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

‘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

Passion, obsession ... and murder. A deeply unsettling psychological thriller in which a secret game between lovers has deadly consequences.

Mike knows that most of us go through life searching for that missing person, someone who will make us feel complete.

But he and Verity are different. They have found each other, and nothing and no one will tear them apart.

It doesn't matter that Verity is marrying another man.

Because they play a game, a secret game they call 'the crave', the aim being to demonstrate what they both know: that Verity needs Mike, and only Mike.

Mike knows that Verity's upcoming marriage is the biggest game they've ever played. And it's for the highest stakes.

Except this time in order for Mike and Verity to be together someone has to die ...

'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 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

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