair for biting dialogue and razor-sharp characterisations has made each of her novels a consistent bestseller around the world.
Never one to follow rules, Minette eschews a series character, preferring instead to have each novel stand on its own. With a readership in the millions, her fans clearly endorse this break from tradition. Minette's work has also won crime writing's top awards, including the Crime Writers' Association John Creasey award for best first novel for The Ice House and the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best crime novel published in America for The Sculptress. Five of her novels have been adapted for television, with a sixth currently in development.
"I may write dark fantasies, but they are never entirely bleak. There is always redemption through love somewhere in my writing."
THE CHAMELEON'S SHADOW
THE DEVIL'S FEATHER
DISORDERED MINDS, explores a possible miscarriage of justice in 1970 when a bullied and retarded 20-year-old, Howard Stamp, was convicted of murdering his grandmother. Because Stamp hanged himself in prison, his case is forgotten until Dr Johnathan Hughes, a 34-year-old author and research fellow in Anthropology, comes across it by accident and includes it in a book. On the face of it there is no similarity between the illiterate Stamp and the highly educated Hughes, but their lives resonate through their damaged childhoods and mutual sense of exclusion. Set against the threat of war in Iraq and the unease it inspires in the UK, DISORDERED MINDS tracks Jonathans attempts to prove a grotesque injustice. (back to top)
FOX EVIL, published in 2002, takes readers to Dorset where New Age travellers, under the charismatic leadership of Fox Evil, invade an isolated village. Two women with their own evil intentions dominate the seemingly peaceful village and they have been waging a cruel campaign against a frail neighbour, attempting to drive him to loneliness and despair after his wife dies in mysterious circumstances. But when Fox Evil uses the womens spitefulness for his own purposes, the villagers realise they have a sadist in their midst. (back to top)
ACID ROW, published in 2001, is a 'real time' story about a riot that erupts on a sink estate when a registered paedophile is discovered living near children. Described by reviewers as impossible to put down, the novel takes the reader through a rollercoaster ride of terror as the estate is blockaded and police lose control. With topical references to Internet child pornography and the controversial debate on whether or not to out paedophiles, Minette deftly balances difficult social issues with a fast-paced storyline to create a compulsive read. (back to top)
THE SHAPE OF SNAKES, published in 2000, confirmed Minettes reputation as a Number 1 bestseller. Her only first person narration to date, the book tells the story of a woman (known as M) who embarks on a 20-year quest to unravel the truth behind the violent death of her black neighbour, 'Mad' Annie. Inspired by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, which was set up to investigate the death of a black boy by a group of white boys, Minette exposes the horrifying consequences when communities ignore the people who need them the most. (back to top)
THE BREAKER, published in 1998, was again enormously successful and became a number one bestseller in England, Australia and Germany. Set in Dorset, where Minette now lives, the book explores the tragedy of a woman who is drugged and brutally raped before being thrown into the sea to drown. While the Dorset coast forms part of the backdrop, the canvas is a narrow one, with only three suspects. Each one is portrayed in depth, and the solution to the brutal crime ultimately lies in deciphering the motivations that fuel their fateful actions. (back to top)
THE ECHO went straight to Number 1 in London when it was first published in 1997. Set in the bleak environments of Londons homeless community, the book is an echo of the Oedipus story. An unknown man, with a troubled family history, wanders the wastelands of the old docks in the company of a child. Only when the man is found dead of starvation does the tragedy of his life begin to unfold. Abandoned by his parents as a baby, he has grown up to murder a stranger before marrying that strangers wife. When his wife hangs herself, he vanishes amongst the anonymous vagrants of London in search of redemption.(back to top)
Minette's fourth book, THE DARK ROOM, published in 1995, explores the psychological results of family breakdown when secrets and secretive behaviour dominate relationships. The powerful tensions, created through the always absent figure of one of the major characters (Jinxs father), who manipulates the action from a distance, gives the story a sense of impending doom. (back to top)
When Minette's third book, THE SCOLDS BRIDLE (winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award), went straight into the bestseller lists on publication in 1994, she said: "Crime fiction is a very competitive genre with many excellent writers. Perhaps my books succeed because I concentrate on the trauma that exists within families and communities both before and after a murder is committed. Well-balanced families dont kill each other dysfunctional ones may. Because I explore family tensions, there is a greater sense of involvement for my readers."(back to top)
While waiting for THE ICE HOUSE to find a publisher, Minette was already writing THE SCULPTRESS (published 1993). "I was never interested in creating a series character because I wanted to be free to tackle whatever I wanted, when I wanted, without being shackled to a particular person or place." This refusal to follow the rules of crime fiction has made Minette the most exciting and innovative writer of her generation, setting trends that other authors now follow. (back to top)
THE ICE HOUSE was published in 1992 by Macmillan after being rejected by numerous publishing houses. It won the Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Award for best first novel and was translated into several languages within six months of initial publication. As with her subsequent books, THE ICE HOUSE creates an atmosphere of claustrophobia and tension through Minettes skilful depiction of a handful of characters whose personalities are neither totally attractive nor totally unattractive.
Policy © Minette Walters 2012. All Rights Reserved.