I can’t express how delighted I am to welcome Don’t Close Your Eyes author Holly Seddon to Linda’s Book Bag. I was desperate to know what Holly thought about crime and the fears we have and I asked her if she would write a guest post about our fear of the ordinary, closer to home, threats. I’m delighted she agreed to do so.
Published by Corvus, Don’t Close Your Eyes is available for purchase here.
Don’t Close Your Eyes
Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.
Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…
And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.
But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…
Closer to Home
A Guest Post by Holly Seddon
You can take your baddies in the shadowy alleyways, your plane crashes and your serial killers, and file them under ‘incredibly unlikely to happen’. For me, these are such distant fears that they carry no weight. What scares me, what absolutely terrifies me, is the idea of danger creeping under my own front door and destroying everything that I love.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good serial killer romp but the chances of it happening to me are easy to dismiss. So let’s look at some of the real risks to a woman my age.
An estimated 2 million adults (aged 16 – 59) in the UK experienced domestic abuse in 2016 alone. That’s six people in every 100, afraid and at risk in the place that should be safest: their homes.
There were 106,098 sexual offences recorded by the police in England and Wales last year. That’s just last year. Some one in five women in the UK have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of sixteen. And here’s the kicker, approximately 90% of those who are raped know the perpetrator prior to the offence.
We teach our children stranger danger, as we ourselves were taught to fear the bogeyman, but danger is rarely unknown to us.
Don’t Close Your Eyes, my second novel, doesn’t feature unknown assailants. In fact, a large proportion of the story takes place within one suburban home.
The characters’ pasts, the choices they made and those made for them, they are where darkness lies and spreads.
Domestic noir is chilling in its realism, in its plausibility. Just look at the juggernaut that was The Girl On The Train. A normal woman, on a commuter train, watching her old street. There were no masked killers, no bogeymen.
Look at the premise of The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. A boozy dinner party, a baby next door protected by a monitor, missing at the end of the night. Or Disclaimer, the excellent debut by Renee McKnight, which features a woman’s past bleeding into every nook and cranny of her present, rotting her relationships from the inside.
Aren’t these some of our biggest fears?
As a reader and a writer, these books aren’t just about escapism, they’re a study of our very real vulnerabilities and, for me, a reminder of how lucky I am to truly feel safe.
Crime Survey of England and Wales, 2013
(Linda – My goodness Holly. Those are some scary statistics you’ve shared with us today.)
About Holly Seddon
Holly Seddon is a full time writer, living slap bang in the middle of Amsterdam with her husband James and a house full of children and pets. Holly has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since her early 20s after growing up in the English countryside, obsessed with music and books.
Her first novel Try Not To Breathe was published worldwide in 2016 and became a national and international bestseller.