Would you help out an old friend in their time of need? It’s usually a pretty easy thing to do. To loan them something they’ve run short of, to look after their children for a few hours… no problem, right?
But what if your childhood best friend is a murder suspect, wanted by the Gardaí? And worse, the family of the man she’s accused of killing are the city’s most dangerous criminals, and they are searching for her too. Would you still be keen to help?
For the accidental heroine in my debut novel Anna Clarke, “yes” is the obvious answer.
As a clerical officer for the Gardaí, she knows her old friend Kate is safer in custody than hiding on the streets of Cork, especially with gangsters combing the streets in search of her. With inside knowledge of where Kate might be, she sets out to help her, to convince her to turn herself in. Instead, Anna uncovers darkness within the city that she never knew could run so deep. The reports she typed up in her garda clerical role only scratched the surface of the criminal world in the city she loves; now Anna discovers how truly dangerous the city is. Before long, the quest to help her friend becomes a fight for survival.
Setting Blinding Lies in my home city and county, creating a cast of characters whose adventures play out in familiar territory, was very exciting. In Blinding Lies, Cork is presented as a city of darkness and light through these characters and their actions. There is greed and violence throughout the book, balanced by love, friendship and determination to protect the innocent.
It’s a work of fiction of course, a slice of my imagination, borne of reading many thrillers and mysteries. Longing for a female protagonist that was a regular person, a young woman who seems to stumble into the role of heroine, I created Anna Clarke. She’s a loyal friend, a hard worker, vulnerable yet strong in many ways, driven by the hope that the disappearance of her parents ten years ago can be solved. She doesn’t always make the right choices – who among us does? But she steps up for a friend in need, even if it could cost her everything.
Amy Cronin is a writer from Cork. She lives by the sea with her husband and two children. Blinding Lies is her debut novel and the first of a trilogy featuring the character Anna Clarke.