The Dying Season

This is a guest blog entry that originally appeared in The Big Thrill’s Thriller Roundtable (Oct 16-22)

IS IT A GOOD IDEA TO SET THRILLERS IN THE FALL?

I’m not a big fan of the fall, but I enjoy setting stories during that time of year. The metaphor is obvious. Things die. Blue skies of spring and summer turn gray. Days are shorter; darkness encroaches. Goblins hide in the shadows.

The metaphor is almost a cliché. And yet it’s hard to resist the temptation of the season. Like a witch disguised as a beautiful enchantress, fall beckons. Then you get closer, past the point of no return, and you see her curled, arthritic finger and her malevolent smile. You’re trapped.

I’ve always hated being trapped by fall. Raised in New England, I always hated bracing for winter. The world, to me, died. Which is why I ran away to Phoenix. My new release, Desert Remains, is set during a Phoenix fall. Because, even now, all these years later, I can’t resist the idea of fall and its haunted charm. In Phoenix, however, there really aren’t four seasons. There’s summer and “less summer.” So the challenge was to create darkness under blue skies, danger lurking in broad daylight, and a sense of dread even though the threat of winter meant nothing more than turning on the heater for the swimming pool.

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