Grip-lit may be the lat­est crime craze but let’s not for­get its ori­gins in clas­sic do­mes­tic sus­pense. S.J.I. Holliday, au­thor of Wil­low Walk, cheers on the venge­ful fe­male in thrillers and picks her five screen favourites.

Crime Scene - - CASE NOTES -

My love of the venge­ful fe­male comes from my first watch­ing of Stephen King’s Car­rie when I was 13. How could I fail to be mes­merised, ter­ri­fied and dumb­struck by Car­rie White’s re­venge on her psy­chot­i­cally-re­li­gious mother, and the en­tire school who had ridiculed her sad, op­pressed life? Go, Car­rie, with your pig’s blood and im­pres­sive tele­ki­netic knife throw­ing skills. You were way cooler than all those generic, sim­per­ing pretty girls. And that bloke you fan­cied had truly aw­ful hair.

Since then, I’ve been com­pletely fas­ci­nated (pos­si­bly ob­sessed) by the wronged fe­male who seeks re­venge for the aw­ful things that have be­fallen her. Who de­cides if she’s jus­ti­fied in her ac­tions? ‘Ha!’, you think. She’s just some crazy lady with hor­mone is­sues. Or maybe, just maybe, some­body pushed her too damn far.

In my first novel, Black Wood, I ex­plored the un­rav­el­ling of the re­cently sin­gle Jo, whose life is slowly dis­in­te­grat­ing around her. She be­comes ob­sessed with a face from the past – a man she be­lieves to be re­spon­si­ble for a bru­tal, life-chang­ing at­tack on her friend. As she seeks jus­tice for past wrongs, she ends up fall­ing apart. Does she get her re­venge? Was it war­ranted? I’m not go­ing to an­swer ei­ther of those things, but I will say it was fun to write.

My sec­ond novel, Wil­low Walk, sees my feisty bar­maid, Marie, bat­tle the de­mon that is her twin brother. In­car­cer­ated since his teens af­ter de­stroy­ing her life, she faces a deep, in­ter­nal strug­gle – fight­ing hard to break the bond that ties her to her past. She goes through stages of de­nial, to a grudg­ing ac­cep­tance, and even­tu­ally a build­ing anger – un­til, fi­nally, she snaps.

It’s the tip­ping point and the re­sul­tant snap that makes me love th­ese women so much...

Wil­low Walk (Black & White Pub­lish­ing) is out on 10 June.

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