Christmas secrets – Amy Bird, author of Hide and Seek, unwraps some sinister gifts
Christmas. A time to be in the bosom of your family. Your nearest and dearest. Whom you know everything about and trust implicitly. Right?
But what if everything around you is fake. I don’t mean the tree. I mean your cosy family existence. What if it has all been built on lies? What if you are not who think you are at all? If little hints of a secret about your past kept emerging? You’d feel betrayed. Hurt. You’d want to track down the truth about your real life. About those who hid it from you. And you might want revenge.
Because we’re not just talking this Christmas. We’re talking all the family Christmases you can remember. All the carefully chosen presents, all the cards to and from Mummy and Daddy. All a façade. And birthdays, too. Every interaction with your family, in fact, built on a false premise. Your past and your sense of identity suddenly wiped out. Might it be enough to drive you to murder?
You probably think not. You probably think you are a rational, logical being, who takes solace in tears and chocolates rather than anger and weapons. And so much the better. But consider if you find you have violence in your past. If under the tree you find a history of murder, rather than the latest crime fiction. Obsession might be the true present. Obsession that turns your mind, then your actions.
This is what happens to Will, the protagonist in my latest thriller Hide and Seek. Life is sweet – he has a job as a medical academic at a leading university, his wife is expecting their first baby, and his parents have given him the deposit for a new house. So far, so good. But his wife suspects that something lies hidden. A secret that will change his life. Except when she starts digging, she doesn’t realise how momentous that change will be. Will is driven on an obsessional search for truth and he won’t stop until he finds the answers. At whatever cost.
So when you are curled up in front of the fire exchanging your gifts, remember that you might not know everything about the giver. Or even yourself. There may be some other present hiding an unfamiliar past.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Amy Bird’s third thriller Hide and Seek (Carina UK, a digital imprint of Harlequin, £2.99) is out now.
You can also follow Amy @london_writer or find her at www.amybirdwrites.com