Araminta Hall on obsessive love

'As humans we will never stop loving, just as we will never stop hating.' Araminta Hall, author of thriller Our Kind of Cruelty, on the mystery of obsessive love. 

Throughout the years writers have always written about love. It’s the universal theme of our lives, the emotion that pretty much all of us will feel at least once and many more times if we’re lucky. But for the thriller writer it is the darker side of love that fascinates: the unrequited, the end of the affair, the shattering of dreams. To delve in to this dark psychology is such fertile ground for a writer interested in the intricate workings of the human mind because, although reading happy love stories can be uplifting, it’s the tragic love we all remember, from Cathy and Heathcliffe to Nick and Amy Dunne. 

The reason these stories resonate so deeply is that most of us have experienced heart-break. Most of us know that gut-wrenching feeling of loving someone who doesn’t love us back and how painful it is to think of them out in the world without us, loving someone else. Most of us also have hated the person we love so much we could hurt them, or seek revenge in any number of nefarious ways. But the thing is, we don’t. We think about trolling their Facebook page or waiting outside their house or banging their head against a wall, but it’s never a serious thought. It tantalises but it doesn’t stick.

'Who, we ask ourselves, is it who steps over these lines? Who takes heart-break and anger and uses it as a weapon?'

Writers of thrillers are however unduly fascinated by those tantalising moments. Who, we ask ourselves, is it who steps over these lines? Who takes heart-break and anger and uses it as a weapon? Who is it who wants to control or frighten? Who is it who won’t accept an ending and demands a resolution the other person doesn’t want? 

And, as readers, we are drawn to these stories because a little part of us wonders, could I be that person? What does it take to become that person? Sometimes things are just too tantalising not to experience and if we can do this vicariously through the characters in a novel, then we can get the thrill without the danger.

As humans we will never stop loving, just as we will never stop hating. For thriller writers and readers it is a heady cocktail when the two things collide, a cocktail which I can’t imagine ever ceasing to be relevant or compelling.

More about the author

Our Kind of Cruelty

Araminta Hall

Passion. Obsession. Murder.

‘Simply one of the most disturbing thrillers I’ve read in years. In short I loved it, right down to the utterly chilling final line’ – Gillian Flynn, author of GONE GIRL

Mike and Verity have a special game. The Crave.

They play it to prove what they already know: that Verity loves Mike. That she needs Mike.

Even though she’s marrying another man.

Now Mike knows that the stakes of their private game are rising.

This time, someone has to die…

'A taut, nasty thriller about what society does to women who like sex. I loved it!' INDIA KNIGHT

'A propulsive and addictive study of the darkness of obsessive love. I was completely gripped from the first word to the last.' LISA JEWELL

'As merciless a thriller as I’ve ever read. Astonishingly dark and sensationally accomplished.’ AJ FINN, author of The Woman in the Window

A tense intelligent thriller that kept me gripped and guessing until the last page – and thinking long after that.ERIN KELLY

'A searing, chilling sliver of perfection... may well turn out to be the year's best thriller.' NEW YORK TIMES SUMMER READING ISSUE

'Readers of weary of domestic noir should pick up Our Kind of Cruelty, a splendidly written novel that gives the genre a shot in the arm … pacily written and hugely involving... I was gripped until the last pages.' DAILY EXPRESS

A taut, fascinating psychological thriller. Original and powerful. Be prepared for questions to linger in your head for a long time afterward.’ JULIA HEABERLIN

Toxic love, obsession, and the unflinching unravelling of a mind. Scarily plausible, a great read.’ ALI LAND

'Chilling. Disturbing. Addictive. I couldn't put this down.' EMMA FLINT

'Like watching a slow motion car-crash through splayed fingers' TAMMY COHEN

An addictive dive into dangerous, extreme obsession. A must-read’ JULIA CROUCH

'the orchestration of suspense is masterly' FINANCIAL TIMES

'disturbing and thrilling' DAILY MAIL

'This brilliant, thought-provoking thriller will keep you up at night' BEST MAGAZINE

'Darkly addictive, this is set to be one of the most talked-about thrillers of the year' HEAT MAGAZINE

'I devoured this gripping, unsettling, and brilliantly constructed thriller in one gulp' WOMAN AND HOME

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