Trust Me, I’m Dead by Sherryl Clark
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 CWA DEBUT DAGGER FOR UNPUBLISHED FIRST NOVEL
She hasn’t seen her brother in years. Now, he’s dead.
When Judi Westerholme finds out her estranged brother has been murdered, she assumes it’s connected to his long term drug addiction. Returning home, she is shocked to discover he had been clean for years, had a wife – now missing – a child and led a respectable life. But if he had turned his life around, why was he killed in a drug deal shooting? And where is his wife?
Desperate to know what really happened, Judi sets out to uncover the truth, even though it means confronting her own traumatic past.
But she’s not the only one looking for answers…
With a gutsy, unapologetic protagonist, Trust Me, I’m Dead is a gritty and bold crime thriller that explores the sacrifices people will make for their families.
Guest Post ~
Writing about families and siblings
Our family is like any other – full of ups and downs, slights and offences, great memories and lots of fun. I’ve discovered over the years that my sisters, brother and I seem to have the same sense of humour – I’m not sure how that happened or if it’s usual! I’ve written poems about my family, but I haven’t put them in a novel.
But other people’s families? They’re loaded with story ideas! I still remember years ago being told by a friend that they refused to spend Christmas Day with their family because ‘we all hate each other’. At the time, it stunned me. Now I know this is not unusual at all. While there are a lot of novels about parents and children, abuse and estrangement, and long-held hatreds, I was more interested in siblings. I was especially interested in the saying, You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.
Sibling relationships seem to fall into two camps in the stories I hear. One camp is where everyone is friends. The other camp is full of envy, jealousy, comparing achievements and failures, and stewing on old grievances. I wondered about families where the parents were unloving, and how siblings might band together, support and strengthen each other and, if that failed, how the guilt and remorse might echo down the years.
We put such demands on each other. And where one sibling absolves the other of responsibility and simply asks for help, what might make the answer No? If you’ve been madly trying to pretend there is nothing wrong with you, while you push people away and refuse to commit, you might even push your own brother away when he needs you.
Thus was born Trust Me, I’m Dead. I initially read an article about someone who died and left behind an audio cassette of secrets that changed everything his family thought they knew. In my novel, I have a sister and brother, Judi and Andy, and a family history that both binds them and pulls them apart. The background to the story is Melbourne’s gangland wars, where families were murdered in revenge – even small children saw their parents killed. It was a horrific period in the city’s recent history that continues to echo, and became the perfect setting and plot stirrer for my characters and my novel.