I once asked forensics specialist and author D.P. Lyle what he thought was at the core of criminal behavior. His answer was that most criminals are, in one way or another, trying to save face. Six novels later, I’m still exploring that concept. What is so compelling that it drives a criminal to take someone’s life? It almost never works, so why do killers still think it might? And how does this violent act affect the families and communities of both the victim and the perpetrator? What are the hidden conflicts that come to the surface after a violent act? I’m not interested in serial killers, but in ordinary people driven to the edge.
In my first Samuel Craddock novel, A Killing at Cotton Hill, I felt sympathy for the guilty party, who was driven by desperation to maintain his standing in his world. He deserved to be caught and punished, but I wanted the reader to have some understanding of the complicated reasons for his actions.