“Thrillers Should be Puzzles That Might Actually be Solved”… Louise Candlish on the Inspiration Behind The Other Passenger

“Thrillers Should be Puzzles That Might Actually be Solved”… Louise Candlish on the Inspiration Behind The Other Passenger

Louise Candlish on the inspiration behind The Other Passenger

How I usually construct a novel is by taking three or four themes and styles that I want to explore and find a way to entwine them, leaving just enough loose stitches for the reader to start pulling and guessing. Readers are very intelligent and thrillers should be puzzles that might actually be solved.

I’d wanted to set a thriller among commuters, but had read quite a few set on trains (including the mighty The Girl on the Train) and the London Underground and I always like to be different – if possible, the first to do something. For a while, I couldn’t think how I could break the mould. Then, one day, I was travelling from Central London to the O2 Arena, which is on the Greenwich Peninsula in southeast London, and the tubes were down. I found the quickest way was by catamaran. The Thames Clippers are river buses that bring commuters into Central London from east and west, but not living by the river, I’d never taken advantage of them. Five minutes in one of those luxurious cream leather seats, G&T in hand, iconic London drifting by, and I knew I had my setting.

Another key strand was my love of noir movies, especially Hitchcock and those Forties classics starring Barbara Stanwyck, like Double Indemnity and Sorry, Wrong Number. I wanted to create a bang-up-to-date noir, a classic story of deception and double crossing starring a thoroughly modern femme fatale. Melia is my millennial Phyllis from Double Indemnity, Jamie her Fred. She’s beautiful, of course, but you can’t manipulate with beauty alone, you also need charisma and a certain vulnerability. Jamie wants to protect her and, if he can think of a way, rescue her. I loved writing Melia.

There’s usually a bit of social commentary in my novels, often ripped from the headlines (like property obsession in Our House), and in The Other Passenger it is generational conflict, specifically between Gen X and millennials. Jamie and Clare are in their late forties, hurtling towards fifty and experiencing separate midlife crises, while Kit and Melia are in their late twenties, facing their own Armageddon in the form of thirty. Their friendship forms far too fast and disintegrates even faster. I am in the Jamie and Clare age group and I remember just how easy it was in my twenties to buy a home and acquire other assets. We left university debt-free and property prices were so affordable it was actually a cheaper option to buy than it was to rent. By comparison, Kit and Melia’s generation hold a losing hand. These two have left college with huge debts and continue to run up further debt because rents are so high and to socialise they must spend beyond their means. The future feels bleak and their discontent is exacerbated by their envy of the complacent Clare and Jamie. Of course, in a thriller, solutions to these perceived injustices might very well involve crime, but in reality, it mostly goes no further than low-level resentment. Until the inheritance comes through, that is, and the cycle starts again.

 

Reviews

5 Quick Questions with The Other Passenger Author, Louise Candlish

Review | Author Related

30 June 2020

5 Quick Questions with The Other Passenger Author, Louise Candlish

    Read a Sample Chapter of The Other Passenger, the Thrilling New Novel by Louise Candlish

    Review | Extract

    30 June 2020

    Read a Sample Chapter of The Other Passenger, the Thrilling New Novel by Louise Candlish

      The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish will Knock Your Socks Off

      Review | Our Review

      29 June 2020

      The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish will Knock Your Socks Off

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                  Synopsis

                  You're feeling pretty smug about your commute to work by riverboat. No more traffic gridlock or getting stuck on the tube in tunnels (you're claustrophobic). Now you've got fresh air, an iconic Thames view, a whole lifestyle upgrade. You've made new friends on board - led by your hedonistic young neighbour, Kit - and just had your first official 'water rats' get-together.The day after the drinks, Kit isn't on the morning boat. The river landmarks are all the same, but something's off. When you disembark, the police are waiting. Kit's wife, Melia, has reported him missing and another passenger saw you arguing on the last boat home after your drinks. Police say you had a reason to lash out at him. To threaten him.You protest. You and Kit are friends - ask Melia, she'll vouch for you. And who exactly is pointing the finger? What do they know about your private lives?No, whatever coincidences might have occurred last night, you are innocent, totally innocent.Aren't you?
                  Louise Candlish
                  About the author

                  Louise Candlish

                  Louise Candlish is the bestselling author of twelve novels. Her thriller Our House was a number one bestseller in paperback, ebook and audiobook and is shortlisted for a 2019 British Book Award - Crime & Thriller Book of the Year. It has been optioned for TV by Death in Paradise producers Red Planet Pictures, and was picked as a Book of the Year 2018 by the Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Real Simple, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Sunday Express, Red and Heat. Louise lives in London with her family.

                  Books by Louise Candlish

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