I’m in the process of finishing my new novel, a psychological thriller that centers on the case of a three-year-old boy who was kidnapped and murdered more than forty years ago.During that time, I really had to dig down deep in order to portray the depth of emotion parents feel when this kind of tragedy occurs. It hasn’t been easy.
We love a good puzzle
And is there any bigger puzzle than a murder? Crime solving has always been fascinating business. Even more intriguing are the modern-day advances in forensic science. It never fails to amaze me how much they can determine from so little. For me, the best mysteries seem to be ones that appear the most confusing—that is, until the investigator cleverly pulls it all together in the end. It’s the aha moment that’s the payoff.
The “Good to Know that Somebody has it Worse than me” Theory
Death is the ultimate dose of bad luck. It really doesn't get much worse than that, and no matter how bad things are in our own lives, we can always look at the guy who got whacked and think, “Wow, and I thought I was having a bad day.” It’s a form of relief, something that helps us put things into the proper perspective. Also, I think, humans are for the most part a compassionate species, and many of us feel a certain degree of sympathy for the victim, thus drawing us in even more
We love to hate the bad guys, but we also love seeing them pay for their deeds, and quite often in the world, that simply doesn’t happen. It makes us angry. Seeing justice served on the screen or the pages in a book tends to fill that void. We know it’s not real but still get to sample that emotion on some level,which restores a sense of decency to our world.
Having said all that, there is a dark side to all this. Simply put: we like morbid. I'm not sure why, but we do. We may cringe or cover our eyes (then peak between our fingers) but there seems to be something about the truly bizarre and grotesque that fascinates us. Maybe it's as simple as this: it's human nature to be curious, and the more disturbing something is, the more curious we seem to become. We don’t really want to know, but we sort of do. It's the reason people slow down to look at a car wreck on the side of the road.
What about you? As always, I'm interested in hearing any theories you may have on this. Comments?