I did not read until I became an adult, well not unless I had to, I just wasn’t interested. I think this was down to just not knowing it was Crime/Mystery Thrillers I would love.
I was twenty-six and I had just become a mum for the second time, as a family we were over the moon, we already have a four year old son and now we have another beautiful boy. As we already had a child we knew what to expect, we had lived sleepless nights and were fully prepared to smell a cross between vomit and talcum powder. What I was not prepared for was feeling like I had fallen into a black hole. I had no reason to feel so bad but could not see my way out. On one of my worse days I called my mum crying, not knowing what was wrong with me and not knowing how to fix it (sometimes only your mum can help). After some calming words my mum told me to go to my GP and my husband made the appointment.
I came out of my appointment feeling the same as I went in but I had an explanation, we knew what I was suffering from. So I leave the doctors with a bag of medication and a promise from the GP that Post Natal depression is very common and can be treated.
After my meds started to kick in I felt better but I was still not the person I had been, I had a short fuse and seemed to snap at anything that moved. My children were very resilient to mummy being sad or cross and my husband did all he could to make me ‘happy’. I still had bad days but on the whole felt OK.
On one of these bad days my husband took us out to get some fresh air. We did some shopping in our local town and as always we would end up in a gadget shop (my husband loves a gadget). While I am herding our children through the radio’s and stopping the four year old turning up the sound on every radio he passes my husband pops out with a bag and hands it to me. I take a look and find an e-reader inside, my husband is beaming ear to ear and feeling very pleased with himself, I on the other hand am very grateful but confused as to why he would buy someone that NEVER reads an e-reader?! Anyway we get home and he sets it up for me, he says he has loaded a free crime book onto it and to give it a go. What we didn’t know then is this was the start of something huge for me.
The book he loaded onto my eReader was ‘Cut Short’ by Leigh Russell. I started reading that afternoon and just couldn’t put it down, there was something in Leigh’s writing that made me want more. Leigh writes great plots but she also has a way of surprising you. There is something about someone committing a vile act that keeps you as a reader turning the page. Who are they? Will they be caught? Will they have their comeuppance? That was it I had found my genre. I didn’t even think about trying something else, why fix something that isn’t broken. I loved to hate certain characters because they had morally crossed the line but I also loved getting to know the investigators. Equally I enjoyed those rare characters that were committing crime for a good reason.
I put the next book onto the e-reader and found myself thinking less and less about how bad I felt. I only ever read crime fiction because I felt and still feel that the characters in the books will always experience worse things than I ever will, and in a twisted way it made me feel better about my life.
As you spend so many hours writing books, I thought it only polite to review them as a thank you. After a handful of reviews I was asked if I had ever thought about setting up a blog and reviewing books on my own site. Within a few weeks I had set up Crime Book Club and had started to review my book shelf. After a month or two, I was lucky enough to have my first books being sent to me for a review, I was over the moon. While the book club was going well I had noticed that I also felt much better in myself, I spoke to my GP about reducing my meds and he agreed. All was well in the Crime Book Club household.
Eventually I was taken off medication completely and was managing my depression by reading crime fiction. Now while I felt better I still had bad times and I couldn’t always see them coming, but my husband could. He would ask if I had read in the last week or two, and if my reading had slowed down for whatever reason he would gently suggest that I needed to read more. After a day or two of reading my moods would pick up and all was well again. This is when I realised that I ‘HAD’ to read, if I wanted to stay off medication I needed to read.
The mystery of the ‘Crime’ genre keeps me gripped. I never know what is coming next and each author pushes the boundaries of morality in different ways. I like the crime novels that make you take a deep breath, the ones that take you to the edge and just when you think you are going to fall over they bring you back again. A well placed twist and great characters are also a must for me, going in one direction and then BAM you are taken off somewhere completely different.
I can’t give you much for keeping me sane, but reviewing your books is my way of giving a little back to you for helping me through a hard time and keeping me on an even (ish) keel. As long as you keep writing I will keep reviewing and as long as I am reading I can function as a nearly normal human being.
Through reviewing your books I have achieved so much, I have been off medication for at least five years and the Crime Book Club website has been running for over a year now. I have also had the chance to meet so many lovely authors but in particular Leigh Russell, the author that sent me on this crime reading journey and I have even had dinner with her. I feel that I have gone full circle and I cannot thank you enough for writing such awesome page turners.
P.S. Please keep killing it keeps me sane!
Louise Hunter – Crime Book Club Crime book lover and tea drinker, can be found dunking biscuits. Giving away my books is a problem for me, some might say I am a crime book hoarder! I love authors like Stuart MacBride, Sarah Hilary and Mo Hayder but I also read a lot of self-published authors. I am always looking for that crime novel that gives you goose bumps, the ones that make you hold your breath and forces you to turn page after page, the dark and twisted are my favourite. You can read more from me on the Crime Book Club website.