Nominated for the Anthony and Macavity Awards for Best Mystery Novel of the Year
Holly Troy's mind is a complex maze of myth and reality, multiple personalities vying for time in the spotlight. As an artist, she is creative and compelling. As a witness, she is painfully unreliable, unsure of even which person she was the night of the murder. Even Holly can’t be sure of her own innocence. Homicide detective Orson Cheever never thought he would find himself playing psychologist to a Greek goddess in a modern-day murder investigation, but many of Holly's personalities come straight from classical mythology, from Cronos and Pandora to the Fates. As Cheever attempts to unravel truth from myth, he learns that there is even more to Holly than meets the eye. One personality in particular—that of a five-year-old girl—hits a little too close to home, and Cheever is forced to finally pull back the dark curtains of his own past in order to uncover the truth in this psychological thriller.
Alan Russell: You're right either way. Thomas & Mercer is bringing out my new novel Burning Man on the same day it is reissuing Multiple Wounds and Shame.
TJP: Why are they doing that?
AR: Don't good things come in threes?
TJP: That segues into Multiple Wounds, a novel where you feature a character that not only has multiple personalities, but personalities of Greek goddesses.
AR: I know that sounds fantastic, but many of those diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder do have larger than life personalities. For my character with DID, the emergence of those goddess alters was often a survival mechanism.
TJP: Did something inspire you to come up with such an extraordinary character?
AR: My brain started percolating when I read about this woman with DID who cried tears of blood when she became upset. That image propelled me, and the story built from there. Early in the book I knew my detective had to be confronted by this spectacle.
TJP: Men aren't good dealing with even ordinary crying. Do you like pushing the envelope of crime fiction?
AR: I do, but I should ask the same of you. Your Charlie Hood novels certainly aren't traditional mysteries, and in them you haven't felt the need to neatly tie up loose ends.
TJP: I've never been happy writing the same old, same old, and I know you aren't either. A few years back we did a library program together and you talked about a horrific incident you fictionalized in Multiple Wounds.
AR: I came home late one night and there were fire trucks and police everywhere. As it turned out there had been a double homicide of a mother and daughter on our street, and the murderer attempted a cover-up by setting a fire. The murderer even killed the family's two pugs. The only survivor was Rainbow the family cat.
TJP: A cat that you and your wife adopted.
AR: It was heartbreaking watching Rainbow going in and out of the ruins looking for her family the day after the murders. When we first took her in, she really smelled of smoke.
TJP: So you had your detective do the same thing in Multiple Wounds.
AR: For both of us, it was the only good thing to come out of a tragedy.
TJP: In the library talk you also mentioned that your working with San Diego Police Department helped you write your novel.
AR: I worked with Homicide Team IV where the sergeant called me to the scene of the homicide just like the rest of the team. Most of his calls came after midnight, and like the detectives I hurried to be there within half an hour of the call. I dressed the part with a blue blazer and tie. On a few occasions the media asked me to comment on the crime and I always referred them to “my sergeant.”
TJP: There’s nothing like getting that firsthand experience.
AR: It’s one thing writing about a murder, but another thing seeing a person that died through violence.
TJP: The book was nominated for a lot of big mystery awards.
AR: It ended up being a bridesmaid. I don't have a shelf of Edgars like you do! How about loaning me one?
TJP: I'm sorry. Our connection seems to be breaking up.