From an author hailed by the New York Times as ‘the master of suspense’ comes an electrifying thriller shot through with dark humour – about a female forensic photographer on the trail of a killer with ties to her past.
When Alexandra Rafferty was a girl, something unspeakably cruel happened to her on a summer afternoon. Only her father knew about it – or so she thought. Now a forensic photographer for the Miami PD, Alexandra remains haunted by that horrible day and it all comes rushing back when she becomes caught up in the investigation of a gruesome series of murders that seem to speak to her long-hidden past. Soon her personal life spins out of control, sending Alexandra on the run – from her husband, from the crooks after him, from a surprisingly persistent boyfriend, and from a killer who’s bent on making sure Alexandra won’t live long enough to translate his message.
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‘An edgy and engrossing thriller.’
‘Body Language is James Hall showing his best stuff. Complex and edgy, engrossing and masterful. I’ve been reading and learning from Hall for a long time but this book’s a cut above the rest. It’s his very best.’
‘Body Language seduces you, then it grabs you and never lets you go. This is a first-rate thriller by a masterful writer.’
‘Rafferty is a fabulous addition to the ranks of law enforcement.’
Body Language, scary and emotionally charged
As I was writing Body Language, I was never sure who thekiller was until the final scene. I know some writers don't start their novels until they've mapped out the entire story. But I would find that pretty tedious. My approach is to discover along with the reader (or maybe one half-step ahead) what the story is about.
The easiest and most rewarding part of the novel to write was the relationship between Alexandra and her father, Lawton Collins. Lawton's memory is fading fast (a condition I've had a very small glimpse of in my own life), and in his childlike innocence he can be both wise and foolish as well as put himself and his daughter at great risk. In several scenes, Lawton scared me to death. I was never sure if he was going to survive the novel or not.
I also had a lot of fun with Stan, Alexandra's husband, who has become obsessed with criminals and the history of crime and fancies himself a legendary criminal in the making. I've always liked wild card characters. Minor characters who come into the story from odd angles and change the whole direction of things unexpectedly. There are a couple of those in Body Language. My favorite is a young woman named Emma who keeps a pet roach in her pocket and a mess of guns in her trunk. The novel moves between Miami and Seaside, Florida, a pretty little town up in the Panhandle of Florida. It's a pastel paradise where nothing bad could possibly happen. Until my characters show up.
I've centered five of my previous novels around a reclusive fisherman named Thorn. I decided to give Thorn a little rest for a book or two. I've been beating him up pretty badly lately. And working with Alexandra Rafferty was something of a relief. Her job as a forensic photographer for Miami police department gave me a whole new area to research, and it makes her character much more grounded in the world of crime and danger than any character I've ever created before. I'm considering using her in the future. I find that I already miss her and Lawton, their funny, sad, scary moments together.
The bad guy in this novel also spiked my blood pressure whenever he made an appearance. He's so utterly normal, so completely charming on the face of things that you'd never suspect what he's planning to do. It was uncomfortable to be inside this guy's head, but at the same time it was exhilerating. I take great pleasure in creating bad guys who scare the hell out of me. It sounds odd, I know, but unless the evil is truly evil in these books, they don't pack the wallop they should. I know the writing is going well when in the middle of a scene with my bad guy, I have to get up from the computer and walk around to relieve the tension. I did a lot of walking in Body Language.
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Book Description HARPER COLLINS, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: NEW. 9780006512752 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. Bookseller Inventory # HTANDREE0982779
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110006512755